At MAXXI in Rome comes the first solo exhibition in Italy by Caline Aoun

From September 28 to November 18, 2018, MAXXI in Rome hosts 'Seeing is believing,' the first Italian solo exhibition of Caline Aoun.

From September 28 to November 18, 2018, MAXXI presents together with Deutsche Bank the first solo exhibition in Italy and Europe of Caline Aoun (Beirut, 1983), winner of Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2018/2019 award. The exhibition Seeing is believing, curated by Britta Färber, chief curator of Deutsche Bank’s Art, Culture & Sports department and Anne Palopoli curator at MAXXI, presents four new productions,including two large-scale environmental installations by the young Lebanese artist(Beirut, 1983), winner of the award that Deutsche Bank dedicates each year to emerging or mid-career artists who have distinguished themselves through creativity and significant value of their work.

The exhibition is part of Expanding The Horizon, MAXXI’s program dedicated to developing international collaborations between the museum, other cultural institutions and private collections. “Expanding the Horizon, the project in which Caline Aoun’s exhibition is part of, underscores the fundamental role of collaboration with private institutions, businesses, and collectors in the journey of an institution like MAXXI,” says Giovanna Melandri, President Fondazione MAXXI. “I have always thought that a dialogue between public and private, for the realization of common projects, is good for the world of culture, but in this case I am particularly proud: Because with Deutsche Bank we share a solid partnership, based on a common mission of supporting contemporary creativity, and because the exhibition of Caline Aoun - an artist we also met thanks to the research on the Lebanese art scene carried out for last year’s Home Beirut exhibition - is her first Italian and European solo show, and in MAXXI’s DNA there is support for young creativity and the certainty that art can build cultural bridges of fundamental importance.”

Following the success of previous editions, for the first time this year the exhibition will be premiered at MAXXI. Afterwards, it will be presented at PalaisPopulaire, Deutsche Bank’s new Forum for Art, Culture and Sport in Berlin’s Prinzessinnenpalais.

"For more than 35 years, Deutsche Bank has been promoting contemporary art and fostering exchange between world cultures. And this is a special year for Deutsche Bank’s art program and also for Italy, which has the honor of kicking off Deutsche Bank’s ’Artist of The Year’ exhibition tour for the first time. After the MAXXI in Rome, which we thank for welcoming us for the third year in a row, Caline Aoun’s solo exhibition will continue to the PalaisPopulaire, Deutsche Bank’s new forum dedicated to art, culture and sport that opened just yesterday in the heart of Berlin," commented Flavio Valeri, Deutsche Bank’s Chief Country Officer in Italy

Caline Aoun’s work stems from an alternation of abstract and concrete, physical and digital, and explores concepts that are difficult to depict. The artist, who lives and works between Beirut and London, has the ability to transform what is invisible and immaterial into images, installations, and videos. A distinctive feature of the exhibition, conceived specifically for the spaces of MAXXI’s Gian Ferrari Gallery, is precisely this alternation of an abstract soul, which is expressed through works that suggest the idea of transience, movement, and the cyclical transformation of reality, and a concrete soul linked to the physicality of the museum’s environments involved in and transformed by the artist’s intervention. Seeing is believing aims to stimulate a reflection on our life, in a world in constant motion, traversed by material and immaterial flows of accumulation and dispersion, of things, people, information, images.

Aoun’s thinking focuses on how the evolution of digital technology has altered the perception of information: that is why some of his works come to life from a careful study of their circulation in the age of the Internet and social networks. The artist counteracts the idea that information is devoid of consistency and physicality, so he conducts research on the materiality of data.
The exhibition route opens with the large environmental installation Contemplating dispersions, 536 ml (2018) in which the artist covers the walls of the room with sheets of rice paper. The color with which they are soaked gradually fades until they disappear: this is a printing process in which the ink runs out, creating a transition from deepest black to total absence of color. The image saturated with color, thus unreadable, gradually breaks down into a sequence of lines until it disappears altogether. A reflection on the theme of image exhaustion, but also on the excess, dissipation, and evanescence that Aoun manages to make visible.

Part of Contemplating dispersions, 536 ml is also a partition made solely of sheets of paper so light that they move as visitors pass by, on which the artist projects a live shot of the Lebanon Sea. The camera pointed at the backdrop captures the area where telecommunication network cables run, where the very fast data of the Internet travels. By simply highlighting the path of this data, once again the artist succeeds in making visible what is invisible and emphasizing the physicality of the circulation of news and images, their material weight.

At the center of the gallery is Fountain, The ripples on the surface of duration (2018), a fountain from which gushes the residue of ink from the printing process, a gesture of renewal, regeneration, and cyclicity. For the artist, the sound produced by the dripping of ink is a direct reference to how data constitutes a constant background noise around us.
The second part of the exhibition is composed of Heavy duration, brief glance (2018) another environmental installation in which the artist, who often makes spaces the main object of his work, covers the walls of the museum with a papier-mâché-like compound, the result of which references raw concrete. With this work, Aoun transforms the museum into a cave, a material illusion in which visitors find themselves immersed, a tactile reality that leads them to interact with the physicality of the environment. And the visitors’ own interaction will lead the space to transform and dissipate, in that continuous cyclicality that constitutes for the artist the prime characteristic of reality.

Completing the exhibition is the work Untitled (2018), made with the papier-maché technique, thanks to which the artist reproduces different materials on paper. On the occasion of the exhibition Seeing is Believing, the works Pine Needles (2015), where copper casts of about 4,000 pine needles transform their lightness and transience into physicality and concreteness, and Paperplane (2018), large sheets with folds that evoke paper airplanes, will also be exhibited as part of the Collection.

Born in Beirut in 1983, Caline Aoun is part of a generation of young Lebanese artists who grew up abroad after the civil war broke out in 1975 and completed their art education outside Lebanon. She studied at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design and the Royal Academy Schools in London before completing a doctorate in fine arts at theUniversity of East London in 2012.

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Pictured: Contemplating dispersions, 536 ml by Caline Aoun

At MAXXI in Rome comes the first solo exhibition in Italy by Caline Aoun
At MAXXI in Rome comes the first solo exhibition in Italy by Caline Aoun

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