With the personal exhibition Three Grades of Foreignness, based on an intensive research activity carried out by Yuval Avital during his stay in Blenio Valley, the artist proposes three artworks in dialogue with the spaces of La Fabbrica del Cioccolato Foundation, realized with the aim of exploring the complex relationship between humans and nature. The outcome, perfectly integrated with the local environment, is a work in which Avital approaches the curatorial theme foreignness with great perspicacity, revealing the ways in which man and nature continuously diverge, collide and reunite. The exhibition path winds through a symbiosis of sounds, images and lights, in which the public discovers three interconnected installations where the human being is first represented as hostile and in contrast with nature and then brought back to its primordial state, going across three phases characterizing this relationship: alienation, conflict and reunification.
In the first installation, FOREIGN BODIES, the human body is portrayed as intrusive and in dissonance with a utopian nature. Seven professional dancers, coming from the corps de ballet of well-known international theatre centres such as La Scala, Bejart and Shan-Wei, appear in seven parallel video projection, filmed and directed by the artist in several scenes shot in more than thirty places of the Valley with the support of two experienced alpine guides. Their transformation into trembling organisms incarnates body metaphors of the desire to reconnect with nature and of the inevitable distance from it, making them appear as lonely, mechanic and animalistic figures, integrated and disturbing at the same time. The framework, which comprises more than seven hours of videos, is complemented by a polyphonic electronic score of more than 90 minutes composed by recordings of the Valley’s sounds, processed and distorted.
Humans and nature come into conflict in the second installation, LANDS. Here a circle of agricultural soil is surrounded by a ring of loudspeakers spreading a polyphony both towards the centre and towards the outside. The soil delimited by artificial boundaries represents a struggle caused, on one hand, by the difficulty of separating our roots from nature and, on the other hand, by the human effort to control and shape the latter. Witnessing LANDS, visitors feel immersed in nature, where birds, insects and the breeze populate the environment. But the feeling changes soon: the chirping of the birds is gradually replaced by uncanny mechanical imitations of their voices; the word “land” starts echoing in a variety of languages through computer voicing; the wind becomes storm. The perception is then brought back to nature and again to the artificial, in a bustle of sounds that unleash a battle aimed at obtaining a hint of lost beauty and purity. Guests are invited to walk on the circled soil, sit, lie down and build their own personalized path, changing their listening perception and becoming active participants of the performance.
The last installation, REH’EM (womb in Hebrew), finally reunites man and nature, guiding the public into a restricted, dark environment, symbol of the maternal womb, where the sounds associated with the pregnancy and birth of Avital’s daughter, Alma, alternate with the sounds of seismic movements of the earth, complemented by the projection of floating diaphanous images.
A few images of the exhibition Three Grades of Foreignness, opening Saturday April 22, 2017 at La Fabbrica del Cioccolato:
Previous works of Yuval Avital:
Yuval Avital, ALMA MATER, 2015. Courtesy of the artist. Photo Credit: Enzo Mologni.
Born in Jerusalem in 1977 and living in Milan, the composer, multimedia artist and guitarist Yuval Avital develops his works in a variety of places, including public spaces, industrial archaeological sites, theatres and museums, challenging the traditional crystallized categories that separate the arts. His wide-ranging career includes the realization of sound and video installations, collective performances involving sound masses in the creation of contemporary rituals, icon-sonic artworks, complex multimedia frameworks and technological projects with the participation of scientists and the contribution of artificial intelligence.
Among his works: ALMA MATER – for 140 loudspeakers, video and performers (Milan, 2015); FUGA PERPETUA – icon-sonic opera created in collaboration with and sponsored by UNHCR (Teatro Comunale Pavarotti in Modena, Brighton Festival, NEAT Festival, 2016); REKA – mass event for six traditional singers, two percussionists and a crowd of hundreds of voices (Warsaw Autumn Festival, 2014); KARAGATAN – for 100 tradition gong and bamboo musicians coming from 11 countries of South-East Asia (Philippines, 2013); OTOT- icon-sonic symphony (opening of the symphonic season of Theatre of Como, Italy); SPACES UNFOLDED – sound installation created in collaboration with NASA and ESA scientists (Italy, 2012); GARON – for 45 tubas, 6 percussion, 3 conductors, choir and live electronics (closing event of Dirty Corner by Anish Kapoor, Milan 2012); four works commissioned by Italian festivals (KOLOT 2008, SAMARITANI 2010, LEILIT 2011, NOISE FOR SYD 2013).