Day 7 > Michele Manzini

Snags in Palladio, 6:03 TRT
Direction: Michele Manzini
Concept: Michele Manzini
Choreography: Barbara Canal & Michele Manzini
Performers: Barbara Canal and Denise Brigo, Giulia Eberle, Claudia Mantese, Valentina Mantese,
Eleonora Pasin, Elisa Zanetti.
Director of photography: Luciano Perbellini
Films and Editing: Valeria Lo Meo

First scene: Symmetries
The Pythagorean concept that supreme beauty is «consonance and harmony» is a recurring theme in Plato’s Philebus, presented as the order of the world and featured in the portions of the work that discuss the world. Aristotle also affirms that «the greatest ideas of beauty are order and symmetry» when writing about Metamorphosis. The tragic and unconquered thought of Heraclitus moves within Plato’s splendour like an underground river and we hear the strained sound of his voice calling man to love and to dispute opposites. A thin line is traced throughout history all the way to the modern era when beauty is more concealed and mysterious. Perhaps it is for this very reason that it expresses its loftiest sense. In the modern era, when tensions and contradictions become so bitter and extreme as to threaten the destiny of humankind, the concept of beauty reappears as an idea that makes differences visible without destroying them. It is at this point that the enigma of beauty is unveiled, revealing its complex, paradoxical and contradictory nature

Second scene: Domestic spaces
When Valéry wrote his Faust, his concern was about introducing a bit of «truth, an absence of life, flesh…» to the story. If life is missing from the text, the object is subtracted from the truth: it has no place. The thought must be brought close to the pathos from which it originates so as to return to the questions that have faded due to the excess light in which it soars, sublimated. It has forgotten the shadow that resides in the subject – the ring of all things and of every space we inhabit. The thought that removes the body is the thought that forgoes love and, with that, denies it of the capital questions of suffering, death and happiness. This is the thought which has lost every ethical dimension, every connection to good and evil. Its knowledge is obtuse because it knows no wounds

Third scene: Allegories
It appears that the only thing granted to allegorical pretence is the relationship which Aristotle classifies in the category of «likelihood function» in his Poetics. However, a certain quantity of truth is always and indissolubly linked to the fallacy of a tale – much like a mask whose purpose is not limited to hiding a face. The intrinsic truth of the face behind the mask is always met with. In an allegorical narration, truth and deceit are resolved in a relationship that is infallibly dual. The allegory is a process of metamorphosis. It always tells of change, the transformation of the figures that are modified, deleting their boundaries and freeing the images so that they can become accessible to new configurations. The allegory is a «transfiguration» that leads us to losing track of any connection with the apparent image of the things of this world by enlightening and recovering a plane of reality elsewhere that until then had been left invisible.

Fourth scene: Thresholds
There is a substantial difference between boundary and threshold. A boundary is a line, a limit upon which different realities or identities are ascertained. On the other hand, a threshold is a space through which we can pass to get beyond a certain point. The territory of a threshold is not exclusive, but inclusive. It includes everything that could call it into question. Mixtures and conflicts take place here as well as changes and rites of passage.

Fifth scene: Measurements
The Neo-Platonic rationality that guided Renaissance artists in their quest for harmony dictated that they leave everything related to deceit and falsehoods behind: myths, tales, and poetry. But when Rimbaud speaks of «a reasoned regulation of all senses» that can only make us seers, capable of responding to the necessity of «being modern», he reveals the necessity of another thought. A thought that Musil would later define as something that combines precision of reason with the myth’s ability to illuminate the manifold, the contradictory and the plural. This is why Hölderlin said that the wise aspire towards beauty but that this beauty is not achieved through the subtraction of individuality and passions but through pathos. Thoughts that will be developed along secondary paths throughout the 19thcentury, breaking down the metaphysics of light that tried (in vain) to conceal that cone of shadow which every single thing projects as its irrevocable and inalienable truth.

Michele Manzini was born in Verona in 1967. For many years his art has been concentrated on the definition of figures that can suggest instability and conflict as unresolved elements. His work develops through the use of a wide variety of media, among which video, photography, installations, writing, and performances. He has exhibited his works in numerous shows and venues in Italy and abroad, among them the Italian Institute of Culture, Prague, 2009; MAXXI, Rome, 2009; SUPEC, Shanghai during the 2010 Expo; and the Venice Biennale in 2011 and 2013. His videos have been selected for important international festivals and have been screened at the Saitama Arts Theater in 2015; the Perez Art Museum Miami, 2016; and at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, 2016. He has published various essays and texts, among which “Il paesaggio e il suo mito” Editions de la Villette, Paris, 2002, and “Mescolanze” Edizioni Kn-Studio, 2011. In 2009 he was awarded the Terna prize for contemporary art.

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