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'Remembering Is Not Enough' shows fresh side of MAXXI

First exhibit under new artistic director Hou Hanru

27 December, 19:30
'Remembering Is Not Enough' shows fresh side of MAXXI (By Alina Trabattoni).

(ANSA) - Rome, December 27 - This month saw the launch of the nine-month "Non Basta Ricordare" (Remembering is Not Enough) exhibition at the renowned MAXXI Museum in central Rome, the first under the new artistic directorship of Hou Hanru and the only one of its kind at the institution that sees so many masterpieces belonging to its permanent collection dedicated to a single show.

The show includes some 200 works that are the creation of some 70 artists and architects, and attendees at the exhibition can savour each individual masterpiece thanks to the ingenious layout of the show that runs through the entire museum. Starting from the main lobby at the heart of the building, visitors can wind up following the works along the stairs leading up to the galleries on the second and third floors, devouring the artwork laid out on some three thousand square meters with all their five senses. "The meaning behind the title? Usually collections in a museum are really about conserving a memory or a heritage, with the traditional approach being about how to keep the time slot, how to freeze the time", Hou Hanru said in an interview.

"However, it is also key to look at the collection from a different prospective, and bring it into dialogue with the present and prepare the works for their role in the future".

"So how to reactivate these objects in the collection, bring them back with new life, engage them back into the process of contemporary creation becomes a central process in the show.

This is how you reactivate the dialogue between the present and history." Amongst the artists and architects whose works are being showcased are Kara Walker; Jana Sterbak; Ilya ed Emilia Kabakov; William Kentridge; Teddy Cruz; Enrico Del Debbio; Vittorio De Feo; Mario Fiorentino; Sergio Musmeci; Aldo Rossi and Maurizio Sacripanti. The exhibition also features work by Carlo Scarpa; Superstudio; Stalker; Cino Zucchi; Francis Alÿs; Letizia Battaglia; Olivo Barbieri; Elisabetta Benassi; Christian Boltansky; Jake e Dinos Chapman; Lara Favaretto; Nan Goldin; Alfredo Jaar; Living Theatre; Paul McCarthy; Gerhard Richter; Ed Ruscha; Doris Salcedo; Thomas Schütte; Maurizio Cattelan; Gilbert & George; Michelangelo Pistoletto; Lawrence Weiner and Toyo Ito.

The "Remembering is Not Enough" exhibition revolves around works of art and of architecture that dialogue amongst themselves and with the space around them, revealing the experimentation that is at the base of the cultural projects of the MAXXI and the connectivity amongst the various disciplines.

The exhibition articulates itself whilst weaving around the universal themes of life, the city, the atmosphere, joy and pain, politics and ideology, intimacy and the physical aspects, theatre and performance. The works that have been carefully selected contain these elements and suggestions. Even so they do not box the concepts into closed spaces, but rather permit the exhibition-goer full freedom of interpretation. International art curator and critic Hou Hanru was appointed to his post as chief of creative leadership at the MAXXI last July. Originally from China, he studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing prior to moving to Paris from China in 1990, where he lived and worked for 16 years prior to the US in 2006. Here, he also worked as Director of Exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute prior to moving to Rome.

"It is for time now that I have been convinced of the necessity of this exhibition and I am very satisfied", said MAXXI Foundation President Giovanna Melandri said. "This is the first unified representation of our collections and marks the arrival to MAXXI of the new director, Hou Hanru." Hou Hanru has also over the years consulted and advised numerous international institutions including the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Kumamoto Museum of Contemporary Art (Kumamoto, Japan); the De Appel Foundation (Amsterdam); the Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai); and the Times Museum of Contemporary Art (Guangzhou). "The main objective of the exhibition is really to articulate the mission of the MAXXI institution as a place where we conserve the major heritage of our times in terms of art and architecture, and at the same time to be a major player in the scene of cultural production today," he said. "This collection has two parts, the first being the contemporary art collection which reflects the international and Italian scene for the past 20 years or so from a very particular perspective." "On the other hand, was also have on show a major collection of architecture archives; the Italian architecture scene has been amongst the most important in the world for the past 50 years." Hanru's work in setting up the exhibition has been carried out in conjunction with that of all the museum staff, including the MAXXI Art division headed by Anna Mattirolo and the MAXXI Architecture division directed by Margherita Guccione. The curatorial team, inclusive of Anne Palopoli, Monia Trombetta, Esmeralda Valente, Francesca Fabiani, and Laura Felci, we also actively involved in the preparations. The 200 items of artwork that are on exhibition "reflect the profound vitality of the museum collection, which is able to represent universal themes and stimulate debate and critical discussion," according to a statement released by MAXXI.

The city and its public spaces are portrayed in works such as Faradayurt (2001), the copper curtain created by Jana Sterbak that welcomes visitors into the museum lobby together with Teddy Cruz's masterpiece Cultural Traffic (2010), realized through the careful construction of road signs. Inside, viewers will come face to face with the 2009 rendition of Cartoline postali (Venezia) by Yona Friedman, and feel the vertigo generated by the Palazzetto dello Sport (2004) photographed by Olivo Barbieri. Their attention will be captured by the expressive works of Ed Ruscha, as well as by Richter's Stadbild SA. Theatre and performance are exquisitely depicted in Where is our place? (2003) by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Bronzefrau n.10 (2002) of Thomas Shutte, and Lara Favaretto's A piedi pari (2006). The recurring theme of theatre also finds a home in works by Aldo Rossi, Carlo Scarpa, Maurizio Sacripanti and Vittorio De Feo. The show runs from December 20 2013 through September 28 next year, giving museum-goers ample time to return and revisit the experience. The MAXXI - National Museum of the 21st Century Arts is dedicated to art and architecture and is run and administered by a foundation created by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. The building it is housed in was designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid after she won an international design competition, and it has been built with a focus on how best to showcase the arts and architecture, splitting off the interior spaces into two museums, the "MAXXI art" and the "MAXXI architecture" ones. The building itself is a stunning creation of numerous oblong pipes, all cutting across each other, folding over, overlapping, and intersecting. The MAXXI as a project was first announced in 2000, and it took more than ten years to complete.