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Doing time

Images from the Installation Doing time at Pavillon Social, Italy  


See link: Pavillon social




Pavillon is delighted to present Doing Time, its second project and the ­first solo exhibition of Icelandic artist Gudrun Benonysdottir (Gudrún Benónýsdóttir) in Italy. The title "Doing Time" focuses on the relation with the past, the making of time and the production of memory. "Doing time" is also conceived as the prototype of a travelling exhibition from Lucca to Reykjavik starting from the catalogue, which is an integral part of the project. Often a catalogue is a version of an exhibition; it can be either completely independent or the only object produced; in each case it introduces the relationship between an exhibition and its documentation.

The artist uses glass, mirrors, silver cards, photos or painted plastic, shiny and transparent materials assembled within installations: a kind of sets for reveries and involuntary mnemonic activities. In the Arcades project* Walter Benjamin deals with transparency; the glass surfaces of the late nineteenth century arcades merged the outside with the inside, becoming part of a new perception of the world. A perception inaugurated by the flâneur's distracted memory, the absent-minded traveller looking outside the train window or the fi­rst cinemagoer. The surrealist vision of the city as phantasmagoria and dream, which revealed the archaic character of modernity, was contrasted by Benjamin's awakening: the gradual awareness of reality and history that we acknowledge only through our memory. Remembering is awakening.

The space created by Gudrun is a real one, a set to make the daydreamer's activity possible - as, in Benjamin's terms, her or his awakening. A sort of heterotopia as the inverse model of utopia; where utopia's designate areas without elective localization and heterotopias are instead real places. Heterotopia is a term coined by Michel Foucault to describe those places opened to other sites, but whose relations are suspended, neutralized or reversed**. They are "other" environments, other spaces, both physical and mental, as the space of a phone call or the moment you see yourself in a mirror. Thus, an environment appointed to create and produce new possibilities.

Paolo Emilio Antognoli Viti

* W. Benjamin, Das Passagenwerk, edited by di R. Tiedemann, Gesammelte Schriften, Band V, Frankfurt a.M. 1982.** M. Foucault, Dits et écrits 1984 , Des espaces autres (conférence au Cercle d'études architecturales, 14 mars 1967), in Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, n.5, octobre 1984 (Engl.: Of Other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias)