Underdog stages a battle. Bronze sculptures of five fighting dogs in different positions and roles are arranged in the exhibition space. One is keeping watch with tightened muscles; two others fight; one whines triumphantly; while yet another yields inert on the ground. The group seems to answer to three imperatives: “Look alert!”, “Attack!”, “Win!”. Beyond the title, the elation of the winner rather than the commemoration and grief for the loser in emphasized. There is an initial pause, but there are clear invitations to conflict and competition. In this case as well, the ego is aggressive, and it needs to assert itself with its teeth and nails. There is indeed a loser but its presence seems inevitable.
Why does contact have to become a clash that establishes a loser and a winner? No emotion is stirred in the group of dogs; it seems like the saying “Mors tua vita mea!” is being exalted. These strong dogs with brawny and smooth muscles are famished and worked-up so as to express and assert their own aggressiveness and supremacy (the material with which they are made displays cold composure and iciness). But here a battle for survival –both of groups and single individuals– is also staged. Liliana Moro uses an ancient mode of expression and by means of this bestiary she represents not the sociality of the pack, but the tyranny and the rivalry between adult males when aggressiveness is never enough to justify itself – either on a biological or existential level.
In any event, the sculptures may also be seen as five “stages” in the life of a single animal: a sort of a tautological battle against oneself when one is both loser and winner; every figure is both prey and predator, which is an aspect that involves the cycle of life. In this case then, Moro gives dignity back to the loser, showing the ups and downs of his life, allowing him to leave himself in order to objectively consider his own actions. She wishes to definitively show us how we are all losers in the attempt to relate to others.
Milovan Farronato, exhibition catalogue EGOmania, Just When I Think I’ve Understood... Appena ho capito d’aver capito..., Galleria Civica di Modena, Silvana Editoriale, 2006 (excerpt)
b. 1961, Milan, Italy
Lives and works in Milan. She graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, where she studied with Luciano Fabro. In 1989 she founded, with other artists, the Spazio di via Lazzaro Palazzi in Milan, active until 1993. Encountering the works of Liliana Moro we have the perception that only what is strictly necessary is present. Sound, words, sculptures, objects and performance, compose a world that “stages” a reality simultaneously raw and poetic. These are territories of an individual experience (that of the artist but mainly that of the viewer) that ask for going beyond what is visible. She has shown in major international group exhibitions including De Apple, Amsterdam (1999) • P.S.1, New York (1999) • Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1998) • Quadriennale, Rome (1996/2008) • Aperto XLV, Venice Biennial (1993) • Documenta IX, Kassel (1992). She held several solo shows at Galleria Emi Fontana, Milan• Gallery Greta Meert, Brussels • MUHKA, Antwerpen and Fondazione Ambrosetti Brescia. Recently Liliana Moro has showed at the Fondazione A. Ratti Como (2012) • Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan (2008) • Italian Cultural Institute, Los Angeles (2008) and has participated in important group exhibitions, including La Magnifica Ossessione, MART, Rovereto (2012) • Celebration, Institution, Critique, Galleria Civica di Trento (2009) • Focus on Contemporary Italian Art, [MAMbo] Museo d’ Arte Moderna, Bologna (2008) • Italics, Palazzo Grassi Venice (2008).