Micol Assaël


Curated by Andrea Lissoni / 31 January - 4 May 2014

Sound appears in this exhibition right from the title, which is a sort of musical tongue-twister, combining a number of Greek words. These are intentionally juxtaposed by the artist without forming any meaning, precisely in order to prevent any pre-established interpretation. Sound is the unifying element that brings together Micol Assaël’s five works in the Shed at HangarBicocca.

Visitors are invited to empathically attune to five settings, which are almost like micro-housing units, and to discover their hidden details: in this sense, the physical and, to an even greater degree, mental dimension of listening is a key aspect of the artist’s research. At the centre of the Shed stands 432Hz (2009-2014), a wooden shell that contains an exquisite iridescent world which shows how nature plays a dominant role in Michal Assaël’s art. Vorkuta (2003) is a refrigeration chamber where the temperature of -30°C contrasts with a chair maintained at a constant +37°C by an internal thermostat. The sound and the glare of little electric shocks break into the background noise of the motor for the chamber, which appears like an uninhabited office containing obsolete equipment. Mindfall (2004-2007) consists of a salvaged container which contains a chair and tables, on which 21 electric motors are arranged.
These turn on intermittently, one after the other, creating a sort of musical composition. Untitled (2003) is a small iron room crossed by blasts of hot and cold air channelled into the space by powerful fans. Sub (2014), a new work specially created for the exhibition at HangarBicocca, is an assembly of aluminium and glass display units which the artist originally designed to exhibit her Inner Disorder (1999-2001) series of drawings. Either from outside or by going into the transparent structure, visitors can watch the phenomenon of electrostatic charges being produced by a Kelvin generator, which forms the heart of the work.
Micol Assaël (1979) currently lives in Greece. Physical phenomena, magnetism, electrical engineering and their interaction with the human body are key elements in her artistic processes. Sensorial perception – especially that of the viewer – is indeed a fundamental component of her art. Her installations, as radical as they are poetic, physically and mentally influence the viewer, often placing him or her in a position of real or perceived danger. At HangarBicocca Micol Assaël is presenting four installations which are key to her artistic experimentation, together with two new works. Solo exhibitions of her work have been put on at the Kunsthalle, Basel (2007), the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2009), Wiener Secession, Vienna (2009), Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2009) and MUSEION, Bolzano (2010), and she has taken part in group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (2003 and 2005), Manifesta (2004), the Moscow Biennale (2005), the Berlin Biennale (2006), the Biennale of Sydney, After Nature (New Museum, New York) (2008), and Chasing Napoleon (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2009)