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Portami al confine
Take me to the Border

Valerio Rocco Orlando


The celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of Matera’s Museum of Scultpture will be launched by a solo exhibition of the Milanese artist, conceived as a social sculpture that is to engage visitors and the community of Matera
29th of October 2016
– 28 of February 2017

The MUSMA, Matera’s Museum of Sculpture, first opened its doors on October 14th 2006. The museum project was set up and carried out by the Zétema Foundation of Matera, designed by the art critic Giuseppe Appella and the architect Alberto Zanmatti.

Generous donations to the Zétema Foundation by artists, art collectors, galleries, art critics and private citizens have made it possible to create a fine permanent collection which, from year to year, attracts growing numbers of visitors who are fascinated by what the museum has to offer.

Situated in the heart of the Sassi and housed in caves, it is unique worldwide. The past ten years have witnessed a wealth of exhibitions, events, teaching activities, meetings as well as opportunities for personal development and exchanging views. On the 29th of October, the MUSMA will celebrate this important achievement with the inauguration of “Portami al confine” (“Take me to the Border”), a one-man exhibition by the artist Valerio Rocco Orlando. The event is promoted by the Zétema Foundation and curated by the MUSMA’s newly appointed director Tommaso Strinati. This exhibition, conceived as a collective work of art in-progress that will be built up over a four-month period, till the 28th of February, engaging visitors and the community of Matera –the place where the museum came into being and has evolved.

Valerio Rocco Orlando was born in Milan in 1978 into a family originating from Lucania. In his work, he has developed an approach grounded on a vital and profound relationship with the communities where he happens to operate. Based on active listening, empathy, the identification and analysis of critical situations as well as mutual understanding, Orlando’s investigations lead to a form of open-ended discourse exploring an osmotic process that can and needs to be established between institutions, museums, academies and the social sphere. When Orlando came to Matera for the first time in December 2015 on the occasion of the OSMOSIS Project promoted by AMACI, he immediately perceived that the city and its inhabitants had the potential for carrying out his investigation. “My relationship with Matera and the MUSMA,” the artist explained, “arises from an affinity that is bound to grow. During my various stays and encounters in Matera over the past year, this exchange of experiences has taken the form of a film project that is to be devised together with the city, of an exhibition and a new work commissioned for the museum collection. After a decade of productions in Cuba, India, Corea and the United States, it is here in Matera that I have rediscovered a sense of belonging that has been particularly fruitful and has enabled me to look into the opportunities as well as the limitations of exploring the relationship between the individual and the community from a diacronic perspective.”
An exchange of views with Raffaello De Ruggieri, the chairman of the Zétema Foundation, with the new director of the MUSMA Tommaso Strinati and the members of the Synchronos cooperative has inspired the artist to start off his solo exhibition with an appeal that is both necessary and topical : “Take me to the Border”. Indeed, the term “border” is not meant to refer to a limit, but rather to a space at an extreme where every individual meets his own self and others in order to gain greater awareness of himself and of those who are different, thus leading to the realization that the confines of our identity are not around us, but go right through us.

The protagonists of the exhibition
, which is to set off a new course for the MUSMA under the direction of Tommaso Strinati, will be the citizens of Matera and visitors with whom the artist intends to establish close contact. Neon writing, a big table/ laboratory and a video will make up an installation that will “embed” visitors, making it possible for them to express their views on the subject of borders and share them with others in order to realize what may be called a “social” sculpture. ater on, the dialogue will shift from the museum to the city itself where the artist will ask inhabitants to accompany him to what they perceive as the borders of the community.

The vital bonds between the MUSMA and its territory
– the guiding criterion for the founding and development of the museum – thus find their natural continuation in this exhibition. “The project for which Orlando has received the commission”, as the MUSMA’s director Tommaso Strinati explains, “will formally mark my acceptance of the role of curator –a key figure in the contempory art system – at a time when this assignment represents a challenge to be taken on with some urgency.

In keeping with the MUSMA’s experimental nature, I have set aside two entire rooms of the museum for the“Take me to the Border” installation – a clear signal, which has made Valerio Rocco Orlando want to work on this new project following his participation in the collective art exhibition Par Tibi Roma Nihil at the Palatino. Often, environmental sculpture installations are described in terms of mixed technique. I define “Take me to the Border” as the product of an on-going translingualism where the experience of the video maker, of poetic reporting and a sort of direction of space are conjugated with the necessity of an artisan’s approach –the table/laboratory – and a polychromatic neon sculpture as an outline – with all the cross-references that this triggers .”

Sounding things out, self-analysis through the artist’s meditation, asking questions without looking for immediate answers, but generating further questions, leading to an endless multiplication of ideas that challenge reality to develop a different view of “borders”– this has been the guiding concept behind the exhibition at the MUSMA during its ten years of activity. “Take me to the Border” invites visitors to look at themselves and the world around them from new points of view, thereby overturning fossilized certainties. Art – and Valerio Rocco Orlando’s work represents an emblematic example – is an indispensable means for breaking down barriers and bringing about encounters. At a time when borders that had long been torn down are once again being erected and in a society that is moving towards a retrograde form of individualism, art reacquires its social function and takes up spaces and collective rituals to attract an ever-growing public, restoring humanity’s natural predisposition to evolution and change.   


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Valerio Rocco Orlando (Milan, 1978) received a BA in Dramaturgy from Università Cattolica in Milan and an MA in Film Directing from Queen Mary, University of London. Crossing the threshold from an intimate portrait to a choral dialogue, through a variety of media, such as film, publications and installation, Valerio Rocco Orlando's face-to-face practice rethinks and reenacts the sense of belonging in different communities around the world. By defining art as a process of analysis and mutual knowledge, his research produces an open discourse, collective and personal, both aesthetically and conceptually, that explores the osmosis between institutions, museums, academia and the social sphere. His solo shows include: Valerio Rocco Orlando, MAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago de Chile, 2017; Portami al confine, MUSMA Museo della Scultura Contemporanea, Matera, 2016; What Education for Mars?, Museo Marino Marini, Florence, 2015; The Sphere of the Between, Korea Foundation, Seoul, 2015; The Reverse Grand Tour, Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Rome, 2013; ¿Qué Educación para Marte?, Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese, 2013; Quale Educazione per Marte?, Nomas Foundation, Rome, 2011; Lover’s Discourse, Careof DOCVA, Milan, 2011; Lover’s Discourse, Momenta Art, New York, 2010; Niendorf (The Damaged Piano), Galleria Maze, Turin, 2008; The Sentimental Glance, Galleria Maze, Turin, 2007. Among his group shows: Par tibi, Roma, nihil, Roman Forum, Rome, 2016; Other Forms of Relations, MMCA National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2015; Glitch. Interferenze tra arte e cinema, PAC Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 2014; We Have Never Been Modern, SongEun ArtSpace, Seoul, 2014; The 338 Hour Cineclub, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 2013; XI Bienal de La Habana, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, Havana, 2012; Neon. La materia luminosa dell’arte, MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Rome, 2012; Nurture Art, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, 2011; videoREPORT ITALIA: 08_09, GC. AC, Monfalcone, 2010; Emerging Talents, New Italian Art, CCCS, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2009. In 2009 Valerio Rocco Orlando won the Iscp New York Prize promoted by Parc/Seat/Gai. In 2011 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship and in 2014 he received an International Artist Fellowship at the MMCA National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea. In 2016 the artist won the VII VAF Foundation Art Prize and his work was acquired for the permanent collection of the MART Museo d'arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto. Public collections also include Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam in Havana, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna e contemporanea and MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Rome.

Valerio Rocco Orlando
Portami al confine
29 October 2016 – 28 February 2017
MUSMA, Rooms 6 and 7
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    Fondazione Zetema       Comune di Matera Circolo La Scaletta
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