Expanding upon research undertaken during her 2018 Wallace New Zealand Residency at The British School at Rome, and presented alongside new work, Are We Not Ready? is a solo exhibition by Deborah Rundle that draws upon the Prison Notebooks of Italian neo-Marxist Antonio Gramsci to create a suite of six works that examine his notion of common sense.
‘Communal sense’, or senso comune, refers to ideas that are widely accepted in popular consciousness but do not serve the populace. Rundle explores this collective impulse through a series of transcriptions across political fields, including labour and civic life.
In A dream seems like a dream, Rundle uses a Studio 45 typewriter to type a passage extracted from the utopian writings of Adriano Olivetti, owner of the Olivetti manufacturing company and originator of The Community Movement. Cross-hatching the text is a ‘net work’ reminiscent of Gramsci, suggesting a pulling through of unresolved ideas from the past.
Seven birds appear in Auspices 1943-, above a 1943 map of Rome produced by the British War Office. This is the number that any bird flies in harmony with inside the swarm of thousands that comprises a murmuration of starlings. Here, the artist draws on the ancient practice of augury to ask ‘what omens can we read today in the flight pattern of these birds?’
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