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Nicholas Polari

Curated by spazioSERRA
Critical text by Ilaria 

On display from 25/01/2023 to 01/03/2023
Opening Wednesday 25/0
1/2023 at 19:00
Lancetti railway station, Milan

Nicholas Polari (Turin, Italy, 1993) is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Turin, where he studied at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti. His research investigates the dynamics of interaction and balance between human and animal organisms and their reciprocity in their context; pursuing an analysis characterized by different media and languages, he proposes immersive and heterogeneous installations. His latest project, “Amore mio,” is exhibited first in a solo show curated by Associazione Bastione in the spaces of Villa Rey (2021) and in Milan during the project “Cemento Armato” curated by the D’Ora collective at the spaces of the former civilian Bunker in via degli Imbriani (2022).

Ilaria Leonetti (Rome, Italy, 1994) is an independent curator. She investigates the concept of future as nostalgia: the idea of living in an imperishable present, in which time seems expired, is combined with the importance of rituals and folklore to rediscover escamotages and forgotten realities. She is a co-founder of D'Ora, a collective of young curators and architects that organizes exhibitions with emerging artists in disused places. She studied Art History at the University of Roma Tre and Freie Universität Berlin and holds an MA in Visual Cultures and Curatorial Practices from Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. She attended Campo21, a course in curatorial practices at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.


Dragon is Nicholas Polari’s site-specific exhibition proposed as part of unpostoIMPOSSIBILE, spazioSERRA’s current exhibition season in which the selected artists abstract their artistic experience from a physical space to an “elsewhere” that cannot be placed, through a continuous dialogue between inside/interior and outside/exterior. The exhibition is on display from Wednesday the 25th of January to Wednesday the 1st of March 2023 at the Lancetti railway station in Milan.

In rally - a motorsport discipline that involves competing on public roads closed to traffic - the driver needs a co-driver, called a “navigator,” whose job is to anticipate to the driver the road they are traveling: in this way, the car advances as fast as possible. The relationship established between driver and navigator is one of great intensity, trust, confidence and dedication. Driver and navigator communicate through notes, concise and almost indecipherable directions composed of numbers, conjunctions and single words, which describe the actions to take on spot, in a spasmodic attempt to anticipate the future.

Polari, from his first encounter with spazioSERRA, immediately traced its architectural structure back to that of the cockpit of the racing car, an environment in which, as in a railway station, dynamics, escapes and interactions take place, giving rise to flows of passage and exchange. In Dragon the race car is likened to a dragon, and driver and navigator to a
knight and a fortune-teller.

spazioSERRA is traversed along its sides by elongated structures that form a stargate, a futuristic portal that crosses time and space and that carries symbols and words related to rally notes. The notes, the result of the mapping of spazioSERRA and the Lancetti station, carry a series of words with an empathetic character, making the dialogue between driver and navigator, whose relationship is essential to winning and surviving the race, more human. Footage derived from rally races made by camera cars scrolls on a screen, interspersed with frames in which the dragon prepares for the race, toward which it harbors an uncontrollable desire, as the knight and the fortune-teller, driven to create a new language in order to excel.

Ilaria Leonetti writes in the critical text that accompanies the exhibition, “I asked the rider why they run and they replied that they do not know. They say that maybe they run to avoid thinking. When they run, they no longer feel anything. They do not feel hunger, thirst, fear and anguish of the future. When they run, there is nothing besides speed. There is nothing besides the sweat on their temples and the increasing breath and the heart beating faster and faster. There is no time to understand, no time to talk, you just have to run and not crash.” In Dragon, the pilot and the navigator engage the audience in a collective race, showing everything they are willing to do to go faster than everyone else, going so far as to predict the future to achieve that goal. The race reflects the peculiarities of human interactions concerning communal living, the chase for achievement, human dependence, and the power of action: aspirations that are exaggerated and taken to the extreme to the point of becoming elusive and dangerous.


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