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Citizens

Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon 6.4.2017 - 5.8.2017

 In his site-specific installation, Gian Maria Tosatti examines the overt and covert functions of government institutions in our lives, their power and authority, and the ways in which they dominate the public sphere, human freedoms, and the right to privacy. Tosatti's previous manipulations, performed in deserted spaces, are expanded here to the museum, which he transforms into a locus that is not readily decipherable, but rather calls the viewer for an investigation (in both senses), either as interrogator or as interrogated, as researcher or as researched. The investigation turns out to be both real-physical and conceptual. Like escape-room type of games, one may ostensibly find one's way out of this space, and not only through the door in which he entered. The curious viewer (and accordingly — citizen), who does not submit to authority, will find that out. His inquisitive approach will lead him — concretely as well as metaphorically — into the depths of the apparatus. In fact, Tosatti changes the rules of the game, introducing the question of the gaze and its power in domination/subjugation relations, as the ostensibly enormous difference between viewer and viewed turns out to be fine and fluid.
In this context, Tosatti relates to the totalitarian regimes prevalent in post-WW1 Europe, to McCarthyism in 1950s USA, and the present right-wing trend. He cites Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, who noted that the most quintessential expression of totalitarianism is conformism, namely — the penetration of control over the individual from the streets and squares to the homes and families, even into the depths of one's consciousness. We are all transparent agents of these forces, he maintains. Bertolt Brecht wrote in this context, while in exile, that poetry (and art in general) is the last defense, the most profound original language, on which the rudiments of our identity are founded. Art can set traps of disillusionment in the deepest layers of falsity.


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