- 20 October 2023 - 25 February 2024
curated by Elena Volpato
GAM is happy to present an exhibition, in the spaces of the Video Collection, dedicated to Simone Forti (Florence 1935), one of the most influential artists in the development of contemporary performative practices. The exhibition establishes a dialogue between two recent acquisitions by the Fondazione per l'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT: historical works realised by Forti in the early 1970s: a video, Bottom, from 1973 and a series of 4 drawings, Illuminations, from 1972.
Movement and sound, and their inextricable relationship, is what binds these works together. Sound propagates. Bodies and the entire environment respond and, at the same time, determine those vibrations. Forti resonates herself and the world around her. Her entire artistic journey acts like a tuning fork: she absorbs and creates waves through space, whether made of gestures, voices or music.
The Illuminations series of works on parchment stems from the artist's meditation on the circular matrix underlying the formation of Arabic numerals and the Star of David. These works constitute mental interpretations of the most powerful form of trajectory: studies of centripetal and centrifugal energies capable of activating fields of imagination and enchantment in the repetition of the circle. The red vegetable prints mark the parchment, creating a rhythm. The transparencies of their imperfect field of colour and the varying intensity of their imprint, speak with immediacy of light and movement. They recall the season of early twentieth-century animated cinema with its geometries, the illuminated carousels in the dark in Man Ray's Le Retour à la raison, the countless circular movements of spheres in Fernand Leger's Ballet mécanique; all films familiar to Forti from her youth. The red light bathed the artist's body engaged in whirling circular movements in the Illuminations performance realised in collaboration with Charlemagne Palestine at Cal Arts, starting in 1971. That red became fire as the artist's body became flame, leaning towards the centre of circles she traced in ever faster and narrower steps.
Bottom, which was given its final form in 1973, was developed by Forti as early as 1968, at the end of a journey that took her from the West Coast to the East Coast. Crossing the American landscape, she collected four postcards of natural, boundless spaces, which in her imagination, were dense with sound. One of these images shows a buffalo in the foreground: one of the earliest images of animals in the artist's work, this would be followed by the development of one of her most extensive and iconic researches dedicated to their movement.
Arriving in Rome, she projected the four landscapes on slides in the spaces of the Galleria L'Attico on 31 October 1968, each for five minutes, accompanying each slide with a sound: the fast and constant rhythm of a drum for the first landscape in which the ‘bouncing’ of the gaze is thus activated deep into space, from top to top; a constant high chord of three voices for a landscape of waterfalls, as if to translate the eternal rumbling of their flow; the noise of a hoover to underline comically the desert formation of a rocky group; and, finally, a melodic line whistled by the artist herself accompanies the buffalo against the background of the prairie, with elongated and melancholic notes like the breath of a wind that passes across the void and seems to disembody the animal under our gaze, subtracting it from the present to suspend it in the dimension of memory.
We would like to thank the Fondazione per l'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT for its support of theVideotecaGAM collection, whose programme of exhibitions in 2023 (dedicated to Michael Snow, Giuseppe Gabellone and Simone Forti) was developed around their recent acquisitions for GAM.
We would also like to thank for its collaboration the Galleria Raffaella Cortese, from which the two works by Simon Forti were acquired on the occasion of two different editions of Artissima, in 2019 and 2022.
in alto: Simone Forti, Illuminations, 1972, inchiostro vegetale e grafite su pergamena