The confrontation between the individual and history is at the heart of a work by the Italian, Berlin based artist, Daniela Comani: It Was Me. Diary 1900-1999, presented also at the LIV Venice Biennale. Comani’s activity is oriented towards gender stereotypes, cultural habits, memory, and expressed through photographs, drawings, videos, installations, publishing. It Was Me recounts the 20th century by concentrating a selection of epochal events in a virtual year of 366 days, without listing them in chronological order. The work has three versions: it can be listened to as a radio chronicle, in various languages; it can be read by leafing through a book; it can be looked at, printed on a large canvas, as a wall of dates and words. In the audio version, listening goes from January 1st to December 31st which correspond, respectively, to the foundation of the German Communist Party (1919) and to the escape from Cuba of the dictator Batista (1958). In the book and in the display, access to data and dates is not necessarily sequential: the reader can go from one date to another, according to personal paths, curiosity, suggestions, checking the year of the event on the chronology provided. The peculiarity of this selection lies in the fact that all the events reported are told by the author in the first person female: the artist expresses herself as if everything - two world wars, the fall of secular empires, Holocaust, dictatorial regimes, weapons of mass destruction, colonialism, capitalism, feminism, protest, hope for a better world - had happened to her, as if she were Hirohito or Einstein or Woolf or an anonymous survivor to terroristic attacks. A short-circuit is triggered between the enormity of the facts and the individual, who assumes responsibility and - by means of artistic impact – is led to reflect on crucial issues in history.

A Wall of Dates: How a Work of Art Can Make the 20th Century Readable, Audible and Traversable

Sbrilli Antonella
2022

Abstract

The confrontation between the individual and history is at the heart of a work by the Italian, Berlin based artist, Daniela Comani: It Was Me. Diary 1900-1999, presented also at the LIV Venice Biennale. Comani’s activity is oriented towards gender stereotypes, cultural habits, memory, and expressed through photographs, drawings, videos, installations, publishing. It Was Me recounts the 20th century by concentrating a selection of epochal events in a virtual year of 366 days, without listing them in chronological order. The work has three versions: it can be listened to as a radio chronicle, in various languages; it can be read by leafing through a book; it can be looked at, printed on a large canvas, as a wall of dates and words. In the audio version, listening goes from January 1st to December 31st which correspond, respectively, to the foundation of the German Communist Party (1919) and to the escape from Cuba of the dictator Batista (1958). In the book and in the display, access to data and dates is not necessarily sequential: the reader can go from one date to another, according to personal paths, curiosity, suggestions, checking the year of the event on the chronology provided. The peculiarity of this selection lies in the fact that all the events reported are told by the author in the first person female: the artist expresses herself as if everything - two world wars, the fall of secular empires, Holocaust, dictatorial regimes, weapons of mass destruction, colonialism, capitalism, feminism, protest, hope for a better world - had happened to her, as if she were Hirohito or Einstein or Woolf or an anonymous survivor to terroristic attacks. A short-circuit is triggered between the enormity of the facts and the individual, who assumes responsibility and - by means of artistic impact – is led to reflect on crucial issues in history.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1652004
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