Collezione Maramotti 
Reggio Emilia, Italy 
7 May – 17 September 2017
It starts with the firing is the new site-specific project by Elisabetta Benassi for Collezione Maramotti. 
 
Benassi uses narrative systems, installation, video and photography to investigate modern history and collective memory. She draws on the political and artistic tradition of the 1900s, on psychoanalysis and controversial contemporary themes to analyse and question present conditions and their relation to the pastShe represented Italy at the 54 Venice Art Biennale and was invited to exhibit at the Belgian Pavilion as ‘international guest artist’ at the 56 Venice Art Biennale. She has also exhibited at Fondazione Merz, MAXXI and Macro in Rome, Art Basel Unlimited and other leading institutions in Italy and abroad.
 
The starting point of her exhibition at Collezione Maramotti is the controversy triggered by American artist Carl Andre’s work Equivalent VIII  – 120 bricks placed on two overlapping rows to form a rectangular shape – purchased by London’s Tate Gallery in 1972 for several thousand pounds. At the time, the British press attacked the purchase by ridiculing the museum’s choice with articles and vignettes. Elisabetta Benassi has referred back to the traces of these press materials, now held in the Tate Archives (curiously, put together by Carl Andre himself and donated to the museum), to open up and activate the controversy by extrapolating excerpts from the original newspaper cuttings.
 
The exhibition starts outside the town: five sentences are printed on billboards located in the outskirts and on buses driving through the historical centre of Reggio EmiliaFrom outside to inside, from the town to Collezione Maramotti, the posters lead us toward the exhibition space, where every room presents a single work that seems to have survived the disappearance of the context that originally housed it. The instability, the enigmas that these works propose address the loss of trust in the promises of technique, the posthumous world emerging after the failure of ideologies and their supposed remedies.
Perhaps, the controversy about Carl Andre’s work teaches us that our certainties on the increased farsightedness and sensitivity of our time are essentially illusions, that the “bricks” of our society – the “values” on which it is based – are always precarious, and its structures are always on the brink of collapsing
 
The exhibition coincides with the international photography festival Fotografia Europea 2017, which theme, Mappe del tempo. Memoria, archivi, futuro, is very close to Elisabetta Benassi’s research interests.