The world is not perfect, although it can and must change to adjust to the needs of the moment and the people who inhabit it. This is the conceptual framework of Misura italiana, the video art series organised by the Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci-Prato for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
According to its curator, Marco Bazzini, the application of new technologies to works of art has opened art up to the world and made it more flexible. Artists feel more stimulated to experiment and be innovative, and their works are not limited to reflecting reality, but can have an impact on its creation: “no longer does life measure art, but it is art that measures life.”
While recognising that art in Italy has always had strong formal influences, Bazzini made an eclectic selection of pieces, interrelating historic videos with contemporary ones. The series consists of three thematic sessions: The Ethical Measure, The Urban Measure and The Performative Measure.
The first programme provides a political and ethical version of the world around us, drawing on a deep investigation into the ideology and symbols of fascism with Che cos'è il fascismo (1971) by Fabio Mauri (Rome, 1926-2009). His considerations are inescapably linked today with the topic of illegal immigration (a burning issue in Italy and Spain), explored in works by Rossella Biscotti (Molfetta, 1978), Marcella Vanzo (Milan, 1973) and Adrian Paci (Shköder, 1969).
The artists represented in the programme The Urban Measure reflect on the construction and design of cities and urban spaces, an approach whose origin lies in the radical architecture current that evolved in Italy in the 1970s and which led to architecture that was fluid and imaginative, no longer bound to static laws. Pieces by Superstudio, Alterazioni Video, Michael Fliri (Tubre, 1978) and Rosa Barba (Agrigento, 1972) reveal the isolation and absurdity of daily life in the city before converting this absurdity into an argument for rebellion.
Finally, The Performative Measure serves as a counterpoint to the first two programmes, using the performance art and video dance found in works by contemporary artists like Simone Forti (Florencia, 1935), Vanesa Beecroft (Genova, 1969) and the duo MASBEDO.
The fourteen pieces in Misura italiana provide an insight into the most audacious and engaged Italian audiovisual work which has still received little attention beyond the country’s borders.