An originator of the Arte Povera movement, Italian artist Emilio Prini (1943–16) took a prescient interest in how our attempts to document reality ultimately fractured time and experience. In his own lifetime, Prini was the subject of just one institutional show (in Strasbourg in 1995), but his elastic approach to art-making would have a profound impact on an entire generation of artists.
Now, a new exhibition, “Not Made Not Chosen Not Presented,” organized by London’s ML Fine Art, is attempting to capture the questioning, evocative, and transient nature of his practice with a highly unique two-part exhibition.
The first half of the exhibition, called “Not Made Not Chosen Not Presented: By Emilio Prini” (on view through November 6), features 20 historical works by the eponymous artist spanning photography, sculpture, and installation from 1967 onward.
Many of the works were a response to art critic Germano Celant’s appeal for guerrilla art that emphasized experiential immediacy over narrative coherence. The show itself takes its name from an eponymous work featured in Prini’s seminal 1975 exhibition at Galleria Franco Toselli: a vitrine of objects that Prini claimed had absolutely no special significance whatsoever.
To emphasize the in-flux spirit of Prini’s practice, a selection of his works in the show will be installed on movable walls by American artist Christopher Williams.
That spirit gets even more pronounced in the second half of the exhibition (opening on November 6). Staged by the artist-led Studio for Propositional Cinema, the second half of the show will exist in a continuous state of transformation.
During the course of the exhibition, many (but not all) of Prini’s works will be replaced by those of artists inspired by his practice, including Williams, Gaylen Gerber, Irena Haiduk, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Julia Scher, Cally Spooner, Josef Strau, and Franz West. Once the transformation is complete, the second iteration of the exhibition will remain on view through December 4.
The unique format, the gallery said, was “conceived to facilitate the contamination of Prini’s work by that of the invited artists, they introduce two driving features of Prini’s research: the ontological precariousness of material form and the resulting urgency of reconstruction.”
“Not Made Not Chosen Not Presented: By Emilio Prini” is on view at ML Fine Art through November 6, 2020. “Not Made Not Chosen Not Presented: By Studio for Propositional Cinema” is on view through December 4, 2020.