display at Riverside, Bern

for Giangiacomo Rossetti


Five panels are joined with heavy duty door hinges to form an articulated wall measuring 8 meters by 2.7m, on one side padded with a light grey linen fabric and on the other painted with the same optic white of the gallery walls. This wall is then coiled around the structural column in the center of the room to describe a small space within the exhibition, where the artworks can be experienced up close, and within which one is surrounded and embraced by them. There’s only enough space for one or two people so that the intimacy and friendship in the works becomes a spatial quality, creating an island of grace cut away from the forced abstraction which all exhibition spaces aspire to. This structure references the 1950s exhibition architecture designed by the milanese studio BBPR for the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, and especially the display of its most important artifact, the Pieta’ Rondanini by Michelangelo Buonarroti. This was placed at the end of the linearly unfolding exhibition, a museological vector enforced by the narrow sequence of rooms in the medieval castle, as a narrative climax in the historical public collections: one would approach this work from the back, descending narrow stairs and landing up close to the stacked stones which made up the backdrop to Michelangelo’s late work. Once at the end of the stair one would be already inside the space visually circumscribed by the stone stack, already too close to the Pieta’, already participating to its emotional narration. This work was started by Michelangelo after experiencing a sort of conversion to a more mystical and post-reformation catholicism, one that would lead to more introverted and spiritual works, more oriented to a 1 to 1 relationship with the sacred rather than a mediated and celebratory faith.