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La parola è sempre l’avanguardia dell’azione (The word is always the vanguard of action), 2018

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La parola è sempre l'avanguardia dell’azione
(The word is always the vanguard of action)
Various materials (embroidered textiles, wooden structures, poster)
1-channel film
Colour, mute
Shot on HD, transferred onto a hard disk drive
Aspect ratio: 1,85:1
2 min 58 sec, loop


In La parola è sempre l'avanguardia dell'azione (The word is always the vanguard of action), Julian Rosefeldt scrutinises the dynamics of the current political situation in Italy. In light of the increasing populist alignment – not only of local government policies, but also of other governments worldwide – the articles of the Italian constitution cited on the horse costumes (Italian: gualdrappe) appear like a reminding farewell to fundamental values of civilization, which for a long time seemed to be guaranteed and unassailable but are endangered nowadays by populist movements around the world.

In an equestrian monument, the horse always stands for the people; the rider steers it. In Julian Rosefeldt’s video however, four riderless horses gallop through the streets of Rome, past government buildings such as the Palazzo Chigi and the Quirinal Palace, and past famous equestrian monuments by protagonists of the Risorgimento. The costumes shown here are inspired by Simone Martini’s Sienese painting of Guidoriccio da Fogliano. In Fondazione Memmo, on the opening evening of the first exhibition of this work (as part of the group exhibition Conversation Piece / Part V, December 2018 to March 2019), four horses wore the costumes, as seen in the video. The animals themselves became part of the artwork – a reference to Jannis Kounellis’ renowned Arte Povera work 12 cavalli vivi (1969), which at the time was shown in the legendary Galleria L’Attico in Rome.


Exhibitions / Catalogues

Ti Bergamo, Radio Bergamo, GAMeC, Bergamo, October 2020-January 2021
Villa Massimo at KW, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, January 2020
Il Mondo Animale, Galerie Klüser, Munich, September–October 2019
Festa dell'Estate, Villa Massimo, Rome, 13 June 2019
Conversation Piece | Part V, Fondazione Memmo, Rome, December 2018–March 2019
Other Works / La parola è sempre l’avanguardia dell’azione (The word is always the vanguard of action), 2018