MICHELE MANZINI In the House of Mantegna

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> Michele Manzini (ita)

In the House of Mantegna



First scene: Conflicts

In her Notebooks, Simone Weil wrote that “Each true statement is an error if its opposite is not thought of at the same time, and it cannot be thought of at the same time”. The mediation of contradictions is only an altered image of the irreconcilable polarities that, instead, make up reality. But thinking about the unthinkable leads us to a place that reason has never managed to penetrate. To be exact, it leads us to atopy, to “that absence of a place” that offers us a different measurement of the world.

Second scene: A Border
A limit, a boundary. A prison, an earthy and opaque shell. This is the body Plato talks about in Phaedo, inaugurating philosophy as an act that ought to put the body itself to death by blocking the “barbaric mud” of the passions enclosed in it. But do there exist borders that are not, as Melville said, porous or frayed? Does there exist a final border that we cannot cross?

Third scene: Extremes

Perhaps it was Novalis who first thought of an atopic knowledge, of a knowledge that does not dwell in any defined place. Due to this he had to hypothesise a limit that was not a boundary between the things of the world but was inside the things themselves: “… to fluctuate between extremes that it is necessary to unite and divide. From this point of view, every situation is sparked off by this fluctuation…”.

Fourth scene: Vertigo

Man is the being who knows about his own death. He carries it within himself like a bud or like a vice. Eros, Thanatos, and the body. Perhaps this is the vertiginous odour that the embraced bodies feel in the depths of their respiration. Bodies waiting for the end, as though the present were a limit that has in itself the pestilential topicality of death.

Fifth scene: Silences

Appearance does not hide the essence but reveals it in its very finiteness. A face chooses a mask, not to hide itself, but to reveal itself. At a certain point the truth of a mask meets the truth of the face over which it is placed, over the nakedness that the face could not bear. It is on that mask that my silent gaze rests, and the other at once becomes an object of my universe.

Sixth scene: Nudity

Albrecht Dürer, in a 1505 drawing, revealed absolute nudity: only a light hat keeps his hair above his wide-open eyes in this excessive vision without precedents. Rembrandt exposed his opaque face on which is reflected only the shadow of death. Egon Schiele pushed himself to a nudity that borders on flaying, almost as though only the lacerated body could have a meaningful relationship with the world. However, not all nudity is shameful and the bringer of scandal. It is so when in it there is an ostentation of our being, of our final intimacy.


2017, Over the Real, Festival Internazionale di Videoarte, GAMC, Viareggio, Italy, 2018, Visualcontainer, Milan, Italy curated by Alessandra Arnò, 2018, Sofia Underground, Performance Art Festival Museum of Contemporary Art, Sofia, Bulgaria 2018, ScreenDance Festival, Dansmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2018, NOISEFLOOR, Experimental Music and Moving Image Festival, Staffordshire University, U.K. 2018, Ibrida, Festival of Intermidia Arts, Forlì, Italy, 2018, IVAHM 2018, New Media Arts Festival, International Video Art House, Madrid, 2018, ITINERANT, Performance Art Festival NYC, Smack Mellon, New York 2018, FONLAD, Digital Art Festival, Water Museum, Coimbra, Portugal, 2018, STARPTELPA, Riga Performance Festival, Riga , Latvian