NCLINAZIONI (Inclinations) is the exhibition conceived for the In Mostra project of the 2015 edition of Artissima. Rather than an exhibition based on a specific subject and which presents an array of artworks linked to that theme, ‘Inclinazioni’ is a thematic exhibition intended to explore critically the concept of inclination through the same subject.
As its title indicates, the exhibition is inspired by Italian philosopher Adriana Cavarero’s book Inclinazioni. Critica della rettitudine (Inclinations. Critique of Rectitude). Examining different disciplines, the author reconsiders the concept of inclination through its various acceptations: from its connection with sexual proclivities to personal and collective interests; the clinamen of the Roman poet Lucretius explaining the nature of matter born from the collision of corpuscles invisible to the naked eye (echoing such twentieth- century scientific discoveries as the theory of relativity and quantum theory); and on to the philosophical scope of the word. Cavarero emphasises that inclination makes it possible to reconsider postural geometry as an alternative to the vertical, erect geometry traditionally perceived of as more correct and independent (and inevitably associated with being male). A bent posture, which alludes to the condition of mutual need that characterises human beings in every phase of our lives (from birth to illness and old age), instead provides inspiration for a new subjectivity: vulnerable in its meaning and matched by new political choices.
Far from being malicious or provocative, the point I just made rests on serious philological and etymological grounds. All of the terms I mentioned above—rectitude, rightness, uprightness, erection —and the like originate from the Latin rectus , which derives from the Greek orthos : both meaning “right,” “straight,” “intended as vertical.” There is a long and noticeable thread, woven within the history of truth, that starts with the Greek orthos logos , proceeds then to the Latin recta ratio (right reason), and leads up to right—Recht, droit, derecho, diritto—and then to uprightness, rectitude, correctness, and, not least, erection. The axis is vertical, not horizontal. The philosopher, of which the Platonic contemplator is the archetype, knows it for sure. Steadily balanced on its vertical posture, the philosophers’ subject does not lean, does not bend, does not incline; it stands upright, very confident with the correctness of its erection. Thus, it is not only a matter of unmasking the notorious symbolical role of the phallus. The question is indeed more complicated.
The individuation of a singular existence is not a punctual fact, but alinea generationis substantiae that varies in every direction according to a continual gradation of growth and remission, of appropriation and impropriation. The image of the line is not gratuitous. In a line of writing the ductus of the hand passes continually from the common form of the letters to the particular marks that identify its singular presence, and no one, even using the scrupulous rigor of graphology, could ever trace the real division between these two spheres. So too in a face, human nature continually passes into existence, and it is precisely this incessant emergence that constitutes its expressivity.
Da un ospedale psichiatrico la vera storia che ha cambiato il modo di essere del teatro e della cura, 2011
Suggested by: Stefano Collicelli Cagol
We do not know what Marco Cavallo was, but one thing is sure: it had a profound importance for us. When today patients of the once Trieste psychiatric hospital meet in the city, many look back to the period when they built Marco Cavallo as a moment that marked a new beginning; a project of life that had nothing in common with the hated everyday routine of the asylum, but rather that represented a link between individuals in a new dimension. When the blue horse left the ghetto, hundreds of inmates followed it. The witness of poverty and misery of the hospital invaded the streets of the city, bringing together the hope of being able to get along with others in an open social exchange, in free relationships between people.
Phallic architecture has existed as long as humans have been building, and it continues to be built now, often on an unprecedented scale. The world’s tallest structures are widely understood as phallic ones. However the phallic tower is one of a number of distinct forms of phallic architecture: many buildings are demonstrably phallic, but they connote the phallus in different ways. The different types can be summarized as follows: (1) Literal representations of the penis: typically for the purposes of phallus-worship in pre-modern and/or non-western cultures. (2) Phallic towers: buildings understood the connote the phallus in its outward form In its proportions, it resembles the penis in its erect state. Its outline may be further bolstered by allusions (intended or otherwise) to a glans, scrotum, or even foreskin. (3) Buildings as Freudian phallic objects. Freud identified certain objects as ‘phallic’ for their unquestionable connotations of masculinity. Pipes, cigars, walking sticks, overcoats and furled umbrellas are examples of metonymically phallic objects. In architecture, steel, chrome, dark glass, and leather may similarly be construed as phallic in themselves, as well as typically exposed structures and plant of any kind. (4) Buildings with a phallic purpose. These are buildings designed (or adapted) explicitly for penile functions or use. There may be more types of phallic architecture, but these are the main categories.