Struttare Per Parla de Piedi

Will Stuart with Geoff Bailey (after Michelangelo Pistoletto), 2010, digital print, 35.5 x 45 cm

In the entrance hall of the ICA in London last summer, I came across a framed print edition of [this] image accompanied by the following caption:

“Will Stuart, ‘Struttare per parla de piedi’ [trans. ‘Structure for talking while standing’] (Michelangelo Pistoletto, 1965 – 66), 2009.”

Being familiar with Pistoletto’s original work, a sturdy minimalist 2  × 2 meter grey-painted iron frame, I spent some time trying to decode the various intertextual implications stemming from this apparently new work and its title. Mostly I was perplexed by the Italian part — a title within a title — which did not quite correspond to Pistoletto’s original Struttura per parlare in piedi. Being (like the majority of the contemporary art community) hyper-sensitive to all forms of ambiguity, multi-layered meanings, meta-self-reflexivity and so forth, but (unlike the majority) fluent in Italian, I was uncertain whether this was a deliberate mistranslation or simply a couple of unfortunate typos. I could easily imagine that this sort of confusion and indecision on my part was precisely the effect intended.

The “new” clause Struttare per parla de piedi could in fact be more accurately translated — with some oscillation of meaning — as, Covering with lard in order to talk about feet.

–“Surplus to Requirements,” Francesco Manacorda, Dot Dot Dot #20, 2010