LONG ISLAND CITY, NY.- MoMA PS1
presents the first survey of Lara Favaretto (b. 1973, Treviso, Italy), comprising works from the past fifteen years alongside new pieces made specifically for the show, including a new site-specific installation that extends through all of the galleries. The exhibition also features the first presentation of the extensive archive of images that the artist has collected as source material and inspiration. Organized by MoMA PS1 Curator Peter Eleey with Curatorial Assistant Matthew Evans, Lara Favaretto: Just Knocked Out is on view at MoMA PS1 through September 10, 2012 and is co-organized with Sharjah Art Foundation, where it will be on view December 2012 February 2013.
The playful, celebratory visual language of Favarettos art can be misleading. Despite her works evident humor, a tragic undercurrent runs throughout her practice. Numerous pieces are subjected to forces of decay, consumption and obsolescence, and gradually decompose or exhaust themselves. Though Favaretto represents the eventuality of loss, she also resists it, reusing discarded construction materials, recuperating old paintings and lost luggage, and recycling elements from her previous installations as new works.
An ongoing series of temporary interventions that the artist calls "momentary monuments engages specifically with cultural memory, loosely adopting but subverting the vernacular of civic sculpture. Beginning with a swamp that she created in Venice to commemorate twenty historical figures who have disappeared, Favaretto also sandbagged a 1896 statue of Dante Alighieri in a public square in Trento, drawing attention to the futility and impermanence of memorials in general. In a similar spirit, the artist presents for the first time the extensive archive of images that she has collected as source material and inspiration, dispersed within a library of abandoned books.
Much of Favarettos work alludes to the casualties of modern life, often referring to the body and the natural environment through mechanical and industrial forms that change and degrade. Automated car wash brushes whirl repeatedly, wearing themselves down against metal plates; a platoon of compressed air tanks randomly empties itself, blowing silent party favors in a weak salute; fans constantly recompose a landscape of confetti. These animist machines celebrate their absurdity, taking on lives of their own.
Lara Favaretto: Just Knocked Out provides the most complete overview of Favarettos work to date, but is not conceived as a conventional survey. The artist has created a number of new pieces for this presentation, including a site-specific installation that extends through all of the galleries. Taking a painting by the pioneering Dutch abstractionist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) as inspiration, Favaretto has constructed a grid of scaffolding pipes overhead that recalls the urban geometry of New York, dictating the location of certain pieces while intersecting and interrupting the placement of others. In both of her installations and individual works, Favaretto repeatedly reminds us of the choices we make, and of those that are made for us. Balanced between aspiration and failure, she enacts a conflicted kind of freedom, an illusion of autonomy and control where finally neither may exist.
Lara Favaretto (b. Treviso, 1973) lives and works in Turin, Italy. Favaretto was a participant in MoMA PS1s international studio program in 2002-03, and over the subsequent decade she has been featured in solo and group shows at Castello di Rivoli Museo dArte Contemporanea, Rivoli; Aspen Art Museum; Museo MADRE, Naples; Tramway, Glasgow; Fondazione Galleria Civica di Trento; GAMEC, Bergamo; and MOCA, Los Angeles. Additionally, her work was included in the 12th Istanbul Biennial, the 53rd Venice Biennale, the 9th Sharjah Biennial, and the 16th Sydney Biennial, and is being featured in Documenta 13 which opened in June in Kassel.