“Renata, remember you are unconscious; you have no expression, no pain, you don’t yell, you are unconscious!” (2022) [ exhibition at the British School at Rome ]
Solo exhibition of mixed media works by Adam Chodzko at the British School at Rome.
Using video, nettle seeds, pruning, geolocation, drawing, posters, photography, performance and “the guiding spirit of Pier Paolo Pasolini”, Chodzko explores the strange play of our unconscious minds and asks what new ecologies might grow out of the end of everything?
“Renata, remember you are unconscious; you have no expression, no pain, you don’t yell, you are unconscious!” This instruction is a piece of acting guidance that Pier Paolo Pasolini called out to one of the actors, Renata Moar, while directing the film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)).
Please, everyone, let’s be conscious that we are unconscious! It is obviously now far too late to express our familiar human reactions. We’ve clearly moved beyond that point and reached the end of this particular journey. Perhaps from this location we can now sense the limits of what the human is capable of; our capacities to destroy and create?
Our time is up! Let’s stop whatever it is we are doing and gather together our belongings -and ourselves – and get ready to grow into the next level. We’ll discover what we become next at exactly this moment, and this place; It’s right here and now that we have a brief vantage point from which to achieve a good look at reality.
Now, let’s step outside to clear our heads!
This solo exhibition by artist Adam Chodzko (UK), of early, recent and new mixed media work, is devised as a walk in multiple directions guided by the spirit of Pier Paolo Pasolini, raising questions about our relationships to endings, limits, attention, empathy and hauntings. What grows from an ending?
In Reunion; Salò (1998)* Chodzko resurrects the teenagers seen murdered in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s final film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) using video, photography and posters. His video Knots (2013) reworks the hilariously sung opening credits to Pasolini’s Uccellacci e uccellini (1966) as a method of imagining artist Kurt Schwitters’ (1887-1948) empathic attentions in his own final months of life, trying to make his last Merz in a small barn in England’s Lake District. A series of drawings, outside, to clear my head (2020 – 2022) imagines and embodies two walks Pasolini took in his home neighbourhoods of Versuta (1948) and Rebibbia (1954). Perceived from below and above the ground, Chodzko uses the aerial (or subterranean) surreal poetics of geocoding.
Further works involve nettle seeds, A Sting from Two Houses (2022), whose germination has been suspended in order to share with us a projected image of a family dynamic. Another, ah; open; offering; severing; ah (2022), involves pruning the vegetation in the courtyard garden of the British School at Rome to filter our perception of a location in Tanzania. Chodzko will also be presenting a performative lecture on the opening night.
Now, is everything and everyone ok?
(The end times, Eschatology, the science of last things, it is time to move on).
Yes, but look at that beautiful cloud!
Yes, but look at that beautiful gesture!
Yes, but look at that beautiful hill!
Yes, but look at that beautiful ant!
Yes, but look at that beautiful shirt they’re wearing!
*Adam Chodzko made Reunion; Salò whilst artist in residence at the British School at Rome in 1998.
This exhibition (curated by Marta Pellerini) is part of Pier Paolo Pasolini. Tutto è Santo, a wider exhibition project coordinated and shared by Azienda Speciale Palaexpo di Roma, Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica and the MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Pasolini’s birth.
Installation photographs by Luana Rigolli.