Lara Favaretto (b. 1973 Treviso, Italy) is renowned for her sculptural practice and large-scale installations that, as she describes it, ‘investigate the space between destruction and reconstruction, collapse and recovery.’ Over the past two decades, Favaretto has staged interventions that she calls ‘momentary monuments’, drawing attention to the futility and impermanence of monuments. These include a wall of 4,000 sacks of sand around the monument to Dante Alighieri in Trento, Italy; 400 tons of scrap metal that appears as archaeological find unearthed in a postapocalyptic era; or an obelisk-like stone sculpture with a small slit through which people could deposit donations to a charity that assists people facing deportation.
Following presentations of Momentary Monument – The Library at MoMA PS1 (2012), MOCA, Cleveland (2017), Kunsthalle Mainz (2018) and The Bass, Miami Beach (2019), Talbot Rice Gallery will show this project for the first time in the UK. The White Gallery will host a monolithic oversized bookcase – 3 metres tall and 9 metres wide – displaying 2,488 unwanted books. They were donated to the artist and the gallery from local libraries and second-hand bookshops from across Edinburgh and the Lothians, saving them from their destined disposal. Each book contains a folded image from the artist’s archive, loosely placed between the pages. During the exhibition, visitors are invited to leaf through the books and take away one of their choosing. It is in the audience’s hands to dismantle the ‘monument’ and the sum of its parts are thus re-distributed to bookshelves in people’s homes across the city.
“The Momentary Monument project achieved a result bordering on an epiphany of the banal, while on the other hand it appropriated some keywords and themes that ranged, in the case of Momentary Monument – The Swamp, for example, from absorption to putrefaction through to self-absorption and disappearance; in the case of The Stone, from donation to fragmentation to dispersion; in The Wall, from the raising of the borderline to its collapse and ultimate disposal; in The Museum, from the approximate reproduction of institutional functions to flexible subversive interpolation, up to its own disappearance; in The Library, from maceration to preservation to untraceability; in The Dump, from scrapping to re-use to deconstruction; in The Core, from stratification to preservation, to extinction. In each case, a work was installed on public land, shown on a single occasion and for a short period, thus amplifying the state of transience that accompanied it, from its beginning and through to its end. Annihilating itself, in one way or another, without it ever being able to replicate itself.”
Over the course of the exhibition, Talbot Rice Gallery will also stage a ‘clandestine talk’ – as part of Favaretto’s ongoing project Thinking Head. Taking place in an underground space within the University of Edinburgh’s Estate, academics and commentators from across a variety of disciplines are invited to enter into a dialogue around the word ‘borders’. Whilst their conversation takes place in a secret location without a public audience, it is live streamed to a website managed by the artist. Thinking Head is a nod to Alighiero Boetti’s sculpture Mi fuma il cervello (1993), an electrically heated bronze self-portrait whose head literally fumes. Details of this event will be published in due course; more information is available at thinking-head.net.