Curated by Kateryna Filyuk and Alessandra Troncone
Odesa — Kuyal’nyk Sanatorium
December 14th 2020 — January 15th 2021
The Blank Contemporary Art (Bergamo) and Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiatives (Kyiv) present the new work by Gian Maria Tosatti, Моє серце пусте, як дзеркало — одеський епізод (My Heart is a Void, the Void is a Mirror — Odesa Episode), curated by Kateryna Filyuk and Alessandra Troncone, a project supported by the Italian Council (7th edition, 2019) program to promote Italian contemporary art on a global level by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
My Heart is a Void, the Void is a Mirror ( מייַן האַרץ איז ליידיק ווי אַ שפּיגל ) is an articulated project that completely absorbs the current artistic research of Gian Maria Tosatti. The focus of this investigation is the crisis of democracy and the subsequent fading of Western Civilization, born in Athens at the time of Pericles. In 2018, the artist started a pilgrimage across the world which brought him to many cities and countries in order to portray the complexity of the present era in each of them. Each work that he created as part of this process forms a sort of episode in a visual novel where visions, prophecies and reality are indistinguishable.
The Odesa Episode — this comes after the Catania, Riga and Cape Town episodes — is the work that Tosatti developed after a long period spent in Ukraine. The many suggestions collected along this path have been composed to form a unique, strong vision.
In 1986 Ukraine was faced with the realistic possibility of the extinction of the human race. Today, the barrier that closes off the containment area at Chernobyl seems like an ancient portal to some kind of mysterious oracle’s temple, something that can show us the future, an image of the world without men.
‘Anyway, this knowledge, this sense of disappearance’, the artist said, is something deeply rooted, a sort of strange, disturbing gift that has affected the whole country and its citizens. In many cities or villages one can clearly perceive that there is a defective flow of time. Time seems slower than everywhere else or sometimes it seems to run outside of its usual mechanism. Odesa looks like a piece of land that has been shipwrecked in time. Walking across the fields outside the town you feel like you are not going somewhere, but ‘somewhen’. And Kuyalnyk Lake seems like a place where time — the most relevant invention of man — no longer makes sense. In this uncertain time, every day and everywhere in the world we are facing the same sense of precarity that is stable and perpetual here in Odesa'.
The intervention that the artist will complete on Kuyalnyk Lake in Odesa has the value of a prophecy, a vision of a world after the end of human history. Not a dramatic image, but a vision of extraordinary beauty, where water and sky melt together, birds and nature proliferate in a new harmonic balance. What remains of the short passage of mankind is not the ruins of old buildings that have already show their fragility, but something that still flows like a living thing. The perpetual electric breath of nuclear energy that keeps the lights on, even if nobody can see them.
The Odesa Episode is one of the two parts of the project Diptych of the Trauma. This project is one of the chapters of the larger project My Heart is a Void, the Void is a Mirror. The other work that composes the diptych is the Istanbul Episode that will be presented in May 2021. The local partner of the Turkish episode is DEPO and it will be curated by Devrim Kadirbeyoglu and Antonello Tolve.
Gian Maria Tosatti (Roma, 1980) is an Italian visual artist.
His projects usually are long term investigations on specific topics related to the concept of identity, from political to the spiritual standpoint.
His work consists mainly of large-scale site-specific installations conceived for entire buildings or urban areas. His practice involves often the communities of the places where he works.
In 2015 ArtReview included him in their list of the 30 most interesting artists of his generation (Future Greats).
In 2014 the international magazine Domus listed the installation My dreams, they’ll never surrender among the ten best shows in the world for that year.
Tosatti is also a journalist. He’s columnist for Corriere della Sera and the magazine Opera Viva. He writes essays about art and politics.
His work has been shown at the Hessel Museum del CCS BARD (New York – 2014), the MADRE museum (Napoli - 2016), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York - 2011), the Galleria Nazionale (Roma - 2017), the Petah Tikva Museum of Art (Petah Tikva - 2017), the Museo Archeologico di Salerno (Salerno - 2014), American Academy in Rome (Roma – 2013), Museo Villa Croce (Genova – 2012), Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Roma - 2008), Chelsea Art Museum (New York - 2009), BJCEM (2014).
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