Viafarini presents the exhibition La Montagna Verde (Dove? Nel Deserto. Per Dove? Verso il nulla) of Adelita Husni-Bey. Adelita Husni-Bey’s work speaks of the relationship between a collective and individual dimension, between the sentiment of singularity and shared feeling in relation to place and history.
This new exhibition is inspired by an area the artist knows well, the Jebel Al Akhdar, or Green Mountain: a place in which, more than anywhere else, the spatial dimension becomes stratified and burdened with the most diverse connotations: autobiographical, as the Jebel has been the backdrop of family outings for generations of Libyans; and historical as it is there that the history of the country has been shaped and is made to this day.
As a point of encounter between individual vicissitudes and collective history, the landscape of the Jebel Al Akhdar appears to be an area full of narrative potential. Adelita Husni-Bey, who holds with the Green Mountain both a knowing and emotional relationship, confers sensitive emphasis to this characteristic through an installation concocted of objects, images, voices and texts. In this manner she implicitly alludes to the fundamental role of memory in the identity of a place, but also to the complexity of the concept of autobiography, as she lets the viewer believe everything to be based on personal memory, when in reality, all has been carefully constructed a posteriori.
The exhibition gives room to the diverse dimensions of that place: from the institutional to the collective representations, through to those images collected by those whom, in visiting it, have perceived it extraordinarily exotic; from the private memories of those who have experienced it as children, through to those who lived and live the Jebel, as combatants. Of these parallel geographies, none are univocal: the testimony of the combatant who describes the specificity of the territory echoes of lived experience, highlighted on the Homeland Security map, are not only the strategic epicentres of the area but the archaeological sites and their state of conservation; a inlayed backgammon, with it’s wooden pieces laid out on opposite sides, is both a recreational trace of a day out, yet also a metaphor of the challenge that the borders pose. Between the bushes one may play or fight. The large dark caves, which the artist draws as if they were being looked at from the outside and inside simoultaniously, are those in which children hide and seek, the very same ones chosen by lovers and those in which fighters would once seek refuge from the colonizing armies, and today take cover from government forces. Yet those images also evoke a psychological profundity that may phagocytise our memories, from which, at times, the past may re-emerge.
In the installation, which includes interviews, found and created objects, voices, drawings, photographs, maps and plastic elements of various nature, Husni-Bey probes the traces, at times invisible, yet always permanent carried by the landscape; and allows for the profound relationship that every place holds with memory; probes the manner in which the minute, specific events belonging to individual biography resonate with larger events in the past and in the present. Giving life to a multiple temporal dimension, conferring a sensitive representational dialectic between History, story and memory.
Referring to this greening height, depository of the memories of many generations and important node of the history of the country the artist speaks of the uniqueness of vision that we each hold, mapping poetically, metaphorically and sensitively a place where history and geography fuse uniquely, sedimenting, and thus becoming paradigmic.
Thanks to Studio Yasmin Naqvi, Rosanna and Carlo Vigano' for the production of the works. The artist would like to thank Adel Husni-Bey, Daniele Vitale and Paola Cofano for their invaluable help in the research phase.