Mother, Laws, Matter

22 march – 29 june 2024

Traversing installation, sculpture, film, photography and wall paintings, over the past two decades Isabelle Cornaro has developed a visually exquisite, complex body of work that engages with objects, systems of representation, reproduction and perception. From this underlying exploration, various interconnected themes emerge: the relationship between the object and its image, the original and its copy, framing devices and frames of reference, perspective and point of view. In her first solo presentation in Rome, Cornaro continues these investigations with a selection of ongoing photographic and sculptural works, together with new forms created onsite for the exhibition.

The questioning of the aesthetic, social and political value of objects, whether they be everyday items or cultural artefacts, runs throughout the exhibition. In a process of reproduction, objects and their facsimiles circulate from one artwork to the next, from one medium to another, generating subtle shifts in meaning as they morph from real object to printed form, sculptural installation to painting and film. Mother, Laws, Matter departs from objects charged with particularly symbolic values, evoking both her personal history and memory, and issues of colonialism.

From the translation of objects to reiterations of landscape, site-specific monochromatic wall paintings allude to landscapes, while a new installation extends two-dimensional representation into three-dimensional space. A configuration of plinths creates a general structure, a perspectival arrangement that hosts a precise constellation of objects and films, positioned in such a way as to allude to a kind of abstract narration. Spectators are invited to walk amongst this landscape, experiencing it from different viewpoints. Like other works in the exhibition, the resemblance, or dissemblance of a thing, is dependent on one’s point of view.

In some ways, the exhibition can be experienced as a chain of events: a set of actions that are contiguous and linked together. Or as a movie, the camera traveling the Foundation’s long exhibition spaces, a sweeping wide shot revealing the entirety of each work in relation to the next, punctured by close-ups that capture the infinite, polysemic details.

Isabelle Cornaro (born in 1974, France) lives and works in Paris and Geneva. She has presented numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Today Art Museum, Beijing (upcoming 2024); Château de Rambouillet, France; Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris (2022); Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany; Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris; Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich (2021); Kanal Pompidou, Brussels (2020); Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain Occitanie, Sérignan, France (2018); Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw (2017); La Verrière / Fondation Hermès, Brussels; Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles (2016); South London Gallery; Spike Island, Bristol; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Museo Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy (2015); M-Museum, Leuven, Belgium; La><art, Los Angeles, USA; Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris(2014). Her work has been included in group exhibitions including Aranya Art Center, Hebei Province, China; CAPC – Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux (2023); Antenna Space, Shanghai; Musée Carnavalet, Paris; GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2022); Argo Factory, Tehran; MAMCO, Geneva (2021. She was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize, ADIAF, Paris, in 2021.

We thank the Institut français for its kind support of this exhibition.

With additional thanks and support from the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici.