Galleria Franco Noero

10154, TORINO

Five Easy Pieces

24 February — 02 April 2011

Artists: Richard Aldrich | Tom Burr | Abraham Cruzvillegas | Mario García Torres | Helen Mirra; curated by Vincenzo de Bellis


Five Easy Pieces is an exhibition project which borrows its title from the 1970 movie by Bob Rafelson, in which a memorable sequence sees Jack Nicholson play on the piano ‘five easy pieces’ by Chopin. Expressively conceived for the Project Space of Galleria Franco Noero, the project is articulated in five group shows entrusted to five different curators that will choose the works of five artists each time. The second appointment is curated by Vincenzo de Bellis.

“When I was invited to do an exhibition already named ‘Five Easy Pieces’ I started wondering what to do, what I might have done to make this right. It is in fact the first time I'm invited to give shape to something which theme has somehow been decided by somebody else. I thought this was a great title which could be approached in many different ways, and that would allow me to express my curatorial standpoint and my thoughts. I eventually watched the film the exhibition title borrows from: in a key scene the main character Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) is in company with Catherine Van Ost (Susan Anspach), an attractive classical music student. Aware that Robert was once a talented classical piano player, she asks him to play for her and, reluctantly, he sits down and plays a short piece on the piano. She is moved, asks him what he felt and the answer is he felt nothing. Puzzled, she asks him why and he says: ‘I picked the easiest piece I could think of. I played it the first time when I was 8 years old, and I played it better then.'


The whole sense of the movie is all in these few lines, in the cynic nihilism of those words. The exhibition rises from the same topic, meaning not having other opportunity than to answer to the invitation I received ‘choosing’ to present, literally, the five easiest pieces I could think of.

The five selected works are realized by artists whose practices and methodologies have little in common, and they were not chosen out of their eventual relationships. That said, in retrospect, the works share a kind of penchant for an economy of materials and means, along with a sense of artistic understatement. Specifically the word ‘easy’ here doesn't translate into ‘simple’, it relates more to the concept of working against the complexity of things through the discretion of the artist's gesture, while the word 'piece' makes reference to the power of an artwork of being fully self-sufficient and exactly a 'finite piece'.

There are surely echoes and resonances between Mario Garcia Torres’ playful and nostalgic take on the history of Conceptual art, unlocking its narratives to bring forth new ideas and meanings, and Tom Burr’s elegant arrangement of objects which aim for romantic desire as well as being cerebral events. Helen Mirra's sculptures which are built focusing on essentiality, modesty and bluntness and to convey the notion of duration of time, dialogue well with Abraham Cruzvillegas' incoherent assemblages that involve the juxtaposition of the organic and the manufactured, the handmade and the mass-produced, while Richard Aldrich’s way of painting sits on the edge between abstraction and the playful vision of a child.

All of the possible narratives and connections were not then decided a-priori, neither they were intended to lead to an univocal reading nor to generate a very sharp curatorial direction, it all just refers to the mere fact of having limited myself to act by instinct and by empathy, picking ‘the easiest pieces I could think of’.”


(Vincenzo de Bellis)

The exhibition by Vincenzo de Bellis follows the first one of the series of five, curated by Patrick Charpenel.

Read more