Teatro Arsenale, Milan
3 - 6 April 2013
Liberi Tutti is a miniature festival of live events organized in collaboration with miart, Milan’s modern and contemporary art fair. For four days, artists Darren Bader, Keren Cytter, Gelitin, and Thomas Zipp keep the energy of the fair flowing into the night with performance pieces, concerts, intermezzos, and plays at the Teatro Arsenale. This landmark, which has played a key role in the city’s spiritual and artistic life since the twelfth century, is presenting a different interior layout and design every evening for the festival.
The program starts with Ritratto Analitico (Analytical Portrait) by the Austrian group Gelitin, the tongue-in-cheek heirs of Viennese Actionism. Composed of Tobias Urban, Wolfgang Gantner, Florian Reither, Ali Janka and, on this occasion, Salvatore Viviano, the group is known for their outrageously irreverent projects. In, Ritratto Analitico on a square stage at the center of the space, the audience is invited to interact with the artists by posing for a series of portraits, which can then be purchased at the end of the evening. The artists create portraits of the audience with paintbrushes clenched between their buttocks, parodying the artists’ innate talent and the dangerous relationships that tie patrons and artists, clients and creators.
By contrast, the readymade tradition is the theme explored by American artist Darren Bader, who presents Le Quattro Stagioni, Trois Gnossiennes, Triple DJ: three musical incursions that fuse performance, concert, and sculpture, breaking down and overlapping classical pieces or contemporary DJ sets. In the course of the evening, four string quartets perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, playing Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter all at the same time; they are followed by three pianists, each seated at a different instrument and playing one of the three Gnossiennes by Erik Satie; to conclude, in a triangular session three DJs, play simultaneously, blending their music into a cacophonous finale that the audience can dance to.
In Karen Cytter’s theatrical performance ,the audience is encouraged to sit in silence and watch her existentialist, dreamlike presentation of the commonplace. Inspired by the everyday lives of the two actors, Susie Meyer and Fabian Stumm, who portray themselves on stage mixing reality with fiction, Show Real Drama points to the conflicts that underlie relationships. In this play the Israeli artist, whose work draws on her own life and those of her friends, writes about love, desire, loss, and the unpredictable nature of human communication, mixing up the standard codes, stories, and images normally used to describe them.
Last but not least, the festival closes with The Pentothal Analyses (un ballet de cour), an all-new project by Berlin-based Thomas Zipp, whose work employs the language of science and medicine, along with the aesthetics of archival documentation and of futurist fantasias, to create a sense of mysterious delirium. Zipp’s performance piece fills the Teatro Arsenale with a group of inscrutable characters, their faces hidden by anonymous masks, who move robotically in a magical dance: a ritual in which food and music become lysergic instruments.
With Liberi Tutti, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi brings the art world’s most experimental forms of language into the former church of San Simone e Giuda. Constructed in 1272, this space was deconsecrated in the Napoleonic era, then transformed into a theater, ballroom, storehouse, puppet theater, then again into a place of worship and the headquarters of various associations. Finally, in 1978, it became the famous Teatro Arsenale, which takes its name from the building’s nineteenth-century function. In 2009, Teatro Arsenale also hosted the screening of a film produced by the Fondazione Trussardi, Parts of a Film with Rat and Bear (2008) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss.