From 12 September to 16 October 2022 the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi presents a new project created specifically for the city of Milan: Gilded Darkness [The golden darkness] by the American artist Nari Ward (St. Andrew, Jamaica, 1963; lives and works in New York). In the external and internal spaces of the Roman Bathing Center, in the Città Studi area, Nari Ward will bring unpublished works, made for the occasion, alongside famous sculptures, environmental installations and interventions.
After presenting in the autumn 2020 The Sky in a Room by Ragnar Kjartansson at the Church of San Carlo al Lazzaretto, and after starting in the 2021 the activities of the Beatrice Trussardi Foundation - launching the nomadic model of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation on an international scale - the President Beatrice Trussardi and the Artistic Director Massimiliano Gioni have chosen to return to the heart of the city of Milan with a new intervention in dialogue with the urgencies of our time.
Known for his sculptures and installations assembled with recycled materials, since the beginning of the nineties, Nari Ward he helped to imagine contemporary art and culture as global and polyphonic experiences.
Of Jamaican origin, Ward moved with his family to New York at a young age, and after his art studies he settled in Harlem, predominantly African American neighborhood of Manhattan. Affected by the proliferation of abandoned objects in the streets, Ward began to collect objects with a strong symbolic value. From the handling of these materials - strollers, shopping carts, umbrellas, shoelaces and other found objects and municipal waste - monumental installations were born that transformed the language of contemporary sculpture, introducing theatrical and immersive experiences which then became a typical aspect of the art of this new century.
One of his best-known works will open the project for the Roman Seaside Center, Amazing Grace, produced during his residence in 1993 allo Studio Museum in Harlem: for this large installation, Ward picked up over 300 abandoned strollers arranging them in the form of a ship's hull. The staging is accompanied by the voice of the African-American gospel singer and activist Mahalia Jackson, that intones the poignant Amazing Grace.
Installed in the rarely accessible spaces of the old changing rooms of the Romano pool, the work is charged with new meanings: it is an anti-monument that recalls recent images of strollers left in stations on the border with Ukraine to welcome refugees fleeing the conflict but it is also a big hug that envelops the spectators in a melancholy and poignant atmosphere.
Accanto ad Amazing Grace, Nari Ward will present a series of works that focus on many themes that animate his research: dialogue between cultures, art as a space for meeting and exchanging, the formation of identity on the border between different languages and traditions e, particularly, a reflection on the function of monuments at a time marked by the continuous revision of history and by the numerous collapses and repeated crises that have defined these last years.
Gilded Darkness will be articulated in the spaces of Roman Bathing Center, occupying them with physical and immaterial traces. The history of the Center - designed by the architect Luigi Secchi during Fascism, inaugurated in 1929 and dedicated to the memory of the young Olympic champion Guido Romano who died at the front during the First World War - tells of the ideals of victory and greatness, of wars and athletics, of nationalism and imperialism: concepts to which Ward responds with his precarious monuments and with objects that embody stories of small everyday heroisms, episodes of collective joy but also images of defeats and falls of the triumphal myths that had crossed the twentieth century.
At the center of the exhibition there are some new productions, commissioned by the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, including Emergence Pool, a intervention site-specific on the swimming pool - central element of the Seaside Center, with its rectangular tub of 4000 square feet, almost the size of a football field - which is transformed into a giant expanse of gold: a fragile raft made up of thousands of floating thermal blankets.
Not far away, a huge white flag hoisted on a crane evokes images of nationalism, violence and defeat, while from the speakers of Battleground Beacon they spread sounds and musical compositions made in collaboration with various groups and individuals who live and live in Milan: soundscapes that tell the relationship with the city of people who come from other countries and cultures.
Gilded Darkness of Nari Ward is part of a series of important exhibition projects carried out by 2003 by the Nicola Trussardi Foundation: works of public art, mostre temporanee, raids, pop-up performances and interventions that brought famous international artists including Pawel Althamer to Milan, So & Calzadilla, Maurizio Cattelan, Shut up Dean, Jeremy Deller, Elmgreen and Dragset, Urs Fischer, Fischli e Weiss, Gelitin, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sarah Lucas, Ibrahim Mahama, Paul McCarthy, Paola Pivi, Pilots Rest, Henri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Stan VanDerBeek.
The Nicola Trussardi Foundation is a private non-profit institution, a nomadic museum for the production and dissemination of contemporary art in multiple contexts and through the most diverse channels, which was born in Milan in 1996. Its activities are made possible thanks to the generosity of the founding members and the members of the Circle of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, group of supporters and supporters who support their projects.
Gilded Darkness by Nari Ward continues the path undertaken by the Foundation in 2003, to bring contemporary art to the heart of the city of Milan, rediscovering and enhancing forgotten and unusual places and reinventing urban spaces thanks to the energies and gaze of today's most interesting artists.
Gilded Darkness is conceived and produced by the Nicola Trussardi Foundation and created with the collaboration of Milanosport.
Thanks to Assimpredil Ance for the support.
Thanks to Spazio Aperto Servizi Società Cooperativa Sociale Onlus, Farsi Prossimo Social Cooperative Society Onlus, Community Project Cooperative Society a.r.l., CEAS - Ambrosian Solidarity Center for the creation of the sound of the work Battleground Beacon (2021-2022).
Thanks to the Municipality of Milan.
Media Partner: Sky Arte.
Born in St. Andrew, in Jamaica, in 1963, Nari Ward is one of the best known contemporary artists of his generation.
Active since the nineties, his work has been exhibited in the most important event internationals - from the Venice Biennale (1993), at the Whitney Museum Biennial in New York (1995), a Documenta XI a Kassel (2002) - and is part of the collections of major museums in the United States and around the world, including the Harlem Studio Museum, il Brooklyn Museum, the MoMA, il Whitney Museum, the Public Library in New York (USA), lo Smithsonian American Art Museum di Washington (USA), the ICA of Boston (USA), the MoCA of Los Angeles (USA), il Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (USA), the GAM of Turin (Italy), Istanbul Modern a Istanbul (Turkey).
He has also received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Fellowship Award, The United States Artists (Chicago, 2020); il Vilcek Prize della Vilcek Foundation (New York, 2017); he Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation (Chicago, 2015); the Rome Award of the American Academy of Rome (Rome, 2012); e premi dall’American Academy of Arts and Letters (1998), dalla Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1996) e dal National Endowment for the Arts (1994). Finally, he received prestigious commissions from the UN and the World Health Organization.