Press release

Rainer Ganahl’s artistic practice addresses questions concerning knowledge production and educational politics. What to teach, what to learn, what to read, what to discuss with whom? Starting in the early 1990s, the artist has been studying foreign languages (mostly languages that are not on the European curriculum like Russian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Modern Greek etc.), photographing and interviewing intellectuals (Seminar/Lecture series and others), conducting oral history projects (“Language of Emigration” series and others) and holding Reading Seminars as part of his art projects.

For his project at Base Rainer Ganahl is engaging with a one week reading project entitled “Leggere Antonio Gramsci” – “Reading Antonio Gramsci.” As he has done with a previous project on Italian language acquisition with the texts of Piero Passolini at Gallery Massimo de Carlo, 1997, the artist tries to improve his rather fluent knowledge of Italian by reading and discussing Antonia Gramsci with a group of students. Ganahl is in particular interested in Gramsci’s ideas on intellectuals and their position and function in political struggle in a modern and democratic world. Gramsci was one of the first philosophers interested in popular culture and their “organic intellectuals” independent of universities, state institutions and official cultural recognitions. Gramsci saw in the deprived economic regions of Italy a force for political and cultural change. Today, regional, economical, political and cultural disparities and injustices have made the world become a very dangerous place. Arrogance, greed, technological superiority and military might by the super-powerful have instigated aggressive reactions by groups of people associated with poverty, exploitation and cultural and religious otherness that are now threatening in one or another way the safety of everybody around the globe, causing in return reactions that are incomprehensively threatening and dangerous to world piece and security.

The artist will exhibit at Base a series of photographs and project a film made with materials from the reading seminar. He will also include some of the works resulting from his new work in progress entitled “My first 500 hours basic Arabic”

Some of the works can also be seen in the next door “casa del popolo”, a community center for the Italian ex-communist party that is today functioning as a bar for old people, unemployed and young kids playing with video games. Seven small works – “Reading Antonio Gramsci,” (a founding member of the Italian communist party) – are hanging next to the dusty library in one of the corridors without disturbing the given aesthetic of this legendary place.


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