“Mississippi” at GAMeC, Bergamo

From 3 October 2014 to 11 January 2015, GAMeC’s SpazioZero is hosting the exhibition project “Mississippi” for the seventh Edition of Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize. Sam Korman has been proposed last year by Dominic Molon (at that time Chief Curator of Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis and current Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island), and awarded in November 2013 from an international panel composed by Pierre Bal-Blanc (Director, CAC – Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny), Mirjam Varadinis (Curator, Kunsthaus Zürich), Giacinto Di Pietrantonio (Director, GAMeC, Bergamo), Stefano Raimondi (Curator, GAMeC, Bergamo).

The jury awarded the project with the following statement:
“Sam Korman’s project convinced the jury in its coherency both on a conceptual and curatorial level.
Using the metaphor of the mythical river Mississippi, the artist invites us to reflect upon important questions of our times, such as constant change and the notion of instability.
Instead of creating an exhibition with a specific selection of art works, the curator invites three young American artists to use the exhibition space as their studio, one after the other.
We are sure that this will be a stimulus for discovering a new territory, as it happened to Giacomo Costantino Beltrami, the citizen of Bergamo who, motivated by a huge passion, discovered the headwaters of the Mississippi River in 1823.
Sam Korman’s creative way of approaching the idea of an exhibition seemed to the jury very convincing in the context of a curatorial prize that right from the beginning aimed to bring in the city of Bergamo the most innovative and original curatorial practices.
We are sure that the project of Sam Korman is an experimental challenge and a great opportunity for the citizens of Bergamo and for the public of the museum to come closer and to be involved in contemporary art production.”

The Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize was presented for the first time in 2003 by the GAMeC with the support of the Bonaldi family as a result of the family’s wish to commemorate Lorenzo Bonaldi’s passion for art and collecting. The prize is the only one of its kind: its aim is to search out talented curators under the age of 30 and to mount the winner’s proposed exhibition.
Its purpose is to draw attention to the importance of the curator in the international art field and to encourage and support the talent of a young curator at an extremely dynamic moment of his or her professional career. The idea behind this prize was to create not a competitive situation, but an opportunity for professional growth and comparison. This is why, in 2005, the idea arose to accompany the award ceremony with a biennial convention, Qui Enter Atlas – International Symposium of Emerging Curators.


Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance”

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Mississippi River is a space of conversation, self-realization, and flux. Essentially, nothing is fixed on the river and Huck Finn and his traveling companion, Jim, are free from the strict moral codes that would otherwise govern their behavior and dictate their station within the conservative Antebellum South, during which period the novel is set.

“Mississippi”, an exhibition organized for GAMeC, borrows from Twain’s metaphor, re-interpreting the museum as a space free from the constraints and codes that would otherwise dictate the ways in which artists, museum, and audience interact with one another, attempting to create a fluctuating space that mirror’s Huck Finn’s river voyage—a free space that does not privilege any one perspective.

Comprising four chapters, “Mississippi” provides three artists—Jacob Kassay, Elaine Cameron-Weir, and Josh Tonsfeldt—with financial resources to use GAMeC’s Spazio Zero as a studio or salon for three weeks each, with the final chapter dedicated to a catalog designedby David Knowles in response to the works created during the residencies. The three artists and the designer have not been selected based on a thematic mandate, but rather, based on the merits of their individual practices.

“Mississippi” serves as a starting point from which the exhibition may emerge, collapsing the space of production and reception, and allowing each participant the opportunity to respond freely to the space and the others’ work. Eschewing theme or curatorial construct, the exhibition respects the artists’ interpretive freedom, and, in the last chapter of the exhibition (as well as throughout the show), the audience’s freedom to draw connections in conversation with that which the artists undertook in response to the museum and one another.

“Mississippi” asks, “What actually makes the work: the artist, the curator, the designer, the viewer?” It offers an alternative to these strict roles that is grounded in the action, rather than the product—making, organizing, designing, seeing– recognizing that these are simultaneous acts by creating a space of experience.

Thursday, 18 December 2014, at 6:30 p.m., the show “Mississippi” will be presented for the first time as a single project. The curator Sam Korman will explain the artistic interventions that have been conducted on the exhibition space since October.


at GAMeC, Bergamo

until 11 January 2015

Jacob Kassay, Untitled, 2014

Elaine Cameron-Weir, a daydream about the authority of a heavy desk, about other vocations spent behind one ordering certain men around, about domineering and maybe reclining slowly, exhaling, 2014

Elaine Cameron-Weir, a terrestrial sediment melted by hypervelocity impacts from outerspace, most fell on Bohemia, molten, forming strange shapes and solidifying bottle green like the eyes of a gorgon, 2014


Josh Tonsfeldt,




“Mississippi” installation views at GAMeC, Bergamo, 2014

Courtesy: the artists; Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels; Simon Preston Gallery, New York; GAMeC, Bergamo. Photo: Maria Zanchi.

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