Curators of 'Amikejo', exhibition season 2011 in the 'Laboratorio 987', Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), León, Spain.

Inaugural exhibition: 'Amikejo: Pennacchio Argentato', 29 January–27 March 2011.


Programme for the 2011 season

Amikejo is a series of four exhibitions at MUSAC’s Laboratorio 987 structured around relational and spatial twinning. These artistic pairings involve various modes of binomial friendships – couples in life, dedicated duos, intermittent work partners, as well as new allies. The artist partnerships involve an overall 50–50 split of male and female practitioners, as well as Spanish-speaking and foreign origins.

For the first exhibition, 'Amikejo: Pennacchio Argentato', the neapolitan duo Marisa Argentato and Pasquale Pennacchio will present a new installation based on an exhibition's expectations of performance and interactivity. By transforming the Laboratorio 987 space into an interior akin to an abstract fitness gym, the duo frame their own activity as young artists alongside that of Amikejo by addressing the ideas of leisure and overproduction, work and non-work. Presenting a series of rough concrete “muscular” sculptures resembling prototypes for exercise machines, they seemingly promise engagement through, as the artists describe, “yet all without seeing or offering any end result”. Alongside this seemingly inactive machinery, a companion sculpture focusses more specifically on body building. An image of former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger revealing his muscles prompts us to consider, within the context of an art space, a self-made aesthetics based on pose and theatricality.

Forthcoming 'Amikejo' exhibitions:
· Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum (9 April–12 June)
· Uqbar Foundation (Mariana Castillo Deball & Irene Kopelman) (25 June–11 September)
· Fermín Jiménez Landa & Lee Welch (24 September 2011–15 January 2012)


Pennacchio Argentato, exhibition view of 'Five o'clock shadows' (2010). Courtesy the artists and T293, Naples.


Amikejo was an anomalous in-between state which never entirely existed, and was founded on a desire to foster more effective international communication through the synthetic language Esperanto. Following treaties of the early 19th Century, a tiny 3½ km2 wedge of land between the Netherlands, Belgium and Prussia was established as a neutral area because of an important zinc mine. In 1908 the 2,500 identity-less citizens of Neutral Moresnet, as it was known, declared it to be the world’s first Esperanto state: Amikejo (‘place of great friendship’ in Esperanto). In the wake of the first World War, Germany relinquished its claim to the disputed territory, and Amikejo-Moresnet disappeared from the map as it became part of Belgium, although border markers still exist to this day.

This episode-place, between pragmatic and conceptual borders of cartography, language, nationhood, and subjectivity, is entreated as a twin site to Laboratorio 987 and lends its name and symbolic implications to the exhibition series. This twinning also participates in a succession of doublings, reflections, couplings and duplications of different registers throughout the series, most noticeably in the fact that the artists of each exhibition are formed by two individuals, as is Latitudes, and least noticeably in the fact that MUSAC and Latitudes were both founded in April 2005.


Pennacchio Argentato, 'The Great White Hope', 2009. Stand of T293, Frieze Art Fair 2009, London.


The works of Pennacchio Argentato often arise from processes of doubling and repurposing. Do it just (2008) was a sculpture formed by a stack of nine neatly folded counterfeit Nike jackets – examples of the illegally produced brand clothing for which the duo’s home city of Naples is notorious. However the design of the jacket’s red-white-and-blue pattern was customized by the artists during production. No longer imitations of a single proprietary design, the items became new originals. For In the Realm of the Bidimensional (2008) and similar works, the artists have further explored the creation of authenticity and worth yet in an even purer form by incorporating counterfeit Euro banknotes, in this case what seemed to be a 50 note was woven into the frame of a flattened-out and painted metal warehouse trolley. The fake money was highlighted as a manufactured product so accomplished that it had the potential to seamlessly circulate in the economy as the direct equivalent of real capital. Their proposal for their participation in the 2009 edition of Frieze Art Fair with T293 gallery turned the stand into an abandoned or merely empty shop by appropriating retail fittings and shelving systems. In the context of the global depression, The Great White Hope (2009) appeared to offer a commentary on the invisible value of art and the impersonal abstraction of macro-economics.


Marisa Argentato (born Naples, Italy, 1977) & Pasquale Pennacchio (born Caserta, Italy, 1979). Live and work in Berlin and Naples). Solo exhibitions include: Five o’clock shadows, T293, Rome (2010); The New Boring, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2010); Landings 4, Landings, Vestfossen, Norway (2010); Do It Just, Galerie Opdahl, Berlin (2009); Estate, T293, Naples (2007) and Blind Date, Viafarini, Milan (2002). Group exhibitions include: SI - Sindrome Italiana, Magasin, Centre National d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble, Grenoble (2010); Dude, where's my Career?, MMK Zollamt / Portikus, Frankfurt (2009); A long time ago, last night, Gallery Kortil, Rijeka, Croatia (2008); Aspen Project (Part III), Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt am Main (2007); Cinema infinito / Neverending Cinema, Galleria Civica d’Arte Contemporanea, Trento (2006).

Press release (download here), further information and high res images


MUSAC | Avenida de los Reyes Leoneses, 24 | 24008 León, Spain | MAP


About Latitudes

Latitudes is a Barcelona-based [41º23’ N, 2º 11’ E] independent curatorial office initiated in April 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna. Latitudes collaborates with artists and institutions in the conception, organisation and production of exhibitions, public commissions, conferences, editorial and research initiatives across local, pan-European and international situations. Latitudes is part of Plataforma Curatorial and Hangar Programming Committee (2010–12). Latitudes was awarded the GAC 2010 curatorial prize given by the Catalan gallery association.

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