Maybe Tomorrow

Micol Assaël

In Residence: Sep 17 – Nov 18, 2013

Exhibition: Nov 14, 2013 – Jan 12, 2014

Artpace Curator of Education Kaela Hoskings interviewed curator Paola Morsiani to uncover more about Micol Assaël’s exhibition Maybe Tomorrow.

Why did you choose Micol Assaël as your International Artist-in-Residence for Artpace?

When I was working at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, I was asked to give a talk on Italian artists and Micol happens to be from Rome, though her background is from Israel. I had experienced her work at the Venice Biennale, and I immediately thought that I wanted to connect her to Texas. I felt that her interests in natural events and occurrences that affect our bodies and our understanding of nature would be really enhanced by the experience of this landscape.

How do her works of art relate to science?

Micol really engages in science and the discovery of natural, physical occurrences. She is very interested in what material is, what matter is, and how nothing is really born or destroyed, but everything rather is transformed. These are very old concepts that have been with philosophers of science for a long time. (Micol’s background is actually in philosophy). Her work borrows from science, especially focusing on electric and magnetic fields and the presence that is not there to see, but is actually still there with us. She is interested in these invisible presences. This installation involves electricity or waves in a different format through magnetism.

How was this work created?

In this piece she constructs a sculpture, and the elements are highly magnetic. As a person walks on top of it with shoes whose soles are magnetic, they pick up some of the magnets. As they walk, it becomes increasingly more difficult. The magnets are laid out with the positives and negatives in an alternating pattern to build a very strong, unified field. The person walking disrupts the field and almost fights with it, but then the person is gone. In her work, there are constructions of environments that are difficult to live in, and therefore viewers are there only for a small time. Often they are difficult environments like a prison cell or a mad lab, but something magical has happened. The viewer has felt something happening on his or her body that was not clear or immediately visible. In some of her installations, you can shock a person with a charge. Sometimes her environments can be very violent and frightening, and sometimes you walk through and do not even realize what is happening.


Micol Assaël

Rome, Italy

Italian artist Micol Assaël employs elements of science, mechanics, and natural phenomena to her artwork. Interested in the relationship of the body and the communication at play between her work and the viewer, she often requires her audience to take risks. Developed in cooperation with the Moscow Physics Research Institute, Chizhevsky Lessons (2007) transformed the Kunsthalle Basel exhibition space into an electromagnetic field delivering a noticeable electric charge to viewers. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions worldwide including Fomuska at Museion in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy (2010) and Gakona at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2009). She is the recipient of the PinchukArtCentre’s The Future Generation Art Prize 2012, and was included in the 28th Biennial of São Paulo (2008); Berlin Biennale (2006); Venice Biennale (2003/2005); and the Moscow Biennale (2005).

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Paola Morsiani

Purchase, NY

Paola Morsiani assumed her current position as Director of the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College in July 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, she held the position of Curator of Contemporary Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She previously held the position of Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from 1999 to 2008, where she curated exhibitions that include Andrea Zittel: Critical Space and Subject Plural: Crowds in Contemporary Art, as well as Wishing for Synchronicity: Works by Pipilotti Rist. In 2005, Morsiani’s Andrea Zittel exhibition was awarded Best Design and Architectural Exhibition by the International Association of Art Critics/USA.

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