THE COMING COMMUNITY
curated by Mark Nash
The show Viva L’Italia, (Arte Fiera, Bologna January 2017) explored the leg- acy of utopian and socialist ideas in militant, avant-garde and art cinema through a psycho-geographical exploration of 1970s cinema in Italy. One of the implicit questions the exhibition posed was: is such a militant concept, so important for Bolognese politics and cultural life in the 1970s and 80s, still possible today?
The second movement of this project in 2018, The Coming Communi- ty, takes its title from the book by Giorgio Agamben in which he develops the concept of community and the social implications of his philosophical thought. Our exhibition focuses on contemporary artists (and film-makers) responses to this problematic. It presents works dealing with notions of commitment, solidarity, friendship (as in ‘socialist friendship’), and rebellion (as in the Maoist - ‘it is right to rebel’), all of which involve notions of com- munity alternative to those of western liberal democracies.
In collaboration with MAMbo we present a screening programme, using the large rectangular space on the wall left empty by the removal for a restro- spective in Turin of The Funeral of Togliatti (1972) by Renato Guttuso. The painting commemorates the 1964 funeral, in Rome, of Palmiro Togliatti, the leader of the Italian Communist Party from 1927, and introduces portraits of key figures in the history of Italian Communism.
The exhibited works will explore the affective community of Soviet and Euro- pean Communism: an extract from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Uccellacci e Uccel- lini (1966) which documents the same funeral, Joaquim Jordà & Gianni Toti assemble extant footage of Lenin. Derek Jarman and William E. Jones both foreground a homoerotic sensibility in Soviet visual culture. Dana Claxton’s sculptural intervention re-introduces red flags into the gallery. Chen Shaox- iong’s documents the history of the Peoples Republic of China (in 3 min- utes!). Works by Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi and Pere Portabella reflect on the legacy of the anti-communist populism of Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco.