• Curated by Alberto Salvadori and Luigi Fassi



ICA Milan inaugurates its exhibition activity with the show Apologia della storia - The historian's craft, curated by Alberto Salvadori and Luigi Fassi. Presented for the first time, the project communicates dynamically with the space and restores the institute’s vocation to be the crossroads of meetings and cultural exchanges.
From Friday 25th January to Friday 15th March 2019, ICA Milano presents the inaugural exhibition Apologia della storia - The historian's craft, curated by Alberto Salvadori and Luigi Fassi.
To start the Institute's exhibition season, Alberto Salvadori, director of ICA Milano conceived, together with Luigi Fassi, director of the MAN museum in Nuoro, an unpublished, international exhibition project in honor of the great French historian Marc Bloch (1886, Lyon - 1944, Lyon), one of the central figures of contemporary thought.
By establishing a dynamic dialogue with the space, the exhibition is structured as a choral narration on the geo-political and social events that have affected some areas in recent history, thus restoring the Institute's vocation to be a crossroads between languages, legacies and cultural heritages, stories and various narratives.


Apologia della storia - The historian's craft offers a contemporary reflection on the role of history as a methodology for knowing the present and collects the works of twelve different artists of various ages and geographical origins: Yto Barrada (1971, France), Lothar Baumgarten (1944 - 2018, Germany), James Lee Byars (1958, USA - 1997, Egypt), Nanna Debois Buhl (1975 - Denmark), Ryan Gander (1976, United Kingdom), Haroon Gunn-Salie (1989, South Africa), Arjan Martins (1960 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Santu Mofokeng (1956, South Africa), Antonio Ottomanelli (1982, Italy), Paul Pfeiffer (1966, Hawaii), Javier Téllez (1969, Venezuela), Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (1968, Romania, 1974, Switzerland).


The exhibition, as the title reveals, is inspired by the book of the same title by the historian Marc Bloch, published posthumously in 1949. The founder of the school of Les Annales, he believed in giving equal dignity of representation to the different particular events that have affected humanity and emphasized the primacy of man as the subject of history, captured in the traces of his progress through time.
In the theories formulated by Bloch, the recovery of collective memory is a decisive moment of reflection in which every society is anchored, drawing from a more conscious knowledge of the past to better deal with the problems of the present.
The new, epoch-making mode of historical research inaugurated at Les Annales school opened up comparative research, collective psychology, studies of common men and everyday life, hence giving space to everything that in the past had not been considered worthy of attention from traditional historiography. In the formulation of this new methodology lies the desire to understand the atmosphere of a specific historical moment, the Zeitgeist or "spirit of time", a way of telling the present that unites the crafts of the historian and the artist.


Apologia della Storia – The historian's craft is a journey through different places, times and scenarios. Through the instruments of the visual arts, contemporary artists have accepted and put into practice the lesson of Marc Bloch. The works collected in the exhibition, in facts, seeks in the present signs of change and tendencies toward the future starting with an understanding of the past. The inspiration of Bloch’s methodology as a stimulus to produce narratives about places and events with the deeper understanding that artistic research allows, which opens up new perspectives, proposes unusual connections and invites—sometimes even forces—one to rethink the present in light of the immediate past.

Apologia della storia - The historian's craft

Paul Pfeiffer Study for Incarnator 2018 Ph. Dario Lasagni

Javier Téllez, Letter on the Blind, For the Use of Those Who See, 2007 Ph. Dario Lasagni

Background: Yto Barrada, Plumber Assemblage, 2014 e Untitled (felt circus flooring, Tangieri), 2013-2015 Destra / Right: Haroon Gunn-Salie, History after apartheid, 2015 Ph. Dario Lasagni

Sinistra / Left: Ryan Gander, 2000 year collaboration (The Prophet) 2018; Background: James Lee Byars The Conscience, 1985 Ph. Dario Lasagni

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