The Setting of Violence __________________________________________________________________ part of the exhibition Marinetti and futurism, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, 2022-2023
In a villa in the town of Salò, the capital of Benito Mussolini’s puppet republic, film director, poet, and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film is set: Salò o le 120 Giornata di Sodoma (1975). The film about the final days of fascism in Italy revolves around a group of rulers who subject nine boys and nine girls to their cruel power for 120 days. Besides the humiliation, torture, and murder that is shown, the prominent futuristic paintings on the walls of the villa stand out. Works of art that look out over that which their ideology has helped bring about. Are they silent witnesses or accomplices?
In this project, I investigate the intentions of the filmmaker by editing frames from Pasolini’s film and stripping them of all atrocities, victims, and perpetrators. What remains are empty spaces that exude an ominous atmosphere. What has happened here or what will happen here? What connection did Pasolini see between futurist art and the atrocities committed by fascist rulers?
The intertwining of the politicization of art and the aestheticization of politics is an important theme in The Setting of Violence.