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detail from Margherita Raso, "Untitled," 2022. Photo by Tommaso Sacconi. Courtesy Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, NY.

Margherita Raso: Vizio di Forma

at the Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Ave.

September 21, 2022
6:00 pm

Please note:
This exhibition is on view at the
Italian Cultural Institute of New York
686 Park Ave.

September 21 – October 22, 2022
Opening: Wednesday, September 21, 6-8pm

Margherita Raso:
Vizio di Forma

Curated by Chiara Mannarino

Magazzino Italian Art presents Vizio di Forma, Margherita Raso’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United States, curated by Chiara Mannarino and exhibited in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in New York and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University.

Raso’s practice spans a variety of mediums, from sculpture to site-specific installation, and has a material focus. Vizio di Forma is composed of three bodies of sculptural work that engage with diverse languages, forms, and styles—together encapsulating the artist’s practice to date. Nearly each piece was newly produced for the exhibition.

Hoarders (2020-2022) is a series of thirty urns molded under a specific set of limitations—imposed by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the artist herself. Raso’s self-established parameters included starting and finishing a form within 24 hours and working with each of the different types of clay she had previously collected and stored in her studio until running out of the materials at her disposal. Given the urn’s function as a preservation vessel and Raso’s steady exhaustion of the accumulated items she had on hand, this group of sculptures comments on time and mourning, and differs in materiality and technique. Concepts of ritual and memorialization come to the fore when considering Raso’s approach in tandem with the urn as a symbolic object.

The metal structure that holds the ceramic pieces is composed of pre-existing industrial shelving units. The storage segments hint at the inherent failure of accumulation and play into the unique dynamic between functionality and uselessness, embodied by the act of hoarding and, in this case, displaying an inherently functional vessel (the urn) in a nonfunctional way.

In the same room are two textile pieces, both mechanically produced on a Jacquard loom. Historically, this technique weaves two industries together: textile manufacturing and computing. The Jacquard loom is significant to computer history because it was the first machine to use interchangeable punch cards to instruct a machine to perform automated tasks.

One of the textile works, entitled Pour une seule nuit(plus d’etoiles) (2022), references a fragment of silk damask fabric with a star pattern from the collection of Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Como, Italy. From 2014-2016, Raso conducted research in the Foundation’s textile archive and, after coming across this unique fragment, devised a new work in which she removed the fabric from the textile preservation storage and displayed it in a vitrine for a period of 24-hours—the absolute maximum amount of time the piece was allowed to be exposed to light due to conservation concerns.

The question of textile preservation is directly referenced in the exhibition’s title. Translating to “inherent vice”—a conservation term meaning the tendency of an object or material to deteriorate or self-destruct because of its intrinsic characteristics—Vizio di Forma reflects Raso’s ongoing interest in the delicate and tenuous balance between external presentation and internal reality, effectivity and collapse, and control and unpredictability. Raso further addresses the question of conservation—which, in the case of these works, is tied to light, humidity, and temperature—by activating the air conditioner in the gallery space as a method of cooling and regulating the environment for optimal preservation as in an artwork storage unit.

The final sculpture on view is an aluminum work whose texture and details are a result of a textile-casting process. As a whole, Raso’s show is a timely commentary on the ways in which material, precarity, and decay dominate our world today.

About Margherita Raso

Margherita Raso’s practice spans a variety of mediums, most notably sculpture and site-specific installation. Raso holds a BA in Visual Arts from the Academy of Brera in Milan, and she is currently attending the MFA program at Die Institut Kunst FHNW in Basel, Switzerland. From 2014 to 2019 she is Co-founder of the artist-run space Armada in Milan. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Casting The Tempo, Santa Maria in Lucedio Abbey, Vercelli, IT, 2021; Canal, Bible, New York, US, 2018; and Piercing, Fanta-MLN, Milan, IT, 2017. Her works have been included in group exhibitions at: Little, Bern, CH, 2022;CFA, Milan, IT, 2021; Museo Novecento, Florence, IT, 2021; Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan, IT, 2021; MACRO, Rome, IT, 2021; Villa Olmo, Como, IT, 2021; Fanta- MLN, Milan, IT, 2020; WPN-NYC, New York, US, 2019; WallRiss, Fribourg, CH, 2019; MAMbo, Bologna, IT, 2018;Armada, Milan, IT, 2016; Komplot, Brussels BE, 2015.

About Chiara Mannarino

Chiara Mannarino is an independent curator, writer, and art historian. Mannarino is currently pursuing a PhD in Art History at CUNY, The Graduate Center and holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London (2020) and a BA in Media Studies from Vassar College (2018). Chiara was the Assistant Curator of Nivola: Sandscapes (2021) and Homemade (2020), both at Magazzino Italian Art; the co-curator of A Fractured Sigh at BravinLee Gallery (2020); and the Assistant Curator of Non-places and the Spaces in Between at the Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2019). Chiara was the Curatorial Assistant for Gilardi: Tappeto-Natura at Magazzino Italian Art (2022) and Namsal Siedlecki: Viandante, organized by Magazzino Italian Art at the Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2021). Chiara has published exhibition reviews and articles in Flash Art, Burlington Contemporary, Femme Art Review, and Flaunt Magazine, and also contributed to the Homemade and Nivola: Sandscapes exhibition catalogues, published by Magazzino Italian Art.