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Angelo Musco's Parthenogenesis. From a Personal Experience to a Universal Language

F.G. (March 10, 2012)
When art births before artists are born: Angelo Musco’s Parthenogenesis Sequence. The project is curated by Ombretta Agrò.

Angelo Musco is a Neapolitan artist born in 1973 and residing in New York since 1997. These facts, as all the facts of his life, are not as relevant to explain his art as his prenatal history is.

Born after an 11-months-long pregnancy, weighing approximately 14.3 lbs, Musco was violently extracted from his mother’s womb, causing a tearing of the neck, arm and shoulder nerves known as Erb’s Palsy, a permanently damaging birth injury that diminished the mobility of the right side of his body. After a childhood of rehabilitative physical therapies and sports, Musco is now 50% recovered from his paralysis.

The theme of motherhood, pregnancy and its complications, along with the visual impact ofthe physicality of the naked body, multiplied ad infinitum in stunningly dense architectural collages and intricate weaved designs, are the recurring topics Musco addresses in his artistic production.

A 360° visual artist, Musco transitions from photography to video-art with flexibility, elaborating on the very personal sources of inspiration he bases his work on in visually overwhelming and universal messages.

Human bodies become for Musco the vehicles for natural metaphors: from beehives to ant colonies, to procreation related symbols such as eggs, nests and amniotic fluid. His photo mosaics that are themselves artistic performances in the making, with the participation of volunteer models who pose naked in interlocking combinations.

i-Italy met Angelo Musco last Thursday, on the occasion of the presentation of his latest video-artwork, Parthenogenesis Sequence, at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York.

Parthenogenesis Sequence, which will be exhibited at the ICI until Sunday, March 11, is the final outcome of seven years of artistic and personal research on his prenatal history, expressing the sense of desperation and frustration deriving from the urge of delivering.

The video installation depicts all the fears and nightmares of his mother, his relationship with whom he defines “a pretty intense one,” like the one with his work.

Parthenogenesis Sequence is a collage of eleven videos, simultaneously played on a split screen, for an eleven-minutes-long total length. The videos were all shot at 7:32 am, the very moment in which Musco was born, in eleven international locations which fall on the 41st parallel, the one connecting the two cities of Musco’s post-natal life, Naples and New York. The editing is the exact same in all of the clips, featuring eleven pregnant women,  frantically running while holding their bellies in search of a safe place to give birth.

Curated by Ombretta Agrò, the project presents the audience with an extremely personal take on the experience of pregnancy and on the power of motherhood in the making, disrupting and creative at the same time, while being both a state of the body as it is a condition of the soul, which through it is exposed to great distress and to great joy at the same time. Joy, however, is the emotion that is most often connected with the experience of birthing, and that in the personal history of Musco has coexisted with a series of contrasting, negative feelings and traumas, that he exorcised and reconnected with through his artistic work.

Musco told i-Italy that “my body is a constant memento of what happened, and using the body as an artistic means keeps my relationship with my mother constant. She was not able to have kids after me. All her pains and my pains became my language,” a language that enables him to tell stories that expand beyond his very particular personal experience, to a universal level.

For more information on Angelo Musco’s art visit his website: www.angelomusco.com