Exhibitions 2021: three good reasons to visit the PAC

The PAC Pavilion ofContemporary art in via Palestro, in Milan, is again open to the public, after a stop of almost four months. There are at least three reasons so it is worth organizing a visit (from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 to 19.30, on Thursdays until 20.30 unless otherwise specified, reservations are recommended but not mandatory on www.pacmilano.it)

Luisa Lambri, Untitled (Barragan House, # 28) 2005 C-Print, 86 x 96 cm Courtesy Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan and Thomas Dane Gallery © Barragan Foundation, Switzerland, owner of the copyright on the work of Luis Barragan Morfin

The first is called Luisa Lambri. No, she is not one of those artists you will ever see on a live Instagram: Luisa Lambri has the calm disposition of someone born on the lake (hers is that of Como) and the dry air of those who prefer to let her works talk (appreciated from the most varied public, from the Venice Biennials to the Tate in London). Specifically, it’s about black and white photographs depicting architecture. On days like these, Luisa Lambri’s shots have the value of things that deserve attention: her eye, and also ours, focuses on the details. They can be glimpses of light from a window, the play of the slits of a shutter, the frosted corner of an interior. Lambri is seduced by modernist architecture and American minimalism: she loves composed harmony and prefers thresholds, expectations, passages between the inside and the outside. More than an exhibition, the one set up at the PAC until next May 30th, for the care of Diego Sileo is Douglas Fogle, is an artistic project in which a rich selection of shots, made between 1999 and 2017, dedicated to the “obsessions” of the Italian artist, Lucio Fontana, is presented in the three rooms on the ground floor and in the spaces on the first floor , Lygia Clark, Donald Judd, Alvaro Siza, Walter Gropius.

The advice is to take your time: Luisa Lambri’s photographs are neither flashy nor immediate. Entered the PAC you will find the series of “cuts”, a tribute to Fontana’s Spatialism, then it continues, from series to series, in black and white and multiple shades of gray. “I don’t use photography to document architecture, but to create images,” the artist told us. And that’s right: even if you try hard, you will hardly recognize the buildings she has chosen as the photographic subject, because her eye rests not on the whole, but on the apparently insignificant detail. The meaning lies in the space in which the photos are exhibited.

Luisa Lambri, Untitled (Casa Fernando Millán, # 01) 2003 C-Print, 84 x 68 cm. Courtesy Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan and Thomas Dane Gallery

And here we come to the second reason why it is worth entering the PAC in these weeks: this exhibition allows, for once, to focus on the “container” as well. Luisa Lambri in fact put herself at the service of the building designed in 1947 by Ignazio Gardella and he does it (rediscover) thanks to a series of references between the symmetries of his photos and those of the rooms. This gives you the pleasant feeling of finding things in the right place.
The “walk” in the parterre that closes the path alone is worth the exhibition: here we find, displayed on transparent easels designed by Lina Bo Bardi in ’57 for Museum of Modern Art of St. Paul of Brazil, a series of shots that seem to “mirror” the context. The photos are facing the garden of the PAC, where the magnificent ones stand Seven Wise Men by Fausto Melotti: you walk among the easels and the stained glass windows of the museum, between the shots of Luisa Lambri, the architecture of Ignazio Gardella and the ideas of Lina Bo Bardi, suspended (maybe!) between Milan and San Paolo, between nature imprinted in the photos and the one, alive, that is outdoors. And one comes out refreshed by such composed beauty.

Luisa Lambri, Untitled (100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum, 1982-86, # 01) 2012. C-Print, 79.39 x 94 cm. Courtesy Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan and Thomas Dane Gallery

However, there is a deviation from the route, which we advise you to take, and it is the third reason why it is worth coming to the PAC. Go up to the first floor: here, in the Project Room, is set up The time of butterflies of Zehra Doğan, a Turkish artist in his early thirties, who paid for his activism with over two years in prison. Just three years ago she was released from Tarsus prison, before her her works were “escaped” – in a daring way – made of makeshift materials: rags and rags, shirts, rags.

Zehra Doğan, Özdinamik, Self-dynamics 2017, Diyarbakir prison. Ballpoint pen, coffee, turmeric, parsley juice on newspaper, 67 x 56 cm

© Jef Rabillon

They spent their time on his release many artists, including Banksy, many awards, even in Italy. Feminist and activist, now an exile in London, Zehra Doğan presented a series of at the PAC online projects since last November, but now his physical intervention is finally visible, waiting for a series of performances at a date yet to be decided.
It is only a small room, but poignant: The time of butterflies. Dedicated to Patria, Minerva, Teresa Mirabal, is a tribute to Aida Patria Mercedes, Maria Argentina Minerva, Antonia Teresa Mirabal, the three sisters who, with the battle name Las Mariposas (the butterflies …) fought against the dictatorship of the Dominican Rafael Leònidas Trujillo. The story is well known: the November 25, 1960 the three women went to jail to visit their husbands, who were political prisoners, but they were ambushed and killed after being tortured. The UN dedicated the institution of November 25th to their memory International day for the elimination of violence against women.
Zehra Doğan in her works of art on fabric, with those feminine images so powerful and with document-works such as the shirt on which her cellmates left her messages, pays homage to the temper of the Dominican sisters and invites us to a new, powerful sisterhood.

Top: Zehra Doğan, Untitled, 2017, Diyarbakir prison Mixtures and embroidery on fabric 35 x 25 cm

Zehra Doğan, Fatıma’nın Eli, Hand of Fatima. November 2018, Diyarbakir prison Tea, coffee, embroidery, ballpoint pen on pillowcase 58 x 42 cm

© Jef Rabillon

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