Galleria Franco Noero

10154, TORINO

Simon Starling
Flaga 1972 – 2000

24 April — 01 June 2002

'Simon Starling explores the ways in which objects become identifiable and are subsequently classified or validated. His projects have often tracked the process of transformation from one object or substance to another, for example constructing a small boat from the wood of a disused museum vitrine or casting replica beer cans from the metal of a chair.
Starling compares his position to that of a nineteenth-century amateur scientist or inventor as he reintroduces craft and amateur enthusiasm to contemporary manufacturing or classification'.

(Rob Tufnell, 'Here + Now', Exhibition Catalogue, September 2001)


Starling seldom creates a new object, preferring either to recreate an existing one or to fabricate a model of a consolidated structure. The quality of the making is always an important issue since it has an old fashioned amateurishness about it that is quite nostalgic in itself although, in this way, he initiates new relationships between the public and its own culture.
It is playfulness, rather than technical perfection, that convinces the artist. This toying with things, a refusal to aim for mastery, prompts us to consider a value for these models beyond mere utility.


The handmade nature of Starling's copies of mechanically manufactured commodities, imperfect and 'professionally amateur' make us aware of the gaps between their reality and that of the original. In all his works the artist's complex relationship to modernism forces us, as viewers, to confront some of our own preconceptions about form, function and human intervention.
On the occasion of his first Italian solo show Simon Starling realises a project that can be considered as a journey back to the source, a link back to the starting point. There is always a performative aspect that brings to the realisation of the show at the gallery: the artist is leaving from Torino for a journey, driving an old F.I.A.T. 126, produced in the Italian town in the early 70's. He will drive to Poland, where the small car production was moved from 1975 to 2000, with a few mechanical modifications. Once arrived some of the car original parts are going to be replaced by new pieces from the Polish counterpart. On its return to Torino the 'new' two colour F.I.A.T. 126 will be hung on the wall like a painting or, more appropriately, a flag. The new aerial view of the car, like a wall-mounted map, collapses the time and space between two objects created under very different circumstances in geographically remote situations.

The artist intervenes in history in order to liberate our thinking about what we can build and how we can interpret the relic of the past, setting up a complex web of relationships with which to capture a piece of the spirit of modernism and bring it back to the laboratory for further analysis.


Born in 1967 in Epsom, England, Simon Starling lives and works in Glasgow and Berlin. His work has previously appeared in a number of solo and group show both in Europe and United States. Among them his recent solo shows at Casey Kaplan 10-6, New York, 2002; Frac Languedoc- Roussillon, Montpellier, 2001; Secession, Wien, 2001; Neugerriemschneider, Berlin, 2001; Camden Art Centre, London, 2000; 'Le Jardin Suspendu', The Modern Institute, Glasgow, 1998. The group exhibitions: 'Squatters', Museu Serralves, Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Porto and Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre, Rotterdam, 2001; 'Silk Purse', Arnolfini, Bristol, 2001; 'If I Ruled the World', CCA, Glasgow, 2000, 'What If/Tänk om', Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2000; 'Manifesta 3', Ljubljana, 2000.

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