February 12–May 17, 2019

Chiara Fumai: LESS LIGHT

February 12, 2019, 6–8pm: Opening Reception and reenactment of the performance The S.C.U.M. Elite (2014)

The International Studio & Curatorial Program announces the opening of LESS LIGHT, an exhibition of work by Chiara Fumai (1978–2017), a 2017 ISCP alumna. The artist’s first solo exhibition on this continent, LESS LIGHT brings together two of Fumai’s pioneering works, The Book of Evil Spirits (2015) and Dogaressa Elisabetta Querini, Zalumma Agra, Annie Jones, Dope Head, Harry Houdini, Eusapia Palladino read Valerie Solanas (2012-13), as well as a reenactment of the performance The S.C.U.M. Elite (2014) at the opening reception.

Fumai’s hybrid practice was deeply rooted in performance and her interests were far-reaching—encompassing radical feminism, chaos magick, terrorist propaganda and Italian Autonomist Marxism. In her work, she frequently deconstructed ideologies that have impeded women’s empowerment. Fumai performed as marginalized historical figures, transmitting occult messages that revived forgotten or discarded narratives.

This is the case in The Book of Evil Spirits, an expansive installation reminiscent of a psychic parlor that includes a suite of fifteen automatic drawings and photographs, performance props and a video in which Fumai channeled Eusapia Palladino, a nineteenth century Italian clairvoyant whose séances were attended by the likes of Nicholas II of Russia and Nobel laureates Marie and Pierre Curie. In turn, she conjures the spirits of a powerful group of women who also appeared throughout Fumai’s oeuvre since 2010. These women—Zalumma Agra, Ulrike Meinhof, and Annie Jones among them—transcend historical periods and geographies, united by their own desire to revolt against the conditions of oppression. Speaking to each other, they vocalize the veracity of Palladino’s séances and recite Carla Lonzi’s Manifesto di Rivolta femminile (1970) as well as other texts also quoted in Fumai’s prior live acts.

In Dogaressa Elisabetta Querini, Zalumma Agra, Annie Jones, Dope Head, Harry Houdini, Eusapia Palladino read Valerie Solanas, Fumai embodies the six people named in the work’s title in photographs. Some of the characters are shown reading from the S.C.U.M. Manifesto and others have it at hand, with a phrase from the manifesto, “A Male Artist is a Contradiction in Terms,” appearing on the wall in each image. The manifesto, published in 1967 by Valerie Solanas, ironically calls for a violent overturning of the patriarchy and the establishment of the Society for Cutting Up Men (S.C.U.M.) as the means to do so. The extreme struggles of Solanas, who is perhaps best known today for having shot Andy Warhol in 1968, are reanimated in each of Fumai’s photographs.

LESS LIGHT is curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions, ISCP and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, directors of the Chiara Fumai archive.

A 45-page print and online publication accompanies the exhibition, with commissioned texts by Stefano Collicelli Cagol and Kari Conte, an interview published in English for the first time between the artist and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, and a new introduction by the interviewers.

On February 14 at 6:30pm, Silvia Federici (feminist activist, writer, and teacher) will discuss her research on witch-hunting in Europe and the Americas, with reference to both historical events and the development of a capitalist society. The evening will begin with a brief viewing of the exhibition.

On March 12 at 6:30pm, Micki Pellerano (artist and frequent collaborator of Chiara Fumai) will present a lecture at ISCP on the use of occult symbolism and ritual practice in Fumai’s work.

Chiara Fumai’s (Rome, 1978–Bari, 2017) work will represent Italy at the Venice Biennale in 2019, along with two other artists. Solo exhibitions include: Rosa Santos, Valencia (2016); Museion, Bolzano (2015); Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2013); A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia (2013); Futura – Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague (2013); MACRO Testaccio, Rome (2011); and Careof – DOCVA, Milan (2008). Group exhibitions include: Tatjana Pieters, Gent (2017); David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2015); Contour 7 – A Moving Image Biennale, Mechelen (2015); Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2015); Whitechapel Gallery, London; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; Nottingham Contemporary; Fiorucci Art Trust; SongEun Foundation, Seoul (all in 2014); MUSAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); and the Nomas Foundation, Rome (2011). She won the Furla Art Award (2013) and the Premio New York (2016). International residencies include: International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York (2017); Art Omi, Ghent, New York (2016) and Wiels, Brussels (2014).

This exhibition is a collaboration with The Church of Chiara Fumai, an organization which  preserves the artist’s memory, archive and estate. It is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection Ltd.; Hartfield Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Church of Chiara Fumai; and The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University.

Opening Reception: Feb 12, 2019, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6pm
Download Press Release (PDF)Download Exhibition Catalogue (PDF)

Participating Residents

January 29, 2019, 6:30–8pm

Artists at Work: Thiago Honório and Rasmus Søndergaard Johannsen

Thiago Honório will speak about his current project The Red Studio and The Red Studio II, in which he altered the walls of his ISCP studio with material remnants from his 2014 home renovation in São Paulo. He will also present his related research on architectural and spatial relations.

Rasmus Søndergaard Johannsen will introduce his sculptural practice in which he manipulates materials and tools against their inherent nature. He will also present plans for his next series of sculptures, which he will work on during his ISCP residency.

This program is supported, in part, by Danish Arts Foundation; Director’s Circle; Hartfield Foundation; Luciana Caravello; Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro – Special Advisor on Brazilian Sponsorship; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).


January 22, 2019, 6:30–8pm

Sen ve Ben: A 5533 event with Burak Arıkan, Fatma Bucak and Isin Önol

As part of the public programing for 5533’s institutional residency and exhibition Under the Radar, artist Fatma Bucak and curator Isin Önol are enacting and orchestrating the Sen ve Ben 5533 Project (You and I 5533 Project), conceived by artists Merve Ünsal and Nancy Atakan, and first executed last year in Istanbul. The project brings together individuals to realize projects, collaborations, or events that promote sharing, interaction, discussion and dialogue. Bucak and Önol will focus the strands of their research which overlap, particularly art for freedom during times of political turmoil and how collective memory is shaped by contemporary authoritarianism.

Burak Arıkan will also present his work Islam, Republic, Neoliberalism (2012) which is currently exhibited in Under the Radar: 5533 at ISCP.

Burak Arıkan is a New York and Istanbul based artist working with complex networks. He takes social, economic, and political issues as input and runs them through custom abstract machinery, which generates network maps and algorithmic interfaces, results in performances, and procreates predictions to render inherent power relationships visible and discussable. Arikan has presented his work internationally at institutions including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Venice Architecture Biennale; São Paulo Biennial; Istanbul Biennial; Berlin Biennial; Sharjah Biennial; Marrakech Biennial; Ashkal Alwan; Ars Electronica; Neuberger Museum of Art; KW Institute for Contemporary Art; Kunstmuseum Bochum; Asia Art Archive and Borusan Contemporary.

Fatma Bucak lives and works in London, and is currently an ISCP resident. She investigates the fragility, tension and irreversibility of history and the power of testimony and memory in her practice, often questioning traditional forms of history-making as well as cultural and gender norms. Solo exhibitions include Merz Foundation, Torino; GAM Palermo (both 2018); Brown University David Winton Bell Gallery, Boston; Pori Art Museum, Finland (both 2016); Artpace, San Antonio (2015); Castello di Rivoli, Museum of Contemporary Art, Torino (2014) and ARTER, Istanbul (2013). Major group exhibitions include GIBCA 2017 – Goteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art; Mophradat, Brussels; Beirut Art Center; Jewish Museum, New York; International Festival of Non- Fiction Film, MoMA, New York; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 13, ICA, London, Spike Island, Bristol and the 54th Venice Biennale.

Isin Önol lives and works in New York. She has produced a number of exhibitions in the United States, Austria, and Turkey as an independent curator since 2009. Before that, she led the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul as its director and curator. She is an an adjunct professor and guest critic at Montclair State University. As a guest lecturer and critic she has presented her work at New York University, Parsons, the School of Visual Arts, Transart Institute and Columbia University in New York, as well as other respected visual art programs in Austria and Turkey. She is a member of the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University and is currently a member of the board of directors at the Roberto Cimetta Fund.

This program is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection Ltd., Hartfield Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Pera Soho, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).


Participating Residents