by Gabriele Tinti –
exhibition at Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan
artists Sebastian Diaz Morales – Ben Grasso – David Rathman Denis Rouvr
Wainer Vaccari – Li Wei
13 january 2011 – 11 march 2011

Video – ZAIRE by David Rathman

edited by

What can a body do? What are we capable of? ‘Knowledge of self and others necessarily stems from this, from the answer we manage to give to these questions. In this light, with this goal, boxing is a fundamental discipline.“The harder the contact, the deeper the consciousness” is the motto of the Dog Brothers, because “to be thrown into the world is precisely to risk at every instant encountering something that decomposes me”, encountering evil, getting hurt, being afraid. All of this entails making an essay of our skills, concretely verifying them, putting them to the test and taking their measure. Boxing—as life does only in certain occa- sions—helps us make better choices, perfect the way that we live in the world. But naturally, that is not all. Boxing has the creativity, the abstraction, the symbolism of dance, along with the tangibility, the excitement, the passion—the reality—of a conflict.This intensity of meanings makes it something special,“one of the fine arts”.“Like a dancer, a boxer ‘is’ his body, and is totally identified with it. And the body is identified with a cer- tain weight” (J. C. Oates).
But dance is related only to a certain degree. In boxing, there are the blows that complicate the movement of the legs, there is the strategy and the power of a measure taken, a territory conquered, a rhythm com- posed of synesthetic complexities. And as we know, blows hurt, they slow down our movements, strain our footing, knock us to the ground. Because boxing is more than just an aesthetic representation of combat (like wrestling); it is the incarnation of it, in its purest, most essential form. Because the Fight is those stairs to climb, those ropes to clamber through, that robe to take off, that act of coming into the center of the ring and finding yourself alone. With nothing but a body, across from someone else’s body. Face to face.
This space is sacred, and activates our civilized nature; the square in which we experience the sacred is magical, and furnishes a crystal-clear answer to the question posed at the beginning. Within it, everything is about style, about violent emotions, pulling out our very innards, cherishing pain, shedding sweat and blood. Outside it, we stand in worship, in adoration, ready to question ourselves, our instincts, our ethics, even our identity. In this realm, we are faced with the evidence of a relationship, we are thrown into the world, and thus find ourselves looking at our own limits, the experience of what my body really can do. And yours as well. Be- cause an encounter entails a loss. It happens to everyone, sooner or later, and when it happens in a boxing ring, you can’t get up to object. You’ve lost the bout, and all too often, if you don’t have the stuff of a cham- pion, you’ve lost your bearings’.

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