THE ASSANGE CONDITION. FORTY PORTRAITS BY MILTOS MANETAS

May 11 > July 26, 2020

an exhibition that will remain closed to the public

 
Piano Zero - sala fontana

The Sala fontana of Palazzo delle Esposizioni hosts an exhibition that will admit no visitors, even in the event that galleries reopen their doors to the public.
The exhibition is a series of about forty portraits of Julian Assange painted by Miltos Manetas between February and April of this year. It aims to provide, among the many things that have been said and done in the past two months around the world, a particular and perhaps paradoxical contribution to reflections on the condition of imprisonment, isolation, and the impossibility of encounter with others.
The exhibition is not simply an occasion to denounce an injustice, or an attempt to draw public attention to the case of someone who has knowingly and repeatedly taken on the responsibility of making secret information public and who now, if he is extradited to the United States, risks the death penalty. Nor is it simply an exhibition of the work of an artist who has decided to devote his practice to portraying a "difficult" face (in terms of the complexity of the character involved and, as Manetas says, of portraying his expressive features).

This is also, and above all, an intervention that captures the analogies between the condition of Julian Assange – in his lengthy imprisonment and isolation, first as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and then, after his "kidnapping", in British prisons, being overexposed in the media and, at the same time, reduced to silence – and the condition experienced by billions of inhabitants of the planet in recent weeks.

Palazzo delle Esposizioni, which only a few months ago hosted the Evasion Techniques exhibition, on strategies of derision and avoidance of censorship in Hungary in the '60s and '70s, accepted Manetas' proposal with great interest and decided to implement it with him in a most unusual way for an exhibition. In the very same days in which we hope to reopen our major exhibitions dedicated to Jim Dine and Gabriele Basilico, which were unexpectedly interrupted by the Covid-19 emergency, we wish to dedicate a section of our space to hosting an exhibition that will not, in any case, be open to the public, and will be known about only through communication and documentation. We have decided to do so because we do not want to hide the sense of disquiet and uncertainty that these recent times – with the disorientation of having every fibre of our being and instant of our daily lives bombarded with tables, growth curves, epidemiological explanations, warnings and forecasts – leave in all of us, like a dark zone which we cannot access.

The exhibition will be displayed on Palazzo delle Esposizioni’s social media and digital platforms, where it can be fully explored. It will also be linked to the Instagram account @condizioneassange that will launch on May 11, 2020, at 6 pm.

We wish to thank Galleria Valentina Bonomo, Rome, for its collaboration on the project.

 
 
Miltos Manetas
(b. 1964) is a Greek-born painter, conceptual artist and theorist whose work explores the representation and aesthetics of the information society. Critic Nicolas Bourriaud places Manetas' work in the fields of Relational Art and Postproduction. Manetas is the Founder of the NEEN Art Movement, a pioneer of art after video games (machinima) and an instigator of Internet Art. In 2009, Manetas founded the INTERNET PAVILION at the Venice Biennial. One of his most recent institutional exhibitions, his solo show "Le Pitture Internet", took place at Rome’s MAXXI Museum in 2018.