Symphony of Hunger - Digesting Fluxus in Four Movements

A plus A Gallery - Venice, Italy (24.09 - 31.10.2015)

Symphony of Hunger - Digesting Fluxus in Four Movements was an ambitious exhibition project curated by September Collective - a newly founded international group of curators and inspired by a notable selection of works from the Fondazione Bonotto collection (Molvena, Italy). The exhibition fed an appetite for candid action and fostered a relation to bodily presence through a composition of pieces by established and emerging artists. Considering themes of desire, taste, digestion, and waste, the exhibition used an experimental curatorial model to orchestrate an organic exploration of corporal, sociopolitical, and aesthetic hungers.

The exhibition was anchored by historical works from renowned artists including Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Joseph Beuys, Robert Filliou, Juan Hidalgo, Dick Higgins, Arrigo Lora Totino, George Maciunas, Walter Marchetti and Claes Oldenburg, many of whom were active in the Fluxus movement. Originating in the 1960s, Fluxus was integral to challenging and expanding the definitions of art by breaking away from pre-existing practices. Deriving its name from the Latin word for “flowing” or “fluid," the movement was driven by artists who craved human connections, actions, and exchanges and believed deeply that art originates in the belly rather than the brain. Inspired by these intentions and stemming from early experimental music scores by composer John Cage, Fluxus artists explored notions of democratic inclusion, interactive association, and indeterminacy in art.

This exhibition re-enlivened the spirit of Fluxus with a convergence of contemporaneity. While the key efforts of the movement may have passed, major threads of its revolutionary intentions live on within the current creative sphere. Many artists today are inspired by the same hunger for expression of social, cultural, and political matters through physicality and interaction. By uniting the historical Bonotto selections with a global assemblage of contemporary works, this exhibition created a harmonious meeting of artists across five decades and nine countries that share a common craving.

Showcasing the recent work of eleven international artists and collectives, this exhibition illustrated a fluid continuity of attitude through a wide range of media. Throughout its run, several site-specific works were revealed, including an immersive installation by sound artist Christian Skjødt [Denmark], as well as three newly commissioned works: a poetry piece by Barbara Rockman [USA], a performance by Tizian Baldinger [Switzerland] and an interactive installation by Davide Sgambaro [Italy]. The exhibition also featured sound and video works by Christof Migone [Canada] and Pil & Galia Kollectiv [Israel]. Photographic work by Kensuke Koike [Japan], two dynamic objects by Mano Penalva [Brazil] and a sculpture by Hope Ginsburg [USA] were also displayed.

In the manner of a conceptual symphony, the exhibition explored an experimental presentation model by unfolding over four days in a succession of curatorial “movements.” Following the physical process of digestion in the conjectural path of a compositional score, each day unveiled a new grouping of works. As the score of the show progressed, each movement built off the last to create a harmony of nuanced connections. The symphony reached a crescendo as the exhibition was completed on the fourth day. Although the layout of the show became fixed at this point, the works did not remain static. Rather, many of the pieces were continuously shifting and evolving in time and space. In this way, visitors had the chance to metaphorically ingest and digest the score in their own way.

The exhibition aligned with the release of a new publication titled ‘Symphony of Hunger: The Fifth Movement’, a complementary tome that added depth and relevance to the conceptual reflections and relational threads presented in the gallery space. The publication was created in tandem with the Tankboys design studio and printed by Automatic Books. It presented several newly commissioned texts, including an essay by Patrizio Peterlini of the Fondazione Bonotto, and provided inquisitive artist interviews and extended research into thematic issues expounded by the show.

 Symphony of Hunger opened with a four day vernissage at A plus A Gallery. The evening of September 24th, 2015 kicked off the event with a newly commissioned experimental performance by sound artist Graham Dunning [United Kingdom]. Over the course of the following three days, the exhibition progressively unveiled, and the gallery hosted a diverse and stimulating series of related programming and events by local and international artists including Zoccole Dure [Italy], and Collettivo Coyote [Italy].