Chain of Visions: Family, Politics and Religion in the Last Generation of Italian Contemporary Art  

The smallest work in this exhibition is the most powerful. A dead squirrel, which appears to have shot himself in the head, is slumped in a chair over a mini kitchen table, with an empty whiskey glass nearby. It forms a sad tableaux of life in Maurizio Cattlean's piece Bidibdobidiboo. This enigmatic mini installation is part of an exhibition of contemporary Italian art titled "Chain of Visions: Family, Politics and Religion in the Last Generation of Italian Contemporary Art".

Like a scene from a cheap TV drama, the little squirrel is a pathetic reminder of human frailty and life's struggles. Other artists in the exhibition explore similar issues. Chain of Visions, showcases the works of 12 Italian artists who have achieved international recognition. Works in the exhibition use a variety of mediums including neon, DVD, wax, photography, traditional bronze casting and painting. They address important issues of contemporary life such as immigration, individuality, the changing urban and rural environment and the role of the artist.

Maurizio Cattelan has recently caused controversy in Europe with his work "The Ninth Hour", which shows Pope John Paul II struck by a meteorite. While this piece is not included in this exhibition another similarly cheeky and subversive work is. "We are the Revolution' is the title of his wax sculpture of a life-like figure hung on a coat rack. The celebratory title comes from a statement by conceptual art master Joseph Beuys, which refers to the role of artists in leading a new revolution. However, in Cattelan's work the 'revolutionary artist' hangs in a back corner of the gallery like a marionette on a rack.

Another artist in the exhibition who has also generated controversy is Vanessa Beecroft. She has staged a number of highly publicized performances of naked and partially clad women. Included in this exhibition are large photographs from her performances. The photographs of Diego Perrone will strike a chord with many in Japan who lament a rapidly aging and disappearing farming community. Perrone's powerful images are of elderly Italian farmers and villagers holding large animal horns in their arms.

There is an incongruity about the person and the object. There is also something melancholic about these images of a proud but vanishing breed of rural folk. The horns, a symbol of fertility, are also the remains of once wild and free animals and now trophies of modern man's dominance over nature. Both the horns and the humans seem worn, tired and weathered.

The 'Chain of Visions' exhibition includes about 25 works and features artists Stefano Arienti, Simone Berti, Lina Bertucci, Marco Boggio Sella, Giuseppe Gabellone, Luisa Lambri, Margherita Manzelli, Paola Pivi, and Grazia Toderi. It is a thought provoking display of some very cool art dealing with hot issues





through July 1 Hara Museum of Contemporary Art 4-7-25 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tel: 03-3445-0651 11:00 - 17:00 (20:00 Wed.) Closed Mon. Adults 1000; Under 15 500; JR Shinagawa Station