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Pedro Reyes: Zero Armi Nucleari at Museo Nivola

September 24, 2022–February 23, 2023

The two paths that Pedro Reyes’s work takes are that of art as social practice and art as aesthetic research. In this project, two seemingly opposing viewpoints are presented, the first using sculpture as a tool and the second using conceptual and participative techniques.

The exhibition highlights the evolution of the Atomic Amnesia campaign, which Reyes and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists initiated in 2020 to increase public awareness of the nuclear threat. There are also collections of papers from the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) archives, protest pins from the 1960s and 1970s, and information about Isamu Noguchi’s Memorial to the Dead for Hiroshima. 100 Seconds to Midnight, a screening of eight nuclear holocaust films shortened to 100 seconds, is also featured. The black-and-white posters of Artists against the Bomb, a collaborative project that voices the concern of the creative community for the growing threat of atomic destruction, and a series of protest garments created by Carla Fernández for performances and street demonstrations, highlight the collective dimension of the project.

The juxtaposition of the two huge sculptures Zero Nukes (2020) and Statua di Pace serves as the centerpiece of the exhibition (Statue of Peace, 2022). They differ greatly, yet being connected by the same spatial scale and pacifist principles. The first is a balloon sculpture resembling a mushroom cloud that is engraved in various languages with the phrase “Zero Nuclear Weapons.” The second is influenced by Costantino Nivola’s monumental concrete sculpture Hombre de Paz (Man of Peace), which was made in Mexico City for the 1968 Olympics. The 12-meter-high sculpture by Nivola shows a man protesting and warning “against the immorality of warlike administrations” with his arm outstretched. In the modernist tradition of Picasso, Le Corbusier, Niemeyer, and Nivola himself, Reyes’ sculpture is an androgynous figure constructed of wood with a delicate hand-dove at its top.

A movable propaganda sculpture, a large-scale totem created as a meeting place for urban protest, and a figure with the solemn aspect of a monument that is the result of contemplating the historical precedent of another sculptor, stand opposite each other in the old washhouse.

The second represents the hopes of humanity and its will to resist, as well as the unique poetic investment of Pedro Reyes, an artist whose approach toward confrontation and dialogue extends both to his contemporaries and to historical figures who, for their works and ideas, can still tell us something about our current time. The first represents the projection of our collective fears and incitement to opposition.

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Pedro Reyes. Zero Armi Nucleari, edited by Giuliana Altea, Antonella Camarda, and Luca Cheri, and published by Allemandi.

Museo Nivola
Via Gonare no. 2
08026 Orani NU
Hours: Thursday–Tuesday 10:30am–7:30pm

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