This Red Door has invited New York-based artist Elena Berriolo to perform her Transcription of Piero Manzoni’s Infinite line with Sewing Machine at REH KUNST in Berlin. The piece was produced by This Red Door and performed for the first time atKunsthalle Galapagos in Brooklyn, New York on January 26, 2013.
This performance continues Berriolo’s project of reinterpreting canonical works of postwar art, as she discusses in her October 2013 article “Wieso Benutzte Lucio Fontana Nicht Meine Nähmaschine?” Faust-kultur . The Berlin performance will take place two days before what would have been Piero Manzoni’s eightieth birthday.
In 1959, Manzoni started a project titled The Infinite Line, which represented his desire to appropriate space and time. His long-term project was to produce a line as long as the Prime Meridian, the geographic line on which Greenwich Mean Time is based. Since one of his greatest challenges was finding a way to produce an uninterrupted line of a great length, he used a newspaper printer and other mechanical devices. Berriolo asks: “Why did he not think about the sewing machine? This simple and economical instrument allows you to produce an uninterrupted line while joining together an infinite number of sections.”
Berriolo’s Infinite Line will be stitched onto a cloth ribbon as it passes through her sewing machine. At regular intervals, helium-filled balloons will be sewn onto the ribbon without ever interrupting the line. Once the floating line has stretched across the length of the space, it will be cut and members of the audience will be invited to hold the line in their hands, release it to the elements, and let it draw itself up into the infinite. Using and performing with her sewing machine, since 2009 Berriolo has been committed to making unique, “unpublishable” books. As she says, “only with the sewing machine is it possible to produce a true three-dimensional line with a top and a bottom that in a book can be moved through space.” Just as with Manzoni’s Prime Meridian project, the book includes, within its folds, time and space.
Elena Berriolo’s books were shown last year at Bravin Lee Programs, New York. In September 2013, she will perform Transcription of Piero Manzoni’s Infinite line with Sewing Machine at Museo Civico, Prato, Italy. Her work is in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; William Allan Neilson Library, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.; Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany; and the Centro Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy.