The titular message of this group exhibition seems so peremptory, yet so appropriate given recent global events and the constant turmoil we experience both inside our heads and in the outside world. “Don’t Worry, This Will All Be Over Soon” might even sound like a bland reassurance, the kind we tell ourselves and others in moments of discomfort for which we have no other recourse. Still, it may be an apt recommendation for bringing together the plurality of practices, more or less canonical, that we encounter in this exhibition of the works of Tita Cicognani, Guillaume Dénervaud, Gabriele Garavaglia, Jim C. Nedd and Jan Vorisek.
Better Off Alone, Alice Deejay’s pre-millennium trance track from 1999, altered by an obvious slowing of beats per minute, accompanies Tita Cicognani’s video I Am So Full of Longing and Desire It Gushes Out of My Knees as They Scrape the Ground Upon Which I Crawl Toward You (2020). The slowed rhythm enervates the effect of the track as we may know it from dancing to it in clubs, but it still provides certain indeterminate cinematographic, musical, and alt-cultural references from the era as it accompanies a half-naked human avatar that is reborn from a sidewalk. The alien avatar moves through a dystopian landscape, crawling with difficulty, alternating between states of confusion, amusement, and desperation as it emulates dance moves and gestures. Just as the background track intones, the avatar probably wonders and might well ask the viewer, “Do you think you are better off alone?”
It is natural for millennials to recognize themselves in Cicognani’s videos, or to see themselves in Guillaume Dénervaud’s similarly desolate landscapes. Two oils on cotton, He’s working at Vapor Corps and Shadows Escapers (both 2022), offer stencils and silhouettes of mutant organic and artificial forms. The oil — made from plants, algae, and minerals — and the formal installation simultaneously reveal and conceal signs and references to the broken promises of a future that continues to be built on the unmitigated rubble of the present. Gabriele Garavaglia’s work fits between these dystopian imaginaries as a caesura in textual form: Eager (2023), an elevator door produced in Germany for his latest solo show, “Liftcore” at the Museum im Bellpark in Krienz, functions as a painting or wall sculpture. It is conceived as a new visual infrastructure that activates the relationship between space and viewer. Moving away from the idea of site-specific work, the artist prefers the concept of “living installation.” Starting from the idea of a holographic environmental simulator, he works within the liminal boundary between reality and fiction by making distant things and meanings coexist on the same temporal and spatial plane.
Reflecting on an object’s mode of existence in real-world space is extremely linked to the codes of representation of forms of power and control. These are works that renegotiate the relationship between the real and the symbolic. Jan Vorisek’s sculptures SAY NO AFTER SAYING YES; Probability Machine; Spinal Semiotics (all 2022) and Untitled (2021), for example, include found materials, surfaces, and objects modified and repurposed as modular assemblages. The seriality of the module is a clear reference to architectural modeling, as well as to consumer systems — part of a practice that ultimately interrogates the zone between form and anti-form.
From the spatial interregnum of Garavaglia’s and Vorisek’s works, we find in Jim C. Nedd’s photographs, Parque de la Leyenda (2020) and Guacherna (2018), a further shift in the exhibition’s status. Nedd’s background as a fashion photographer and director, as well as co-founder of the experimental group Primitive Art, is echoed in both shots, the first taken during the Vallenato Legend Festival in Colombia, and the second depicting the ritual of throwing maizena (cornmeal) during the Guacherna carnival parade in Barranquilla.
With its deliberate surrender to the specific language of each medium,“Don’t Worry, This Will All Be Over Soon” is a generational and melancholic reminder of a distinctly millennial outlook. Stuck within the impasse of their own static present, the members of this demographic reassure themselves again and again: “Don’t worry, this will all be over soon.”
Text by Eleonora Milani