Always a witness to the complex socio-cultural fabric of contemporary life, fatmi stands out thanks to his stylistic approach capable of relating to highly topical issues such as identity, multiculturalism, the ambiguities of language and the importance of communication as a social thermometer of human developments.
Using performative and participatory experiences, the artist brings the narrative back to the mechanisms of communication understood as cultural stratification, translating the precariousness of a historical moment marked by a sense of vulnerability and collective uprooting.
Artist(s) mounir fatmi
Curator Silvia Cirelli
Venue Officine dell'Immagine, Milan, Italy
Text Silvia Cirelli
All images Courtesy by the artist and Officine dell'immagine. Photo: Elena Radice
The exhibition offers the opportunity for a wide-ranging insight into the poetics of mounir fatmi, highlighting his great lexical ability, exploring stylistic languages ranging from installation to sculpture, from drawing to photography.
In works such as La Pietà from 2007 and Everything Behind Me from 2018, the choice of the material used is a central focus, with long white antenna cables, a mode of expression that the artist has been developing since 1998. Known for their use in transmitting data, whether images, words or audio, cables are the emblem par excellence of connection, of transmissibility between people and things. And it is because of this function of sharing and dissemination that fatmi enhances their communicative dynamics. The interest in an everyday object, which is then decontextualised, losing its primary function to become an artistic message, returns with the work Already Dead of 2021, where the familiar VHS videotape is transformed into an imposing immersive installation that leaves the viewer feeling lost and disoriented. This perception is also echoed in the work Oil, Oil, Oil, Oil Suspended of 2019, in which the artist questions the problem of insufficient energy resources and the resulting economic tensions.
The Milanese exhibition closes with the works Heavier than words (2020), Coma, Manifesto (2018) and Calligraphy of the Unknown (a series that continues from 2014), in which fatmi focuses on a recurring theme in his expressive parable: the power of language and its fascinating indecipherability. Highlighting the value of communication, as a fundamental collective experience, the artist nevertheless measures its failures, steering the narrative towards misunderstandings and the ambivalence of an obligatory precariousness, certainly complex and at times twisted, but all the same a synthesis of an authentic emotional landscape.