I desired what you were, I need what you are

23 Apr - 15 Jun 2008

© Patrizio Di Massimo
Pelo & Contropelo, 2007
video, 33'44"
courtesy of the artist

Marcelline Delbecq, Patrizio Di Massimo, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Cyprien Gaillard, Ryan Gander, Mario Garcia Torres, Olivia Plender, Jamie Shovlin, Matt Stokes

23.4.08 - 15.6.08
Opening: Wednesday April 23 April, 6 pm

Curated by Ilaria Gianni

I desired what you were, I need what you are, is a group show that reflects upon the re-elaboration and interpretation of residual cultural elements and symbols that have remained in front line as issues or as myths in dominant cultural practices such as cinema, art and music and which have been used, interpreted and desired by a generation that has lived a lack of ideologies, but which has had the scent of them through a second hand experience.
I desired what you were, I need what you are, aims to concretize the discourse that many times has been superficially approached, concerning how the generation born between the 1970s and 1980s has grown up deprived of the possibility of believing in a present certainty, disillusioned after having experienced the social, political and cultural failures of the time they lived. Their attempt of revolutionary élan has been suffocated by the massive productivism of an era in which everything is englobed by the dominant systems and transformed in industrial mechanisms. I desired what you were, I need what you are focuses on the ‘attitudes’ of a time that gives no possibility of utopian thinking, no space to be heroic.
I desired what you were, I need what you are reflects upon the loss and lack of absolute ideals in the present age, through the use of past cultural products and ideologies, adopted, appropriated and inherited by generations. It is the gap between what ‘has been’ and ‘what is’, that I desired what you were, I need what you are positions itself.
It is not the myth of art, cinema and music in their essence that the show aims to explore but a particular legend that has been legitimized by its presence in these macro cultural products that create our system, and that has resisted through time, taking the form of the ‘residual’. This last concept is intended as sociologist Raymond Williams explains: as something that “has been effectively formed in the past, but is still active in the cultural process, not only and often not at all, as an element of the past, but as an effective element of the present”. The notion of myth seems to explain what the residual has become.
Patrizio Di Massimo, Cyprien Gaillard, Mario Garcia Torres, rethink artistic practices, especially those from the 1960s and 1970s, considered, by many artists, the last cultural art movement that brought idea, criticality, provocation, experimentation and courage in front line, a period seen as mythical, whose figures have become sacred monsters. Residual elements are also evident in the music system, surviving as living legends. Bands, movements and events from the past become spaces in which memory gathers and emotions conceal. Certain events, figures and experimentations, so far away but still so close, continue to play a key role in society as underlined by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Jamie Shovlin and Matt Stokes. The element of illusion created by the overlapping of fact and fiction, which constitutes cinema’s essence and haunts our approach towards its reading, has also been analysed in its stratifications through time. The tangible and profound myth of cinema isn’t in its figures or in its films but primarily in its revolutionary capacity of ‘illusion’. The works by Marcelline Delbecq, Ryan Gander, Jamie Shovlin, Olivia Plender are looking at this substantial moment.
I desired what you were, I need what you are, shows how art is attempting to produce a device that serves secret desires: a way of making mythologies, issues and legends come true, an attempt to get closer to the desire for the authentic. The show positions itself precisely where the revolution of our time seems to lay: fulfilling a dream of authenticity where the ‘residual’ becomes ‘emergent’.
A catalogue in limited edition edited by Ilaria Gianni will be presented the day of the opening.
I desired what you were, I need what you are, is a project elaborated in the framework of Goldsmiths College University of London, MFA Curating, 2006-2007.

Tags: Cyprien Gaillard, Ryan Gander, Patrizio Di Massimo, Olivia Plender, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Jamie Shovlin, Matt Stokes, Mario Garcia Torres