The new exhibition at the HangarBicocca Foundation is dedicated to the Thai artist Surasi Kusolwong, whom realizes a spectacular site-specific installation in the Shed, the initial part of the big space of the Hangar. The Hangar presents the artwork by Kusolwong, born in 1965, whose artworks have already been exposed in important international art places as the Tate Modern in London, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Rose Art Museum in Boston, and also the Biennales of Istanbul and Venice (2003), of Berlin (2001) and of Taiwan (2000).
The installation plans five Ping-Pong tables that the visitors could use to play. On each table are placed different types of objects and materials dedicated to various aspects of Kusolwong’s work: everyday use, simple, domestic and sometimes kitsch objects, such as little plaster animals covered with shell pieces, or wooden carved animals and also typical objects of different cultures collected or made by the artist himself. In the installation these items will be mingled to materials and objects referring to the culture of the Arte Povera: cut mirrors and shapes linked to Alighiero Boetti’s symbols and manuscripts.
Thus, playing in Kusolwong’s installation, the visitors go into the rhythm of the relationships participating to the complex and sometimes contradictory construction of contemporary society communication: a dialogue whose questions and answers very often create bouncing, complicating or accelerating, provoking again other questions and other answers… as in the Ping-Pong game, question and answer, on one side and on the other…
In the installation there are also: a cube shaped aluminum sculpture linked to a smoke machine; a volcano-sculpture made of a salt mountain with a lamp at the center; a group of a tent-sculptures made of marble, iron sheets, wood and mirror pieces; a sculpture made of all the pages of the book Living in the End Times by Slavoj Zizek, Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst of Marxist background who concerns about the contemporary economic and social crisis; a soft sculpture made of sponges cut into rectangular blocks with a sign saying “Take your time to have a seat and think”; a series of hanging lamps realized by Kusolwong, among which one is laid down with a hand painted text by the Japanese sculptor naturalized American Isami Noguchi who died in 1988.
Here’s how the artist explains its poetics:
I present Ping-Pong which is at the same time a classic popular game and a politic act of the international diplomacy. Everyone participates today, more or less, to the games of everyday life complexity and contradiction. Our actions in every kind of activity concern, both consciously and unconsciously, every other aspect of our life, as natural disasters, climatic changes, animal species extinction, religious conflicts and freedom of expression. I’m for the Panda which lives in a peaceful forest, feeding on bamboo, even if it would like to have drank cappuccino. I’m for the Arte Povera, the Italian art that brings with itself profound humanistic values, in order to negotiate the present through the remains of the past. I’m for the Pop-Punk that is a way out (for the people with no way out) in the name of freedom of choice and of speech. I’m for the Planet where Plato and Zen Buddhism divide similar symbols, the cube and the square, for the world.
According to me the world is not contained in its physical form, it’s just like that. The world of people thoughts is cube/square. The world is today a cube which is smoking. The smoke which is full of virtual and artificial components mixed with the real ones. I’m for the Politics, but I don’t negotiate with every age politics. I build the basic aesthetic conditions of words, materials, media, images and social codes, in order to suggest aesthetic experiences of growth and to realize activities exercised by people and for the people in order to connect them to today’s world. I do P-Art. I’m for the Art of People.
A playful artwork and of great visual impact, yet profoundly serious in order to make us open once again our eyes on the miserable state in which our planet is today and on the way of living of millions of human beings.
Ping—Pong, Panda, Povera, Pop—Punk, Planet, Politics and P—Art
Site-specific installation by Surasi Kusolwong
From June 10th to September 15th 2011