You Tourned the Tables On Me
curated by Silvia Lelli
A small table travelled through several European countries for eight years, and along with it a photographer, Roberto Masotti, who doggedly set out to portray the protagonists of international contemporary music in the 1970s in all their perennial nomadism – a particularly vital and experimental scene.
“It was found and purchased on a sunny afternoon in May 1974 at a gypsy camp on the outskirts of Milan, from a scrap iron dealer […] and then used incidentally the first time as a prop om a portrait of Juan Hidalgo, a Fluxus artist” – this is how Masotti describes what was to become much more than a stylistic prop. In this series of portraits, the table takes on the value of a stage on which each of the musicians has the opportunity to present themselves, in many cases with the same spirit of experimentation that characterises their music. But the table is more than that: it is a kind of symbol. As his brother Franco Masotti writes in the introduction to the book, “the corroded surface of the table is a map of ‘unknown lands’ or constellations of stars […] that Roberto discovered and knew how to interpret.” Not just a witness but an integral part of a nomadic community of artists, as visionary as they were utopian, who made improvisation their creed and egalitarianism their ethos.
A year after Roberto Masotti’s death and on the occasion of the republication of the book (by the publisher Seipersei), the series You Tourned the Tables On Me (where the playoff between ‘turned’ and ‘tourned’ is quite deliberate) is re-proposed at Spazio Gerra in its set of 115 portraits of the most famous contemporary musicians from all over the world, including John Cage, Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Michael Nyman, Demetrio Stratos and many others, alongside a range of video and sound materials.
Listen to the words of curator Silvia Lelli