Ecology, education, social inclusion, political activism, and the use of experimental material and new technologies: these are the essential elements that act as starting points for Piero Gilardi’s research, as well as the pillars emphasised by curators Hou Hanru, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Marco Scotini in this retrospective dedicated to the artist. Nature Forever is the title of the exhibition hosted at the MAXXI Museum in Rome until 15 October, spanning the majority of Gilardi’s production and offering the opportunity to appreciate the deep unity at the heart of this artist’s pluridirectional work: a huge constellation of actions and radical pieces centred on the subject of man, explored as a being that is «by nature» a «social animal» (Aristotle).
According to Piero Gilardi art can modify life in a concrete way. From this consideration the artist proceeds to elaborate a profound reflection on the dichotomy man – nature, a reflection that embraces a personal inclination for education as well as an interest for new technologies and ludic dimensions. Such a vision is met in installations where the viewer is called to intervene and act directly on the artwork, triggering what Hans Georg Gadamer considered as a being «completely along with» – the community’s partecipatio (taking part) in the artwork. Consequently, the artist views interactive technological systems as an «evolutionary possibility» (Gilardi) since they can turn the creative moment into a shared experience.
This process of becoming responsible transforms the users into spect-a[c]tors and co-authors of the artwork (Balzola, Monteverdi) in the very moment the installation is activated by their breath or their own physical presence. At the same time, new media together with soft and technological materials are tools the artist uses to create simulacra in which artifice and nature merge (Dorfles); spaces fit for habitation, natural in appearance, generating original opportunities for man and nature to come into contact.
For Piero Gilardi art is the spark needed to trigger a ‘nuclear reaction’ in the audience, forcing them to take back ownership of their own critical thinking. According to the artist, the interactive experience offers an «immersive route in the dark depths of nature» that opens up a path for the tangible redemption of existence.
«NATURE FOREVER.Piero Gilardi», curated by Hou Hanru, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Marco Scotini
Museo MAXXI, Rome, 13.04 – 15.2017
images (all): Rome, 12 04 2017 MAXXI Museum Foundation. Preview of the exhibition NATURE FOREVER. PIERO GILARDI, curated by Hou Hanru, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Marco Scotini. ©Musacchio & Ianniello