it is in the mother Naples which hosts the first Italian retrospective exhibition in Jimmy Durham, a versatile and ironic artist. An exhibition of 150 works in constant dialogue with each other, displayed along the third floor of the museum. The picture that emerges is that of a complex artist who appears to us at first glance in fragmentary form and then recreates itself in the mind at the end of the exhibition like a large tapestry.
The works on display tell all aspects of the artist and the themes he worked on. In fact, it is the Durham political and cultural idea connected to the West and Asia that is central, which is deftly told through his works, making sure that this serves as a common thread. Observing the works, the concept of Eurasia on which Durham worked so much seems clear, telling of the intervention of the West and the relationship between the latter and the East with sculptures, poems, texts, drawings and performances, the baptism of Europe and Eurasia. Durham’s work throughout his life focused on deciphering and deconstructing the images and symbols that make up the language of dominant systems as they do in the overall work European Natural Life Museum Designed and created thanks to collaboration with the artist Maria Teresa Alves, consisting of videos, photographs, cartoons, maps, journals, and scholarly texts showcasing the processes of normalization of narratives revolving around European identity at the expense of others. This, as can be easily understood, is coupled with a deep social criticism but also with a great sense of humor that permeates most of the artist’s works, especially those based on criticism of gender issues and art itself, as it happens in the works. Selfie with traditional scottish kwiltAnd the EuromanAnd the In the beginning was the word And the Anti Brancusi in which he ironically disputes patriotism and manhood, religion and art. Furthermore, the artist also has a deep interest in science. A typical example is the sentence presented and at the bottom of scientific works: «My work is based on the idea of science as a curiosity, as a new way of seeing things, and investigating them without preconceptions in order to reach change and ‘innovation’. This is what science means to me: a set of predetermined ideas, the acceptance of discovery, an unexpected insight into reality. This perception of scientific research interests me.
Jamie Durham: Humanity is not a finished project
Edited by Kathryn Ware
Until April 10, 2023
Madre Museum – Via Luigi Settembrini, 79, Naples
“Infuriatingly humble social media buff. Twitter advocate. Writer. Internet nerd.”