Elisabetta Benassi
Fiac! Grand Palais, Paris, France.
20–23 October 2011

“For the 2011 FIAC stand, Elisabetta Benassi created the project Soledad. Soledad was the name of a dreary prison in California where the dramatic story of George L. Jackson was played out. The place became the symbol of one of the bloodiest battles for civil rights and was the inspiration for the work The Bullet-proof Angela Davis, a structure reminiscent of minimalist sculpture that echoes the bulletproof cage protecting Davis on 30 June 1972 during a speech she made in Madison Square Garden in New York, a few days after the start of her trial in which the activist was later declared innocent. A tape recorder plays Ein Gespenst geht um in der Welt (1971), dedicated to Davis by contemporary Italian composer Luigi Nono. The piece begins with a voice intoning “Uno spettro si aggira per l’Europa” (A spectre is haunting Europe), the opening words of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s The Communist Manifesto (1848).
Also, forms part of the installation Truths and Lies, 2011, a series of Zippo lighters dating from the Vietnam war engraved with phrases that make fun of the spectre of death and war, almost as if to ward off bad luck. In addition, three watercolours replicate photographic images found in international press archives: the images, reproduced through the device of manual painting, are the mechanisms for reconstructing a memory, detached from its iconographic aspect, a sort of diversion in the formation of our imagination.”