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How To Live?

Andrea Zittel

01.06.2013 | 19.07.2013
Massimo De Carlo, Milano

Massimo De Carlo is pleased to present How To Live? a solo exhibition by American artist

Andrea Zittel. The exhibition will present five new works from Zittel's ongoing series, Prototypes for

Billboards, and a video titled How To Live?: A dynamic essay about liberation and it's complexities.

This new video portrays a settlement in the southern California desert, on a piece of land that no one seems

to own. It is free to live on this land and there are no restrictions on what people can or cannot do there.

With this glimpse into one community's liberation from mass society, the video touches on the existential

nature of freedom, as it's price, and meaning are called into question.

In contrast to the outdoor settlement presented in the video, the painted billboard prototypes depict

intimate and detailed interiors from the artist’s home, the ongoing site-specific project entitled A-Z

West, also located in the southern California desert. As the images of these domestic settings embody the

same questions that emerge in the video work, we see the artist carry the weight of these questions into the

everyday and every action.

The overarching question of How To Live? is lifted directly from the essays of Michel de Montaigne, who’s

life’s writings comprise a massive volume of essays and anecdotes on all the nuances of day-to-day

living. Zittel, like Montaigne, in a very personal and idiosyncratic manner, continues her life’s work of

asking these questions, constantly rewriting them, and allowing them to evolve in accordance to time and


Andrea Zittel

Andrea Zittel was born in 1965 in Escondido, California; she lives and works in Joshua Tree, California.

Over the last 25 years, Andrea Zittel has developed an unparalleled practice that encompasses spaces, objects and modes of living in an ongoing investigation into what it means to exist and participate in our culture today. While nurturing a symbiosis of formal abstraction and function, Zittel explores core questions of “How to live?” and “What gives life meaning?” through an examination of social norms, values, hierarchies, as well as the creation of new systems and structures for living. Bodies of work, such as Wagon Stations, Living Units, Planar Pavilions, and Uniforms, suggest systems that can allow for liberation and creativity through prescribed sets of limitations rather than total freedom, and reshape how we think about our needs and articulated human constructs. Since 2000, Zittel continues to develop her life project A-Z West in the Southern Mojave Desert––an evolution from A-Z East––as well as High Desert Test Sites, as testing grounds for her work and investigations of day-to-day living. The over 50-acre grounds, as well as numerous satellite properties, are sites for experimentation, where environment, structure, and elements shape an intentional context for experience.

Andrea Zittel's work was also exhibited in important and renewed venues such as the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2004, 1995), Aperto ‘93: Emergency/Emergenza, 45. Biennale di Venezia, Venice, I (1993), 16th Istanbul Biennial, İstanbul (2019) and Documenta X, Kassel D (1997).