Curated by Cloé Perrone
May 12 – November 6, 2016
Days correspond to one rotation of the earth; our corrupted months derive from the position of the moon; years are measured by the journey of the earth around the sun. The week, by contrast, is a fiction, a human invention. Yet that does not diminish its emotional and psychological effects. We experience it as a narrative cycle—with associated nadirs, crescendos, climaxes—structured by the particular qualities of its component days.
Camille Henrot’s exhibition at Fondazione Memmo takes inspiration from the first and most disorderly of the week’s days. At its heart are a series of bronzes that hover between the figurative and abstract, a cast of allegorical characters embodying the emotional and intellectual states particular to the beginning of the week. Derelitta, inspired by the painting ascribed to Botticelli, is either unable or unwilling to leave her bed; an athlete stands alone on a podium, defeated; a melancholic dissolves into tears while waiting for a text message that will never come; a fickle figure stands caught between states, inconstant like the moon from which Monday takes its name.
Monday might be tainted with melancholy, yet it is also the day on which we renew our faith in the miraculous. At the beginning of each week (from the Old English wice, meaning ‘a turning’) we feel the possibility of dramatic change, and the inclination to withdraw from the world is linked with this yearning for transformation. Writers and artists have long embodied the relationship between ostensible unproductivity and creative inspiration—one thinks of Proust in his cork-lined room or Matisse painting from bed—while patience, introspection, and solitude are cited in religious traditions as means by which we can access the divine and effect spiritual change in ourselves. Monday’s transcendence is predicated upon close attention to mundane things. The frescoes produced for Fondazione Memmo—the binding plaster for which is made in the traditional manner, from marble dust and lime putty—integrate found documents, papers, and small objects alluding to Henrot’s own creative inspirations to explore the relationship between action and inaction, the mundane and the extraordinary.
These preoccupations with indulgence, creativity, change and repetition also find expression in the zoetrope (from the Greek, “life turning”) created for the show at Fondazione Memmo. Henrot’s cast of human-dog hybrids dances around a maypole in ritual celebration of renewal and rebirth. That they are tethered to a single point recalls New York’s professional dog walkers, while the inclusion of the zodiacal bull and twins hints at the artist’s interest in astrology as an organizing principle for human experience. The week is, like mythological narratives and astrological charts, a means of imposing order on the chaos of existence. These are the rhythms of our lives, the instruments we use to make sense of our compulsion to repeat. The artist elevates our struggle to get through the day to the status of an epic.
Camille Henrot was born in Paris in 1978. She had solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York (2014), Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin (2014), New Orleans Museum of Art (2013) and has been included in 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015), 9th Taipei Biennale (2014) and 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014). Her solo show The Pale Fox travelled from Chisenhale Gallery, London (2014) to Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014); Bétonsalon, Paris (2014); Wesfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2015) and König Galerie, Berlin (2015). In 2015, she was the recipient of the inaugural Edvard Munch Art Award. She also won the Nam June Paik Award (2014) and the Silver Lion prize for most promising young artist at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). In 2016, Camille Henrot will participate to the 20th Biennale of Sydney and the 9th Berlin Biennale, she will co-curate Volcano Extravaganza. Henrot has forthcoming exhibitions scheduled at Madre Museum, Naples (2016); the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017) and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2017).
The Madre Museum, Naples, has inaugurate an exhibition featuring the drawings and preparatory sketches of Monday. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Fondazione Memmo and curated by Cloé Perrone.
The exhibition held at Fondazione Memmo is the first chapter of a larger project that will include the remaining days of the week and will be presented on the occasion of the artist’s Carte Blanche at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in October 2017, taking over the whole institution and curated by Daria de Beauvais.
On the occasion of Monday, Fondazione Memmo presents a program of free workshops for 3 – 9 years old children. Workshops are by Oneway kids, for further information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibition is organized with the support of Nuovi Mecenati, nouveaux mécènes – A Franco-Italian foundation supporting contemporary creativity, in the framework of “La Francia in scena”, artistic season of the Institut français Italia promoted by the French Embassy in Italy, with the support of the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, the Sacem Copie Privée, the European Commision (Europa Creativa) and the Ministero dell’Istruzione italiano dell’Università e della Ricerca – Afam (MIUR – Afam).
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Photo credits: Daniele Molajoli