Experimental Jetset is an Amsterdam-based graphic design studio, founded in 1997 by Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers and Danny van den Dungen. Their work focuses mainly on printed matter and site-specific installations, employing a methodology aimed at “transforming language into objects”, whilst viewing graphic design as a platform for “authorship”.
A theme that has long been at the center of Experimental Jetset’s research is the relationship between sign and city, which, on the occasion of the exhibition at MACRO, is addressed through the analysis of a specific Italian context: “radical design” and the relationships between the avant-garde and the Italian left. Somewhere between a slogan and a magical spell, AUTONOMIARTEPOVERARCHIZOOMEMPHISUPERSTUDIOPERAISMO, the title of the exhibition, provocatively evokes some of the experiences and subjects at the center of the above mentioned tradition.
Experimental Jetset offers a tale of the “Italian sphere” through the analysis of two particular signs intrinsically linked to the city and the experience of traversing it. The first is the neon logo, or “non-logo”, from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966). Supported by a large metal scaffolding, this enigmatic logo is in itself meaningless but acquires meaning throughout the course of the film («It’s not important what the sign means—it just matters how the sign means»). The second is the hammer and sickle as deconstructed by Enzo Mari through several projects he developed between 1954 and 1977—a heavily charged symbol, freed of its burden through the process of its own deconstruction («the political is not really enclosed in what the sign means, but how it means»).
In this analysis, both Mari and Antonioni are united by a certain rejection of neorealism, from which they both gradually distance themselves in favour of an engagement channelled by linguistic research rather than through explicit political messages. This same approach permeates Experimental Jetset’s entire research and practice.
In the exhibition space, this research is translated into a “double-homage”, or “double-exposure”, in which Antonioni’s sign is deconstructed in the manner of Mari, resulting in a large-scale environmental installation.
The installation will be accompanied by a free pamphlet containing the new essay written by Experimental Jetset, as well as by a series of documents tracing the visual genealogy of the project.
With the support of Creative Industries Fund NL
Curator: Luca Lo Pinto
Curatorial Coordinator: Vasco Forconi
Production Coordinator: Sara Cattaneo
Production Assistant: Marco Lo Giudice
Art Handlers: Fabio Pennacchia, Matteo Pompili
The exhibition is promoted by Assessorato alla Cultura di Roma Capitale and Azienda Speciale Palaexpo.