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Fabio Mauri, “Europa Bombardata (Europe Bombarded)” (1978), Galleria Nazionale d‘Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy (1994) (photo by Marcello Melmeluzzi)

It’s been 50 years since the Italian artist Fabio Mauri staged his performance “Europa Bombardata” in the Church of Santa Lucia in Bologna. The performance, whose title translates from Italian to “Europe Bombarded,” “aims to reconstruct collective memory of the Fascist era,” while drawing on Mauri’s own personal memories of growing up in Rome under Fascism. The performance will be restaged this week, to coincide with the opening of the artist’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth.

While the gallery setting will certainly pale in comparison to that of a church, even Mauri’s original plans did not play out as intended. He had wanted to stage “Europa Bombardata” in an area of the church that had been used as a pottery workshop during the war; the setting was to be likened to the furnaces of Buchenwald. The church, however, responded by painting the area in gold and silver, forcing Mauri to confine his project to the nave.

Underlying Mauri’s art, which also spans drawing, painting, film, and sculpture, is the idea that Fascism is still here; the message still feels poignant. Throughout his career, he looked for these clues in our visual culture, from the sans-serif type that Nazis used to the painful memories we carry in everyday objects like suitcases.

When: Thursday, January 25, 6:15 pm; Friday, January 26 and Saturday January 27, 12pm
Where: Hauser & Wirth (548 West 22nd St, Chelsea, Manhattan)

More info at Hauser & Wirth

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Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.