La Eterna. Dora García. Curated by Carla Subrizi. 30.04.2024 – 14.06.2024

Dora García, La Eterna, 2017, 49', Courtesy Auguste Orts.

Dora García, La Eterna, 2017, 49', Courtesy Auguste Orts.

La Eterna
Dora García

exhibition as part of the 3 × 3 × 3 project
curated by Carla Subrizi

Inauguration Friday 26 April 2024
30 April – 14 June 2024
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Via del Vascello 35, 00152 Rome

La Eterna
written by Dora García

Gianfranco Baruchello was one of the artists invited to the “archive and extended performance project”: The Inadequate, at the Spanish Pavilion of the 54th International Art Exhibition, in 2011. The artists invited to this project in the Spanish Pavilion had been selected by the “tavolo di pensiero” (or table of thought), constituted by Anna Daneri, Barbara Casavecchia, Cesare Pietroiusti, Marco Baravalle, Stefano Graziani, Bruna Roccasalva, Vincenzo de Bellis and Eva Fabbris. The work that we asked from Baruchello as part of the pavilion was the extraordinary Multipurpose Object (1966): nine black and white photographs, together with the letter exchange established in relation to that object with the US secretary of defense.

The subversive humor, the irreverence of the work of Baruchello fitted like a glove to the ambitions The Inadequate had – mainly, to blow up into smithereens any conventional expectation of what a Venice national pavilion could have.

But even more extraordinary than the Multipurpose Object was the visit of Baruchello to the pavilion, on July 1st, 2011. A little crowd of students and young admirers of him had congregated on the podium of the inadequate, and he was received with respect and excitement.

Baruchello had a beautiful conversation with us and discussed Duchamp, told stories about Alberto Grifi and Verifica Incerta. This is how I described that encounter in the blog of The Inadequate:

But it was Baruchello, Gianfranco, who gave the best view on the work presented in this pavilion (el pabellón!)- “I met Gillo Dorfles, who is a 100 years old (we actually saw him visiting the pavilion when we were talking with Massimo Torrigiani and Laura Pelaschiar, on June 4) and he told me what he appreciated the most in this pavilion was its potential to extend to infinite – its virtuality. What I think – continued Mr. Baruchello, who refers to himself as Baruchello-is that you have exhibited mainly, A WORD. There are other things here, but they are no more than the parmesan on a plate of pasta – and your pasta, is ONE WORD: THE INADEQUATE. You are showing this word, and you should have taken away the name Spain from the façade and write “Borges Museum”. Because what should be written is:

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.”

Many years later, I was asked by Baruchello, Carla Subrizi and the Spanish curator Javier Hontoria, to make a work on the work of Baruchello. Without being too conscious at that moment of the words Baruchello said about The Inadequate, I chose one of his most Borgesian works: Una settantina di idee (1963-1970), an infinite archive of ideas for possible films. I decided to pair it with another of my first loves: The American Notebooks, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1835-1853), a breathtaking notebook mostly consisting of short sketches of possible ideas for future novels, such as:

Two persons to be expecting some occurrence, and watching for the two principal actors in it, and to find that the occurrence is even then passing, and that they themselves are the two actors.

It is in memory of such miraculous coincidences that I have prepared the exhibition La Eterna as an answer to the kind invitation of Carla Subrizi. Remembering this time very consciously the conversation we had with Baruchello in 2011, this time the exhibit is not only under the auspices of Borges: it is under the auspices of Borges before Borges, Borges master, Macedonio Fernández.

Museo de la Novela de La Eterna is a novel written from 1925 until Macedonio’s death in 1952. It was subtitled “The first good novel” and its structure is perplexing: 57 prologues, XX chapters, and one final prologue (not an epilogue) carrying the enigmatic title “To whoever wants to write this novel”. What is the sense of writing 57 prologues to a novel? the answer to me, is clear: to postpone for ever, and ever, the thing we really should be talking about.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

The works in this exhibition they all respond to this drive towards infinity, towards perpetual deferral, towards eternal pauses, towards suspension of sense, towards gossip of the futures, towards self-fulfilled prophecies, towards endless ends…