For his exhibition in the Third Floor galleries of the New Museum, Cuoghi will present Šuillakku – corral version (2014), an ambitious sound piece in the form of an imagined ancient Assyrian lament from 612 BC performed on a collection of handmade instruments carefully researched, built, and played by the artist himself.
Roberto Cuoghi, Šuillakku – corral version, 2008–14. Sound installation. Courtesy the artist and Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London
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Through an array of unconventional media, Cuoghi’s projects explore ideas of metamorphosis and hybridity. He made what is perhaps considered his most legendary project in his mid-twenties, when he decided to literally transform himself into an old man. The artist adopted mannerisms as well as the eating and dressing patterns of a senior citizen, eventually coming to resemble a white-bearded, heavyset man, forty years his senior. After this project came to an end, it took Cuoghi a few years to reverse the passage of time and return to his biological age. With a similar combination of obsession, passion, and devotion, Cuoghi later embarked on a two-year study of Assyrian language and rituals, for which he produced a gargantuan reproduction of a small talismanic statue of the menacing demon-god Pazuzu in 2008. For the 55th Venice Biennale, he created Belinda (2013), a monumentally scaled sculpture modeled after microbial life-forms. For his exhibition in the Third Floor galleries of the New Museum, Cuoghi will present Šuillakku – corral version (2014), an ambitious sound piece in the form of an imagined ancient Assyrian lament from 612 BC performed on a collection of handmade instruments carefully researched, built, and played by the artist himself.
Roberto Cuoghi was born in Modena, Italy, in 1973, and lives and works in Milan. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2008), the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and Centre International d’Art et du Paysage de l’Île de Vassivière, Baumont du Lac, France (2007). His work has also been included in a number of important international group exhibitions, including: “The Encyclopedic Palace,” 55th Venice Biennale (2013); “10,000 Lives,” Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010); “21 artists for the 21st century,” Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2010); “Making Worlds,” 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); “Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution, 1968-2008,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2008–10); “After Nature,” New Museum, New York (2008); “Fractured Figure: Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens (2007); and “Of Mice and Men,” 4th Berlin Biennial (2006).