Asked about the difficulty of getting anything done in Italy at the Biennale press conference, Rem Koolhaas says that Italy is enslaved by an (irresistible) ‘narcissism of failure,’ one for which there is a subliminal pleasure in watching mutually exclusive interests annihilate the possibility of doing anything. With the section of the exhibition called Monditalia at the Corderie dell’arsenale, he seems to substantiate his statement by way of action.
The Corderie are split into two halves, in which the diving element reflects the Appennino as a sort of vertical spine for the Italian peninsula, which is some ‘reflected in the layout.
For the first time, the visitor will be forced to go to the end of the building and then come back to its entrance, while performing a sort of voyage to Italy, one in which, along the way, different ‘intervention’ from the other arts, cinema, theatre, dance, will show its head in selected region/areas.
Having made it clear that he was to accept to work on the biennale only if given 18 months of time to work on it, the structure of the exhibition itself reads as formidable critique of the Italian narcissistic web of entrenched interests.
The structure for the show says it all: you have the most ancient institution in the world, in the most amazing place on earth, with a department for each of the seven arts and you do not use it!
In fact, you keep fighting among each other, till the point of being exhausted, so that, in the end, you give 6 months to a busy professional to throw something together, in order to justify the expenditure of public money.
It is a pity that, come November, with the dismantling of the Biennale, the message will be conveniently put under the rug ….so that the narcissistic daily celebration of the failure of Italian Nationhood, will be performed without futher comments.
I find the fact that president baratta is not only allowing Rem to do this but that he is also backing this with all its political power, moving beyond the power of words ….