Killing Floor II
Between autumn 2012 and spring 2013, in via Parma 31, Andrea Caretto, Manuele Cerutti, Sara Enrico, Alessandro Quaranta and Raffaella Spagna accepted my invitation to take part in a project I had spoken to them about at the beginning of 2012. I had called said project Killing Floor, and it involved mounting a few pieces, and preparing to act (and interact, between one another and myself through their works, the veritable protagonists of the performance) in a completely experimental and unstable setting. One of the staples of Killing Floor was its privacy: there was no official opening ceremony, no visiting hours, the space was closed to the public, and a catalogue of the works was never published. Artists were also required to showcase brand new or hitherto un-exhibited material; if the piece had already been on-display, they had to be willing to make changes to it for the occasion. Happenings were arranged on three separate instances: one was restricted to us alone, whilst the other two welcomed a small number of ‘outsiders’, handpicked by ourselves, and strictly foreign to the art scene. The observance of this rule – unwritten, but accepted by all – was my decision: it seemed important to me, or rather, essential, in order to avoid the risk of a ‘professional’ approach on the part of curators, critics or anyone too well versed on the subject of art. This kind of outlook may have even unconsciously lead them to interpret the works too ‘skilfully’ or even too ‘subtly’, isolating them from their context and classifying them according to predetermined and rigid conceptual schemes, maybe so as to satisfy a need to pigeonhole things. Such schemas, or screens, may prevent or thwart the unrestricted perception of the pieces, hindering their chances of living in their own right and of surprising the ‘virgin’ visitor. The latter – his perception unhindered by such schemes – can thus capture their essence, or even misinterpret it, producing a positive effect, nevertheless: he might be able to find elements or meanings that the author hadn’t even thought about, but which are present, and could make the artist reconsider how he perceives his work.
This year, Killing Floor will be held at blank, in via Reggio 27, but it will be open to the public, thus ceasing to be a private affair, as it was in via Parma 31. As last time, there should be no official opening, but a fluid setting, so one can expect a continuous evolution of the state of things inside the space. Visits will be allowed, and now and then, some events should be scheduled: they will be open to a certain number of people, who will be informed by an email invitation, or by word of mouth.
I think that this edition of Killing Floor will be also marked by chaos, even more so than the first time round, in via Parma 31. I’m not talking about literal disarray, but rather of the simultaneous presence of different schemes. Such self-disciplined systems are not, however, autistic, and though their primary goal isn’t to communicate with others, they don’t refute communication altogether, but are willing to initiate it only occasionally and not on purpose, or rather, not intentionally.
A sort of theatre, a crossroads open to the expression of different realities, resulting not only from intentional actions, but also from casual and incontrollable events – such as the simple transience of the natural light issuing from the windows – capable each time, through their ephemeral workings, to significantly change the perception of space. Though it may often be empty, this space is still able (if not more so) to signal the immanent presence of a constantly active energy, the very same energy that moves the sky, through incessant transformation. Unlike theatrical performances or film screenings, however, there will be no scheduled events and no ‘plot’: only at the end, when it will all be over, will we be able to read a story, made up of many stories, and pieced together by Alessandro Quaranta.
It should be noted that, from the very beginning of e/static’s activity, the aforementioned situation of instability and flexibility of the works on the Killing Floor had already arisen quite clearly during exhibitions such as "Lavori Diversi 1 and 2" in 1999, and then during Paolo Piscitelli’s first solo exhibition in 2000. In the first instance, only one piece was left on display – more or less in the same place – throughout both ‘chapters’, a work by Giovanni Anselmo (his most important one, senza titolo, from 1966); around it, the authors themselves mounted different pieces, and Paolo Parisi joined them during the second phase. As far as Parisi is concerned, his work Intorno was subsequently showcased also on the occasion of the group exhibition “Inediti”, in winter 2000 but, compared to the 1999 event, it was mounted very differently, in a more open and extended fashion. On the day of the opening of his solo exhibition, Paolo Piscitelli presented some works in progress, completing them (and moving them around) one by one in the following days. When he had finished the last one, he announced the interruption of that period of fluidity and growth, and thus the completion of all the pieces on display.
see also killing floor blog