The Year of Magical Thinking - Viewing Room

The Year of Magical Thinking

11 September - 09 October 2021

The Year of Magical Thinking brings together artists who explore the territory of magic, myths and self-introspection as different acts of inner resistance to the contemporary capitalist crisis. In psychology, the notion of magical thinking refers to the belief that wishes, words or use of symbols can impose their own order on the material world.

Referring to a range of the existent that can’t be totally conveyed through linguist and rational means, the exhibition reflects on different cosmogonies which lie outside the hegemonic system of reality shaped by technology and explore the multiple regions of the intangible, fabulation and disguise.

install 5

Cathy Josefowitz

The enigmatic characters who inhabit Cathy Josefowitz’s paintings emanate from the memories and the elusive dreams of a young woman driven by intuition and a never-ending exploration of her inner self. Untiled, 1974, depicting the delicate and evanescent portrait of a young woman was realized when Josefowitz’s was just 18 years old. The dreamlike and fluid group of figures floating in the abstract background of Untitled, 1992 ca., recalls the tones and movement of the Renaissance’s masters and bears witness to the influence of Italian art on Josefowitz's work.

Cathy Josefowitz - Untitled, 1974

Cathy Josefowitz

Untitled, 1974

Oil on cardboard

110 x 80 cm / 43.3 x 31.4 inches


cathy detail

Cathy Josefowitz - Untitled, 1992 ca.

Cathy Josefowitz

Untitled, 1992 ca.

Charcoal, gouache on paper mounted on canvas

150 x 150 cm / 59 x 59 inches


Cathy Josefowitz (1956-2014) was born in New York and grew up in Geneva. She studied theatre design at the Théâtre National de Strasbourg, but soon left her studies to focus on painting. In the United States she discovered dance and "primal theater": a technique based on improvisation and the search for raw, primitive and unconscious emotions. In 1979, at the age of twenty-three, she left to study dance in England, at Dartington College of Arts in Devon where she met two great masters of experimental contemporary dance: Steve Paxton and Mary Fulkerson. In the early 1990s, she devoted herself to painting and worked on several series with the themes of animals, transportation, and dance. It was also during this period that she began her first monochromes inspired by the nature and landscapes of California, especially Ojai, where she had stayed in 1990. Her work has recently been the subject of an important retrospective at Frac Champagne-Ardenne (2021). Kunsthaus Langenthal, the Centre culturel suisse and MACRO Roma are organising a touring retrospective exhibition of her work between 2021 and 2022.

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sarah charlesworth

Sarah Charlesworth (1947–2013) is best known as an established figure of the Pictures Generation, as well as a prominent conceptual photographer of the 1970s and 1980s. Charlesworth’s influential body of work deconstructs the conventions of photography and establishes the medium’s centrality in our perception of the world. Charlesworth stages volatile worlds, isolating objects on monochrome backgrounds to reveal the constructed nature of visual culture and question systems of image distribution.

Concentration: Silver Goblets,1992-93 by Sarah Charlesworth is part of her major body of work Natural Magic which was the first series to be shot in a studio. It required renting an array of photographic equipment and learning new technical skills, including how to perform magic tricks and stunts. Magic of all sorts fascinated Charlesworth, and the series title evokes aspects of the occult. The theme of magic connected with her consideration of what the camera could do in terms of augmenting and altering our perception of reality as well as producing magnificent and unpredictable spells.

Sarah Charlesworth - Concentration: Silver Goblets, 1992 - 1993

Sarah Charlesworth

Concentration: Silver Goblets, 1992 - 1993

Cibachrome print with lacquered wood frame, Edition of 6 + 2 APs

105.4 x 85.1 cm / 41.5 x 33.5 inches


silver goblets

Sarah Charlesworth was born in 1947 in New Jersey, and passed away in 2013 in Connecticut. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of institutions, including a solo survey exhibition at LACMA (2017) and the New Museum, New York (2015) and a retrospective organized by SITE Santa Fe (1997), which travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (1998); the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC (1998); and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (1999). Charlesworth taught photography for many years at the School of Visual Arts, New York; the Rhode Island School of Design; and Princeton University.

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Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun employs self-portraiture and disguise as tools of introspective expression and freedom in representing the self. In her Auto-portrait (don't kiss me I'm in training), 1927, the artist performs herself as an androgynous gymnast, neither masculine nor feminine. Exploring different identities and genders, her work bears witness to the struggle with her own self-representation as well as the social regulation of the female body and identity. Through her rejection of an overtly female identity and rather appropriating a gender ambiguous one, Cahun separated herself from the expectations of the gender norms of her time.

Claude Cahun - Auto-portrait (don't kiss me I'm in training), 1927

Claude Cahun

Auto-portrait (don't kiss me I'm in training), 1927

Gelatin silver print

10 x 7.9 cm / 3.9 x 3.1 inches


claude detail

Claude Cahun (1892-1954) was a French photographer and writer. She used a wide variety of means of expression to convey her obsession for the themes of identity and self-image. Although she was forgotten after World War II, her work was rediscovered and widely circulated in the 1990s. The cross-dressing experiments she documented in her self-portraits have since become of considerable interest beyond the history of photography, in the field of Gender Studies and post-modernist theory. A large number of publications have since been released in the wake of the retrospectives in London, Tokyo, Munich, and Paris, along with the Jeu de Paume exhibition in 2011.

James Lee Byars

The historical work The Soft Sphere (Head of Plato), 1989 by James Lee Byars combines the geometric form of the sphere with the luxurious material of white marble from the Greek island of Thassos. Byars’ aesthetic research was guided by the exploration of spirituality, truth and beauty, combining influences of orientalism, minimalism and Western philosophies. Born in 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, Byars moved to Kyoto in 1958, where he became fascinated by the rituals of Shintoism and Japanese Nō Theatre, which remained two main references in his work.

James Lee Byars - The Soft Sphere (The Head of Plato), 1989

James Lee Byars

The Soft Sphere (The Head of Plato), 1989

White Thassos marble, cabinet

177 x 50 x 50 cm / 69.7 x 19.7 x 19.7 inches



James Lee Byars (1932-1997) was born in Detroit in 1932 and died in Cairo in 1997. The artist has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions worldwide, including The Palace of Good Luck, Castello di Rivoli / Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (1989); The Perfect Moment, IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia (1994); Life Love and Death, Schirn Kunsthalle and Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg (2004); The Perfect Silence, Whitney Museum of American Art (2005); 1/2 an Autobiography, MoMA PS1, New York and Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2013-2014); The Golden Tower, Campo San Vio, Venice (2017); and The Perfect Kiss, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (2018).

install 1

Benni Bosetto

Benni Bosettos multi-layered sculpture CocoonYXX#1, 2021, made up of a series of carved and composed drawings on paper whose shape evokes that of a body or a garment, accompanies the observer to place himself in different realities linked to time, space and the body. From practices of fabrication of the self present in ancient and contemporary rituals, to states of semi-consciousness implemented in meditation and sleep, up to the observation of matter as a witness of invisible transformations, the artist continues her exploration of the possibilities of a renewed relationship with ourselves and with reality in order to go beyond the usual methods of knowledge.

Benni Bosetto - Cocoon YXX#1, 2021

Benni Bosetto

Cocoon YXX#1, 2021

ink on paper, copper, iron, wood, metal chains, copper chains

160 x 130 x 120 cm / 62.99 x 51.18 x 47.24 inches


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Benni Bosetto (Milan, 1987), lives and works in Milan. She graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan, IT, and studied at the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, NL. Recent solo exhibitions include, ADA, Rome (2020); Almanac, Turin (2019); Kunstraum, with Xenia Perek, curated by Giulia Civardi, London (2018); Villa Il Cerretino, Prato (2018); Fonderia Battaglia, Milan (2018); Tile Project Space, Milan (2017). Recent group exhibitions include Galleria Civica, (Mart Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea), Trento (2020); Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, curated by C. Collu with C. Canziani, L. Conte, P. Ugolini, Rome (2020); Villa Medici, curated by P.P. Pancotto, Rome (2019); Artissima Special Project, curated by L. Calabrò Visconti and G. Costa, Turin (2019); Horst, Asiat site, curated by Evelyn Simons, Vilvoorde (2019); OGR, performance curated by V. Lacinio and S. Piazza, Turin, IT; MAMbo, curated by Lorenzo Balbi, Bologna (2018); Fondazione Baruchello, curated by Caterina Molteni, Rome (2018). The artist has upcoming exhibitions at MAMbo Museo d’ Arte Moderna, Bologna and Campoli Presti, Paris.

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Amelie von wulffen

The surrealist landscapes and dreamlike figures who inhabit Amelie von Wulffen’s paintings belong to the confrontation, and sometimes the clash, between our collective subconscious and the external world. Imbued with humour and the ironic employment of kitsch that characterises Von Wulffen’s oeuvre, Untitled (Maya the Bee), 2020, is the sculpture of the iconic cartoon figure sitting in a pool of her own piss in front of a contemplative and abstract painting. The installation tackles the relationship between humans and nature, which continues to be permeated by a dreamy and romantic atmosphere, even in the face of environmental collapse.

Amelie von Wulffen - Untitled (Biene Maja), 2019-20

Amelie von Wulffen

Untitled (Biene Maja), 2019-20

Oil on canvas, paper maché, wire, acrylic paint

230 x 190 cm / 90.6 x 74.8 inches


amelie detail

Amelie von Wulffen (b. 1966 in Breitenbrunn/Oberpfalz, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: KW - Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2020); Radio Athènes (2019); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (2019); Studio Voltaire, London (2017); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2015) and Kunstforum Baloise, Basel (2014). Her works belong to the collections of Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MoMA, New York; FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand; and the Seattle Art Museum.

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