A new EX3-curriculum

Florence’s latest destination for contemporary art

Editorial Staff
March 11, 2010

Finally, Florentines no longer have to trek all the way to Prato to see cutting-edge art of all shapes, sizes and mediums in a present-day architectural setting to match. The new EX3 Contemporary Art Center in Florence's east-end Gavinana neighborhood (beside the Coop ‘mall' on Viale Giannotti) features a cavernous 700-square-meter central hall that would set any installation artist's heart aflutter. Indeed, the center's purpose is to function as a type of kunsthalle, that is, a venue meant strictly for temporary exhibits and works designed specifically for the site, rather than to house a permanent collection. This site-specific aim is also reflected in the center's name, a combination of the words ‘exhibit' and ‘Quartiere 3,' where it resides.


EX3's current double bill, which runs through April 11 and is curated by Lorenzo Giusti and Arabella Natalini, showcases the work of Italian Eva Marisaldi and Swiss-born duo Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs. Both exhibits include pieces designed specifically for the center's spaces as well as older work. The artists also share a propensity for experimenting with a variety of 2-D and 3-D mediums involving predominantly inexpensive or everyday, found materials.


The title piece of Bologna-born Marisaldi's show, grigio nonlineare, is a series of painted white thought bubbles that spread diagram-like across the industrial-gray floor of the main hall. Her mind map begins just beyond the threshold of the room with an entreating ‘Presto te ne parlerò a lungo.' One of its paths concludes in a corner, where two speakers emit an incessant flow of fragmented ‘ghost words.' A lone figure-she looks like a skater girl mid-ride, her arms splayed-is painted in black at eye-level on one wall, joined by stylistically analogous images in white that fill 16 of the 80 bubbles on the floor.


Marisaldi fancies her exhibit's visitors as wise reader-listeners who complete the piece by bringing their own experiences and interpretations to the linguistic fragments. She has provided translations of her ‘thoughts' in seven of Florence's most commonly spoken foreign languages at the re-ception desk.


Berlin residents Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, who have collaborated since 2003, have four pieces in this their first Italian solo show, Tutto incluso. While their works are mainly photo-based, they range from traditional, framed black-and-white experimental takes on the still-life genre to complex site-specific sculptural installations in which every aspect of the space is transformed to create a moody, surreal environment.


The crowd-pleasing, ephemeral Grow-homes is accessed by a dwarf-size doorway that intensifies the sensation of entering another realm. At the center of the dark room, spot-lit from above by a pair of rotating lamps, stands a pyramid of planters hosting rapidly expiring greenery and held aloft on thin stilts. Each of these open-roofed boxes represents a house or a store in Anytown, USA, its sides covered with photographic images of the building's four facades.


Both exhibits ably fulfill the mandate of EX3 curators and director Sergio Tossi ‘to investigate, develop and promote the multiple languages and diverse practices that characterize today's artistic production.'


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