Mike Nelson is known for his complex site-specific constructions that disrupt places and invade architecture, by working with a wide range of objects and materials and building paths rich in sub-cultural, symbolic and political references.
On this occasion he confronts himself with the Palazzo dell’Agricoltore in Parma, a monumental modernist building of 9,000 square meters and 7 floors, built in the 40s, in order to house the corporation that is to say the governing body of the Ministry of Agriagriculture during the Fascist regime.
Curated by Didi Bozzini, the exhibition “The House of the Farmer” is rooted in the history of the building, reflecting on the political, economic and social role played in the 82 years since its construction.
Natural materials taken from reclaimed land on the outskirts of the city - the size of which is proportional to the building - have been transported into the building to become an integral part of its architecture and trace a path through its memory.
Twisted branches, rocks, trunks and roots - those materials that make the practice of agriculture more difficult – redesign in this way the image of the building as a sculpture in itself.
Thus, natural organic forms creep in between the severe and brutal lines of rationalist architecture, and wood and rough stone sit side by side with vintage doorways, veneers and marble floors.
“There is something very visceral about the ‘clearing’ of a space. The objects take on a particular urgency or importance that had lied dormant hitherto. The ripping and taking from the countryside could be seen, or felt, as a brutal gesture somewhat in keeping with the building’s relationship to a totalitarian past. It could also be a reminder of the dehumanisation of agriculture by mechanisation through the 20th century and the environmental ills that have come along with that." Nelson recounts.
Bringing Nature back inside the Farmer’s Palace opens a new season for the Palace projected towards hospitality, empathy, and culture, which, thanks to a restyling process will lead to its conversion into a “Regenerative Hotel" in 2023, a real driving force for the city and its territory.
- "The House of the Farmer"
- Mike Nelson
- Didi Bozzini
- Palazzo dell’Agricoltore, piazzale Antonio Barezzi 3, Parma
- Opening dates:
- 24th September 2021 - 12th June 2022