Menabrea Art Prize, 8th edition
Infinite variables X one bottle

The jury, chaired this year by Andrea Viliani (museum director, MADRE, Naples), and composed of Raffaella Cortese (gallerist, Milan); Luca Vitone (artist, Milan/Berlin); Diego Bergamaschi (collector, Bergamo); Attilio Rappa (collector and representative of Birra Menabrea Spa, Biella); Danilo Ruggiero (president of Untitled Association, Rome) has been called upon to select the winner of the eight edition of the Award. The winner receives a cash prize for the production of a new artwork or an artist book or a limited edition. The label created by Ilaria Vinci (Cisternino, Brindisi, 1991) was chosen among the entries of: Dario Carratta (Gallipoli, 1988), Derek MF Di Fabio (Milan, 1987), Margherita Raso (Lecco, 1991) and Virginia Russolo (Conegliano, 1995).

The 2018 edition of the Menabrea Art Prize challenged the artists to present, through their work, a reflection on the theme ‘Infinite variables X one bottle’.

‘In science, according to the criterion of falsifiability (Fälschungsmöglichkeit) a theory is valid only when it’s refutable, i.e. the search for the error defines the validity of a new postulate. The string theory, for example, currently fails the test of falsifiability and consequently the hypothesis of endless parallel dimensions remains fringe science for most of the physics community and a reason for speculation in literature.

The possibility of accessing one or more coexisting universes that are contemporary to ours has been – and continues to be – a source of fascination for writers, directors and producers. Some have imagined and represented only one alternative universe, while others roam unabated from one dimension to another. Following the Multiverse theory, a label can exist in a multitude of versions of itself, thus offering variables to the known space-time dimension.’

With a unanimous vote, the jury has awarded the 8th Menabrea Art Prize to artist Ilaria Vinci (Cisternino, 1991). In its’ decision, the jury cited the following reasons: Vinci’s project “From Downtown to the Distant Future” opens the limited space-time of a label to the enigmatic contours of a ductile and infinite multiverse, where millions of suns shine and there is no “distinction between upper or lower side, internal or external”, between micro- and macro-cosmos. The central image – a sun containing a Moebius ribbon – reshapes the flat surface of the beer bottle label, suggesting new possible directions. This is further explored by printing the black sections of the label with heat-sensitive ink, so that anyone holding the bottle will leave a trace of body heat on the label, thus becoming a part of the project itself. The project maintains an unpredictable yet strict balance between intellectual research and graphic synthesis,
a dynamic interaction between object and project: “By touching it, the universe becomes invisible with the heat of our hands”.

A special mention has been given to the Infinite Variables X One Bottle project by Derek MF Di Fabio (Milan, 1987), for his reinvention of the graphic pattern of the label, which he decomposed and reassembled into several elements. Evoking folds, ropes, animal shapes and gravitational waves, and accepting the “challenges we can throw down by breaking a pattern” – the artist suggests all the implications of a multiple experience, such as the one that is inherent even in the simplest daily gestures of observing, drinking or handling a bottle of beer.

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