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Matthew Day Jackson "In search of..."

MAMbo
27 January - 1 May 2011

The red thread running through In search of… is Jackson’s video with the same title (2010), based on the format of a popular American TV show aired between 1976 and 1982 and hosted by Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s famous Dr. Spock), investigating paranormal phenomena and mysteries. The film, divided into three parts by the interpolation of faux Audi commercials, includes footage from stock archives and from the Getty archives, staged interviews with intellectuals such as David Mindell (historian and engineer at MIT) or Alexander Dumbadze (writer and art historian), with a half-solemn, half-ironic background storytelling by David Tompkins.

The situations narrated by the video reference the ways in which humans participate to contemporary culture and define themselves through the objects around them: both themes can be found in all the other works displayed at MAMbo.

This is true, for instance, of The Tomb (2010), a large work inspired by the Tomb of Philippe Pot (15th century), attributed to Antoine Le Moiturier and exhibited by the Paris Louvre. The hooded monks carrying Pot’s effigy in the original version are replaced by Jackson with astronauts, carved into wood and plastic scraps compressed in a single block and later cut with a CNC (computer numerical control) process. The astronauts carry on their shoulders a steel and glass casket protecting a sort of skeleton based on the artist’s body measurements.

The Way We Were (2010), a work composed of seven skull-shaped sculptures (made of titanium, lead, bronze, copper, aluminum, iron and steel) once again researches the origins of mankind, while Meet Me Dead at 35 (2009) and Meet Me Dead at 36 (2010) – two large format photographic prints – are variations, as in every exhibition, on the simulation of the artist’s death, his absence, his existence only through his work’s substance. The idea of passing away is also present as a new birth and a palingenesis in the big sculptural group The Tomb.

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