Exercises for a Polluted Mind is the transcription via a video and a series of photographs of a physical-experiential practice that the artist Martina Conti has proposed to, and shared with, a series of parliament members in the Grand and General Council, the unicameral parliament of the Republic of San Marino. It involves a series of physical exercises conceived as acts of purification and re-generation which form part of the architecture of a country’s power.
By sending a simple email, the artist involves parliament members from various political parties in the project. This initial gesture of contemporary/daily life creates a connection between what is real and what is represented, harking back to the happenings by Allan Kaprow. It is no coincidence that the transcription of what then happened in the parliament is presented via an anti-spectacular representation.
The video presents bodies dressed in elegant and formal suits (in keeping with the role carried out by the government representatives) that faithfully follow the instructions and score created by the artist. The video is accompanied by photographs which present a number of gestures from the regenerative sittings, alongside others which depict the tradition of the fogarecce that take place in the San Marino countryside while parliament is in session.
The fogarecce are bonfires organised at the beginning of spring to burn the old winter branches and is a traditional ritual which represents change and purification. Alessandro Castiglioni and Emma Zanella, curators of the pavilion, accompanied Martina Conti in this experience, which extracts both the everyday and ancestral aspects of ritual. In the images proposed, the continuous movements of the parliament members’ bodies are suspended, and the artist herself claims that the role of art “is to be elusive”.
Opening picture: Pavilion of Republic of San Marino, “Exercises for a Polluted Mind”. 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, “May You Live In Interesting Times”. Photo Italo Rondinella. Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia
- Republic of San Marino
- Martina Conti
- Alessandro Castiglioni, Emma Zanella
- 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia
- Palazzo Bollani, Castello 3647
- 11th May - 24th November 2019