Learning by Heart

Past Exhibition

Podbielski Contemporary proudly presenting:

AGNESE PURGATORIO | Learning by Heart

30 JANNUARY – 21 MARCH 2015

curated by Prof. Martina Corgnati


Podbielski Contemporary is pleased to present artist Agnese Purgatorio with her most recent series Learning by heart, shown for the first time in Berlin and curated by Professor Martina Corgnati. The artist, who in 2014 has had an itinerant solo show in the Italian Culture Institutions of Cologne, Strasbourg, Tirana and Zagreb, has previously exhibited in well known institutions and international events such as: the Biennal of Contemporary Art of Moscow, Special Project(2013), the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art of Yerevan, Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo of Montevideo, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo of La Plata (2012), Palazzo Piozzo, Rivoli (TO) (2008), Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa of Venice (2001).

Her photographs, videos and installations have allowed her to build, in time, a poetic based primarily on the idea of refugee, of “clandestine”. She glances down to the world from a platform represented by her home Bari, a city on the Adriatic coast in southern Italy, from where she has seen multitudes of clandestine refugees making landfall. Through her work, she has always tried to broaden the original concept of the idea of refugee itself in order to include all the people who do not have, or cannot have or do not want to have, any real homeland, who do not belong to any real place, any language, and who do not have any definite meaning. Starting with herself. A few years back, Agnese Purgatorio apprehended the history of the Armenians, a population who was victim of the first XX Century’s genocide and who, deprived of the main part of their homeland, left tracks and clandestine memories everywhere along the Mediterranean shores and beyond. On these same tracks Agnese Purgatorio has made up stories filled with contaminations and has recreated the perfect stage for her images of Learning by Heart, presented for the first time in her solo show at Podbielski Contemporary Gallery. (This year the 100th year anniversary of the genocide will be commemorated, which the Armenians call Metz Yeghern: ”big evil”). Her works are digital collages, a language which allows hybridizations and which the artist has been practicing systematically since many years to form a continuous and virtually never ending editing

of the same parts. These literally migrate from one position to another and from one role to another. The last image does not exist; it is yet to be created by the artist. The image itself, one could say, does not exist, it is nothing more than a soft shape, ceaselessly transforming itself; it lends itself, just as soft clay, to interpret the subjective position of the artist in that very moment, the temporary condition of the “I”.

A video created from the performance J’ai utilisé la mémoire accompanies her images; this work is a tribute to all the Armenian woman who survived the genocide: unintelligible words overheard from a Russian radio station, seraphic voices whispered through the stones of an ancient church and the strong sound produced by the wind, desiccating the military border between Armenia and Turkey, next to the ancient city of Ani. The artist tosses bouquets of roses, flower that belongs to the Armenian plateau, in the “canyon” which divides two countries where words, treatises and the negationism’s obstinacy weren’t never able to reconcile them, while she recites their names: names that were able to flee the carnage’s anonymity.