Sissi, Autoritratto con specchio, 2010
Thursday evening, I attended Damnatio Memoriae (or) Creating Memory at the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery on 57th street and 5th Avenue. The group exhibit features four Italian artists, one being a collaborative duo, and presents drawing, video, photography and installation all dealing with our active, conscious memory. Conceptually, the exhibit has been in process for many years and has now been realized by Kristen Lorello, who was a Fulbright Scholar in Rome in 2006-07 and is currently the Associate Director of the gallery. 

goldichiari, False Flag, 2011
From the gallery website:
Damnatio memoriae refers to the ancient Roman practice of erasing from public record the memory of a person who committed dishonor to the state. By removing his or her image from reliefs, monuments, and sculptures, the society worked to erase the memory of the transgressor from collective consciousness after his or her death.
My particular interest in the exhibit was the work of Sissi Olivieri who I met in 2003 in Italy. Sissi uses fabric and often her own physical presence intertwined with or juxtaposed into particular situations and environments. For Damnatio Memoriae the work is installed on the wall and dates from 2009-10. Each piece is textural, dimensional, and decorative as well as functional object. They are frames absent of photographs and a mirror (in top image above) where “self-portrait” becomes a universal well in which the viewer is able to delve. The work communicates with the internal narcissist and the frustration that results in what may be the absent search for self-reflection.

Interior exhibition view
The evening also featured a performance by Faren and the French Fries. The duo played electronic tunes which included voice distortion. They were energetic and offered a nice contrast to the normally reserved atmosphere of Uptown galleries.

Damnatio Memoriae (or) Creating Memory is on view until August 26th, 2011. Artists featured include: goldiechiari, Giancinto Occhionero, Cesare Pietroiusti, & Sissi
More soon!