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  • Osart Gallery

UpCycle. When Art Reinvents the World

The exhibition “UpCycle” is conceived as a means of focusing attention on the reuse and renewal of organic or inorganic material, elements of everyday life and throw-away products that characterised the 20th century and that still strongly mark – among uses and abuses of all kinds – our distracted and now barely comprehensible daily routine. This term was coined in 1994 by the mechanical engineer Reiner Pilz in an interview with Thornton Kay that appeared in Salvo magazine – “What we need is upcycling where old products are given more value not less”. UpCycle represents a moment of reflection on the strategies adopted in the field of art to reinvent the world with creative friction and aesthetic actions within which it is possible to find a sharp procedure through which to read the constant making and unmaking of different materials (and disciplines).

A spokesperson for new hopes, the artist is – in this context that aims to “reuse objects to create a product of greater quality” (real or even just perceived as such) – a quick-thinking brain whose speed touches the interstitial spaces of planetary communication and the now completely hysterical designs for immediate consumption (an organism saturated with superabundance) to regenerate the descriptive system of everyday objects. By giving new life to worthless and completely irretrievable commodities – more often than not transformed into monstrously foreign waste, metropolitan detritus, sad and obscene helpless matter – the artist produces a refamiliarisation with worldly things in order to restore them, bring them back to life, readapt and re-adopt them, recharge and amplify them, reinsert them (also using the strategy of the “new triumphant fetish” noted by Baudrillard) into the world. This is not achieved by following the commercial trajectory for which these things were initially produced, but rather by defining a parallel process that returns objects – or materials with a (now their own) personal memory – to the world of consumption, objects that have been refilled and given new exchange value, new symbolic impact, new (reflexive) signification.


The unique setting chosen for the exhibition is the residence of the Embassy in Bern which, for this occasion, becomes a space for debate, a comprehensive environment in which the works fit together to create a temporary museum, a critical view of past, present and future.


Starting from an ideal brain that finds in Kurt Schwitters the father of Merz strategies and principles (one of his Merzgedichts is on show), the exhibition aims to reflect, through the works of Mrdjan Bajic and Elena Bellantoni, Tomaso Binga,Tomaso Binga, Manuel Canelles, Filippo Centenari, Fabrizio Cotognini, Valentina De’ Mathà, Katharien De Villiers, Isora Degola, Sabine Delafon, Ulrich Egger, Matteo Fato, Giorgia Mascitti, Claudia Giannuli, H.H. Lim, Patrizia Molinari, Deborah Napolitano, Laura Paoletti, Francesca Pasquali, Marina Paris, Lamberto Pignotti, Enrico Pulsoni, Marco Raparelli, Fabrizio Sannicandro, Giuseppe Stampone, Giovanni Termini, Eugenio Tibaldi, Adrian Tranquilli, Fosco Valentini and Narda Zapata, on the exchange value that escapes capitalism and, in becoming an object of thought, “becomes more merchandise than merchandise”, the absolute body, absolved from objective alienation and made (desired desire) more object than object.

UpCycle. Quando l’arte reinventa il mondo / When Art Reinvents the World, curated by Silvio Mignano and Antonello Tolve

Residency of the Italian Embassy, Elfenstrasse 10, Berna, 05.05 – 31.07.2022

The exhibition is realised Ambasciata d’Italia in Berna within the program esidenza delle Arti /Residencies of the Arts, in collaboration with Italian General Consulate in Zurich, Italian General Consulate in Lugano, Italian General Consulate in Geneva, Italian Consulate in Basilea and the Italian Cultural Institute in Zurich.

Furthermore, the event was realized in collaboration with Filiberto and Bianca Menna Foundation (Salerno/Rome) TOMAV Experience (Ancona), and Arshake • Reinventing Technology.


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