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'Duru Duru' by Stefano Serusi at Galleria Arrivada, Milan

One of the cornerstones around which Stefano Serusi's research develops is the need of people to approach the dimension of the spirit through both individual and collective rituals, often in relation to architectural or natural spaces. Another fundamental element is the narrative approach as an element not only speculative, but also constructive of the reality that surrounds us. Finally, another constant in Stefano Serusi's work is the collaborative approach with various personalities and professionals who participate in the creation of projects in constant dialogue with the artist.
The projects developed over the years by Stefano Serusi can be seen as a story divided into chapters, in which different possible individuals are captured in their approach to spirituality, seen as an inner drive towards a deeper knowledge of metaphysical reality that transcends ordinary experience. In these visions different materials, objects, images, words and quotations come together which, like fragments of an enigma, are clues through which to reconstruct an individuality or a scene. The exhibition space becomes the scene of a staging without actors in which the observer actively participates by imagining or impersonating who may have lived in these places.
The elements present in the exhibition refer to the night, seen as an initiatory portal between reality and dream, which becomes the scenario for the imaginary meeting of a group of people who, for pastime, entrust the resolution of some mystery related to the Ouija board spiritism or the unconscious. Duru Duru is instead the name of a lullaby which in Sardinia is sung to the same music as the typical circle dance, probably originating from an ancient propitiatory ritual.
An instrument used for mediumistic communications marketed since 1890 and which became famous as a board game in the mid-twentieth century, as well as featured in many genre films, the Ouija board welcomes the public who can take a copy next to a Pipistrello lamp, an iconic piece of design created by Gae Aulenti in 1965, which with its dim light recalls a nocturnal domestic interior. The references to Art Nouveau that pervade the exhibition are immediately clear, projecting a fin de siècle atmosphere revisited through the Neoliberty of the 50s/60s and the sinuosity of contemporary visual culture.
On the wall, a verse extrapolated from the Beatles song Do You Want To Know A Secret turns into an invitation from the Ouijia itself to be questioned, so much so that the words take on a hypnotic and subtly disturbing character:
Listen / Do you want to know a secret? / Do you promise not to tell? / Closer / Let me whisper in your ear / Say the words you long to hear
(Listen / Do you want to know a secret? / Do you promise not to tell? / Closer / Let me whisper in your ear / I will say the words you wish to hear).
The ambiguity of the last verse can recall the psychoanalytic interpretation that sees the Ouija as an automatic writing tool that can give voice to our unconscious.
Going down the stairs you enter an environment in which the special Ouija board, specially redesigned for the exhibition with the collaboration of the graphic designer Manuela Nobile, is enlarged assuming an almost immersive format, in which it becomes a carpet and in which its cursor, the planchette, takes on the dimensions of a mobile coffee table, made of marble.
Around the Ouijia there is a circle of seats made up of 8 cushions that reproduce the main phases of the Moon. The time told by the exhibition may therefore not be that of a single night, but of several encounters to arrive at the resolution of a mystery. The circularity also refers to the forms of collective rituals that combine ancient rites and playful encounters.
As typical of most board games, the mystery to focus on to become familiar with the Ouija does not concern one of the participants but can be drawn from a famous case.
The last room reveals that the enigma investigated on this occasion may be the disappearance of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a mystery never fully clarified due to the failure to find the writer's body. A gate shows the year of Saint-Exupéry's disappearance, 1944, a time frame on which to concentrate to ask the Ouija to solve the mystery. Like the false doors that in archaic tombs recall the afterlife using a blind wall that the visitor can only overcome with the imagination, beyond the gate we find a wall that invites us to an exclusively symbolic crossing.

31.10.22 — 10.12.22

Curated by Andrea Lacarpia

Galleria Arrivada

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