30 May 2010 – 23 Jenuary 2011
Manipolazione di cultura / Manipolation der Kultur, 1976, 11 photographic prints transferred to canvas, acrylic, 45 × 72 cm each, Associazione per l’Arte Fabio Mauri, Rome.
One of Fabio Mauri’s most significant works on the theme of the ideological instrumentalization of language, Manipolazione di cultura originated as an artist’s book, published in 1976 by the publisher La Nuova Foglio. Mauri drew on the original lithographs to create a series of plates, which he used for exhibitions in the years thereafter. The results are large canvas-backed photographs with a tripartite structure: in the upper part is a documentary photograph of Nazi and fascist iconography, in the central zone a monochromatic black-painted band, and in the lower part a phrase describing the action depicted in the impersonal, alluding to the subject. The actions refer to the power of cultural “manipulation” that totalitarianism utilized as an instrument of conquest and to maintain power. With this and other works, Mauri exposes the “root of evil” hidden within the ideology and language that sustain it.
Il muro occidentale o del pianto, 1993, suitcases, bags, chests, leather, canvas and wood wrappings, ivy plant, canvas-backed photograph, 400 × 400 × 60 cm, Associazione per l’Arte Fabio Mauri, Rome.
This work – one of Fabio Mauri’s most representative pieces – is made up of a series of old leather suitcases piled up and arranged so as to create a four-meter wall with a regular front surface and an irregular back one, adorned only with a small ivy plant and a 1970s photograph of his first performance (Ebrea). The wall, an explicit reference to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, becomes the symbol of all exiles, all diasporas in which “a sense of transmigration, an infinitely initiating story of the sorrow of the world, is evident”, as the artist himself indicated. In a maniacal attempt to create a regular surface by composing a diverse collection of individual elements, the artist sees the possibility of brining any and all types of diversity into balanced coexistence.
Fabio Mauri was born in 1926 in Rome, where he died in 2009.