BY Angela Vettese in Reviews | 06 SEP 94
Featured in
Issue 18

Domestic Violence

BY Angela Vettese in Reviews | 06 SEP 94

Home sweet home, the beloved, gilded and disquieting prison. Adam Chodzko's drops of glass filled with an eerie liquid fall from the ceiling. Cubes of bandaids, by Martin Creed, spread over the walls like blemishes - made from an ostensibly sterile material, these are linked with the idea of the wound. And then we see the photographs of embarrassing situations: Jane and Louise Wilson's scene of a crime, and Gillian Wearing's bizarre encounters in a transsexual's bed. A washing machine introduced by Francesco Voltolina emits an infernal racket, better for disturbing the tranquillity of the home than for washing the kids' clothes. Floating in the pool are inedible oranges by Anya Gallaccio, and between two couches stands a glass table where we see her gradual decay of luxurious red flowers. A magnificent Marilyn poster is violated by Stefano Arienti's eraser, defacing her features and leaving her monstrous. Vittorio Corsini replaces an overhead lamp with a cumbersome revolving structure, while Massimo Bartolini destabilises the bedroom floor. Even the shower is out of bounds, occupied by a television monitor playing a video by Pipilotti Rist.

One of very few Milanese dealers with a museum-sized exhibition space, Giò Marconi renounced his gallery and made his own yuppie home - freshly redecorated with sophisticated designer furniture - available to some 20 Italian and British artists. Even the homes of the upper-middle classes, curator Alison Sarah Jacques seems to say, are not spared the subtle nightmares of the everyday. 'Domestic Violence', the title of the show, posits itself as a metaphor of individual uncertainties and of the Kafkaesque metamorphosis which a tormented subconscious can impose even on sensible, practical, wealthy men. Other useful references can be traced to film: from the macabre in Peter Greenaway to Pedro Almodovar's Anglo-Latin humour, from the demolition of the family myth in Robert Altman to Hitchcock's or Polanski's terrifying thrillers.

Overall, the exhibition presents itself as absolutely 'Western,' focusing on themes and issues not encountered in non-industrialised countries. The point of the show lies here, in the regressive war hidden by the peace of progress, a modern reference to Freud and Einstein's theses on the inevitability of hatred among like peoples. The latest in a long series of exhibitions in non-art spaces, 'Domestic Violence' also tries to unbridle us from the idolatry of museum commissions and gallery commodification. Apart from the specific theme addressed, the exhibition is circumscribed by that circle of events which, during the early 90s, has attempted to challenge the more constraining aspects of the art system.

Translated by Gilda Williams