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Hidden flowers | Jacopo Miliani for t-space X MAO

  • Exhibition
  • 12 May 2023 - 25 June 2023
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For the fifth appointment of t-space X MAO Jacopo Miliani presents the site-specific installation Hidden Flowers. The project presents the development of a research conducted by the artist together with the semiologist and curator Sara Giannini in Tokyo in 2017. The stories of some homoerotic magazines intended for the Japanese gay community of the 70s, 80s and 90s are at the core of this investigation.

The research, mostly conducted in the bars of Shinjuku-ni-chome district, Tokyo, led to the production of the publication Whispering Catastrophe in which the theme of the visual censorship of the male genital organs - currently existing in Japan - opens up to a personal anti-identitarian debate looking at another culture to deconstruct that of belonging. This practice finds an inverted equivalent in the works of authors such as Yukio Mishima or translator/editor Tastuhiko Shibusawa who look at Italy, Greece and France to recontextualize some imaginaries of Western homosexual culture in Japan. 

Whispering Catastrophe presents a collection of photographs from magazines intended for men who love men. On the pages of these magazines the superimposition of images - necessary to respect the censorship of the Japanese moral and legal code - leads to the construction of a complex visual language with which Miliani and Giannini interact, undermining their own cultural identity and trying to interpret a code that does not belong to them. 

The exhibition evokes the dark spaces of Tokyo bars that were the main research locations for the editorial project. The stories and images on display are proposed as residues, fragments and whispered voices to lead the viewer into a foreign and hidden place that – like the censored images – offers a mysterious seduction, necessary to stimulate an interpretation that can be as fallacious as it is creative. 

Starting from the visual censorship in Japan that, by covering and masking the male body, induces a deviation of the observer’s gaze, the Hidden Flowers project considers this restriction as a possibility to investigate sexuality in continuous transformation. The project includes a talk with Sara Giannini, Jacopo Miliani and Asuka Ozumi, teacher and expert on Japanese culture that will take place at Edicola 51 (Piazzetta Madonna degli Angeli 2, Torino) on Friday May 19th at 7.00 pm. The talk is organized in collaboration with ADD Editore as part of the outdoor programme of Turin Book Fair.

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