Remo Campopiano: Artist-in-Residence

An installation of a room with a table, chairs, and bed. These elements sit before a constructed white mountain.

Installation view, Remo Campopiano: Artist-in-Residence, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 1989.

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Remo Campopiano
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The MIT List Visual Arts Center has invited Minneapolis-based artist Remo Campopiano to formulate and construct a new artwork, which has been taking form in this gallery since early September. The artist will continue in residence through October; visitors are invited to make repeated visits in order to observe and discuss the process and development of the work with the artist. 

Campopiano has always been interested in investigating systems of social order, and his work has ranged from a storefront window entitled Plato’s Cave which undertook to separate myth and reality in the Bill of Rights (New York, 1983) to several museum installations involving interconnected live animal ecosystems. At MIT he is elaborating a space based on the four axes of the Native American medicine wheel as a means of locating a grounded center between the pull of the mind and the emotions. 

The visitor enters the space at the south, as a child (hence the high chair). To the east (right) is a zone of elaborate, highly technical systems, denoting the dominance of the mind. Opposite, on the left (west) is the zone of the heart or emotions. Just as the Indians devised the medicine wheel dance to express the pulling together of different experiences, Campopiano employs many tactics to achieve an integrated, balanced unity: the inverted central half-dome containing the ant colony, two echoing mountain landscapes on either side of the room, and a model train which will travel a circle route suspended from the ceiling. The dark solid boxes hanging overhead symbolize pure mystery, or in the words of the artist, “all that we don’t know.” The installation produces the sensation of being inside some mysterious hybrid of human, spiritual, or social organ. 


List Center residencies are made possible through the New Works Program of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. The artist would also like to thank David Sheppard, Lida Bravo, Remo Campopiano Sr., Leni Erikson, and John Barlow for their generous and energetic support.