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'1999' by Antoine Renard and Libby Rothfeld at Marsèlleria, Milan

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Once Tyler and Elisabetta arrived in September, there were eight of us living in the Predabissi house, the one of my dead maternal grandmother. No one leaves their room except for passing through the central hallway, which is considered a “neutral zone”. From there we collect the mail and the numerous home deliveries, paying close attention not to overlap. The most cautious of being seen is Maree, whose attitude is inferable also by her very pure online presence. At 10:20 am the bell rings for the first time. I push the computer away from my belly and get off my bed quickly. It should be the fig jam I ordered from a website of an eco-village near Fujisato, a place which is considered from many as the birthplace of the first hikikomori. From the peephole I can’t see anybody, but I notice that under my slippers there is a white A4 sheet with a small blue writing on it:

1999

I bend to pick it up – dangerously moving my barycenter backwards – and while walking towards my room I notice two other lines on the back:

16/03/2017, ore 22 Via Martiri Oscuri 3, Milano

From the absence of receipts or stamps I infer that someone must have simply pushed it under my door. I throw it on my pillow and, placing myself in front of my computer again, I share this discovery with the others. Reynart views the message, I see him typing. Reynart: but what is it? An invitation or what? Did someone order it? Wanda: ahAhahhhaha Me: Maybe they hold my jam hostage, ahaha Mirco: Top! Let’s go get it back! ; ) After spending last night on tradingmania.it, Mirco’s proposal almost seemed a plausible option and even though it took me the whole day to convince Gabriel and Martina as well, at 9:45 pm we are all pressed into the hallway, ready to get out for the very first time that year. Everyone except Maree. Outside the impact of the fresh air was pleasant and after 15 minutes we turn compactly onto via Martiri Oscuri. We walk over the entire street, up and down at least five times. Maybe because of the darkness, (all the lampposts seem to be out of order) or maybe just because of our homesickness, but the number 3 seems to be missing. Silently, we decide to go back, walking alongside the green modernist buildings all the way back to the landing. From the half-open door a roundy face peeps out with a mild smile. Hey guys, I’m Maree. Come in, hurry up. 


Slithering through a system of signs, gestures and symbols, Antoine Renard and Libby Rothfeld’s productions – which are usually more distant from each other – have here found a convergence point, bonding though those historical compression that arose from language path.

Libby Rothfeld’s pieces are composed by four set designs made with different materials and objects, and based on ambiguous classifications. The trace here is double: some of them are identifiable everyday things, worn-out and suggesting curious narratives; others are mysterious assemblages where all details may look familiar, but their entirety make them uncontextualized. A chain of works with many degrees of separation, linked to each other by labile details; every element is taken from both local and global collective imaginary, as result of cultural compressions that are flowing into totemic-arranged icons and playing with our trivia. Here every subject encloses multiple stories, shifting within eras and characters, towards the slippery solution of all its parts.

Many-sided presence also come into view in Antoine Renard’s works, where the focus is indeed more addressed to human entity: its transient nature ripples against many sides, from plasm-like body casts surfacing the floor to videos shot during drone flight over a graveyard. Even the iron cross resemble a votive roadside shrine, sprinkled with wax and papered with Rothfeld’s surreal DIY flyers or ads. The collision between organic materials and industrial manufacture culminates in a kinetic sculpture that draws on a glass, splattering it through an oily loop. Gestures gather every work, no matter if they’re living or mechanic, sleek or decayed.

1999 is a show of balance and compromise, not only because of the dichotomies implied in a two-person show, but because it discloses how predisposed and partial is our gaze is on the processes of time, an the experience in which the past is the herald. All pieces are autonomous yet related, revolving around each other, generating a theatrical maze in which every perspective funnels part of its tension. Videos and stained glass are all windows of the same Medieval church.

17.3.17 — 14.4.17

Curated by Siliqoon

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