Elisabetta Benassi
All I Remember
Magazzino, Rome
12 May–30 June 2010

“Magazzino is pleased to announce All I Remember, Elisabetta Benassi’s second solo exhibition in the gallery, opening on Tuesday May 11th and on view through June 30th  2010.
Elisabetta Benassi has chosen All I Remember, the title of an unpublished novel by Gertrude Stein, to bear witness to the realization of an endeavour begun two years ago.  In that time, the artist has started to assimilate a library of images of the backs of photographs drawn from the annals of Italian and international press archives. These images contain, among other information, an abundance of captions, dates, archival references, and handwritten notes essential for the publication of the photographs.
The backs of these photographs—themselves images, though primarily textual—shape an archive-in-progress in which scenes of grand Historical importance are intermixed with others from everyday news. Together, they create an unusual portrait of the 20th century; one that can only be imagined via the words that describe it. The artist deprives the viewer of the photographic image, and with it, the value of the image as a simulacrum.  Building upon the artist’s enduring interest in machines, these ‘images without images’ are presented via a modified microfilm viewer entitled Memorie di un cieco (“Memories of a blind man”) and invite the viewer down a path through a new iconology of the 20th century.
In another room of the gallery, the artist presents a series of watercolours portraying the backsides of a selection of these archival photographs. These images are reproduced manually in a manner that is both manic and exact. The method functions as a mechanism for reconstructing memory, detached from any iconographic aspect — a diversion within the formation process of our imagery.
Finally, a Morse-code lamp used to send signals between warships projects coded messages visible from the street outside the gallery, reconnecting the exhibition space to an everyday space — the ‘ahead’ that we left behind upon entering.”