Angaben aus der Verlagsmeldung

The Side Room / von Rossella Biscotti


vorherige ISBN 978-3-86895-306-0

Events in recent history and politics usually form the starting point for Rossella Biscotti’s projects. She is also interested in issues and insights in the social and natural sciences, particularly in studies and experiments involving memory and dreams. Whether doing research or conducting conversations and interviews with people involved in events or contemporary eyewitnesses, her method of working is always based on dialogue and guided by her quest for formally compelling solutions for her exhibitions. Her preferred media are “poor” materials such as concrete, iron, lead, chipboard, or more recently compost, which Biscotti relates to her subject matters and uses to draw together the various strands of narratives.

Rossella Biscotti’s latest work, I dreamt that you changed into a cat… gatto… ha ha ha, was originally created for this year’s Venice Biennale. For this project, Biscotti held a dream workshop (Laboratorio Onirico) lasting several months with a group of fourteen inmates of the Venetian women’s prison on Giudecca Island.

Another dreamproject that Rossella Biscotti initiated specially for the exhibition at the Secession appears only in the publication, which she envisaged as a kind of extension to the exhibition that would create an unusual connection between two autonomous projects.

When the artist arrived in Vienna to prepare her exhibition, the special organizational form of the Secession as an exhibition venue run by an association of artists based on democratic principles awakened her interest and moved her to spontaneously invite the board responsible for the exhibition program to take part in a dream project as well. For the Vienna dream project, in which eight members of the board participated, a non-public blog was set up in which participants could post their dreams anonymously either as texts or visually in the form of drawings or photos and thus share them with one another. In this way, the collection of “dream material” also became available to the artist. Taken together, the two dream projects were intended to examine from various perspectives the relationship between dreams and the institutional setting and the impact they have on one another. According to Erving Goffman, a total institution such as a penitentiary represents an extreme example of a ‘social institution,’ while an exhibition venue for contemporary art is situated at the other extreme of this scale. Motivated by this tension between the two extremes, Biscotti anticipated that her dual research might generate new readings and unexpected associations.


Parallel to this, Biscotti studied Secession´s construction history. She was particularly interested in Adolf Krischanitz’s 1980s furniture designs for the Secession conference room and artist Oskar Putz’s color scheme dating from the same period. The forty-three colours system was reconstructed for the catalogue, where it serves as a central element: just as the portraits of the female prisoners represent the women themselves or, more precisely, their absence, so the colors, to Biscotti’s mind, represent the Secession itself roughly as architectural plans would. The pages of color intercalated throughout the catalogue form a visual bridge between the two dream projects.