Forgotten Places - ROME ART WEEK
International group exhibition
2023 October / November, Rome, Italy
Curated by: LoosenArt
The Forgotten Places exhibition curated by LoosenArt and hosted at the Millepiani space is a collection of photographic and video works that constitute an exploratory excursus of abandoned, forgotten and rediscovered places. With the advent of photography, a new documentary approach intervenes in giving a testimony of human kind, through the direct recording of behaviors and the traces they leave. One of the most representative approaches of the exhibition concerns the phenomenon of Urbex - Urban Exploration - an activity of exploration of abandoned places, its objective being that of telling the history of those who have lived there, through documenting the traces and objects which seem to be fixed and frozen in time.
A further focus of the exhibition is to shed light on the evocative charm of places where nature makes itself manifest by redeeming its spaces, asking questions and offering opportunities for reflections on our relationship with the environment starting from the need for a more organic relationship with it. “Forgotten places” are also those personal places that pertain to each of our biographies, places that require a return to observe the images of our memories with new eyes, or to rekindle memories of an experience in order to better understand who we are.
The group show, where the artists exhibit their pieces within a month, insists on a topic which gives rise to reflections and ideas about our yesterday and today. Forgotten places reminds us of something that happened but doesn’t exist anymore - or it survives in a different way. It is a collective projection of places and non-places that cuts through continents, cultures and time.
Talking about forgotten places often means packing a bag, leaving and going far away. Towards periphery, towards the countryside - going out of the centre, out of the beating heart of the city. The images of those places are usually associated with - whether physical, material or emotional - isolation. They show empty rooms, broken glasses, open windows looking at a desolate landscape; these are stories that made sense, once. In this context, it is no coincidence that many artists, in their pieces, preferred and used the black and white, in order to increase that time-space distance between the images and us. And this state of remoteness goes hand in hand with forgetfulness: when one doesn’t experience nor see something, this thing doesn’t exist anymore, if not in the eyes and in the heart of a few.
Someplace else, abandonment and forgetfulness are coupled with a controversial story (or, better, History) made of pain, violence and craziness that people intend to erase from their minds. Remembering is acceptable, but without the trouble inflicted by the walls where those things occurred. And if, by leaving a place, we finally have the possibility of going beyond the emotional hurdles: why should we stay?
Once again, it’s time to pack and leave. Though in the opposite direction this time: towards salvation, far from the past.
At the exhibition, one finds also the utopian or post-apocalyptic path, practiced by the artists that, fascinated by the surreal decadence of a place (a deserted pool or gym, that no longer have their purpose left), projected their pieces in a future that still has to happen. It is here that the sparse survivors in a world that has completely changed have the privilege of retracing those environments. At this point, a discarded place changes its identity, becoming a photographic background set in our tomorrow (or after-tomorrow).
Ultimately, Forgotten Places is also a narration about the socio-economic changes that occurred within the last decades. On the one hand, all those brutalist, unfinished buildings - where concrete is the only possible language - say something about economic crises and huge decreases in the construction sector. On the other, the deserted countryside and the abandoned towns mirror significant social changes (the move from the periphery to the city), but also natural catastrophes (earthquakes that forced people to move elsewhere).
Therefore this group exhibition becomes a rediscovery inside out: from the centre to the periphery (or vice versa), but also within the eyes, hearts and minds of those who want to remember - or to forget. Because, in the end, highlighting what we want to forget only means one thing: the opposite.