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 Courtesy Osart Gallery © Max Pescio.jpg
Flying Words
curated by Antonello Tolve

Opening Day: October 19th 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

October 20th, 2022 – December 23rd, 2022
Osart Gallery, Corso Plebisciti 12, 20129 Milano

Osart Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Flying Words, a group show dedicated to five major exponents of the contemporary scene – Vincenzo Agnetti, Mirella Bentivoglio, Tomaso Binga, Emilio Isgrò, and Maria Lai – who first crossed the threshold of the word to give rise to experimental issues that have always touched the nerves of the actuality.

«Born from a reflection on poetry as higher-frequency communication, and more in general on word- iconicity, on land that breaks through the line and enters a hybrid landscape where the word becomes image and the image becomes word, Flying Words seeks to highlight those creative dimensions where the word is the expression (both oral or written) of an informational practice, and at the same time an iconic device that accompanies the artist on the threshold, aiming at “building a personal verbal, or visual structure” - as suggested by Daniela Palazzoli – “which is able to compete with the Language rather than the Word”. It is namely a project focused on a wide cultural environment that reduces the existing distances between different codes, and stands on the edge of a word that - almost “un-speaking” (Ent-sprechen) what is spoken – breaks into the silence and puts itself at risk before turning into image, body, a burning and blinding message, individual and socialized expression, or language materialization as for Mirella Bentivoglio’s sharp words, analytical discourse on the art and the spheres offered by the world of life, which is still considered the horizon into which the plot of the artwork is woven.

Maria Lai's sewn word; the power and the process of memory triggered by the erased word of Emilio Isgrò; Vincenzo Agnetti's forgotten-by-heart-word – sometimes cryptical, sometimes massively critical - ; the continuous, progressively deprived of its meaning, or even stripped word of Tomaso Binga (née Bianca Pucciarelli Menna); the broken and subsequently re-assembled one by Mirella BentivoglioI use the word as an image. And never more than one at a time»). In the scope of creating multiple and open meanings, the project features five different proairesis, five ways to let the word fly, to escape the fence of the blank page – the same onto which Mallarmé moved happily with his coup de dés (1897) – so as to conceive a bright universe of relationship, a continuous exchange between two symbolic systems, between the graphic singularities of the linguistic sign and the plot of an ever-changing, iconic landscape.»

The works on display – dating from the late '60s – offer a glimpse of the research of the four artists about word and language: the work Untitled (1984) by Maria Lai, together with Mirella Bentivoglio's book-centered works, represents the process of “embodiment of the language” to which the latter referred to while curating the namesake exhibition at the 1978 Venice Biennale. Likewise, Vincenzo Agnetti's work Libro Dimenticato a Memoria [Book Forgotten By Heart] (1970) plays on the shape and the status of the book, oddly asserting an abscence and a presence together, or defines the space of the content by omitting it, like in the axiom Il Discorso si Apre tra Chiusura e Chiusura [The Discourse Opens Among Closure and Closure] (1969). A similar research about this relationship between absence and presence is found in Isgrò's work, like the erasures or the blow-ups. As for works like Semibreve tratta dalla IX sinfonia di Beethoven [Semibreve from Beethoven's Ninth] (1972), and Lettera T tratta dalla parola aceto [Letter T from the word 'Aceto'] (1973) he wrote: «an enlarged detail [...] is an erased image. But it will always be an image. The real power of the erasure is not found in denial or interdiction, but rather in the ability to open up the doors of language pretending to close them».

Finally, Maria Lai's Finché il destino... [Until Destiny...] (2004) stands as an example of rare lyricism, just as much as Tomaso Binga's de-semanticized words of The Ten Commandments (1973), in which the artist short-circuits the meaning of the text (identifiable only through the title and the instructions on the verso of the panels), and the mass culture at the same time, to which the recovered material belongs. Binga and the other exhibited artists move – in the curator's words « toward the border, the combination, the creative bleeding, the polyphony, the multidisciplinary choice, the invasion and the leaking, the contamination, the digging into the underground of language, between writing and the expressive formulae of the contemporary ».

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