The mysterious traveler Jean-Albert Dadas, the pioneer of American aviation Amelia Earhart, the chess player Bobby Fisher, the physicist Ettore Majorana, the renowned writer J.D. Salinger and the boxer-cum-poet Arthur Cravan, are just some of the characters in Good Luck, the project by the artist Lara Favaretto scheduled to be presented at MAXXI from April 30.
Good Luck, commissioned by MAXXI Arte directed by Anna Mattirolo, is the continuation of Momentary Monument (The Swamp), an installation realized in 2009 on the occasion of the 53rd Venice Biennale, which was the artist’s first work dedicated to the theme of the “scomparsi” (missing) – people who, whether willingly or unwillingly, retired from public life, vanishing without a trace. The whole project is driven by a vast amount of research, which began in 2005, and that led the artist to build up a true and proper archive of images, documents, letters, photographs, testimonies, and newspaper articles.
A selection of this heterogeneous collection was published in Momentary Monument (Archive Books, Berlin, 2010), an artists’ book that allows the personalities of the missing people and their stories emerge thanks to the juxtaposition of archive material.
It is to the protagonists of the volume, also made famous by the manner in which they vanished, that Lara Favaretto dedicates her cenotaphs, sculptures raised in their memory, made of wood, brass and even soil. By emphasizing their meaning and function, the cenotaphs in Good Luck intend to gather and pass down the memories of these figures, and thus offer them a worthy memorial.
Each cenotaph is a volume with features varying in form and size, and it is dedicated to one of the “missing,” without presenting any surface elements to allow for their identification. Each volume is accompanied by a hermetically sealed metal box, visible or kept inside, which contains objects that either belonged to or have been dedicated to these figures.
Good Luck presents, for the first time ever at MAXXI, eighteen of the twenty cenotaphs produced by the artist starting in 2010 and a substantial group of her most recent realizations, which complete the project. They were all conceived to be dispersed and conserved separately: their final location will design a new map of the places destined to the memory of the missing: an ideal, utopian map, an absolutely random one, that will depend on those who will want to safeguard it. Two other volumes – in memory of Federico Caffè and Grant Thomas Hadwin have already been given a definitive home and so will not be on view.
The eighteen cenotaphs in Good Luck are dedicated to: Jean-Albert Dadas, Percy Fawcett, Amelia Mary Earhart, Arthur Cravan, Robert James “Bobby” Fischer, Donald Crowhurst, Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Nikola Tesla, Thomas P. “Boston” Corbett, Ettore Majorana, Leslie Conway “Lester” Bangs, J.D. Salinger, Bruno Manser, Everett Ruess, Bas Jan Ader, László Tóth, Thomas Ruggles Pynchon.
On the occasion of the exhibition a volume will be published dedicated to a selection of works by Lara Favaretto from 1995 to the present, and that will analyze several crucial themes dealt with by the artist in contributions made by several major authors.
The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the contribution of Galleria Franco Noero