March 25 – September 3, 2023
feat. BB (Fabrizio Ballabio, Alessandro Bava) + Lydia Ourahmane, and Moriah Evans
Curated by Leonie Radine
Press conference: 23.03.2023, 11 a.m.
Opening: 24.03.2023, 7 p.m.
An exhibition in chapters:
Chapter I – Absorption. From 25.03.2023
Chapter II – 20 x 10 x 5. From 26.05.2023
Chapter III – Out of and Into: Plot. On 27./28.07.2023*
Chapter IV – Reabsorption. From 22.08.2023
Epilogue – Long Night of Museums. On 08.09.2023
*realized in collaboration with Bolzano Danza
Museion, Bolzano’s museum of modern and contemporary art, presents Plot, an interdisciplinary and processual exhibition by the artist Asad Raza featuring the architects BB (Fabrizio Ballabio, Alessandro Bava), artist Lydia Ourahmane, and choreographer Moriah Evans.
With Plot, Museion explores new ground for experiential and collaborative practices of exhibition-making. By establishing a dialogue between visual art, science, architecture, dance, and local participants with a strong relation to soil, the project draws on and generates situated knowledge.
Raza’s exhibition stems from his site-specific installation Absorption and his evolving video work Ge. Absorption will fill the second floor of Museion with more than 60 tons of artificial “neosoil” in collaboration with soil scientists and a “soil coordinator” sourcing local materials and waste products, including clay, grape marc, marble dust, coffee grounds, pizza oven ash, human hair, and more. These materials will be mixed, turned over, and continually added to by a group of cultivators, who will also offer visitors fertile neosoil to take home for their own projects and cultivations.
Raza’s work often acts as a host to other artist’s interventions: in Plot the artist offers the entire mise-en-scène to other practitioners to develop their own temporal chapters. Thus, the piece will undergo successive metamorphoses, starting from the first day of the exhibition. The former library of Museion will become a storehouse of soil ingredients and a workshop setting where neosoil is transformed into mud bricks, laying the groundwork for the second chapter of the plot.
In Chapter II, the architects BB (Fabrizio Ballabio, Alessandro Bava), together with artist Lydia Ourahmane, will employ these bricks to explore the concept of “dwelling”, investigating building techniques that originated in Egypt and that are still used to this day. Together with a brickmaker, they will use this sustainable material to construct a prototype for a small structure, referencing various enclosures, from mountain bivouacs to Renaissance “sacelli” sanctuaries, and shelters in the Algerian desert.
In Chapter III, this hybrid environment will become the setting for Moriah Evans’ Italian debut, in collaboration with Bolzano Danza. Out of and Into: PLOT references both her most recent work Remains Persist (2022), about various types of information that live differently in each of our bodies, and one of her earliest works Out of and Into (8/8): STUFF (2012) which explores tropes of the “hysterical” body through expressive play. By focusing on the processes of decay and resurgence, her piece reabsorbs the detritus and fertile remnants of her practice into a new site-specific iteration.
In Chapter IV, Plot’s narrative returns to Absorption. The mud bricks will be decomposed back into the neosoil and the cultivators will return, working to rebalance the soil’s chemistry, making sure it becomes fertile once more. During this phase of the exhibition, visitors are invited to take as much neosoil as they please.
Meanwhile, in a parallel narrative, Raza’s evolving video work Ge is screened for the duration of the exhibition. Ge, whose title refers to the original name of Gaia, maps various biotopes of Earth, functioning as an ongoing poetic journal and meditation. The first “stanza” of this open-ended work explores the seaside landscape around the cottage of James Lovelock, who developed the theory that the earth is a self-regulating, living system. The second provides a recipe for making artificial soil at home. Over the course of Plot, Ge will evolve further, with the appearance of new “stanzas”, set on Lake Erie, at the ruined convent of Hildegard von Bingen, and elsewhere.
The title Plot, which can describe a piece of land, a (floor) plan, and the turns and twists of a narrative, alludes to the exhibition’s various conceptual dimensions. Like the plot of a novel, the exhibition evolves in different chapters, each one creating poetic and sensual encounters between natural, artificial, living and non-living entities, and a sense of porosity between bodies, architecture, and landscape.
In the epilogue, during the Long Night of Museums on September 8th, the neosoil that remains will be brought to Museion Passage and gifted to the visitors, seeding new landscapes and sequels.