BAD TIMING is the new solo exhibition of Théo Mercier at the Villa Medici, Rome.
Exhibition from 10 June to 25 September 2023
Performance on 9 and 10 September
A former fellow of the Villa Medici in 2013-2014, the artist and director Théo Mercier returns ten years later to the walls of this place that marked a decisive turning point in his artistic career to present BAD TIMING. This solo exhibition unfolds on the scale of architecture, in the interior and exterior spaces of the Villa Medici from 10 June 2023, and during a performative highlight that will take place in September 2023.
From the outset, the exhibition scenario proposed by Théo Mercier seems to be settled. A rain of cars crashed in the air on the Piazzale of Villa Medici. Facing the ground and wings open, these birds with their injured bodies let out the last breaths of a musical radio that is difficult to hear. Further on, a series of sculptures of chairs modelled in bronze melting in the sun can be seen here and there in the building. Abandoned, deformed, crushed or torn between the weight of a heavy stone and the suction of a helium balloon stretched towards the zenith, these sculptures actually indicate the path of an enigma that will find its outcome in the interior spaces of Villa Medici.
Sheltered from the melancholy of the sky, it is in the exhibition rooms that lead to the ancient cistern that Théo Mercier stages the underground resolution of this dystopian situation, inspired by the ancient tradition of the Palaces of Memory. The sculptures he invites to this space of paradoxical memory are hybrid installations made of user appliances and amputated marble sculptures, from the collections of the Villa Medici. Bound by different shibari techniques, this new series of borrowed sculptures express the artist’s sadism and enjoyment of dealing with the flamboyant residues of the past and the post-industrial residues of contemporary chaos.