Eternity is a Long Time
HangarBicocca presents Mike Kelley: Eternity is a Long Time, an unprecedented exhibition which examines the work of the late American artist Mike Kelley (Detroit, 1954 – Los Angeles, 2012) in an open path among installations, videos and sculptures mainly realized from 2000 to 2006: works of great intensity which perfectly represent the complex and visionary universe of one of the most influential figures in contemporary art.
Cultural aspects and autobiographical memories are so much a part of Mike Kelley’s art: his relationship with education, his links with modernist architecture, his view of the tradition of painting and of American literature and his approach to the vernacular and to popular culture, youthful initiatory rites and styles of musical subcultures. The exhibition opens with Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene) and Runway for Interactive DJ Event, two installations which constitute a fundamental turning point in Mike Kelley’s research and the dawn of what was to be his most prolific creative period. "Eternity is a Long Time", which gives the exhibition its title, is also the phrase pronounced by one of the two protagonists in the video entitled Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene) to his partner before both of them take their own lives.
Another key installation is the John Glenn Memorial Detroit River Reclamation Project (Including the Local Culture Pictorial Guide, 1968-1972, Wayne/Westland Eagle) of 2001, which takes inspiration from a monument to the astronaut John Glenn, after whom the high school that Mike Kelley attended was named. The fragments of coloured ceramic and glass which cover the sculpture were picked up by Kelley himself in the river in Detroit. Sophisticated artistic techniques and typically vernacular processes, the monuments of tradition and anti-monumentality, personal and collective memory, and a media-based world of the imagination and pop culture all come together in this emblematic work.
The project is given an unmistakable touch by Emi Fontana, the Italian curator who lives in Los Angeles and who worked closely with Mike Kelley during the last fifteen years of his life.