Odious Oasis is an exhibition that reflects upon the necessity of travel as an escape from reality. The title is an alliterative phrase present in verses of Lunar Baedeker, composed by the English poet Mina Loy (1882- 1996).
Mina Loy was a complex artist, eclectic and extravagant, from the Modernist panorama of the early XX century. After moving from London to Florence at the beginning of the century, she soon became involved in the Futurist movement, which she later obstructed with her radical feminist proclivity. Lunar Baedeker is also the title of her first published collection of poems, which references a genre of guidebooks founded by Karl Baedeker at the end of the XIX century. Her verses are full of assonance rooted in various languages, including German and Italian.
In her work Mina Loy imagines travelling to the moon, describing an experience full of abstract and dreamlike visions, which alternatively ‘nears and recedes’ from reality, in a hyperbolical manner. The journey is not just an experience, but also its precise opposite: the journey as escape, like a surface of infinite possibilities. The fascination of describing a place, of living it and feeling it without physical presence, is still a point of interest in our contemporary society.
Loy’s poetry is easily comparable to some states of change in our own minds, when we move amongst the media network, conditioning the experience of our bodies. The surfaces of this ‘network’ upon which we travel daily and constantly, are similar to these virtual travels that we cross at an immeasurable speed.
In his show, Jacopo Miliani recreates the idea of imaginary travel through visual compositions and references. The figures of palm trees, which recall the exoticness of travel, are combined with those of the rope, whose movement is fixed in an image, in a pose. Each arrangement of a rope requires a physical presence that is able to position an object. In fact the cords, like the journey, even if only imaginary, are connected to a physical presence. In Miliani’s images, it is the absence that defines presence; the lack is what most represents an experience.
The images emerge through direct contact on the surface: through photographic technique, photocopy or contact upon the canvas, therefore evading gravitational forces of logic and freeze their forms in sculptural poses. The passage from the physical surface to physicality of the unreal marks the beginning of infinite possibilities for journeying that, even if imaginary, depart from the sensibility of the body, precisely like the seductive words of Loy’s poetry.