EUR_Libya

EUR_Libya, photographic series, Giclée prints on cotton paper on dibond panels, variable dimensions, 2010-12.

With his new photographic project, shown now for the very first time after two years in production, Federico Baronello analyzes the symbolic representation of power in its purest form, through architecture. The starting point for his research is the «Fascism embodied in stone» mentioned by the Italian historian Emilio Gentile: the ideology of power illustrated by the magnificent buildings of Italian rationalism spread between the two poles of new Fascist Rome, the Foro Italico and EUR.

EUR-3779, installation view at the group show 'The Materiality of a Dream' at the Brodbeck Foundation, Catania 2013.

Left: EUR-3779, installation view at the group show ‘The Materiality of a Dream’ at the Brodbeck Foundation, Catania 2013.

Already its title, EUR_Libya, points to the paradoxical sense of the work. The artist further suggests a metaphysical aspect: the architecture depicted appear as archeological monuments abandoned in the empty midday sun, reminiscent of the De Chirico’s Italian Piazza, but also of the Italian colonial landscapes in Africa.

EUR-3779, installation view.

EUR-3779, installation view.

Lost in time, a surreal landscape fixed in sunlight, monumental but empty, silent, found here in Italy, but it could be anywhere in the Mediterranean or even in Africa. Indeed, on closer observation, the architecture in the photographs of Federico Baronello is transformed through a surreal manoveur by the very transgressive nature of the artwork itself (i.e. the photo-montage).

EUR_3779 Headquarters of the Central Bank of Libya at the “Palace of Civilization and Work” designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula, Mario Romano, 1938-43.

EUR_3779
Headquarters of the Central Bank of Libya at the “Palace of Civilization and Work” designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula, Mario Romano, 1938-43. dim.cm.150×100.

A visual strategy inherited from the Dadaist who through the process of appropriation and de-contextualization developed the neo-avantgarde criticism during the ’60s and ’70s. However for Baronello the combination and overlapping of images and places, reminiscent of the strategy of visual artists such as Hans Haacke, without any direct bearing, does not embody the same ideological criticism. Baronello’s investigations are not a work about the real, as is the case of the German-American artist, but rather it is about the freedom of imagination, the utopia of the possible, inscribed by a minimal and discreet gesture.

As if Libya, or better North Africa, according to the definition of the ancient Greeks and then the Latins, might become Rome, and Rome in turn could really become the capital of a unified Mediterranean world. By inquiring into the meaning of Fascist architecture today, the artist questions the political and symbolic role of the institutions and of the cultural landscape in its broadest sense. In these photographs the ideological result of architecture undergoes a profound transformation, as if the original imperialist ideology had passed through the anthropophagous assimilation theorized by Brazilian modernist Oswald de Andrade, as the ultimate destiny of colonialism.

An economic post-colonialism, indeed. The names and logos of national companies that have long held trade and economic relations with Gaddafi’s Libya, appear as imprints on the surface of the «Fascism embodied in stone» photographed by Federico Baronello.

Anna Cestelli Guidi, presentation text for the solo show at the galleria collicaligreggi, Catania 2013.

Also, see the interview by Giuseppe Mendolia Calella (in Italian)

EUR_3870 The Central National Archive, designed by Mario De Renzi, Gino Pollini, Luigi Figini, and realized in 1938- 42, named after Finmeccanica, very strategic Italian Holding in aeronautics, space and defense.

EUR_3870
The Central National Archive, designed by Mario De Renzi, Gino Pollini, Luigi Figini, and realized in 1938- 42, named after Finmeccanica, very strategic Italian Holding in aeronautics, space and defense. Dim.cm.100×150.

EUR_3890
The Museum of Roman Civilization, by Pietro Aschieri, Domenico Bernardini, Cesare Pascoletti, Gino Peressutti, 1939-52. Here misleadingly entitled to FIAT , was in fact entirely given to the city of Rome by the Agnelli family, then the owner of the Italian car industry. Dim.cm.100×150.

EUR_3905 ENI Congress Hall, by Adalberto Libera, 1938-54. ENI, the National Oil Company, is probably the largest national agency leading past and present economic relations between Italy and Libya. Dim.cm.100×150.

EUR_3557
Mirko Basaldella bas-relief on the building of Unicredit (ex INPS), designed by Giovanni Muzio, Mario Paniconi, Giulio Pediconi (1940-53). dim.cm.67×45.

EUR_3918
Mirko Basaldella bas-reliefs on the building of UBAE (former INA), Giovanni Muzio, Mario Paniconi, Giulio Pediconi (1940-53). dim.cm.67×45.

EUR_3630
The Retelit building of the University Rector (by Marcello Piacentini) at the university campus of La Sapienza, 1933-35. dim.cm.67×45.

EUR_3647
The Tamoil Museum of Mineralogy (by Giovanni Michelucci) at the university campus of La Sapienza, 1933-35. dim.cm.67×45.

EUR_3549
Foro Italico, mosaic (probable attribution to Giulio Rosso) at the Viale Impregilo, by Luigi Moretti (1933-37). dim.cm.67×100.

EUR_3395
Foro Italico, statue of an athlete at the Juventus Marble Stadium (Enrico Del Debbio, 1932-33). dim.cm.67×100.

EUR-3398
The Farnesina building, by E. Del Debbio, Arnaldo Foschini, Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo (1938-56). dim.cm.67×45.

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