Turku Biennial 2011 prize to Italy

NEWS | Published: 30.6.2011

The monumental work by Mauro Vignando speaks with subtle poetics

The Turku Biennial is a thematic exhibition of contemporary art which is arranged by the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum every two years. The Milan-based artist Mauro Vignando is the recipient of the Turku Biennial 2011 prize. He was chosen to be the winner by Anu Liivak, the director of Kumu, the Art Museum of Estonia in Tallinn.

The museum director Anu Liivak gives the following reasons for her choice:

Mauro Vignando: Untitled, 2011

Why does this particular work deserve to be awarded the prize for Turku Biennial 2011?

First of all, because for me it was the most impressive and fascinating work of art at the Turku Biennial 2011, Patterns of the Mind. Since the exhibition mainly consists of new works produced specially for the exhibition, a key element for many of them is their connection to the museum space. I do not simply mean the connection to the physical attributes of the exhibition space, but the more significant layers of meaning surrounding the museum that are present in many of the works. Many of the artists have been inspired by the rich variety of cultural layers at the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Museum of History and Contemporary Art.

The work of art by the Italian Mauro Vignando is not as distinctly connected to its space as the playful video installation by Magdalena Dziurlikowska, My Secret Life, the installation by Essi Kausalainen, or Magnus Bärtås' Casa Barbieri which enters into a direct dialogue with its surroundings. It may nevertheless be concluded that his work has surely been influenced by the carefully preserved  historical interior of the former Rettig palace as well as the underground historical museum with its several cultural layers. The eroded patterns of the billboard Vignando has put on display in this venue have therefore found a very meaningful background. A relationship based on juxtaposition is created, through which the characteristics of the work of art itself, its context and the exhibition's as a whole are highlighted.

Vignando does not display a concrete abandoned billboard but an object that has been at least partly reconstructed. The feeling of a reconstruction is enhanced by the wooden copies of fluorescent lamps and the seemingly careless aesthetics of the cover fabric. The recycling here is merely an illusion. The artist does not simply bring an abandoned object in the exhibition space but rather portrays it, in a rather realistic tone. Thus he creates a new level of meaning and texture, without giving the viewer clear guidelines about the earlier substance of the work. In one way or the other he reaches his goal. In all its brutal materialism, through its meaningful references and unanswered questions the work has placed itself not only in the symmetric and proportional beauty of the Rettig palace, but also within the framework of the entire exhibition. At the same time it connects current issues within the world of art to broader, existential questions.

Mauro Vignando was born December 9, 1969 in Pordenone, Northern Italy. He currently lives and works in Milan. During the summer 2011 he is visible also in London, where his works may be seen at the Limoncello Gallery group exhibition Two Times Once. In the autumn he will begin working at the Recidency programme at FUTURA Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic. Vignando's first private exhibition was held in Milan in 2007.

Vignando's interest in geometry displays itself in the minimalistic forms of many of his works. His contribution for the Turku Biennial 2011 is a monumental structure titled Untitled. At the heart of his work is an abandoned commercial billboard. His work comments on the will to possess which is one of the corner stones of our current consumer society.

Mauro Vignando describes the events behind his work: Each time I travelled from Milan to Chiasso (Switzerland), I came across the same abandoned billboards. They had become a permanent part of the scenery and they form structures resembling minimalistic art. Billboards are omnipresent in Italian city environments. Once abandoned, they seem to somehow challenge and resist the manipulation of the masses that is entailed in capitalism. I decided to rebuild one of the abandoned billboards and change it profoundly to form a work of art.

As the winner of Turku Biennial 2011 Mauro Vignando will receive a prize of 5 000 Euro and the Turku Biennial medal.

See the accompanying programme of Turku Biennial: www.turkubiennaali.fi
A vote on the audience favourite among the Turku Biennial works of art is open until September 18, 2011.