A Different Point of View

A Different Point of View

Usually I pick the show I will talk about on Monday art spot following the instinct, my previous knowledge or speaking with the other team guys, but this time things went in another way. I selected five exhibitions I’ve already seen still on view in Milan for a special guest and let her make the choice. My different point of view comes from below, even though it is just a matter of height. The ‘critic in bud’ is Sofia G. (5 years old). Midway between a surprise and a pleasant confirmation – she is too smart to stop in front of something that could challenge her imagination – she chose to visit the not-so-easy show by Michael E. Smith (b. 1977, Detroit) at Zero with two amazing ‘nannies’ Emanuela Torri and Luisa Lanza – both part of the fresh and ingenious DOREMILAB’s project: L’arte raccontata dai bambini (art told by children) – and gives us her impressions.

Looking at the images on the galleries’ website Sofia opted for something that would stir her curiosity: “there is any canvas that means that I will do a treasure hunt (…). If the painter paints canvases, M.S. is an artist who makes objects, and these objects are neither old nor new, because if they were old somebody would have thrown them away, and if they were new, they wouldn’t be here.”

The exhibition path starts with Pillowcase (Untitled, 2012): “somebody must have forgot his/her blue blanket here; night is cold…” My mind goes to the artist’s research connected to the rests of a wasteful culture – our one – and his ability to make use of useless things to give them a new life. I’m reflecting upon Smith’s radical re-thinking of objects, a manipulation and a re-allocation that give them new structures and functions.

Another sculpture caught Sofia’s attention, it has to do with an orange metal cylinder with an antenna and a blue cap overboard; it is part of the previous work: “there is an umbrella stand but it is too high, it is not for children. The cap got jammed into an umbrella stick. Maybe the wind tore it. I wonder whose cap is that? The artist must love blue.”

The visit goes on. A piece of red varnished metal on the windowsill with a framed see-through image hanging on the close window moves Sofia’s view: “there is a piece of a drying rack; it looks like an open fence, and above it, there is the picture of the ghosts; M.S. must have hung it there to see the ghosts, it looks like those papers you find in hospital to see if you have broken your bones.”

The works by Michael E. Smith are not figurative, nevertheless his creations – also thanks to his capacity of playing with materials – have such an evocative power, which gives to things new identifiable meanings albeit suggesting the sense of their temporarity and abandonment. “M.S. left a small potato stuck on the wall with a nail, which remains the same while the potato has grown. Look at it sideways, it reminds me a pumpkin or, maybe a pate… “

Curiosity is ruling the roost and replaces superstructures I usually turn to while reviewing an art show. Untitled, 2012 (shell, hat) “could be a mouth with the hat, both the objects have a hole” – they are disposed in the same way in a united pile – “and could be put on one’s head, they have the same folds.”

The installation in two parts made of an altered fridge door, a painting (wood and fabric) and a hinge “is a kind of springboard without water, like a skateboard jump,” while always according to Sofia’s free imaginative flow, coming out the ‘shell room’ and looking onto toward the ceiling “there are two shower tubes: one with a jug from which it could drop soil and the other one, with a microphone from which electricity could be sourced from. Soil + electric current = earthquake.”

The exhibition path is almost ended. A “tool with a fish face and a nest head, which would be turned into a lamp, putting a light bulb in it” (Untitled, 2012 – stuffed catfish, milling machine), and a “lengthen ball” – made of urethane foam and rubber – “able to move in circle and chose who will be its shooter.”

“I think that this show could be good both for boys and girls, but not younger than me.”

Monica Lombardi & Sofia G. – Many thanks to Doremilab’s staff and Gallery Zero, Courtesy the artist and Zero, Photo: © Filippo Armellin