A double solo exhibition by Isabella Pers and Nada Prlja
curated by Laura Cherubini
at aA29 Project Room
A reflection on contemporary social and environmental issues with new works created for the gallery spaces.
December 3rd, 2021 – February 13th, 2022
aA29 Project Room
Piazza Caiazzo 3, Milano
With IN COMMON, the double solo exhibition by Isabella Pers and Nada Prlja, curated by Laura Cherubini, aA29 Project Room in Milan presents a series of recent and new works by the artists, created specifically for the gallery spaces, from December 3rd, 2021 to February 13th, 2022.
With reference to the exploration of a common ground (as also reflected in the title of the exhibition), developed on the spatial and temporal axes at multiple levels of interconnection and coexistence with all living beings, the two artists – with their different yet complementary gazes – weave a dialogue and a reflection on important contemporary social and environmental issues. Starting with observations of our fragile and complex present, Isabella Pers and Nada Prlja analyze the media superstructures that influence our perception.
Nada Prlja, byquestioning when artists will change the modes of production of their own artworks, so as to avoid waste, gives voice to a critique of the art system itself. The artist repeatedly recycles her works in orderto create new artworks, resulting in a layering of content which enriches the existing works with new meanings and concepts. Among the artworks in the exhibition, the installation Disaster Diary II (2021) reuses and transforms the previous work Non Commercial Agency (2004), a project that criticizes and re-examines the content of information provided to the public by newspapers every day. By painting, onto selected sheets of this work, the dates and places of natural catastrophes that have occurred globally between 2004 and 2021, the artist merges the two works and they become one, reflecting a realistic image of the world situation and the unnatural overproduction of capitalism.
Isabella Pers‘ works interpret climate change through the language of water and the connection of situations that are similar in their circumstances, despite being physically very distant from one another: on the one hand, the heavenly atolls of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, suffering the effects of a sudden rise in the sea level and, on the other hand, the territory of northeastern Italy, which was violently hit by the storm Vaia in October 2018, destroying tens of thousands hectares of alpine forests. The artworks represent a time that is no longer able to reconnect with its cycle of eternal return, but instead extends linearly and uncontrollably across distant geographies and everyday circumstances without a conscience, ending with an image that is as impossible as it is real, where ‘the tree is upside down, with its roots in the air.’ (Pierluigi Cappello, Piove).
The common ground of IN COMMON lies in the deconstruction of the typical practices of the mass media – as in the re-elaborated version of the web pages of Isabella Pers‘s series of drawings Te aba, or in the over-painted pages of the newspapers that make up Nada Prlja‘s Disaster Diary II. The common ground lies in the new questions the artists express with their works, through a reflection on the use and misuse of information and through the search of a critical reading of the present time.
IN COMMON shows a form of resistance inside and outside the art world: thinking of new forms of common life, is a starting point from which to open up to an alternative future, which can still be imagined.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a catalogue will be published, which will present, through various images and critical texts – including that of the curator – the works displayed in the exhibition and other works that will deepen the research of the two artists.
The main themes of Isabella Pers’ research are the observation and connections between natural, social and cultural ecosystems, the impact of anthropocentric dominion on the life of the planet and the transformations of our time. Her participatory actions investigate the cognitive processes that aspire to symbiosis between all the living beings, analyzing the dynamics that characterize the choices of the human species and imagining new visions through the encounter between different perceptions. In recent years she has been working on the memory of water and plants, and how the human action can interact symbiotically with these pathways.
She is the co-founder, together with her sister Tiziana, of RAVE East Village Artist Residency (www.raveresidency.com), a meta-project that opens the dialogue on the role of contemporary art towards animal otherness in a biocentric and anti-speciesist perspective.
Her works were presented in international events and institutions including: Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest; Arkad / Manifesta 13 Marseille; Libere Tutte, Casa Testori, Novate Milanese; Sustainable Art Projects Caught on Video, EDRA50 Brooklyn, New York University; Bordercrossing, Manifesta 12 Palermo; Nestx@TheIndependent, Museo MAXXI Roma; Architecture Biennial Seoul; The Next Flow, aA29 Project Room Milano; One Night Stand Gallery, Sofia; PAC Padiglione Arte Contemporanea, Milano; PAV Parco Arte Vivente, Torino; 54. ed e.c. 53. Biennale Internazionale d’Arte di Venezia; Villa Manin, Passariano; New York Public Library; Zentral Bibliothek Zurich; Palazzo Reale di Napoli; Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami; Museo MADRE, Napoli; National Library Buenos Aires; Madison Avenue. Where Fashion Meets Art, in collaboration with Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Whitechapel Gallery London. She lectured in various institution and Universities, in Italy and abroad.
Nada Prlja is an artist whose work deals with the complex situations of inequality and injustice in societies. Using different media, her projects are multi-layered, site or condition-specific. She works mainly in installation, video installation, live art, public art projects. Prlja’s main aim is to affect society in the most direct of ways; it challenges critical discourse around issues of current politics, nationalism, transition of ex-socialist countries, human rights, migration, etc., at the same time, her work maintains a conceptual and aesthetic authenticity. Prlja’s work adopts a site’s context specific quality or certain kind of social conditions, which may vary from project to project in the choice of media deemed most appropriate.
Prlja represented Republic of North Macedonia at last 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. She took part in number of international Biennials, such as 14th Baltic Triennial, Lithuania; Innsbruck International Biennial, Austria; 7th Berlin Biennale, Germany; Manifesta 8, Spain; 5th Moscow Biennale (Film Program), Russia; IV Bienal del Fin del Mundo de Arte Contemporáneo, Chile & Argentina; 28th International Printmaking Biennale, Slovenia and 9th International Biennale of Miniature Work, Serbia. She presented her work in number of solo and group exhibitions, selected exhibition were presented in MAXXI, Roma; Kunsthalle Krems, Krems; White Cube, London; Calvert 22 Foundation, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Szuki Museum, Lodz; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Hong-Gah National Museum, Taipei; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; etc.
She lectured in number of Universities in London and had co-established Independent International Project Space in Skopje – SIA Gallery.(www.nadaprlja.com)
aA29 Project Room founded by Gerardo Giurin and Antonio Cecora is organised in two galleries in Milan and Caserta, directed by Lara Gaeta: multifunctional spaces, created to promote with exhibitions, site-specific projects and residencies, different forms of experimentation. It was born with a socio-political address, to extend its aim to a broader field of research, which explores different possibilities for dialogue and interaction with the other, with the intent to deconstruct some of the foundations of the dominant thought.
aA29 Project Room supports researches sensitive to ecological and environmental issues, which generate new possibilities of encounter and connection between living beings.
The artists with whom it collaborates investigate the liminal and dichotomous conditions between human being and animal, natural and unnatural, sacred and profane, inhabited and uninhabited, and develop projects in which, with participatory actions, the public is involved, for the affirmation of a collective consciousness that imagines alternative scenarios for the future.