Giovanni Morbin

Hybridizactions, from 1995 to the present

28. 11. 2023–21. 1. 2024

As a tribute to Ljubljana at the Match Gallery we host a retrospective exhibition of the Italian artist and performer Giovanni Morbin named Hybridizactions, from 1995 to the present. Since the beggining Morbin's artistic research has been linked to behaviour, and for him performance is the ideal tool to express ideas. In the 1990s, Morbin was a regular guest on the Ljubljana art scene and conceived and performed four Hybridizactions in the city, which later had a significant impact on his international artistic career. Morbin also prepared a new Hybridizaction 16, Evergreen for the exhibition in Ljubljana.

Hybridizactions are at the very core of the artistic tissue of Giovanni Morbin (1956) from Cornedo Vicentino, Italy. He is one of Italy’s best-known performance artists, but his artistic career was first initiated with a diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, where he studied with the painter Emilio Vedova. Morbin’s artistic research has been linked to forms of conduct since its inception around 1978, with performance being his ideal means of expression. In the 1990s, a globally turbulent decade full of flux and transition, Morbin became involved with the Ljubljana art scene (Škuc Gallery, The Scarecrow Statelet and the group Sestava of Metelkova). After 27 years, his exhibition at Match Gallery pays tribute to the city that has proved to be one of the crucial starting points for his artistic research. This intimate retrospective presents 17 performative Hybridizactions.

In search of independent artistic initiative, Morbin interacted with the Italian collective Ottomat, a space for creative interdisciplinary research, which was presented itself at the Škuc Gallery in 1993. A year later, on the 8 May 1994, he published the artistic manifesto Universal Ethics of Expression (ETICA ESPRESSIVA UNIVERSALE – EEU) together with the artists Danilo Balestro and Pierluigi Cazzavillan, announcing the collapse of anthropocentric world-views. In the new reality, we are no longer able to identify within a single culture or ethnic group, but rather our bodies and consciousness are now mutating towards egalitarian relations with animate and inanimate nature. The presentation of this manifesto was organised by the Škuc Gallery a year later. It involved a series of performances and installations of Morbin’s instruments for introspection (Strumento a perdifiato) at 19 public sites around Ljubljana.

During Hybridizaction 0 at the former Metelkova prison building (1995), Morbin squeezed and locked himself with forty guests in a small prison cell and initiated a dialog on the meaning of freedom. He created an unpredictable situation where the artist and participants interacting constitute the whole artistic material to be transformed. The Hybridizaction 0 ended at the participant's first desire to leave the cell. Hybridizaction 1, Bodybuilding (1997), however, revealed a living-inanimate fusion. By encrusting his hand in the corner of the Metelkova prison building, Morbin and the observers were confronted for eight hours with the balance between architecture and the artist’s body.

His performative practice led Morbin to create the label SUPERFICIE TOTALE, under which he continues with the Hybridizactions series. He intertwines these with an antifascist stance, where politics and power are treated as malleable and sculptural material. He boldly uses artistic means to create a counter narrative to the rising nationalist tendencies in Italy. Morbin justifies every change in his artistic enunciation with an avant-garde manifesto. His most recent practice is Ozionismo, horizontal manifesto, which is the art of pending activity, where he executes performative actions of symbolic inactivity called ozioni.

In the spirit of Ozionismo, Giovanni Morbin, recently emerited Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Verona, shows in Match Gallery his farewell Hybridizaction 15, Whatever Remains, which he first presented with his students on his last working day on 31 October 2023. For the exhibition opening Giovanni Morbin also prepared the Hybridizaction 16, Evergreen.

All of Morbin's Hybridizactions are presented in the exhibition guide, which can be viewed HERE.


Production: Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljane
Coproduction: Superficie Totale
Artist: Giovanni Morbin
Curator: Jani Pirnat
Expert help: Alenka Pirman
Photographs from the collections: Arhiv Nanija Poljanca – Ljudski muzej Rogaška Slatina, Galerija Škuc
Public relations and editing: Maja Čehovin Korsika
Design: Jaka Šuln
This project has been made possible by: Mestna občina Ljubljana, Ministrstvo za kulturo RS, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Lubiana

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