Palazzo Strozzi
  Bill Viola, Christian Nold, Yves Netzhammer
Teresa Margolles, Valerio Magrelli, William Kentridge
Katharina Grosse, Andrea Ferrara, Elisa Biagini
Maurice Benayoun, Antonella Anedda
  The dialogue established between the work of art and the individual viewer can also generate feelings of disorientation, indeterminacy and ambiguity, as in the case of the Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, whose work highlights the immediate reality of experience rather than the power of representation. ”Air/Aire” not only has an empirical, experimental and cognitive dimension but also refers to an experience in which the subject is also the object. The sensory response is elicited not by an image but an absence. The artist’s installation consists of a room that is apparently empty apart from a working air-conditioning unit. The air is slightly humidified. The spectator perceives nothing else. The small label simply lists the elements making up the installation, namely the conditioning system and vaporised water. The water is from public mortuaries in Mexico City and was used to wash the corpses of as yet unidentified people prior to autopsy. Margolles combines her identity as an artist with everyday experience as a medical examiner in public mortuaries. Her oeuvre is devoted entirely to exploring the taboo of death, a ”memento mori” that acts, however, in the complete absence of the actual object of investigation, i.e. the representation of death. The visitor’s awareness thus becomes an integral part of the artistic process. In this way, Margolles elevates the visitor to the status of an active subject who completes the installation by virtue of his or her imagination and capacity for interior visualisation, producing an emotional response of repulsion and disgust that is not visual and immediate in nature - it is sensory and cognitive. As a visceral motor reaction, disgust is included together with fear and pain among the primary emotions pinpointed by Professor Giacomo Rizzolatti of Parma University as underlying the so-called ”mirror mechanism”. The active agents of this mechanism are the ”mirror neurons” present in the human brain, a particular class of motor neurons characterized by the extraordinary property of firing not only when the individual performs a particular action but also when he or she sees or simply hears someone else perform it. What was once regarded as a culturally determined emotional reaction is now known to depend essentially on the connections of a specific cerebral zone and the activation of ‘neural representations’ of other people’s actions. In short, when someone observes a work of art, this triggers a sort of re-creation in the sense that the viewer does not remain passive but projects his or her ‘inner state’ onto it (see David Freedberg).