Le Teste in Oggetto, 2009

In this piece by Rossella Biscotti, Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question) are those of King Vittorio Emanuele III and Benito Mussolini. Found by the artist in the storerooms of the Palazzo degli Uffici in the EUR district in Rome, these five bronze sculptures were commissioned to Giovanni Prini (1877-1958) and domenico Rambelli (1886-1972) for the 1942 World’s Fair, which was later cancelled. In one sense, Rossella Biscotti’s installation presents these bronze sculptures to the public for the first time and, in another, she also radically reverses their original meaning: rather than celebratory monuments, they become the focus of reflection and discussion. The artist decided to leave the meter-high sculptures on the wooden pallets used during their storage at the EUR warehouse, and to place them in the exhibition space so that visitors can walk around them and look at them close up. Moreover, the positioning of the bronzes on the floor inevitably changes the way they are seen; by demolishing the concept of monumentality, the work thus encourages historical analysis and invites viewers to explore the meaning of artistic representation.
Le Teste in Oggetto investigates the relationship between power and art, between patron and artist, between bureaucratic obligations and production methods, raising interesting questions about the status of contemporary artists and their degree of intellectual and conceptual autonomy. Not coincidentally, in the publication accompanying the installation at the Nomas Foundation in Rome, Rossella Biscotti included reproductions of the correspondence between the sculptors and the office which commissioned the works on behalf of the regime, as well as the letters between the artist herself and the EUR regarding their loan. This material, along with images showing the works in storage and their transport and delivery to the Nomas Foundation, not only documents the entire process of the work and its development, but creates a direct link between past and present, between history and the future.

Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
Rossella Biscotti, Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question) , 2009
view of the installation at the Nomas Foundation, Rome, 2009
gelatin silver print 110x141 cm
photo: Ela Bialkowska
Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
Rossella Biscotti, Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
detail
c-print, 27 x 39,5 cm
photo: Ela Bialkowska
Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
Rossella Biscotti, Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
detail
c-print, 27 x 39,5 cm
photo: Ela Bialkowska
Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
Rossella Biscotti, Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question), 2009
c-print, 27 x 39,5 cm
photo: Ela Bialkowska