Hou Hanru & Anne Palopoli Allora&Calzadilla. Blackout


Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla confirm their expressive power and the clarity of their intellectual provocation. Present for the first time ever in MAXXI’s spaces with a “solo show” specially made for the museum, the two artists have already been protagonists here of forays that have left their mark on our way of seeing things. Levity and complexity have always appealed to the artistic and human partnership between this couple, a partnership that first blossomed in Florence. The duo later settled in Puerto Rico, and Blackout—a collection of poetic as well as scathing works—is dedicated to the Caribbean island, ravaged by two devastating hurricanes in September 2017. The artists’ work is a denunciation of the suffering that is the direct result of the inhabitants’ colonial exploitation, of marginalization accentuated by the fact that Puerto Rico is a United States territory that is not fully a part of the country it belongs to, of the population’s subjugation to military servitude and to endemic poverty, which have compounded, to an extreme degree, the damage caused by the climate-related disaster. By portraying a Puerto Rico forced to survive without electricity, Allora & Calzadilla seem to suggest that we ourselves are without a guiding light, without plans for a sustainable future, especially in our own latitudes. The book – the catalogue of the namesaked exhibition held in Rome from 16 February to 30 May 2018 curated by Hou Hanru and Anne Palopoli – contains the photographs of the works on display, two Marino Neri’s illustrations, specially drawn for the occasion, and essays by T.J. Demos, Sara Nadal Melsió and Frances Negròn Muntaner.

Jennifer Allora e Guillermo Calzadilla confermano la loro potenza espressiva e la lucidità della loro provocazione intellettuale. Per la prima volta presenti con una “personale” appositamente creata per gli spazi del MAXXI, sono già stati protagonisti di incursioni che hanno lasciato il segno nei nostri occhi. Leggerezza e complessità attraggono da sempre il sodalizio artistico e umano della coppia americana, di origini cubane, sbocciato a Firenze e trapiantatosi da tempo in Portorico. E proprio all’isola caraibica, investita da terrificanti uragani nell’estate 2017, è dedicata Blackout: una raccolta di opere poetiche e graffianti. C’è la denuncia di una sofferenza prodotta dalla sua storia di sfruttamento coloniale, di marginalità, di una soggezione alle servitù militari e di una povertà endemica che hanno moltiplicato, all’estremo limite, i danni causati dal disastro climatico. Allora & Calzadilla, esprimendo la Portorico costretta a sopravvivere senza corrente elettrica, sembrano suggerirci che siamo senza luce, senza un disegno di futuro sostenibile, soprattutto alle nostre latitudini. Il libro, catalogo della omonima mostra in programma a Roma dal 16 febbraio al 30 maggio 2018 curata da Hou Hanru e Anne Palopoli, oltre alle fotografie delle opere in esposizione, contiene due tavole di Marino Neri disegnate per l’occasione e i saggi di T.J. Demos, Sara Nadal Melsió e Frances Negròn Muntaner.

Edited by / A cura di Hou Hanru, Anne Palopoli
Book design by Bunker

16.5 × 24 cm (6.5 × 9.5”)
148 pages / pagine
Softcover / Cucito
Italian, English edition

ISBN 978-88-98030-23-1
Available from 15 February 2018

In the Press


Hou Hanru, Anne Palopoli

Hou Hanru (1963) and Anne Palopoli (1974), artistic director and assistant curator at MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo, curated the first site-specific exhibition of the contemporary artists duo Allora & Calzadilla in Rome. Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla have been collaborating since 1995. Their artistic production ranges from sculpture to performance, through architecture and social or political intervention, thus reflecting on the complex overlapping of global politics and personal identity. Their initiatives often take place outside the institutional artistic context, signaling uncomfortable conditions or problems with the aim of provoking an open discussion that in reality leads to a wider public. Even more significant is the fact that their conceptual work, although critical, is underlined by poetry and playfulness that make the experience completely emotional.