Giulio Frigo, Through your pupil into your brain, until death will separate us, 2008, DVD, polarising lens, 00’:08”, Courtesy Galleria Perazzolo, Arzignano (VI).
Andrea Dojmi, The Distance to the Sun, 2007, Super 8 video converted to DVD, 29’00’’, Courtesy the artist.
Davide Rivalta, Rinoceronte indiano, 2005, Fibreglass sculture, 183 x 295 x 106 cm, Courtesy the artist.
Nico Vascellari, Revenge, s.d., Video projection on burned wood, Courtesy the artist.
Francesca Grilli, 194.9 MHz, 2006, Video, DVD, 5'23", Courtesy the artist.
Christian Frosi, Yppipie (La Nuvola Yppipie), 2008, Site specific installation, Installation view at Castello Di Rivoli – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Courtesy the artist.
Nicola Pecoraro, Untitled, 2008, Mixed media installation, 140 x 200 cm, Courtesy the artist.
Enrico Vezzi, Cromosphere e Magical Photos (Fat Tree, Natural Bridge), 2007- 2008, Video, DVD, 5’ min., 2 light box, 40 x 30 x 10 cm each, Courtesy Vianuova Arte Contemporanea, Firenze.
Carola Bonfill, Millenium Combo, 2008, video, DVD, 4'24'', Courtesy the artist.
Marzia Migliora, Test Optometrico (Milo De Angelis, José Saramago), 2007, Installation, 3 light box, 100 x 50 x 12 cm each, Courtesy Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano.
Maria Domenica Rapicavoli, Four Virgins and a Bed, 2007, Video, DVD, 6’30’’.
Alessandro Piangiamore, Rainbow’s Gravity, 2006, Positive plaster cast of an upside-down puddle of water, water, photo Courtesy Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Roma.
Rossella Biscotti, Dai tempo al tempo, 2008, video, 16 mm. on DVD, 10’00’’, Courtesy the artist.
Anna Galtarossa, Il mostro di Castelvecchio jr. #1, 2008, Wood and fabric, 100 x 50 x 50 cm, Courtesy the artist.
Paolo Chiasera, Black Brain 3, 2008, Oil on canvas, 263 x 191 x 3 cm, Courtesy Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia.
Danilo Correale, Revolution is …, Unlimited Edition, Wallpaper, backpack and poster rolls, 180 x 240 cm, Courtesy the artist.
Alice Cattaneo, Untitled, 2008, Site specific installation, Aluminium, pvc and plastic, plastic bands, 230 x 220 x 90 cm, Courtesy Galleria Suzy Shammah, Milano.
Nicola Gobbetto, Blob, 2008, Polystyrene, toothpaste, 50 x 50 x 60 cm, Courtesy the artist, Galleria Fonti, Napoli.
Centre for Contemporary Culture
+ 39 055 2645155
Emerging Talents. New Italian Art
23 January-29 March 2009
This exhibition is devoted to the finalists in the Emerging Talents Award, created by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and organised by the Centre of Contemporary Culture Strozzina — the CCCS of Florence. The competition is designed to encourage young Italian artists and draw critical and international attention to their work.
Contributions from 25 artists are displayed in the exhibition. Finalists were selected by a committee of four of the new generation of independent Italian curators: Andrea Bellini, Luca Cerizza, Caroline Corbatta, Andrea Lissoni and artist and teacher Paolo Parisi.
Rossella Biscotti reinterprets the photographic records of the Archive of Pietro Pensa, who was a manager in a company in the earth moving industry, the mayor of Esino Lario and the chairman of the Valsassina Mountain Community in Lombardy. To do this, she selects fragments of landscapes and mountain views, but she shows them to us in a different light. The pictures, taken as part of a study of the landscape and its transformation, are accompanued by a soundtrack produced by sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, who recorded the sound present inside the rocks. The stable and calm nature of the alpine scenery thus takes on an unknown facet that draws our attention and stimulates the formation of pictures in our imagination. The pictures turn fluid and go out of focus, demanding that we make a onstant effort to get them back into focus.
Carola Bonfili's artistic research plays with the rules governing vision by calling into question our common way of perceiving the reality that surrounds us. In line with this approach, her Millenium Combo video shows a series of filmed details of an inflatable structure that is constantly changing in shape. The sequences are mounted in such a way as to emphasize the slow and at times sensual movements above all else. The variations and changes challenge the spectator in his inability to perceive clear shapes and distinct outlines, triggering unexpected and unwitting associations in his mind. Thus the spectator enters into the work's own lebensraum, being sucked in by a dynamic that stimulates the creation of imaginary individual worlds. So in effect, Millenium Combo seems to be intent on challenging the sense of sight as one of man's most crucial and objective senses in his perception of reality. The images that the artist offers go beyond any sense of the real object, in this instance an inflatable structure, abandoning all sense of space and time and turning into a sounding box for an interior world that lies beyond the bounds of immediate perception.
Alice Cattaneo's Untitled, 2008 is built with simple materials such as aluminium and plastic. This work of art was created expressly for the environment in which it is located. Interacting dynamically with space, almost as though they were growing spontaneously out of the architecture Cattaneo's structures are both fragile and incisive at the same time. Their shape is astonishing in its ability to create a new space with minimal intervention, and indeed its simplicity is merely skin-deep. Always using the temporary nature of a context to advantage, Cattaneo creates ephemeral architecture: anti-monuments whose value lies not in themselves so much as in their ability to create new associations and impressions in the places for which they are designed.
Alex Cecchetti's video, Sun (One Day Old), 2008, is a linear composition of 35 mm photos of the sun as it sets, taken by a variety of different photographers, observers and scientists. The pictures focus particularly on the moment at sunset when the sun's disc enters what is called an upper mirage, in other words a tunnel of refracted light caused by the interweave of hot and cold layers in the atmosphere. These pictures are then studied in an attempt to analyse atmospheric pollution levels and to make long-term forecasts on climate trends. This video, however, transcends the scientific approach and forges an ongoing moment of emerging shapes scanned by the compulsive vanishing of the actual moment of sunset. Our attention focuses on the repetition and on the rhythm that compels us to reflect on this image: the sun as a focal point in time, the sunset as a symbolic image, the anxiety of the night that is about to descend, the narrative nature of the image of the sun, and the totally abstract nature of the sun's disc as it is transformed into increasingly unrecognisable shapes.
The two prize winners, chosen by an International jury — Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts at the San Francisco MOMA; Jan Boelen, Director of Z33, Belgium; Hubertus Gassner, Director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle; Cornelia Grassi, of the Greengrassi Gallery in London and Kathrin Becker (director of Videoforum at the Neue Berliner Kunstverein); with the additional advice of Franziska Nori, project director of the CCCS, Heiner Holtappels (director of Netherlands Media Art Institute/Montevideo) and Christoph Tannert (director of the Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien) will be given scholarships to the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin and to the Netherlands Media Art Institute Montevideo in Amsterdam. This project fully reflects the mission of the CCCS, providing a platform and point of reference for future projects. The exhibition of the finalists’ work serves to promote these artists while also stimulating a new arena for discussion among artists, critics and the public.
Paolo Chiasera's painting Black Brain 3, 2008, shows a surreal scene charged with mystery: normal animals are portrayed in unusual attitudes and poses in a dark landscape. The meaning of this scene is not immediately clear and it is open to the different interpretations that each spectator can provide. This, because the Black Brain project is rooted in the impossibility of defining a single unambiguous meaning for anything. Even the work of art's physical status is the object of a process that causes it to change in time rather than to have a stable connotation. The picture undergoes structural changes which alter its aspect in the various exhibition centres that host it thanks to changes in its frame. Paolo Chiasera tackles a traditional genre like painting by questioning the value in merely depicting reality, underscoring instead its nature as the translation of obscure and evocative form and content into a new vocabulary.
Danilo Correale's Revolution is … is a wallpaper, a wallpaper produced in an unlimited edition, a work in progress that is already on display in such cities as Como, Milan and Naples; it is a work that “travels” inside a backpack. Wherever this installation is displayed, one of the rolls of paper in the backpack is stuck onto the wall of the exhibition centre and a new copy is produced. The project's starting point was the demolition of the Isola Art Center, a vibrant contemporary arts centre in Milan close to the old Stecca degli Artigiani, which was cleared prior to the commercial development of the site. When the centre was demolished, only an approx. 10 mt. wall was left standing, with a door and a mural painting by Tanja Brugera bearing the legend: “revolution is on hold”. That wall is the subject of Danilo Correale's wallpaper. Thanks to its 1:1 scale, the work does not inflict on us a resampling of the picture of what is left of the Stecca degli Artigiani, it puts itself on display. It shows us the thing that just happens to have been left standing as a temporary icon in memory of a place, but which becomes something new in the location in which it is now being shown. Correale aims not only to remind us of a past event but also to highlight the social and political rather than purely poetic value of art.
Andrea Dojmi's The Distance to the Sun, 2007, was made in the vicinity of the S-4 and Area 51 military zones in Nevada, mysterious regions where imponderable events are rumoured to take place. The famous Area 51 is in the middle of a rocky desert set amid high and inaccessible mountains. It hosts the most secret military base in the world, run for decades by the US Army which conducts its underground nuclear tests there. Many claim that it also conducts experiments there with extraterrestrial UFO's. This is the set in which Dojmi has chosen to situate his film, which he filmed using the Super 8 mm format so typical of the sixties and seventies. The landscape and characters fuse together, creating an experience midway between fantasy and reality, between mysterious events and memories. In Western iconography, the desert has always been the symbol of a search for the self, a scenario for existential reflection. That is why Luis Buñuel used this arid stage in his short film entitled Intolerance – Simon and the Desert, to show man coming face to face with his own inner nature. The trip undertaken by the character created by Dojmi is the narrative framework within which a dreamlike search for identity takes place, through the impressions sparked by the alleged alien kidnappings and rediscoveries that have occured in this area and in the desert context.
Michael Fliri's video Early one morning with time to waste, 2007, portrays a situation midway between the sublime and the grotesque, between the serious and the facetious: a boat steered by the artist himself undertakes a solitary voyage in the open sea, bound for infinity. The boat is made of empty coloured bottles, it has no engine, and like its anchor, we are not sure that it is capable of staying afloat for much longer. As in so many of Fliri's productions, so also in Early one morning …, the performance and the narrative aspects are part and parcel of the video work. The artist places himself and his imagination at the heart of his work, but in doing so he takes a deliberately ironic look at the chances his aspirations will ever have of really coming true. In this case, he seems to be posing as a latter-day Odysseus in search of his fate, yet doing so on board a vessel that it totally unsuited to the task, thus betraying the artist's ironic attitude towards his own condition. The voyage not only challenges the laws of physics and the forces of nature, it also highlights a strongly surreal and unnerving situation, almost a paradox between reality and fiction that seems to urge us to court failure in our endeavour to lend substance to our imagination.
Neuro-science tells us that the mind indelibly stores all the information that it receives via the senses in the subconscious. Every perception is memorised and on occasion, even after a long time, it resurfaces in our conscience without our being able to predict when that might happen. Giulio Frigo's video installation Through your pupil into your brain, until death will separate us, 2008, simply turns the projector onto the spectator, who watches the projection through an opening in a wall. In the few seconds the video lasts, a human figure dressed in black appears, fading into obscurity like a distant memory. The images are projected straight onto the spectator's retina, turning him into a kind of living screen supporting the images and, at the same time, by injecting those images into the spectator's mind, the artist turns them into an integral part of the spectator possibly for ever – “through your pupil into your mind, until death do us part”.
Christian Frosi's installation comprises two large black panels leaning on one another in a precarious state of balance. At the base of this structure, images of the sky at different times of day, cloud formations and views of the Australian outback seen from above are set alongside one another, offering different yet overlapping viewpoints from the ground and from the sky, as in bird flight. In pitting the plastic presence of sculptural elements against the weightlessness of images, Frosi focuses on the complex relationship between man and nature, vacillating between scientific assessment and poetic abstraction. The artist himself says:
“…I saw the cloud three times in 25 days: twice from the ground and once from the sky. I recorded a waiting period that was devoid of order, of structure or of tension. My gaze was refractory, sensitive only to the horizon and to the satellite image of Australia. The cloud is produced by a soliton wave that tends to move towards infinity while maintaining its energy constant and, when it passes through anywhere, it completely alters the light, temperature and sound of the place it is moving through. The cloud's clear rapidity appears as liquid geometry, an irregular and unstable shape underpinning utopian structural functions…”
It is virtually impossible to define the artistic world of Anna Galtarossa in clear terms. Her works do not just tell a story or trigger feelings and arouse emotions, they actually testify to her fervent creative imagination. Her goal is to lend concrete form to her personal visions by using lively and spectacular installations that often involve the audience physically in her ingenious architectural constructions. In the case of The Monster of Castelvecchio jr., the artist builds into her space an alienating presence, a dream peopled with shapes and colours, a fully fledged monster made up of a very broad range of different materials. This work of art was originally created on a much larger scale for a number of different public areas in the city of Verona. Passers-by could interact with the sculpture, which consisted of endless layers of coloured fabrics applied to a load-bearing frame, using a creative method that involves the accumulation of everyday objects — a method to which the artist frequently resorts in her work. The Monster of Castelvecchio jr. emanates a strongly theatrical flavour, acting as a kind of totem from some ancestral cult which, once created, takes on an autonomy of its own, breaking away from its creator's control and turning into a object midway between sculpture and myth.
Nicola Gobbetto's work titled Blob, 2008, recalls the name of a famous sci-fi movie with Steve McQueen, directed by Irvin S. Yearworth in 1958. A monstrous gelatinous Blob sows terror in a small American township, while a group of kids tries to find the Blob's weakspot in their endeavour to defeat it. Back in the fifties this film became a kind of symbol of the fears and anxieties of a whole generation terrified by the threat of potential nuclear attacks. Nicola Gobbetto seems to want to dedicate this work to the state of mind portrayed in the movie, alluding to a gamut of widespread fears, devoid of any specific or real shape, to which the modern generation is prey too. Yet he translates that threat using a modern, very topical vocabulary comprising a small work of art made up of such common-or-garden objects as toothpaste. The sculpture reflects the Blob's shapelessness, which is a key element in this work, akin to some kind of primordial germinative stage in the movie monster's development: a highly visible "thing" that is more alien than frightening. The use of such materials as toothpaste, the acid blue tone adopted, and the indefinability of its shape also reveal the artist's skill in undermining our certainties regarding the physical nature of a work of art, clearly highlighting his attempt to trigger doubts and raise questions rather than to provide absolute answers and reassuring definitions.
194.9 MHz merges performance art with the art of film and narrative. The video shows a performance that Francesca Grilli put on after conducting a series of interviews with members of her family. The artist focuses on a specific event in her father Franco's past. Franco, whose date of birth the title of the work alludes to, lost his younger brother in a tragic accident at an early age. His mother reacted to her intense grief by banning the sound of the radio from their home for ever. It is precisely the voice of Grilli's father that we hear off screen, telling us this story. But the voice sounds as though it has been picked up from an aerial carried on Grilli's back to the top of a mountain. The video allows us to partake in a kind of emotional repeat of the father's story, which his daughter relives through climbing a mountain in search of radio waves. This act is a way of overcoming age-old fear and grief, but it is also a symbol of the search for redemption, for deliverance and for a new emotional freedom in the father-daughter relationship, thus an act of historic self-awareness and of the conquest of new interior space.
Simone Ialongo's work consists of a small pillbox. The seemingly naïve simplicity of the work is given the lie by its content: the artist's finger nails, the product of his anxiety and neuroses. Latching on to the concept underlying performance art, Ialongo places his own self at the centre of his work and uses himself as an example. The artist's work becomes an angst-filled vortex spinning in on it — and himself, searching for a potential solution, or what we might even call a cure. At the same time, he illustrates a condition of angst that we all share, by using a gesture such as biting one's nails with which we are all familiar. His gramme of anxiety is the gramme that each of us consumes every day — the dose of stress that each and every one of us has no choice but to take on a daily basis.
Arranged without any intermediate spaces like some kind of endless chain, the letters run in decreasing order of size just like on an optician's eye-test card, hence the name of this work of art. Yet it is not immediately clear to the viewer that the letters actually make up phrases from literary texts by such authors as Milanese poet Milo De Angelis or Portuguese novelist José Saramago, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1989. As is so often the case with her work, Marzia Migliora chooses quotes dealing with existential themes such as fear, death or the memory in a timeless situation. The artist challenges the spectator's capacity for interpretation, forcing him to actively seek out the meaning of the jumble of letters, which are only meaningless at first sight. The spectator needs to move closer in and further out and to reread the letters more than once, in order to compose not only the individual words but also the overall meaning of the fragments of text displayed. The artist aims to break up the traditional parameters of the spectator's perception in order to then prompt him to redefine the dialogue between the body and the mind, between real space and interior space, stimulating an in-depth reflection on the human condition and on the precarious nature of existence itself.
Valerio Rocco Orlando's art is based on an awareness of the fact that our identity is in constant movement, that it lives in the stratification of the memory and that it is built up through a sharing of relationships and feelings. The photo installation entitled The Infinite Film is an ongoing project, a work in progress, an open-ended movie consisting of a variety of frames or stills from films and videos that the artist has made over the course of his career. Harking back to the method used in the cutting room, Orlando adds or replaces individual characters or whole scenes in an effort to compose a narrative that is constantly being renewed, thus spawning ever different feelings and meanings. Orlando works with fragments of his memory, with elementary particles reassembled in accordance with a very personal aesthetic sense. This, because his memories and his dreams are based on their fragmentary nature, unchecked by time or space. In The Infinite Film the artist appears to be reworking individual memory bytes on a ground that is constantly changing its configuration, offering ever new keys for interpretation.
Nicola Pecoraro has created a site-specific installation by composing patterns and shapes into a face made of translucent paper and card held together by string. The work is suspended in space. It is fragile and ephemeral, and the portrait escapes our clear perception, caught as it is between the two- and three-dimensional, between the abstract and the real. The heads are inspired by the superhero cartoons of the sixties with their strong expressive sense, while at the same time being flat and compressed into their paper dimension. Nicola Pecoraro's work is based on the study and development of new aesthetic strategies that call into question such specific borderlines in genre. Moving between sculpture and installation, his works foster a strong sense of contagion in which the relationship with the spectator and with the exhibition space become further moments for dialogue and debate.
Alessandro Piangiamore's entry consists of an inside-out plaster cast of a puddle of water, and a small photo of an upside-down rainbow, testifying to a form of reality reworked in the artist's imagination. If the heaviness of rainwater forms a puddle, Piangiamore tries to imagine the phenomenon of gravity applied to a rainbow, which is an event caused by the refraction of light on drops of water suspended in the sky. In addressing gravity, the artist does not refer solely to the physical phenomenon of the attraction of a body towards a given centre. He identifies a broader concept, a kind of attraction that is both emotional and intellectual, like the attraction that a person might feel for something unknown or intriguing. His works are a way of altering the laws of physics that regulate our common world. Art can offer a new truth of its own, triggering considerations on unexpected visual possibilities and interpretations.
Farid Rahimi's work explores the nature of the video as a medium, calling into question the rules of vision and our own role as spectators. In the case of F_____Q, Rahimi has put together a kind of minor narrative that is elusive and mysterious in tone, the potential fragment of a longer story. In a climate of suspended and subtle tension midway between the noir and the grotesque, the only passenger in an aeroplane is struck by the landscape outside the plane. Immediately afterwards he unexpectedly attacks the air hostess. The artist merely provides us with this single sequence, the fragment of a potential movie, leaving it open to subsequent development. Even the title of the video is a word that has not been fully spelled out; the artist leaves the spectator with the task of filling in the deliberate omission.
An old tradition in Sicily demands that a bride's girlfriends prepare the bed for the wedding night a few days ahead of the wedding itself. In Maria Domenica Rapicavoli's video, four girls — unmarried, to comply with the tradition — prepare the bed with meticulous care and attention, smoothing out all unwarranted folds and strewing rice and sweetmeats under the pillows as a good luck token for the new couple. All of this occurs under the watchful gaze of the bride's mother. The artist's intent is to reflect on the concept of identity in relation to social stereotypes. Yet the earnest with which she probes cultural conventions ends up taking on a comic twist, and she waxes ironical on the endless details involved in this kind of ritual and on the fact that the girls' virginity is merely presumed.
Davide Rivalta's sculptures focus on the artist's interest in the relationship between the work or art and the environment. Produced in a scale of 1:1, as in the case of the Indian Rhinoceros, his animals have a strong physical presence and are extraordinarily lifelike. The realistic aspect of his work, however, appears to clash with the way he treats the fibreglass surfaces. These surfaces interact with the natural light falling on them and capture our attention, which is drawn not to the mere depiction in itself but to the expressive effect of the link between the work of art and the environment.
Marinella Senatore's installation Setting 01, 2008 consists of only a few elements: a wall divided into two, and a spotlight typical of the kind used on film sets that projects its light from behind the wall. A blade of light, an artificial ray of sunshine, hits the floor and the wall in front of it, thus creating a new sense of space which, while deceiving our senses, also manages to stimulate them at the same time. The image that appears before our eyes deceives us into seeing an environment that is not the real one around us. Yet at the same time it acts as kind of déjà vu that brings back memories and reminiscences from our own imaginary background. Senatore's work embraces more than one genre, ranging from photography to installations and from video art to drawing. Using the tools and language of the cinema (in other works she uses elements such as cutting, off-screen voices, and camera movements), the artist here creates scenarios in which the public can reflect on the ways in which reality is translated through images and on the way in which our perception changes existing reality and forges a new reality even when given only a very few props with which to do so. In the case of Setting 01, the very title of which embodies in itself this minimalist aesthetic, the artist confines her action to offering us the light of a single spotlight, the basic tool of a hypothetical film director, with which to create a story.
Luca Trevisani: A platinum and iridium alloy was used in 1899 to produce the standard metre and kilogramme, which were adopted as the international standard and are kept at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures in Sèvres, France. Iridium is considered to be the metal most resistant to corrosion, and several recent studies have shown that it may be extraterrestrial in origin, given that it is rare in the natural environment but very common in the composition of asteroids. On the basis of these considerations, Trevisani has created a kind of projection alluding to the human desire to contain infinite space. His video shows us a man in a dark, unknown location, obsessively measuring the area around him with a ruler. The man is trying to dominate space, but his attempts are constantly frustrated, symbolising mankind's eternal aspiration to know, to measure and to quantify the world, yet without ever succeeding in his endeavour.
Nico Vascellari's work focuses on the interaction between the contemporary visual and musical cultural scenes, highlighting the more instinctive, gut-level side of art. Produced for the Venice Biennale in 2007, Revenge is an art project consisting of a huge installation, namely a wall of burnt wood seven metres high, packed with amplifiers that echo the sounds in the room using the feedback process, and a performance in the course of which Vascellari stages a deafening and madcap concert, accompanied by other performers and assisted on the mixer by the musician John Wiese. The work is a tribute to the noise punk underground scene – of which the artist is a member in his role as front-man with the With Love group – and literally represents the revenge of an artistic scene that is generally excluded by all the institutional showcases. The video, projected onto a screen made of burnt wood, testifies to the anger and invasive power of that revenge.
Enrico Vezzi's installation testifies to the work that he has done alongside an expert in botany. The expert in question is the leading player in this video entitled Chromosphere, and he guides us on a difficult and disorientating trek through a wood. As the journey progresses, our sole focal point is a dim light, and the soundtrack is only partial. Vezzi's relationship with the expert is what provided him with the opportunity to take his Magical Photos: images of nature experienced almost from scratch thanks to his taking a totally fresh look. In this instance Vezzi plays the part of an observer, setting aside the traditional role of a creative artist in order to relate to others and to share with them the concept of authorship. His work is based on interaction with others and with the world at large, devoid of any preconceived pattern or scheme and open to every kind of unpredictable solution.
The selected works will be displayed in five sections to create a dialogue of formal and conceptual encounter-clash, through painting and video, sculpture and graphics, photography and installations, presenting a vast range of stimuli and ideas. Visitors will be drawn into contact with intimate domestic scenes, colourful symbolic paintings, small conceptual objects, ethereal installations of insubstantial material and large sculptures charged with hidden meaning.
The narration of this young Italian art requires a rich diversity of language and technique. It also reveals a wide ranging creative energy, intimate, private, authentic and absolutely aware of its European and international context.
Simone Ialongo, Un grammo d'ansia, 2007, Glass, plastic, laser print on stick label, nails, 5,3 x 3 cm, Courtesy the artist.