In this notebook, artist Francesco Matarrese undertakes a new reading of two Modernist texts: In an “extreme encounter” he contrasts “Recentness of Sculpture” (1967) by American art critic Clement Greenberg with an excerpt from “Lotta contro il lavoro!” (“Struggle against Labor!, 1965) by Mario Tronti, an Italian political philosopher and important theoretician of operaism. A “distant encounter,” according to Matarrese, “at one of the highest points . . . imaginable for a discussion of art and politics today.” From his observation and comparison of Greenberg’s concept of Modernism with Tronti’s political Marxist theories, the author develops his thoughts on an abstract or non-art that is capable of being radically outside. Besides a facsimile of Tronti’s original manuscript, the notebook also contains his actual commentary on the question posed to him by Matarrese: “Can you really be outside?”
Francesco Matarrese (*1950) lives in Bari and Rome. In 1978 he published his Telegramma di rifiuto (“a refusal of abstract labor in art”) and began creating an Impossible Catalogue of Non-Works of Art.