Benjamin Hirte / Chadwick Rantanen
The cycle of exhibitions entitled Fortezzuola continues at the Museo Pietro Canonica di Villa Borghese with the exhibition of Benjamin Hirte / Chadwick Rantanen, the first solo show by the artists held in a public institution in Rome,
The project, conceived and curated by Pier Paolo Pancotto presents a reflection on the relationship between the central players of both contemporary international art and Italy. Still today, a great number of foreign artists find themselves presented with the Italian historical and cultural context, renewing its ancient traditions and reinterpreting its canons and methods.
Each artist has been called upon to make an original work specifically designed for the museum’s spaces, closely relating to their historical and architectural traits. In line with the general guidelines for the Fortezzuola project, Benjamin Hirte / Chadwick Rantanen have conceived a common project according to their usual collaborative practice after having stayed several times in Rome.
The project is inspired by the historical and cultural context of the Museo Canonica and has been developed via an engagement with some of the recurring expressive systems in their creative repertoire: plastic, graphic, and installation art. Their reflection on the idea of sculpture as a practice, around which the Museo Canonica has been principally focused, has relevance today.
Benjamin Hirte proposes some geometric bodies born from the separation of the letter “C” from the word Canonica which, in line with other examples of his font, ‘Lochband’ (a “plastic alphabet” through which has examined various aspects of language and semiotics since 2015). These translate into a volumetric solution of typographical characters. Elsewhere, he occupies spaces with rubber bands (Untitled, 2016) redefining their proportions in three-dimensional variants. Moving further along, he replaces original furnishings with others borne from the imagination (Untitled. The Realist, 2014; Spinning Globes.
Black, Beige, Blue. [Monarch] 2016) further articulating his reflections on form from a semantic point of view. Chadwick Rantanen in turn expresses his relationship with sculpture, and consequently the Museo Canonica, drawing from the naturalistic context that surrounds the Fortezzuola.
Examples can be seen in the multitude of birds/toys (Robin Statue, Red Fly, 2016) or the copper forests (Telescopic poles, 2016) and leaves (Hanging Strips, 2017), which spread throughout the rooms of the museum. The same tendency can be seen in the animal’s paw exposed as a tragic hunting trophy in a room of the old gallinaro where ostriches, peacocks and ducks were bred for the hunters of the Borghese family (Deer Rear, 2017). Like Martin Soto Climent, Alfredo Aceto and Claire Tabouret, Tillman Kaiser, Claire Fontaine, Ciprian Mureşan, and Nick Devereux, Benjamin Hirte / Chadwick Rantanen also give rise to a site-specific practice by maintaining an almost “performative” attitude (day-to-day within the museum, abandoning the suggestions of place) whose final outcome will be known only upon its realization, close to the date of the inauguration of the exhibition.