Runo Lagomarsino’s West Is Everywhere You Look at Francesca Minini Gallery

Runo Lagomarsino (b. 1977) is the son of Argentinian migrants of Italian and Spanish extraction, although by currently being based in Sweden and Brazil, he has become a sensitive litmus test of recent Mediterranean anthropological turmoil. Reflecting both his family roots and a personal life path, the condensed images of his crossings represent a sort of multifaceted imprinting, of human recording. In his drawings, sculptures, installations and videos he analyses languages and structures of the contemporary nature of the colonial heritage in a multi-boarded Europe.

For his very first solo show in Milan, Lagomarsino brings together the map of Europe with specific geopolitical representations. By West Is Everywhere You Look the Swedish artist does not mean the map could acquire a powerful aura, but rather that visitors should be able to read it through different historical and political layers, and reinforce this through the combination of actual and fictitious pictures. As the artist often repeats: “photographic images have a tendency to be seductive” but, through his de-figurative practice, territorial likenesses turn into a concept that seeks to explain the relation of ideas to their social context, becoming a concrete ideology. Thereby legitimating a structure of domination, Lagomarsino could only provide symbolic resolutions to social problems and had to be vanquished by a revolutionary transformation of the social conditions, which had engendered it.

In Milan, at Francesca Minini’s Gallery entrance, the project welcomes with a white-on-blue sign, Deportation Regime (2015). A dangerous symbol of the bio-political paradigm of modernity. A stylised accusation which labels travel as a process material testimony to journeys made, metaphors of migrations, exiles or historical facts. The reference to notion of sovereign power, and how this power is capable of reshaping our political categories, is a leading one for the artist. Into the gallery spaces the artist reveals historical and space-temporal fault lines as a means of telling different stories, of interpreting the past and imagining the chinks of the future from other points of view. With a poetry pervaded by a spirit of activism he conjures up history’s ghosts and heroes, and its forbidden and imposed verities. And turns Mediterranean issues into defined ideology as the political beliefs of a social or economic class. West Is Everywhere You Look exhibits 2015 and 2016 artworks like the slide projection Sea Grammar (2015) which silently evokes the burning issue of Mediterranean migration today and touching upon the possibility of discriminating between our biological body and our political body.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the title of West Is Everywhere You Look (2016) installation: floating maps that hang in the second room, putting viewers in a position where it is impossible to establish or acknowledge boundaries. Reading or non-readable maps, suspended in the air as a convention: abolishing social and historical processes of an entire city or a whole region. Through an abstracted spatial syntax, the central subject of this solo show refers to the various ways in which political powers regulate –from above- the lives of people as biological beings. As living beings we are endowed a series of archetypic territories subject to a variety of systems of social and cultural norms. The legal and political aspects can be related, for example in Mare Nostrum (2016) neon sign, to geographical alterations itself or to our common Roman descendants, which are integral to the need for a system for the transmission and inheritance of goods in a system based on private property. Hereby Lagomarsino investigates ways to develop and make visible MediterrAtlantic theories and performances inspired by grass-roots activism and visual subversions in order to disrupt Eurocentric geopolitical cartography.

Ginevra Bria

Runo Lagomarsino, West Is Everywhere You Look, on view until 6 May at Francesca Minini Gallery.

1. Installation view of Runo Lagomarsino’s West Is Everywhere You Look. Courtesy of Francesca Minini Gallery.