SIDE2 Gallery, Tokyo
Nove elefanti bianchi e una patata
Michelangelo Consani exhibited for the first time inJapan in 2010 when Akira Tatehata, Masahiko Haito,Hinako Kasagi Pier Luigi Tazzi and Jochen Volz invitedhim to take part in the first edition of the AichiTriennale.Dissident towards the global production system,Michelangelo Consani investigates on sustainability,social equity, but also and above all, on Historyconducting an investigation, both individually andcollectively. “The world of meaning which Consaniattempts to enter, writes Pier Luigi Tazzi commentingthe exhibition project “The party is over”, is aworld both incoherent and open, and the artist moveswith the instruments of language, of myth –above all in the Barthesian sense of the term – andof art, in which the exchange between the symbolicand the naturalistic is constant, where the levels ofmeaning – objective, expressive and documentary –slip continuously one into the other, one over theother. Thus the party that is over is that which tookplace for centuries under that constellation of ideas,of notions, but also of the beliefs and prejudiceswhich have illuminated so-called Western Culture,and gave place and a vision to a totalising “worlddominated and possessed through and through inan instantaneous synthesis”In Asia and Indochina white elephants are traditionallya symbol of good luck and prosperity. In Anglo-Saxon countries, on the contrary, the name”white elephant” is given to luxury goods or imposingprojects, whose excessive costs of constructionand operation are not offset by the benefits thatgive or could give in the case have not been made.Consani’s project at Gallery Side 2 plays on thedouble meaning of this expression.Through a series of metric measurements, Consanilocates the center of the gallery and he states that,in setting his installation, this point coincides perfectlywith a precise geographical area of the world,the Caspian depression, or the Aralo – Caspian Basinwhere Asia and Europe meet. In this center, theartist places two sculptures in black Belgian marble,this is a rare material, quite used up nowadays, thatwell represents the West. Between the two sculpturesConsani puts a potato in ‘metaphysical suspension’,it would represent exchange or collision,good or bad. Besides, from this hypothetical center,corresponding to the geographical locations ofbirth/origin, the artist places the minor persons,”elephants”: agronomists, scientists, economists,creating a kind of mapping of the world and in theworld of those individual personalities that can helpus to find a way to reach a more equitable, convivialand sustainable society. Only the exceptional natureof certain minor persons could save from the ‘clash’between the emerging capitalist system and themoribund Western model, seems to suggest theartist. Michelangelo Consani draws his subjectsfrom everyday life and history, his work takes awayfrom the concept of sculpture as a commemorativemonument. The artist sets its installation in the transienceof the moment and in abstraction from visualdata, thereby jeopardizing the duration of the workitself.