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A Sculpture in Search of an Author is an exhibition centered around an artwork by the Italian artist Emilio Prini (1943–2016). Or, rather, an artwork that may still be attributable to Emilio Prini. Or, perhaps more accurately, some materials that once constituted an artwork by Emilio Prini, that he has since removed his name from. Or: there exists, in storage, some materials that were once exhibited under the authorship of Emilio Prini, but now could be considered a disowned artwork by Emilio Prini, or considered some materials that, while once being combined to make an artwork by Emilio Prini are now simply materials with a notable history. We may call it a sculpture in search of an author. Emilio Prini is one of those artists around whom stories and legends proliferate; oftentimes these legends have become as present as the work itself, especially as they often involve the negation of the works that occasion them. This is one of those stories. As it goes, in 2011 Prini made a new sculptural work, titled Da Fermacarta, to be included in the Artissima art fair in Turin in the booth of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome. On the second day of the fair, as negotiations for its acquisition by a major Italian museum were well underway, Prini’s assistant arrived at the fair and demanded its immediate removal on the grounds that Prini rescinded authorship of the work. No reason was given. For the past ten years, these materials, once an exhibited sculpture by a legendary artist, have sat in the gallery’s storage, its status in the world uncertain, in stasis, hollowed. In the spirit of Luigi Pirandello’s 1921 absurdist play Six Characters in Search of an Author, Studio for Propositional Cinema has invited several artists to respond to the uncertain ontological status of this sculpture, or ex-sculpture, creating a tentative play of statements on and demonstrations of the roles and potential roles of the artist-author in relation to their autonomy over the reception, distribution, construction, and completion of their work.

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