What’s the difference between an art object and just an object? Useless Objects within tenth edition of Mirror Project attempts to tackle this question by examining the cycle of the object, following its passage from everyday life to the white cube.
The exhibition features an intergenerational group of artists who together, illustrate a cycle of narratives and meanings that are superimposed on the object, allowing us to glimpse different contexts or “markets” according to which they circulate. Paolo Cirio, with his detailed map, provides a broad understanding of the art system at work. Federico Caputo puts this into practice and illustrates this cycle through his embroidered appropriations of pop cultural goods. Finally, Anna Canale presents an installation of a gift shop, which seeks to give — both literally and intellectually — the public the agency to decide what art is and how to relate with it.
Presented as a sort of marketplace, where the exchange of social, cultural, intellectual, and economic capital can take place, Useless Objects aims to render transparent the dynamic system underlying the artworld. Ultimately, perhaps, the art object can be understood through the systems that support it — as something created by artists, supported by galleries, validated by critics, curators, and historians, displayed by various institutions and gatekeepers, and valued by collectors — and its value a direct indicator of that network.