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Out of Order | John Sanborn’s exhibition

Opening Wednesday, June 5, is the first Italian exhibition of American artist John Sanborn, entitled Out of Order, curated by Maria Grazia Mattei, founder and president of MEET.

A pioneer in the world of media art, John Sanborn is a hybrid, eclectic artist who has devoted his career and his entire existence to experimentation, mixing different languages and forms of expression. Starting from dance and video installations, he has naturally landed in the world of digital art, always paying close attention to philosophical and social reflections. MEET, therefore, is the ideal home to host this first solo exhibition of his in Italy, thus proving once again that he knows how to look at contemporaneity and the evolution of our culture.


The exhibition itinerary winds through multimedia installations spanning more than four decades of exploration of sound, music, interactive media, video and artworks that address issues of identity – including gender -, cultural truth, memory and mythologies. Specifically, in MEET’s Immersive Room, the artist presents Venus plus Mars (hence the title V+M), a site-specific work that makes us reflect on social issues related to queerness, gender fluidity and misunderstandings that can generate anger, repression and exclusion. Here Venus and Mars, reinterpreted in a contemporary key, seem to improvise a dance and question visitors on the issue of gender.

Mythic Status

Videos viewable inside cathode ray tube monitors, presenting a timeline of the 1970s and 1980s, are complemented by the works, Body Quartets and Mind Quartets, designed to narrate a state of transformation of our Ego; Out of Chaos, with a random sequence of more than 60 stories explored with augmented reality; and Mythic Status. The latter is “composed” of four portraits – video and sound portraits – of as many characters (Apollo, Atalanta, Nyx and Hercules), each with its own story; four contemporary deities taking their cues from Greek mythology.

The American quartet

A strong and increasingly necessary message, then, expressed in an exhibition of great quality that not by chance opens in the month of Pride, in a neighborhood – that of Porta di Venezia, where MEET is based – in which inclusiveness and diversity are intrinsic characteristics, as well as issues that the International Center for Art and Digital Culture itself has been concerned with since it was founded.

As John Sanborn himself, who will be at MEET on Tuesday, June 18, as a guest speaker at the now well-attended Meet the Media Guru event, points out, “Out of Order provides ‘anarchic’ artistic scenarios that activate questions we need to address, welcoming the viewer to participate. Not always to solve our problems, but to face our condition, understand it and ask us to do something to change, starting with ourselves.”

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