Postcards from the Desert Island, the sixth and last appointment of AN EDUCATION – the series of exhibitions of artists’ videos and workshops curated by ALAgroup – opens on November 30th at Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese. The video, by Adelita Husni-Bey, will be shown in the project room of the Villa until December 29th.
Postcards from the Desert Island (2011) documents a workshop conducted by the artist with the pupils of the École Vitruve, a primary state-run experimental school in Paris. Drawing inspiration from William Golding’s novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, Husni-Bey asked the children – aged between seven and ten – to build a desert island within the school. The video shows them struggling with some of the basic principles and issues related to self-government: how to imagine a life without institutions, the law, the struggle for power, how to deal with immigration and civil disobedience, and where to draw the distinction between public and private. The video therefore deals with the basic concepts of experimental education, the development of the students’ critical and analytical skills, dialogue, non-competition, and anti-discrimination.
On the morning of the opening – from 10 am to 1 pm – the artist will conduct a workshop with a group of pupils from a secondary school; through a series of exercises based on the experiences and the work of Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed), various hypotheses of conflict will be staged in order to understand its roots, to analyse the origin of our prejudices and the methods of construction of our subjectivity.
In the afternoon, at 5 pm, Adelita Husni-Bey will meet the public during a conversation with the curator of AN EDUCATION Maria Rosa Sossai, the film critic Andrea Bellavita and the artistic director of Villa e Collezione Panza Anna Bernardini. From December 3rd to December 29th the video will be screened in the chapel on the first floor of the villa, specially set up as a project room. Guided tours will be available for students.
AN EDUCATION is an initiative of FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano and is curated by ALAgroup, the platform for education and contemporary art founded by Maria Rosa Sossai. The project stems primarily from the didactic-educational need to attract young people to the museum and stimulate their interest in contemporary art, with an emphasis on new technologies and the new media, which has always been one of the main guidelines behind Giuseppe Panza’s choices in the creation of his Collection.
AN EDUCATION is organized with the support and assistance of the Province and the Municipality of Varese. The event benefits from the valuable contribution of Eni, which – as main partner of “Eventi nei Beni del FAI” (events in the FAI properties) – sponsors the Foundation in this important project. PIRELLI, which for many years has supported the Foundation, Cedral Tassoni, the historic Italian brand that for the second consecutive year has decided to pair the tradition, the history and the naturalness of their product with FAI, and UBI – Banca Popolare di Bergamo, also renew their contribution.
Adelita Husni-Bey (Milan, 1985) lives and works in Milan and New York. In 2007 she obtained a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design followed by an MA in Sociology and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths University, both in London. In 2008 she won the British Council Grant for Artists Abroad and, in 2010, she participated in the residency programme organised by the Antonio Ratti Foundation (visiting professor Hans Haacke). In 2011, she took part in the residency programme ‘6artista’ promoted by Pastificio Cerere, Rome, and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; she recently completed the Independent Study Programme of the Whitney Museum, New York. In 2012 she was awarded the Young Collectors Prize promoted by the Young Collectors Association, Rome. Among her solo exhibitions: Playing Truant, Gasworks, London, 2012; Clays Lane Live Archive, Supplement Gallery, London, 2012; La Montagna Verde. Dove? Nel Deserto. Per Dove? Verso il Nulla, Viafarini-Careof, Milan, 2011. Among her group exhibitions: Meeting Points 7- Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks, MuHKA, Antwerp, 2013; O degree Performance-the fragile beauty of crisis, special project within the 5th Moscow Biennale, 2013; TRACK – A Contemporary City Conversation, S.M.A.K Museum, Ghent, Belgium, 2012; Right to Refusal, Magazin4/Kunstverein Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria, 2012; A Holiday from Rules, MACRO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, 2011.