Esercizi Obbligatori Atto I | Marilisa Cosello

The series Esercizi Obbligatori by Marilisa Cosello investigates the concept of power and the acceptance of imposed limits, therefore how we usually accept what is presented to us in the same way it is imposed on us. The series is divided into three acts, in the first one the gli Esercizi Obbligatori del Sabato Fascista (compulsory physical exercises that Mussolini imposed during the ‘fascist Saturdays’) are put in place: this training sequence includes actions and poses of power, aimed at representing the concept of the ideal strength and efficiency according to the regime.

The control of the body is a necessity in dictatorial regimes and its functionality, its training, its efficiency are functional to the transformation of the individual into an executing machine: the single physical individual in this aestheticization of action is transformed into a collective entity, becomes an object, an instrument. The narration of the force of the body then becomes propaganda, revealing how much the matter of power finds its clearest revelation in the transformation of the body from subject to object.

It is in this dimension that Cosello’s critical intrusion fits: the repeated execution of this compulsory fascist routine, decontextualized in space and time, and in its video transposition, exposes the body of power as desacralized and therefore weakened, staging the dynamics of conformity to which every regime, not just the totalitarian one, exposes the individual.

Marilisa Cosello, Esercizi Obbligatori Atto I, 2016-17
HD Video, loop
©the artist