The archive can be a site of discovery, a space to trace origins and corroborate histories. Often perceived as neutral, the archive is also a place where history and collective memory are canonised. The artists featured in the exhibition rebel against a singular vision of what such histories may be. Rebel Archives addresses debates within feminisms and decolonization that seek to reconfigure what/who mainstream culture should represent.
The artists’ act of reconfiguration extends beyond history and memory, simultaneously challenging the nature-culture divide. In this regard, in 2019 Marco Scotini wrote: 'what is at stake is not just the opening of the rebel archives of our past [...it is] on the one hand the breaking of gender binaries, and on the other the decentering of the human...'. The works bring to the fore issues of ecology and social injustice that were central to the lives of these artists.
The exhibition spotlights the experimental practices of Mirella Bentivoglio, Anna Bella Geiger, Nedda Guidi, Clemen Parrocchetti and Rosana Paulino. The five artists ask us to reconsider singular cultural tenets handed down to us by Western knowledge systems and to embrace a multiplicity of meanings and subjectivities. One way in which they do so is through the poetic appropriation of materials and sources that are foundational to Western canons, such as ancient Greek or Roman literature, which are reimagined in relation to alternative cultural traditions.
Press release courtesy Mendes Wood DM.
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