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Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Room N, Northwest Palace of Nimrud), 2018

In 2005, for the first and only Turin Triennale (co-curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Francesco Bonami), Michael Rakowitz presented the inflatable installation Dull Roar. Examining the rise and fall of modernist utopia, the work centred on the demolition of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe social housing project in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1972. This same piece now opens Rakowitz’s retrospective, ‘Imperfect Binding’, a travelling exhibition co-curated by Christov-Bakargiev and Iwona Blazwick (with Marianna Vecellio for its Turin iteration), currently on display at the Manica Lunga of Castello di Rivoli. In Rakowitz’s works, these endless cycles of destruction and reconstruction echo across continents, cultures, traumas and conflicts, such as the Armenian genocide, the Second Gulf War and the devastation inflicted by ISIS. The exhibition’s title refers to a newly commissioned work, Imperfect Binding (2019), for which Rakowitz took a torn 1935 Hebrew and Arabic-Jewish prayer book from his mother’s Iraqi-Jewish community and, instead of burying it per protocol for the disposal of damaged religious texts, brought it to Rivoli to have it repaired, rebound and rescued from silence. 

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