La Funzione

The Service

Performance

2010

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V.Vetturi_card back

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“Working in constant overlap between a performative practice and writing, Valentina Vetturi actively confronts herself to limitations of various types, be they physical, social or cultural.

Often using the notion of time as a medium, her works resort to immersive conditions of production or spectatorship. To realize The Commuter for instance she spent during seven days the regular eight working hours in the tram linking Tor Pignattara suburb to Roma Termini. In this case, the performance consisted in registering with a 1978 Olivetti typewriter what was happening around her and in her mind during the endless and somehow alienating round trips.

For many of her performances, Vetturi acts as an intruder, generating productive tensions within a given context. Her presence disrupts the rituals of everyday life, breaking the thresholds of privacy or habits and forcing spectators to face their own condition.

With The Service, first realized at Mestna galerija, Nova Gorica (SL) in 2009, a problematic moment of the past breaks into reality. Repeated many times, the action consists in choosing someone in the audience and approaching her/him with the clear intention to establish a contact. The person then receives a card and hear this sentence from the artist mouth “The secret is to hold the head so you
can hit precisely, death comes instantly and the convict doesn’t suffer.” One side of the card mentions the name and function of Fernand Meyssonier, author of the quote. He was one of the French government last executioners. As for the other side of the card, it reads the title, date and place where the performance has been held. Active between 1947 and 1961 in French Algeria, Meyssonier executed 200 persons by Guillotine. He started at the age of 16 as a “benevolent” and considered himself a conventional employee of the Republic, doing his “job” for material advantages. Meyssonier had no remorse, but was not a monster. He was fully integrated into society and had no status symbol of his dreadful task. As suggested by the double-identity of the card, it could be anyone in the audience. Circulating from hand to hand in the intimacy of a one to one relationship this message spreads off “contagiously,” inoculating in each one conscience the fundamental question of individual responsibility and guiltiness, when putting oneself in the role of the executioner.”

Benoit Antille – (c) Dalla Strada alla Spiaggia, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

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La Funzione was conceived for Roaming. How soon is now, curated by Alessandro Castiglioni at Mestna Galerija, Nova Gorica, Slovenia (2009).
La Funzione was also presented in 2011 in 50 di 100 curated by Marco Scotini and Giacinto Di Pietrantonio at Naba and Miart, Milano. In 2012 it was reenacted at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo for the show Sotto la strada, la spiaggia, curated by Benoit Antille, Michele Fiedler e Andrey Parsahikov.