Albanian pigeons

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Bring me home, please

On Tuesday, it was almost sunny, i was bored, i thought that a few moments at Franco Soffiantino would sort me out. The Turin art gallery's ongoing show has indeed a very promising title: Thai Body Massage and other works.

Jens Haaning bought every single object that happened to find itself in a thai massage centre. Body oil, painting reproductions of Thai landscape, portrait of the King of Thailand, carpet, chairs, etc. Even the handbag of the owner of the massage center. Every object has now found a new home in the gallery. Haaning had previously moved that same massage studio to Kunsthal Nord in Aalborg, Denmark where it was fully operational. Visitors of the art center could thus book an appointment and get a massage.

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Anyway, the work that i found most interesting in this exhibition deals also with relocation, immigration and integration. In 2009, the artist went to Albania, caught dozens of pigeons, put them in cardboard boxes, loaded the boxes in the truck of his car and drove to Greece. He released the birds in a square of Thessaloniki where pigeons usually gather. Simple. Yet he had performed an illegal act: bringing live animals inside the European Union borders is forbidden to avoid "the transmission of diseases to either the public or other animals" unless you carry the relevant health certificates. Yet, pigeons, migratory birds, even seeds cross borders every day.

This post is dedicated to the stern customs officers who stop me after immigration in the US because i forgot that i have an apple in my handbag.

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Images from the show.
Thai Body Massage and other works runs until April, 23 at the Franco Soffiantino gallery in Turin.
Photo on the homepage: Jens Haaning, Albanian Pigeons, 2008, 2nd Biennial of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2009, photo by Dorte Krogh, courtesy Franco Soffiantino Gallery.

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