Controcuore, Mario Milizia in Viasaterna, Milan

We are happy to announce our latest project Controcuore, the first solo show by Mario Milizia in Viasaterna, opening on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 at 6 pm.

Controcuore is the result of a combination of Milizia’s recent work, carried out using various media at different times, following the modus operandi of an artist who is both inclusive and disruptive, eclectic and specific.

“Controcuore” is the name of the cast-iron structure standing between the fireplace and its marble frame. An element of union, of protection, of adaptation, and also the title of the book in which Milizia brings together some of his poems written in 1992 and the analysis of his DNA, carried out through the Genographic Project with the aim of reconstructing his ancestral origins, which turned out to be Greek, Spanish and Portuguese. These poems have recently been translated into Latin and the languages of those countries, through a linguistic game which rewrites them, reinventing their sense. This is the origin of the seven tapestries on show, onto which the verses are sewn, originally produced using the cut-up technique. A technique drawn on at length, ever since the end of the 1950s, by Brion Gysin and William Borroughs, entailing the physical cutting up of one or more written texts in order to piece the elements back together as needs be.

Thus, poems and tapestries, together with twenty-five small-sized paintings created by spreading a blend of nail varnish and correction fluid onto cut-up pages from the catalogue of the permanent collection of the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga. On the background, there are paintings by Spanish artists; in the foreground, the matter of a painting carried out using everyday substances, blown up and expanded. Chemicals from pigments and for retouching, with which Milizia produces dense, stratified works, shaped by a process of subtraction and superimposition.

Mario Milizia, Untitled, 2016 © Mario Milizia, courtesy Viasaterna

Two sculptures complete the exhibition itinerary. One is the upshot of a procedure of absolute reappraisal, culminating in a model of utopian architecture. Like the model of a neo-Renaissance building, it is proportioned and rigorous and yet uninhabited, uninhabitable, suspended between its original function and its current dysfunctionality. The second sculpture, made of bronze and produced thanks to a collaboration with the Battaglia Foundry, replicates and reinterprets a “controcuore” the fireplace cast-iron frame which, once again, displays on its surface the traces of the fusion between different cultures.

The exhibition is thus rooted in a logic of accumulation, collection, aggregation and coagulation. It is driven right to the threshold of chaos, yet without ever losing the discipline of analysis, of the skill which Milizia applies to every gesture, forever calibrated and, most of all, the outcome of a meticulous and encyclopaedic study. It’s a cycle of works on fragments and mutation. On the loss and reconquering of shapes and functions. On the transformative process of actions like translation, cut-ups, restoration, but also of time itself, in the inevitable shifting between past and present, and vice versa.

All this leads to a condition of constant instability, a source of inevitable restlessness, but also of an organic excitement in view of the unknown and that yet to be discovered.


Mario Milizia, Untitled, 2016 © Mario Milizia, courtesy Viasaterna

Mario Milizia was born in 1965 in Milan, where he lives and works. His works have been exhibited in Italy and abroad, in public spaces and private galleries. His most important shows include the solo exhibitions at Marsèlleria, Milan, 2014; Galerie Jousse Entreprise, Paris, 2001, 2003, 2009; Galerie Edward Mitterand, Geveva, 2002; Niitsu Art Forum, Niitsu, Japan, 2000; Neon, Bologna, 1998; and Soundtrack Without Film, at Viafarini, Milan, 1996. Milizia has taken part in many group shows, including Picture Perfect curated by Fantom, Viasaterna, Milano, 2015, Nativity curated by Michele D’Aurizio, Grand Century, New York, 2015, Il delitto quasi perfetto (The almost perfect crime), curated by Cristina Ricupero, PAC Milan, 2014, If I Was John Armleder, Art Genève 2013, curated by Luca Cerizza, Geneva, 2013, Playlist, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2004, The World, Speak For Gallery, Tokyo and Jousse Entreprise, Paris, 2003; Design et activisme, Speak For Gallery, Tokyo, 2001; Expander 1.0, curated by Pierre Bal Blanc and Laurent Godin, in cooperation with Blocnotes, Galerie Jousse Seguin, Paris, 1999; Seamless, curated by Luca Cerizza, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam, 1998; Jingle Bells, curated by Uwe Schwarzer, Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan, 1997; Chi o che cosa a seconda dei casi (Who or what as the case may be), Neon, Bologna, 1997; Ne Dites Pas Non, curated by John Armleder, MAMCO, Geneva, 1997; 504, Zentrum für Kunst, Braunschweig, 1997; Aperto ’97, Trevi Flash Art Museum, Trevi, 1997; 1° Trevi Flash Art Museum Prize, Trevi Flash Art Museum, Trevi, 1996. The artist has written two short stories, Maxisequestro, 2013, and Eyes Wide Open, published by Fortino Editions in 2012.

Mario Milizia, Controcuore
Opening: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 6 pm 
From January 25 to March 17, 2017 
Via Leopardi 32, Milano
Selected press coverage: 
Arte Magazine
ATP Diary
Flash Art