Transit 1: Domenico Antonio Mancini / Sherif El-Azma | Nermine El Ansari

curated by Adriana Rispoli/ Eugenio Viola/ William Wells

Madre Museum, Naples 26.03.09 | 04.05.09
The Townhouse Gallery, Cairo 24.05.09 | 24.06.09

Transit 1 is the first phase of the homonymous project presented in two locations and at two different times: the first stage in the Project Room of the Museo Madre on Thursday 26 March, the second at Cairo with the reopening of the same exhibition, on the premises of the Townhouse Gallery, 24 May next.

The exhibition grew out of the meeting between the young Neapolitan artist Domenico Antonio Mancini with the two Egyptian artists Sherif El-Azma and Nermine El Ansari, who spent a short period of residence in Naples, just as Mancini was enabled to have the same experience in Cairo. The works produced, all rigorously site-specific, derive their inspiration from reflections on geographically circumscribed socio-cultural situations which become universalized by activating a series of short-circuits in history, the present and the past with its weighty inheritance.
The works are unified conceptually by the meta-temporal use of symbol, understood as an analogic and inter-subjective sign which communicates a message comprehensible to the community through an emotional path. They investigate the power of representation through the media and the narrow boundary line between real and virtual, subjective and objective, past and present.
The eagle, the emblem of power and dominion which traverses the whole of history, from the Roman empire to Saladin, from the Habsburg and Tsarist empires to the totalitarian regimes, is inverted in its significance in Mancini’s installation, an intervention that extends into Alighiero&Boetti’s exhibit on the third floor of the museum, presenting a metaphorical excursus that takes its cue from Boetti’s singular attitude and links his research into otherness to the theoretical setting of the Project Room. Mancini presents a bitter reflection on neocolonialism, the subtle Eurocentric influence of a less obvious domination than military intervention but one that is equally deleterious.
The evocative polisemy of the symbol, capable of superseding cultural, historical, social and linguistic boundaries, returns in the work of El-Azma | El Ansari, who juxtapose the San Paolo soccer stadium in Naples with its ideal predecessor: the Roman amphitheater in Pompeii. Two symbolic structures reduced to a simulacrum in a work that reflects on the meaning of events and their mythicization, on the temporal collocation and universal projection of a desire to belong to a community, in the past as in the present. 

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