(before) Parade, 2019
Performer: Livia Bonetti
The 20th century imagery updated to the contemporary scene. The visual references of the period are read without the glasses of history. Claustrophobic and asphyxiated worlds whose protagonists are incapable of acting. Individuals that exist only as part of a larger design. The "exercises" performed by Marilisa Cosello are projections towards something else, hence the reference to 20th century propaganda, a totalitarian threat whose traces are still visible. The physical appearance and the trained body, an active and sporting life, are the starting point. In (before) Parade the artist instructs a performer to perform a gymnastic action, as an investigation of the language used by the dominant ideologies, still able to seduce the public despite the implicit violence in the gestures.
Marilisa Cosello's research is an act of rebellion against every dictatorship, even when the actions she has studied are in some ways the theater of the Beckettian absurd. The repetitive and tight movements of the body on stage are capable of arousing reactions opposed to the drama played. The run on circular paths undergoes the constraint of the small space in which it takes place. The performer's gaze is fixed. Accelerations and harmonic movements alternate. Falls that are followed by sounds, like the thud of the body that suddenly collapses to the ground. The skin becomes red. Breath is breathless. A cathartic whistle blunts the accumulated tension. The scene gradually decompresses, the performer leaves the scene, sits on an exercise mattress at the edge of the room, consults the smartphone casually and rests before repeating the exercises.
Then there is the symbolic reference to the 1936 Olympics, an event that marks the beginning of propaganda led by images, which marks the birth of an aesthetic of power, thanks to the German director and photographer Leni Riefenstahl, author of films and documentaries that have contributed to the spread of National Socialism. Cosello starts from this imaginary, untying it from historical references, her work links the past to the present, aware of the diversity of context that exists between two epochs, at the same time vigilant to the danger of a possible return.
Every performance is a mystery, a ritual in which to assist silent. Despite the staging, the action brings with it a sense of reality that is difficult to remove. It is as if the performer were a carrier of parasitic information, something capable of escaping the rational control of the artist. Despite Cosello's obsessive care in following all aspects of realization, the performance hosts the case, the unpredictable, a return to the reality to which society has progressively become unaccustomed.