Danilo Donzelli / Latitudes

Provenances: Erick Beltrán, Simon Fujiwara and Jordi Mitjà

Umberto di Marino Arte Contemporaneo, Naples, Italy, 14 May–14 September 2009

The exhibition 'Provenances' was composed of three solo presentations by Erick Beltrán (1974 Mexico City. Lives in Barcelona), Simon Fujiwara (1982, London. Lives in London/Berlin) and Jordi Mitjà (1970 Figueres. Lives in Lladó, Girona) presenting new work produced for the occasion.

The exhibition purposely coincided with the Maggio dei Monumenti (May of Monuments) in Naples, a month-long event during which many historical palaces and private sites throughout Naples are made accessible to the public. 'Provenances' reflected on the heritage industry and the museumification of history, as well as the creation, transmission and fidelity of cultural worth.

The artists in 'Provenances' shared an aesthetic and pragmatic concern with the principle of the personal archive or the pre-museal 'wunderkammer'. The categorization and veracity of their objects, images and words was always provisional. As Didier Maleuvre discusses in his book 'Museum Memories' (1999) the past remains, naturally enough, in the past: the gathering of art and artifacts as a ritual encounter must, and can only, manufacture an image of history.

Erick Beltrán presented four new sculptural works ('Euridice', 'Creusa', 'Sybil of Cumea', and 'Ildeth', all 2009) each of which focussed around a relic-like artifact made with particular natural substances – oak leaves and gold, ash from Vesuvius, tufo stone, and carved salt from the site of Robert Smithson’s 'Spiral Jetty', respectively. Following the related ‘Serie Calculum’ (Calculum Series) (2008) – "an essay about the concentration, the density and the creation of value" as the artist has described – each object was accompanied by a text-diagram, and together they elicited a dense proliferation of references, narratives, contexts and interconnections.

Encompassing formats including performance-lectures, published fiction and collections of articles and artifacts, the projects of Simon Fujiwara take shape as a carefully constructed borderline of ethology, eroticism, architecture and ancestry. 'The Museum of Incest' (2009) is a multipart project which unearthed an implicit myth of human origins and an explicit sexual archeology. Coinciding with the opening of 'Provenances' Fujiwara realised the performance-lecture 'The Museum of Incest. A Guided Tour', as well as a guide to the museum, a new publication edited by Latitudes and published by Archive Books.

In 'Floating Lines' (2008–9) Jordi Mitjà reflected on practices of information retrieval, falsification and accumulation. In his seemingly sparse installation, clusters of photo-collages were hidden from immediate view by a string curtain which necessitated the visitors’ gesture in order to reveal them.

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