Fendi's Call to Arms: Black White Block & William Tell

If you've been walking around Piazza Venezia and Foro Traiano these past few evenings, you may have heard loud celebratory music and even noticed a projection on a palazzo's wall.  Another bit of Roman holiday cheer?  Kind of.

You've just walked past Black White Block & Guglielmo TellFondazione Alda Fendi*  latest situational performance/installation art experiments lasting for only a few privileged days. Since 2005, the esperimenti have shocked, confused, awed and incited with a combination of gripping, enigmatic even, music, video and performance where the audience has been left standing helpless.

Black White Block takes a different angle.  Instead constant bombardment of images and sound, Fendi serves us a platter of  four installations which we can digest at our own pace-- starting with Erro's Paesaggio Alimentari, a projected food collage on the palazzo's front entrance accompanied by Addio Lugano Bella, by anarchist Pietro Gori 1895.

Just as Addio Lugano Bella references William Tell with the words insulta la leggenda del tuo Guglielmo Tell (insult the leggend of William Tell), folk hero and rebel Tell and revolution are the subtle themes throughout the four installations of  Black White Block-- a contemporary art call to arms which reminds us to not insult the leggend of Tell and also poses the question where is the revolution now?   According Fendi, Black White Block is an ode to struggle in light of historic revolutions and recent rebellions across the world. Meanwhile consumerist cornucopia-esque images bring forth consumerism at its very best, ahem, its very worst.  Curator Raffaele Curi suggests "symbolic event[s]  in the all craving struggle".  Yes, I got it.  Everybody wants something, we just don't know what we want yet.

For the first time at a Fendi experiment, I noticed that the Professor was smiling, which means: experiment well played.  Perhaps it was the music-  Milva's version of Addio Lugano Bella is captivating and enticing, and Rossini's William Tell Overture surrounding us in the final installation is the rare and resounding performance of NBC Symphony Orchestra, 1940.   More likely, it was the Basilica Ulpia.  You see, Fondazione Fendi is set atop some of the remains of a 2nd century AD Roman building, which serves as setting for the performances.

Fondazione Alda Fendi Galleria Foro Traiano 1 Through Tuesday December 21, 7pm - 9pm [slideshow]

*One of the famous five Fendi sisters (Carla, Anna, Paola and Franca), Alda added contemporary art to her CV by launching Fondazione Fendi Esperimenti in 2005.