STEFANO SCHEDA Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!

Fumagalli Gallery, Milan

17 January – 18 April, 2020

“Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!” is an invitation to reflect on concept of nudity, from art history to social networks. New works along with historical pieces are presented in an exhibition layout purposely left in half-light.

Stefano Scheda, Meteo, 2004 (still) 1’47”, video

«Why is nobody shocked by the Riace bronzes, why is nobody horrified in front of Michelangelo’s David or of the male nudes of neoclassic art whereas Same same but different, the work by Stefano Scheda with two naked men coming out of water and greeting each other, creates such a concern in those who see it? Why do social media ban it? Why does it raise public complain?». These are the questions that prompted the invite to Stefano Scheda to conceive an exhibition project for Galleria Fumagalli spaces and which introduce the text written by Angela Madesani – collected together with other critical contributions in a book in course of publication.

Stefano Scheda’s work is often characterized by the use of the nude, meant not in an erotic or voyeuristic turn but in its social outcomes. The title of the exhibition “Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!” deliberately refers to a body exposed to weaknesses and life complications, a body that is not protected even by clothes. «We are all bare in physical and spiritual vulnerability, but not certain of a brotherhood» – explains Stefano Scheda. Nudity, which is observed in the first encounter with the work, does not end with the exposition of a naked body and constitutes only the first grade of staging of the human condition. The observers are invited to question and test their own threshold of tolerance in front of a nude physique that, caught by the artist’s ironic eye, shows a sublimated and archetypical image of the body.

On display the video Meteo (2004), presented for the first time at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe in 2006: naked bodies of men and women, not completely in focus, appear still on a shoreline with round mirrors at their stomachs height. Two disturbing elements, the sunlight reflected from the glasses and the sound of machine guns coming from a space capsule, act on the scene by creating an annoying and alienating effect. In this work nudity is evocative of the human limit in front of the greatness of historical and natural events, and in the photographic diptych Same same but different (2018) is captured in its innocence and purity portraying the bodies where the sea meets the earth. In and out of this confine, water is for the artist symbolic of the hope for a rebirth, as the title of the sculpture Terramare (2015), made with a tire and an air chamber, also evokes. The precariousness of being is expressed equally by the image photographed in Figura I (1996), a naked body that seems to surrender to life: “hands up”.