From the 15th of June to the 4th of November, from 6 pm to midnight
Chiesa della Madonna della Mazza, via Maqueda n° 387 Palermo, Sicily
In one of Palermo’s busiest streets – Via Maqueda, adjacent to Palazzo Mazzarino, one of Manifesta’s key locations – the DUSKMANN collective presents its work in the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, also known as “della Mazza”, creating a custom designed installation for a space which has been closed to the public for four decades and which, thanks to the biennial, can now be rediscovered. The church thus becomes a place where the city makes contact and fuses with contemporary art. With the patronage of the City of Palermo, of Palermo City of Culture and the Curia, with the installation Prelude, DUSKMANN create a unique and powerful harmony between history and the most modern and contemporary artistic expression.
The interaction between the public and the work is of an intimate, silent nature. At the vestibule door, a large black panel precents access to the church. Three octagonal openings set at various heights allow visitors to see the interior, which is in darkness: only by inserting a coin can they illuminate it for a few seconds. Awaiting them is an explosion of light which reveals a new and previously-unseen composition of Prelude. This time, in fact, DUSKMANN’s great gem – a red jasper in the shape of a heart – is surrounded by 6 of the white versions of the 41 pieces which make up the series. A choice dictated by the desire to harmonize the infinite geometries of the pieces with the surrounding environment, thus highlighting the imposing power of the central stone. On one hand, the project draws upon the curiosity of passers by at seeing a place which has been closed for years finally open, and on the other closes the circle of Prelude’s creative process, which first began here and which now has the opportunity to bring back new energy.
“We wanted to use opportunity of Manifesta to bring Prelude back to where the installation was originally conceived. It’s an honour for us to reopen this church, which had been closed for decades, to the city and to encourage the local people to interact with our art.”
PRELUDE was born during a trip to Sicily. The artists were entranced by the beauty of Sicilian marbles and the figures evoked by their veining. With their characteristically minimal, post-atomic approach, somewhere between pure art and a careful study of form, they photographed them, framed them and installed them, paying careful attention to their geometries. When they came across a large jasper, sculpted by nature itself into the shape of a heart, they smoothed it down and made it the centrepiece of their work. This jasper is the beating heart, the focal point, from which the perspective on the surrounding pieces begins. The Prelude series consists of 41 black and 41 white pieces. These are photographs selected from over 2,000 taken of marbles as part of the project’s obsessive preparation. On the back of every piece is an octagonal fragment of jasper which makes them unique and reconnects them to the great central heart like the consequence of some metaphorical explosion. A continuous dichotomy, the power of opposites and the synthesis of contemporary complexities are DUSKMANN’s lifeblood and, not coincidentally, give the collective its name: a twilight soul capable of negotiating the contradictions of its time.
All takings will be used for the creation of an art project for the second part of Manifesta aimed at raising children’s awareness of art and photography.