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Lara Favaretto in Sharjah

Just Knocked Out. Modified version of her exhibition shown before at MoMA PS1, 15 December 2012 - 6 February 2013 at Bait Al Serkal, Sharjah.
Jan 2013

Lara Favaretto: Just Knocked Out provides the most complete overview of the artist’s work to date. Curated by Peter Eleey, Curator, MoMA PS1, and co-organised by MoMA PS1 and Sharjah Art Foundation, the exhibition is not conceived as a conventional survey. It was first presented at MoMA PS1 in New York, for which the artist created a new site-specific installation that extended through all of the galleries. For her Sharjah presentation the artist has likewise created new work in response to the specificities of this location.

With this exhibition Lara Favaretto has returned to Sharjah, where in 2009 she was invited to participate in Sharjah Biennial 9. For the Biennial she showed two works, Solo Se Se ll Mago (Only if you are a Magician, 2006), and the installation Simple Couples (2009), a series of colourful, spinning car wash brushes that was memorably sited in the courtyard of Bait Al Shamsi [1].

Just Knocked Out
From the catalog text by Peter Eleey, Curator, MoMA PS1
The playful, celebratory visual language of Lara Favaretto’s art can be misleading. Despite her work’s evident humour, a tragic undercurrent runs throughout the artist’s practice. Numerous pieces are subjected to forces of decay, consumption, and obsolescence, and gradually decompose or exhaust themselves. Though Favaretto represents the eventuality of loss, she also resists it, reusing discarded construction materials, recuperating old paintings and lost luggage, and recycling elements from previous installations as new works.

An ongoing series of temporary interventions that the artist calls ‘momentary monuments’ engages specifically with cultural memory, loosely adopting but also subverting the vernacular of civic sculpture. Beginning with a swamp that she created in Venice to commemorate twenty historical figures who have disappeared, Favaretto also sandbagged a 1896 statue of Dante Alighieri in a public square in Trento, Italy, drawing attention to the futility and impermanence of memorials in general. In a similar spirit, the artist presents here the extensive archive of images that she has collected as source material and inspiration, dispersed within a library of abandoned books.

Much of Favaretto’s work alludes to the casualties of modern life, often referring to the body and the natural environment through mechanical and industrial forms that change and degrade. A platoon of compressed air tanks randomly empties itself, blowing silent party favours in a weak salute; fans constantly recompose a landscape of confetti. These animist machines celebrate their absurdity, taking on lives of their own.


  1. Lara Favaretto: Simple Couples, photos at the Sharjah Biennial 9 presentation by Universes in Universe.


Lara Favaretto: Just Knocked Out

MoMA PS1, New York
3 May - 10 September 2012

Bait Al Serkal, Arts Area, Sharjah
15 December 2012 - 6 February 2013

Curator: Peter Eleey, MoMA PS1

Co-organised by MoMA PS1
and Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation

PO Box 19989
United Arab Emirates

The exhibition is supported in part by The Contemporary Arts Council of the Museum of Modern Art and The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

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