Laura Lima: Slight Agitation: Fondazione Prada, Italy
Fondazione Prada presents “Slight Agitation 4/4: Laura Lima”, the fourth and last chapter of the exhibition project conceived by Fondazione Prada Thought Council, whose current members are Shumon Basar, Elvira Dyangani Ose, and Dieter Roelstraete.
“Slight Agitation”, a four-part project of newly commissioned, site-specific works hosted in sequence within the Cisterna in the Milan venue of Fondazione, including works by Tobias Putrih (Slovenia, 1972), Pamela Rosenkranz (Switzerland, 1979) and Austrian collective Gelitin.
Lima’s work “Horse Takes King” is a whimsical attempt to distort the senses that determine our perception through three large sculptures, displayed in the spaces of the Cisterna, each contributing to the formulation of an apparently absurd taxonomy.
The title of her intervention clearly hints at a chess game, which ultimately creates a illusory space where spectators are invited to move freely, without knowing the broader context that would enable them to understand the artist’s impulse. The works on display, Bird (2016), Pendulum (2018) and Telescope (2018), invite viewers to elaborate what in astronomical terms is described as a “syzygy”, traditionally intended as a straight-line configuration of three or morecelestial bodies in a gravitational system.
The central space of the Cisterna is occupied by Pendulum (2018), a machine reproducing the movement of Foucault’s pendulum, which showcases a painting at its extremity. The viewer is invited to hypothesise on the origins of such painting.
On the left-hand space, the audience is invited to enter Telescope (2018), a vertical installation which hosts an astronomer’s class. On the first level, a series of astronomy seminars will take place daily at 12.30pm and at 5pm. Conceived by astronomers from LOfficina del Planetario —the association of scientists in charge of the programme at the Civico Planetario in Milan— these seminars are open to all members of the audience. The top level, located about 10 meters from the ground, hosts a telescope pointing to the sky, to be employed by the public only under the guidance of an astronomer.
The right-hand space displays Bird (2016), a sculpture created in collaboration with Brazilian artist Zé Carlos Garcia, representing a massive animal that seems to have fallen from the sky, and landed in the Cisterna by mere accident.
The combination of these three works across the exhibition environments question the nature the audience’s engagement with space and place, and challenge the viewers’ perception: the artist openly explores the boundaries between the imaginary and the factual to stress the poetic absurdity inherent to the seemingly real.