A Multitude of Soap Bubbles Which Explode from Time to Time
Pino Pascali began his association with Arte Povera, the radicalised modern art movement during the Italian worker and student strikes and occupations of the 1960s, between 1967 and 1968. The movement was heavily associated with the social unrest in Italy and promoted the notion of a new type of art that was free of convention and market forces, which is why the Pino Pascali’s Final Works 1967-1968 exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre was such an interesting display to cover.
It’s only when you know the back story to the era and you know that Pino Pascali’s work was itself driven by a desire to question the norms in art and society that it all clicks. Walking around the exhibition first without any prior knowledge of Pino Pascali or of Arte Povera would leave you a bit bemused and unable to work it all out. You’d know there was something important there, but you wouldn’t be able to understand it without the context of the situation and thoughts that inspired it.
We literally stared at the oversized, fuzzy, blue, 6 legged spider for a good ten minutes (while the exhibition lady was probably looking at us thinking, “what a bunch of nutters”) before going to read the great little notes and books the Camden Arts Centre has on Pino Pascali outside.
The second time around the exhibition, titled A Multitude of Soap Bubbles Which Explode from Time to Time, was a much more insightful pass and the playful critique of art and society shone out in all of the works on display. Sadly, though, as the title says, these were Pascali’s final works, as he died later in 1968 in a motorbike accident at the age of 32.
The exhibition is presented well and provides a great insight into Pino Pascali’s work and the Arte Povera movement. It’s accompanied by SKMP2 (1968), a short film featuring Pascali by artist Luca Patella and other artists from the Arte Povera movement. The best thing about the exhibition is that it forces you to question reality and perception through art, which leads to questions about the norms and conventions of reality at large, from both a political and societal stand point. However, the nature of the exhibition means that there are only 20 or so pieces to see, so there is a scarce feel to it.
Pino Pascali’s Final Works 1967-1968 exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre review: 3.7/5