C / Solo Exhibition at Honold Fine Art / Ubud, Bali / 8 – 22 February 2018
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Honold Fine Art is pleased to present C, the fourth pop up show of HFA in Ubud, Bali and the first solo exhibition with the gallery of Italian born Bali based artist Marco Cassani on view from 8—22 February 2018 at the beautiful back wing of Tonyraka Art Gallery in Bali.
The title of the exhibition ‘C’ refers to the third letter in the Latin alphabet and introduces abbecedario, (Alphabet Book), a projected monograph, which will analyze Cassani’s artistic practice.

Besides Cassani, ‘C’ stands for column, currency, coin and credibility, four words tightly connected by the concept of the creation of value, a red thread in the practice of Cassani, as demonstrate the projects Indisciplinato (Undisciplined) and The Alphabet of Money (Huruf Uang).

The exhibition presents an installation comprised of more than six thousand foreign and Indonesian coins, stacked on top of each other to form five individual columns. Each column differs from the others in physical aspects like height, weight and texture as well as the symbolic and economic value they represent.

Two individual columns forming the work Inseparable Two (Londo Blonyo) 2015–2016, refer to the wages of workers, whom the artist encountered in Yogyakarta. They consist of 1000 Indonesian Rp. 100 coins, with an economic value of Rp. 100.000 and of 1450 Indonesian Rp. 1.000 coins, with an economic value of Rp. 1.450.000 representing the daily and monthly wage for a Javanese married couple of workers in Java, Indonesia respectively.

Fountain ‘Gunung Kawi’ (2017), Fountain ‘Monkey Forest’ (2017) and Fountain ‘Negari’ (2018) all have a different origin. For two years the artist explored three fountains located in Balinese temples and in a Balinese coffee plantation, collecting the coins that tourists and locals had thrown into the water, while making a wish. Their economic values are unknown because many of the coins have corroded over time rendering the getting to know their provenance and actual value impossible.

In the course of creating a visual epitome for the accumulation of money, the artist is actually destroying the coins’ initial monetary value. As an artwork, however, the object will be valued according to a new system of reference; that of contemporary art. Marco Cassani’s work reflects on our economic system; in particular on the precarious state of inter human agreement and the subtle distinction between trading and economy (the creation of value), which is the very base of cultural production.

The exhibition is hosted by Tonyraka Art Gallery, one of the most established commercial art galleries in Bali and will be open everyday from 9 AM to 5 PM. For further information please contact the gallery at info@honoldfineart.com.

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Tropical Conceptualism. Notes on Marco Cassani’s Modus Operandi
by Nicola Trezzi, director and chief curator of Center of Contemporary Art Tel Aviv

The practice of Marco Cassani is based on a unique combination of positions that are quite peculiar within the field of art. On the one hand he decided to live and work in Bali, which is probably one of the most idealized places on earth, subject of myriad different kinds of exotic takes; on the other he devoted himself to a practice that is deeply connected to the tradition of Conceptual Art.

Despite the recent understanding of the global scale of the so-called Movements of the 1960s and 1970s – Conceptual, Minimal, Land, Performance, and Pop Art – these positions still remain at odds with the unwritten rules of art. Furthermore, while museums have presented exhibitions that highlight the international nature, beyond Europe and United States, of Minimal Art, Land Art, and Pop Art, Conceptual Art, despite the famous exhibition ‘Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s,’ presented at the Queens Museum in 1999, paradoxically seems to be still related to the center – as obsolete as this word, and its counterpart periphery, might be.*

Marco Cassani is not alone, if you consider Francis Alÿs in Mexico or Paola Pivi in Alaska, and yet these are very specific and unique positions that belong to the notion of Post Conceptualism or Neo Conceptualism. In other words, Cassani is part of a very small tribe that is fighting for its survival. Another aspect making his position different from Alÿs and Pivi is the fact that Cassani decided to create his conceptual works not only in Indonesia – whose thriving art scene, now becoming international, has little tradition, if none at all, of Conceptualism – but in Bali, which presents an even more extreme situation.

We might argue that for many artists – from Chris Ofili to Peter Doig, from Wim Delvoye to Bali’s longtime resident Ashley Bickerton – the decision to move to places considered exotic or remote can be already considered a conceptual action. Yet, while their amazing works are still dealing with the tradition of Modernism – Painting and Sculpture – Cassani and his few tribe members are definitely going beyond that, generating a double twist.

For all these reasons, I believe that Cassani’s role is that of pioneer. More than a neo-Gauguin, escaping the metropolitan life in the West in order to paint in solitude in some remote island in the Far-East, Cassani resembles a strange mix between Lawrence Weiner and Robinson Crusoe. His works of art, often based on instructions, immaterial at their very core, are ideas to be executed in the unique social environment of Bali, a place that in the last ten years has changed and almost forgot its role of Western paradise.

From his interest in the role of currency, to his desire to create alternative forms of communication, new languages, from his desire to analyze the notion of labor and the practice of exhibition making, in parallel with that of art making, Cassani’s modus operandi resembles that of artists who are acting in the most rarefied and sophisticated art context (New York, London, Paris) with the ‘only’ difference of doing what he does in a place that has not tradition, no reception and very little understanding, “lost in translation” somebody might say.**

At the same time his work is completely local, it is rooted in the Balinese condition, which is not so much that of the ex-pat but rather that of somebody, who tries to incorporate his presence, his creative eye, his ideas in the scene, rather than looking at the scene from the position of voyeur.

‘C’ Marco Cassani’s first solo exhibition at Honold Fine Art is a celebration of all of these desires, an ode to Conceptual Art that echoes from the Monkey Forest.***

Notes:
* I am specifically referring to the following exhibitions: ‘International Pop,’ presented at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2016, ‘The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop,’ presented at the Tate Modern in London in 2015, ‘Other Primary Structures,’ presented at the Jewish Museum in New York in 2014 and ‘Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974,’ presented at MOCA in Los Angeles in 2012.
** Cassani’s role in Kayu, initiator, artistic director, factotum, impresario, must be kept in mind.
*** The first time I met the artist, he took me to The Monkey Forest, which is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex in Ubud, Bali. Its official name is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Balinese Mandala Suci Wenara Wana), and its name as written on its welcome sign is the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.


Honold Fine Art
Hosted by Tonyraka Art Gallery
Jalan Raya Mas No. 86
Ubud, Gianyar Bali 80571
info@honoldfineart.com
www.honoldfineart.com