Form Follows Fiction

From 17 October 2001 to 27 January 2002

Investigating international art trends of the last decade, this exhibition seeks to shed light on a common trait in recent art, a trait which the show’s curator Jeffrey Deitch locates in the artists’ desire to work in an intermediate zone between reality and fiction.

This fictional character of the works, which manifests itself in numerous different ways, undoubtedly reflects an increasingly pervasive aspect of reality itself that finds its confirmation in even the most ordinary moments of our daily experience.

In other words, it is in our own lives that we experience the ever-closer link between reality and fiction. We only have to think of the powers of simulation wielded by the mass media, in such a way that news bulletins, which supposedly present us with the facts, have now become indistinguishable from TV drama series, replacing reality with a perfectly plausible realism.

As examples of this trend we might cite recent military conflicts from the Gulf War to the bombardment of Belgrade, not to mention the recent appalling terrorist attack on New York, all of which were broadcast world-wide in real time and were perceived by viewers more as spectacular media events than as authentic reportage.

The global diffusion of internet, meanwhile, has not only enabled users to instantly hook themselves up to a 24 hour information network, but has also, through chatrooms and MUDs, given them the habit of virtually inhabiting several different personalities as though they were actors playing multiple roles.

Add to this the field of transgenics, which has already shown itself capable of transforming both our natural environment and the human body, and it becomes clear how fiction now infiltrates reality to the point where the two realms are superimposed and confused.

Even fields such as politics and economics now require a certain dose of spectacle and simulation in order to legitimize themselves in the eyes of the public.Today’s art aims to investigate this increasingly indissoluble bond, no longer considering fiction the negative pole of reality but granting it a more positive role in understanding the real.

The exhibition’s very title, Form Follows Fiction, recalls the celebrated dictum of the American functionalist architect Louis Henry Sullivan, Form Follows Function, which declared the supremacy of utility over formal creativity in architecture, art and design. Today the roles appear to be reversed. According to Deitch,the most significant artists of the past decade have constructed entire aesthetic universes in their works, where there is no longer a clear distinction between real and artificial, existence and spectacle, and it’s for this reason that they provide an incisive comment on the world we live in.

Giorgio Verzotti

From 17 October 2001 to 27 January 2002