…E Prini is the most extensive exhibition ever dedicated to the work of Emilio Prini (Stresa, 1943–Rome, 2016). Comprising of over 250 works, the exhibition project, realized in collaboration with the Archivio Emilio Prini, is conceived according to a chronological path which spans fifty years, from 1966 to 2016, to reconstruct the work of one of Italy’s most complex and enigmatic artistic figures from the recent past, whose work has not been fully surveyed to this day.
“I don’t have a plan, I proceed through trial and error” declared the artist. He considered his oeuvre to be a unique path made up of constant re-writing, in which works function almost like the proof of an empirical and aesthetic verification of some postulates or concepts, such as the idea of the standard or of the void, through a series of data drawn from reality and subsequently put together. Prini always refused to understand a work of art as a closed and defined object, and as a result, he also questioned the codes defining how art is shown. The exhibition project thus attempts to reflect and make this position explicit. …E Prini develops like a temporal perimeter and visual horizon in which works, photographs, invitations, typescripts and interventions on catalogues are exhibited without any form of distinction, along the walls of MACRO’s largest gallery, while sculptures and three-dimensional objects are laid out at the center of the space.
The exhibition presents the artist’s first attempts at circumscribing and measuring space, such as 5 sistemi percettivi di un ambiente (1967) and Perimetro misura a studio stanza (1967) or the actions with which, between 1967 and 1968, he studied his own body, and those of the individuals close to him, in relation to the environment, documenting these experiments through photography. Instead, the urban surveys of a curving wall, a downhill street, and a step are explorations and measurements of public space on portions and architectural details of the city in which he lived at the time, Genoa, part of the photographic studies that Prini began in 1967.
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With respect to a society which distinguishes itself for its hyperproduction and consumption of images and objects, the contemporary relevance of Prini’s research consists in his constant questioning of the necessity to produce, in the coherence of a way of being and operating independently and elusively, capable of challenging the canons of historicization and instruments of interpretation of art, all in the name of art itself.