Germany - Interviews

German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019: an Interview with Curator Franciska Zólyom

1 day ago

After the press conference held on October 25, 2018 where the artist representing Germany at the upcoming Venice Biennale was announced, we’ve interviewed Franciska Zólyom, curator of the 2019 Pavilion to have a first insight on the project she’s working on alongside with artist Natascha Süder Happelmann.

Mara Sartore: How do you feel being responsible of the German Pavilion? Which were your feelings and ideas when you first got the news?

Franciska Zólyom: It is an exciting project indeed. I could feel this soon after I was informed that I was selected as curator of the German Pavillon. It was an extremely inspiring process to figure out what kind of artistic realization I’d like to propose to the audiences of the Venice Biennial. As a visitor I have attended the biennial several times and I like the ambience of the Giardini as well as all the discoveries in the pavilions spread throughout the city of Venice.

Mara Sartore: During the recent press conference the artist was announced by Helene Duldung, the artist’s own spokeswoman who said: ‘The artist chosen for the presentation at the German Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia 2019 is …. Natascha Süder Happelmann.’ A new name in the art world actually, no one had heard of the artist and she herself didn’t say a word, her head was hidden under a stone made of papier-maché. That was an intentional misspelling of Natascha Sadr Haghighian. Tell us a bit about this issue…

Franciska Zólyom: Names are powerful. They not only designate beings and things they also constitute, determine and identify them. By doing so they also distinguish, separate them from each other and ascribe meaning and value to them. In art there are again and again „names“ that you supposedly shouldn’t miss. However in my understanding art is a continuous search for forms of expression for ways to depict and to imagine the world in ways we don’t know it yet. In this sense it is important to look for alliances, connections and affinities between forms of being. To overcome demarcations and the effects of discrimination that they entail.

Mara Sartore: Could you anticipate in which way you and the artist will respond to theme of this year’s biennale, “May You Live in Interesting Times“?

Franciska Zólyom: We didn’t know Ralph Rugoff’s concept when we started to conceptualize the project. His statement is inspiring in that it asks for the imaginative potential and critical agency of art. I think that visitors will gain awareness of the specific context in which the main exhibition is embedded.

Mara Sartore: How is working with Natascha Süder Happelmann like? (and with Helene Duldung)…

Franciska Zólyom: It is an extraordinarily rich and joyful experience to work with Natascha. Rich both in intellectual and interpersonal respect. Step by step we built a project team and the more complete and diverse it grew the more privileged I feel to work within this team. It is a huge amount of work that we face. Facing it together definitely helps!

Mara Sartore: In your Venice Biennale experience, which is the German Pavilion you’ve loved the most? Did you enjoy Anne Imhof’s Golden Lion-winning presentation at the 2017 biennale, curated by Susanne Pfeffer?

Franciska Zólyom: Last year’s Faust was a powerful project and it had a strong effect on me to step on the glass floor to attend the performance.

Mara Sartore: On another side, which is the pavilion you are looking forward to see at this upcoming biennale?

Franciska Zólyom: I couldn’t point out one individual presentation, but I sure watch from time to time the list of contributions that are being published successively. What I like about Giardini is the way you move from one pavilion to the next, carrying impressions and thoughts from one place to the other. It can easily happen that you talk or think about the Brazilian presentation while standing in the South Korean pavilion.

Mara Sartore

  • Franciska Zólyom © Stefan Fischer Franciska Zólyom © Stefan Fischer
  • German Pavilion Press Conference, 25 October 2018 © Stefan Fischer German Pavilion Press Conference, 25 October 2018 © Stefan Fischer
  • German Pavilion Press Conference, 25 October 2018 © Stefan Fischer German Pavilion Press Conference, 25 October 2018 © Stefan Fischer
Minneapolis - Interviews

Walker Art Center, Two Years on and his Thoughts on the Next Italian Pavilion: 
an Interview with Vincenzo de Bellis

3 days ago

For the occasion of the opening of the new Walker Art Center’s exhibition, I’ve interviewed Vincenzo de Bellis who is Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis since 2016, and has been recently appointed Associate Director of Programs.

The exhibition “Illusion Brought Me Here” is Mario García Torres’s first US survey and highlights the artist as both researcher and storyteller, exploring the impulses that produce artistic thought.

Mara Sartore: You’ve been in Minneapolis now for two years, how is Italy regarded from The United States. What do you think about Milovan Farronato’s choice and the three artists which will represent Italy for the next Biennale?

Vincenzo de Bellis: I would like to make a very important distinction between the generations of established artists and those emerging. The more consolidated Italian artists and art are both well represented and well known and I think I can safely say that this is the case world over. Alas, for the emerging generation of Italian artists, unfortunately, the situation is quite different where Italy is seen as a marginal country from this point of view. May I underline that I do not agree. It is matter of fact, and I hope that everyone will agree, and evidence shows that we have come to a standstill in the succession of a younger generations of artists. There are three or four, among those born in the seventies that have a certain visibility but then the closer we get to the more recent generations, the more the number drastically declines. This does not mean that they are lacking talent and so deserve less visibility, quite the opposite. It is phenomenon that I almost entirely attribute to the the Italian Academic system, which is an old fashioned system where professors thrive over the nurturing of professional artists.
There are many other factors that also play their part mostly linked to poor institutional support and the market.
This is why I must say that support projects such as those of the Italian Council and the Quadrennial are of fundamental importance and I would like to applaud those who have made it happen.

As far as the Pavilion is concerned: I am a firm believer in the fact that one should appoint an artist and then she or he should decide with whom to work with as a curator. It is not the first time that I’ve said this and therefore I am not afraid of being contested. The pavilion belongs to the artists. If we were to record our chats during the vernissage, those when we give each other advice of what should be seen or not, we always say: Have you seen the Tino Sehgal’s German Pavilion? Go see McQueen! Nauman is unmissable. Nobody, and fortunately so, cites the names of those who have curated these pavilions.
For this same reason, my personal opinion is that a Pavilion should always represent just one artist or two at the most. This is why, primarily reducing the size of the pavilion and then taking it to a more central position are two other obsessions of mine.

I firmly believe that the Cuoghi pavilion, Husni-Bey, Calò curated by Cecilia Alemani was the best Pavilion in the past ten years. Finally something to be really proud of globally. But that of 2007 with Penone and Vezzoli with two powerful personal projects, dedicated to artists of different generations, still represents my personal preference. If we were able to bring it down to a single artist, it would really be ideal. It is clear that with a 2000 square metre pavilion it is practically impossible. But if we could manage to make these changes happen, then finally we could concentrate on the artist and the quality of their work.

To return to the artists: Enrico David is an artist who deserves great respect, on my part and I hope for everyone. His career is there for all to see, Liliana Moro is a very sophisticated artist, I know her very well and I admire enormously, in regards to Chiara Fumai, a tribute to a person who is no longer with us, and with whom Milovan had worked with since the beginning of her career, therefore a great opportunity for the curator to demonstrate her talent in remembrance of the artist. I think that Milovan has given space to three artists of great quality, who navigate different territories and for individual reasons deserve to represent our country. They are heartfelt choices for Milovan who has always followed their individual careers as artists and in my opinion this is the way it should be. It is a demonstrates a seriousness and the ability to take on the right dose of responsibility.

Mara Sartore: Back to the United States, you were recently appointed Associate Director of Programs at the Walker Art Center, what does this new task entail and how have these first two years at the Art Center played out?

Vincenzo de Bellis: A whole lot more of hassle! Jokes aside, I must confess that my arrival in Minneapolis was quite traumatic, let’s say we are not in New York, I knew this, but I did not expect to find myself in come of the certain situations where I initially found myself.
I arrived at a time of profound change for the United States, after just three months Trump was elected and the Museum was going through a moment of change, it was a difficult period, but at the end of the day I am very happy with how things are going today. The Walker Art Center is an extraordinary museum and if it had not given me so much stimuli I probably would have given up.

My first project at the Walker was the Jimmie Durham exhibition “At the Center of the World” (2017), it was a pitstop for the exhibition originally produced by the Hammer Museum. “At the Center of the World” arrived at the Walker after the reopening of Museum’s Sculpture Garden in June 2017. Among the sculptures on display was the Sam Durant Scaffold, a large scaffold that represents the massacre of 39 Native Americans one by one, Dakota precisely, which occurred in 1862 in Mankato, a town 40 miles from Minneapolis. This sculpture sparked a harsh reaction amongst the Dakota community, to the point that it was removed during a ceremony. The United States right now is a country where nobody has the right to talk about anything else that does not concern or involve its own background. The exhibition by Jimmie Durham (in fact the first retrospective dedicated to him in American museums) opened three weeks later. Jimmie is considered by us Europeans as the icon of Native American artists, but for Native Americans this is not the case, because Jimmie has simply refused to provide evidence of his Cherokee origin (which is philosophically exactly in line with the native culture) and has never wanted to undergo the bureaucratic procedure imposed by American administration. A very complex story, in which I supported Jimmie’s reasons very clearly and directly. But when the Museum presented his retrospective, huge controversy erupted once again. ( jimmie-durham-america-meredith-1014164)

So this was my tumultuous debut at the Walker. Today the museum is in good health. In September I was given a promotion and appointed as Associate Director of Programs which essentially ratifies the work done for a year now. In this transition moment I represent, together with Siri  Engberg Director of Exhibition Management, the group of people in charge of the visual arts department and therefore the choices of the artistic direction of the museum.

Mara Sartore: So from what I understand, the exhibition that just opened, dedicated to Mario Garcia Torres is your own doing …

Vincenzo de Bellis: Yes, but in reality except for the Jimmie’s exhibition, which came from the Hammer, I feel owning all the exhibitions I organized at the Walker: “Nairy Baghramian Deformation Professionelle”, which I took over one year before its opening and of which finally the beautiful catalogue has been released, and then a group exhibition entitled “I am You, You are too” which I co-curated with my colleague Pavel Pyś.

Mara Sartore: Tell us about “Illusion Brought Me Here” the solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Mario Garcia Torres?

Vincenzo de Bellis: To open immediately with a statement of the kind that appeal to our marketing team: it is the biggest exhibition by Mario in a museum. A selection of 45 works, from 2002 to today, essentially spanning his career but it is not a retrospective as such because there are both past works and also some new works.
It is a survey exhibition that is difficult to translate into Italian.
As many may know, Mario and I have been collaborating for a very long time.
We met in 2004 and then in 2010 at Peep-Hole with Bruna (Roccasalva) we put together his first solo show in Italy which was titled ‘I Will be With you Shortly.’
When I arrived at the Walker Art Center and began to study the collection in detail, I was immediately struck by the fact that he had never even participated in a Walker collective, almost a paradox since there are so many artists and many works that Mario mentioned in his production. So I spoke immediately to director of the time and in October 2016 I started working on the project that started small but then expanded to occupy not only the gallery spaces, but also the two cinemas. Of these 45 works, 41 are works already completed and 4 are new projects, 2 specific for the Walker and 2 autonomous projects by Mario.

The starting point was to create a retrospective of Mario’s works without showing them all so we worked on a soundtrack that occupies a room but expands throughout the show. This is composed of a selection edited by Mario and a team of composers, of audio clips taken from 20 of his film works (which will not be on display). Regarding the two site specific works, one is an App named “Illusion Brought Me Here”, for which Mario has asked and involved 14 key project employees to become part of the exhibition. The app works with augmented reality and is activated whilst viewing the exhibition, augmented reality is developed by characters that work as avatars, demonstrating how for the artist each of his pieces is always the result of a number of multi-skilled workers.

The other piece that I would like to talk about, which I deem crucial and I think the museum will acquire, is called “Goodbye, Goodbye”, this occupies a whole room in which there will be a video, a granite base, drawings and photographs . It all stems from an image that represents the destruction of the Museum in 1969. In the picture we see the wrecking ball that destroys the museum and a lady who makes a video with a super8, this lady we discovered – thanks to Mario – being the granddaughter of founder of the Walker, was Louise Walker McCannel, who made videos but being a upper middle-class woman this prevented her from being an artist. At one point in her life she donated her house to the museum that went onto to sell it and with the proceeds created funds for acquisitions, therefore a very key character for the history of the Walker. We asked the family for the rights to remount all 4 film reels that had been filmed in a single 10 minute film, the videos were then donated to the Museum and now they are part of our collection.

Mara Sartore: Thanks for your time Vincenzo, we are looking forward to visiting the exhibition and to reading your conversation with Mario Garcia Torres, which we are going to publish on My Art Guides over the upcoming weeks…

Mara Sartore

  • Vincenzo de Bellis, Photo credits: Bobby Rogers, Courtesy Walker Art Center Vincenzo de Bellis, Photo credits: Bobby Rogers, Courtesy Walker Art Center
  • Mario García Torres, Mario García Torres, "Illusion Brought Me Here", Exhibition view, 2018. Courtesy of Walker Art Center
  • Mario García Torres, Mario García Torres, "Illusion Brought Me Here", Exhibition view, 2018. Courtesy of Walker Art Center
  • Mario García Torres, Mario García Torres, "Illusion Brought Me Here", Exhibition view, 2018. Courtesy of Walker Art Center
  • Mario García Torres, Mario García Torres, "Illusion Brought Me Here", Exhibition view, 2018. Courtesy of Walker Art Center
  • Mario García Torres, Mario García Torres, "Illusion Brought Me Here", Exhibition view, 2018. Courtesy of Walker Art Center
  • Jimmie Durham, “At the Center of the World”, Exhibition view, Walker Art Center (2017) Jimmie Durham, “At the Center of the World”, Exhibition view, Walker Art Center (2017)
  • Installation view of the exhibition Nairy Baghramian: Déformation Professionnelle, 2017. (Photo: Gene Pittman, ©Walker Art Center) Installation view of the exhibition Nairy Baghramian: Déformation Professionnelle, 2017. (Photo: Gene Pittman, ©Walker Art Center)
Lisbon - Interviews

“In the Middle is a Good Place to Be”: an Interview with John Akomfrah

1 week ago

On the occasion of the press preview held at the Museu Coleção Berardo for the film screening of “Purple“, we interviewed London based artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.

Giulia Capaccioli: Before talking about the current exhibition, I’d like to talk about the beginning of your career. In 1982 you founded the Black Audio Film Collective and then co-founded in 1998, together with Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, Smoking Dogs Films.Tell us about the origin of these projects. How did the idea come about? And how did you meet your collaborators?

John Akomfrah: Black Audio Film Collective was made up of eight people from different areas of interest but all related to humanities. Most of us met in what is now Portsmouth University but about half of us had known each other since the late 70s, when we were young students. We were all studying things that suggested that you go out on your own, to make your own work. But I think that we must have known this unconsciously and deduced that things were not going to be completely successful on an individual basis. It was a kind of premonition that we needed to work together, and in fact things generally seem to work better when we were working collectively and that was the case culturally, certainly the case politically and aesthetically as well.
That sense of having a manifesto around which a group of friends or at least acquaintances could work together seemed the best way forward. But at some point either you achieve something that is on your list or someone on the other side doesn’t agree… and by 1997 we had a combination of those things. Because, you know, when we got together in 1982 the idea of a Black Collective of artists was a conceptual impossibility, it just hadn’t been explored before but by 95/96 it was clear that we could do it. Many of the people who weep in it were not necessarily interested in pursuing time based work and that’s why I then became part of a new collective Smoking Dogs Films. It was based on a joke that was told us by a friend about laboratory dogs in a tobacco factory. And it seemed to be so similar to the position where we were in because everyone was fed up in a way and we were also located in a lab where you couldn’t stop smoking… (that’s why I smoke electronic cigarettes now! He laughs…)

Giulia Capaccioli: In Purple, you explore the effects of climate change and its consequence for biodiversity on the planet’s different communities through both archival footage and newly shot film. When was the moment you felt the urgency to investigate the relationship between man and nature? Where do you position yourself between nature and humanity?

John Akomfrah: The distinction between nature and culture as a demarcation is very recent in historical terms, three, four centuries ago and into that demarcation natives and people of colour were thrown somewhere in the middle. For most of the last century people of colour were fighting to take themselves out of this inter zone to become human. I am now really keen to explore what is like to sit in that middle space out of choice. I think you have insights into the demarcation itself, the division that is necessary and important to understand when you sit in the middle. I’m not trying to say that everything is the same but I don’t believe anymore that there’ s a hierarchy of being at which some human being sits at the top of this apex. In the middle is a good space to be, in the middle is a space where someone grasps the distinction between the natural and the cultural. And I think is important to not have this binary of what constitutes the natural and what constitutes the cultural in which culture is always above and nature is underneath…. It’s not an interesting way to look at the planet! Of course it matters to me that carbon monoxide emissions are poisoning the planet but I’m not only interested in carbon monoxide emissions just because it affects human beings but I’m looking to see how that shapes how we behave on a planetary or global level as part of a chain, this is what is important for me to understand, the chain of things.

Giulia Capaccioli: In order to make this work you undertook a lengthy trip to the most remote islands in the world. Could you tell us about this experience?

John Akomfrah: Wether it was just me or me and my collaborators in Tahiti or in Greenland or Iceland it is important to me to experience these journeys as conversations with place. I don’t really go anywhere to film, I go to place because I want them to talk to me to greet these places, I know it sounds a bit hippy but places do have a way of registering your presence and they carry that, you can feel that when in a place hasn’t had many people through it and in many of the remote places we visited you could simply feel that they just hadn’t had many encounters with ‘us’. I mean…quite different to the landscape London or Lisbon (he laughs). So it’s an interesting thing to do when trying to make a global survey, to just go to places open minded and open ended. My ambition is for me to be simply In a place.

Giulia Capaccioli: You have also a special relationship with water….

John Akomfrah: Yes, water is an index of time, it marks our experience of time really well. You know all this time based work like this is artifice, it’s a construction. As for the sound of water, do you know how many different sounds of water there are in each of these six screens? There are at least 60 different sounds of water to create that liquidity.
I try to maintain a certain fidelity to the things that we either film or collect. I try to be faithful to the imprint they make on me. I normally film without sound but I make some recordings just to remember how the things sounded and then we recreate it after. It’s a promise I make to each moment, which I have to pay for afterwards and I do this in a way that allows the viewer to not have to sit there and question or doubt the truth of that moment. I don’t want viewers to view Purple and feel an inadequacy to the imagery which is voiced by the sound, it’s important that they feel that the two films are in some kind of conversation with whoever is experiencing it.

Giulia Capaccioli: So it has been three years of filming?

John Akomfrah: Yes, pretty much but not constant. It’s very much a mosaic of different impressions.

Giulia Capaccioli: Tell us about Greenland, for example?

John Akomfrah: Well I have friends living in Greenland, and they were telling me about the disappearance of glacier in the area they live and when I went there I was actually able to see the disappearance of the ice, it’s pretty clear. But it’s not necessarily something that can be shown. Cinema is about the event and always struggles with memory, moving images struggle with time because they appear to be telling a tale of time, but it is always in the present so the passage of time is difficult to give back and demonstrate. So it’s difficult to show climate change, unless I went over a 10 year time period or with time-lapse, so you have to find other means by which you say this and this, basically, is what I am trying to do with my work.

Giulia Capaccioli: You live and work in London, what is your relationship like with the city? Which places do you enjoy the most and where do you spend most of your time?

John Akomfrah: At the moment I’m slightly disenchanted with it, I’ve lived in London almost all my conscious life, I moved there from Ghana at the age 5, so I’ve lived there through all the different ages and the emotional states in my life from my childhood to the present. So I know it very well but more importantly it knows me very well. But I’m kind of disenchanted with it now because there’s something almost cataclysmic in the change in London now. People who are younger than me and who are growing up in the area where I live will not be able to have the relationship that I’ve had with the city because the city is becoming a bit like Manhattan. It’s just not affordable anymore…
But there are places I love…if I had to take a fragment of my life I would take the one where I’m standing on Primrose Hill looking down, for example, something I’ve filmed many times or driving through the outskirts on the north circular in the early morning is a beautiful feeling and tell us something about the quality of light at that time of the day and that semi abandoned state in which London finds itself is just great. I’m also quite sad about the passing of the London that I grew up in, that’s almost all now gone and that change I fear is irreversible.
Nevertheless there are signposts of change, things and people coming and going, the flight of manuality…I don’t think there are many places left in London where people use their own hands to do anything anymore. Manufacturing areas are gone…A certain kind of tactile relationship with life is not now a feature of London life, everybody is involved in something that doesn’t involve them… so we are locked into this relationship with the outside.
But it’s an extraordinary city. There are more than 9 million people in the city but it doesn’t feel like it, the city is made up of a series of can go for one year without going to a certain area. I’ve lived in Newington Green since the late 80s but I grew up in West London…

Giulia Capaccioli

  • John Akomfrah John Akomfrah
  • John Akomfrah, John Akomfrah, "Purple", Exhibition view, Museu Coleção Berardo, 2018
  • John Akomfrah, John Akomfrah, "Purple", Exhibition view, Museu Coleção Berardo, 2018
  • John Akomfrah, John Akomfrah, "Purple", Exhibition view, Museu Coleção Berardo, 2018
  • John Akomfrah, John Akomfrah, "Purple", Exhibition view, Museu Coleção Berardo, 2018
Turin - Interviews

DAMA 2018: A Conversation with Giorgio Galotti, Domenico de Chirico and Martha Kirszenbaum

2 weeks ago

Mara Sartore: Let’s start from the beginning. How did the idea of DAMA come about?

Giorgio Galotti: When we started DAMA, three years ago, it was a reaction to a system of art fairs that galleries like mine do not support, due to questions of position, objectives and expenses. With DAMA we are able to present a new generation of artists in direct dialogue with the history of the city, and for an emerging artist or a young gallery it means a lot because this kind of surrounding is not easy to deal with alone, in this way we are creating a kind of collaboration that could help all of us to be little bit more powerful in a complex system like that of the art world. Furthermore the focused selection at DAMA helps collectors to focus their attention on just one artist per gallery, with less than 20 artists in total, also in my opinion it helps a novice collector to understand better the vision of an artist today.
Domenico oversees the selection of the artists, developing an exhibition project that is primarily made up of site-specific interventions.
Over the years, DAMA has changed in terms of production. The first year there were works that had been formerly exhibited elsewhere and that were showcased at DAMA for their strength and thanks to Domenico’s curatorial work, but things have gradually changed.

Domenico de Chirico: Yes, this year we have given a more experimental and site-specific edge to the exhibition. We wanted to create a contrast, featuring works that are usually conceived for very different types of spaces, those “white cube” exhibition spaces. From this year, the selection criteria has allowed us to bring together artworks created specifically for this context.

Mara Sartore: This year DAMA has arrived at its 3rd edition. What’s new for 2018? Tell us about Corte?

Giorgio Galotti: Year by year we are trying to satisfy the needs and requests from the galleries or from the visitors, so this year we’ve introduced some new features, three of which are important for the growth of DAMA. First is the support from Camera di Commercio di Torino that from next year will give us the availability of some of their beautiful rooms at Palazzo Birago, where we hosted the press conference this past Wednesday. The second is the support of a group of Italian Collectors named ‘Collection of Collections’, they will start a partnership with DAMA supporting the production of one artist’s book year by year.
The third is the introduction of ‘Corte’ as you mentioned. It is a new section dedicated to open air installations. Starting this year in the courtyard of Palazzo Saluzzo di Paesana with a project by Nick Oberthaler presented by Furiosa, a brand-new independent space based in Monte Carlo.

Mara Sartore:  Why DAMA? Can you explain the origin and meaning of this name?

Giorgio Galotti: The playful idea we had was to put aside the “court ladies”. Dama is the chessboard, whose free spots are metaphorically occupied by the participating galleries. Above all this name works internationally, and is easy to remember.

Domenico de Chirico: In addition, when the galleries are reconfirmed for the next edition- and this happens for a maximum of two years – there is a move typical to the game, the galleries shift from one room to another. The reconfirmation therefore also implies a location shift and metaphorically the gallery moves to a new square on the chessboard.

Mara Sartore: Can you introduce me to the concept behind this years’ “Live Programme”?

Martha Kirszenbaum: For this year’s Live Programme, I have invited four international artists whose practices of performance and film bear a strong interest in popular culture —notably music and dance, breaking the hierarchies between what is commonly named as “high” and “low” cultures, and bringing intimacy and notions of identities to the core of the exhibition space. Warsaw-based Alex Baczynski-Jenkins presents “Federico”, a minimal choreography of touch between two performers, a performance of desire in the smallest scale, that mobilises affect and sensuality, as a means for a queer archive of touch. Moroccan-born and Brooklyn-based Meriem Bennani’s film retrospective interlaces references to globalised popular culture with the vernacular and traditional representation of her native Moroccan culture and visual aesthetics that she captures with her iPhone. Finally Berlin-based performers Tobias Spichtig performs a selection of songs in the genre of the “standard,” with piano accompaniment by Theresa Patzschke, and including some classical baroque as well as Italian pop. Furthermore presenting time-based works, such as film and performances is always a challenge at an art fair where visitor’s attention span is very limited and focused on buying artworks. This is precisely what made me want to develop the programme!

Mara Sartore: I heard about a policy selection for galleries that is by invitation only, how does it work and how do you select no-profits?

Domenico de Chirico: Yes, the selection of the galleries and no-profits come about without an open call because we want to avoid a dispersion of time and energy considering the space we work in and as principal concept behind DAMA project. An open call would require a massive selection process, that’s why we thought the best choice was to make a selection in line with our curatorial concept. Usually the first step is to confirm only some of the galleries that participated in the previous edition to give a sense of continuity and to give the same galleries the possibility to continue a sort of itinerary within the whole project. Then, the selection proceeds by considering the validity of the solicited proposals, we also try to cover a vast geographical area. Regarding the no-profits, we are interested in rewarding those who, in our opinion, are able to structure projects that are on the same level as the participating galleries. The entire selection is based on meritocracy, and looks for valid and innovative yet possibly site-specific artistic proposals. We want to bring to DAMA works and artists that are not overestimated in the art market and among the Italian audience as we are not interested in following trends. We also try to bring freshness to DAMA, something stimulating and participatory and include galleries and artists that have not had the chance to exhibit yet. For Antenna Space in Shanghai, for example, DAMA was the first time the gallery had participated in a fair in Italy .

Mara Sartore: And how have collectors reacted over the last 3 years?

Giorgio Galotti: It is great to receive their positive feedback. They see DAMA as something intrinsic to them, where they do not have the “aggressive” trade fair context  imposed on them, where it seems that they have to buy at any cost. Here at DAMA they have time to talk, to focus on and to understand the work of a specific artist. This is made possible thanks to the limited number of participants, which this year reaches its maximum of 16 galleries, starting with 12 participations in 2016, then 14 in 2017. An increasing number is only due to the presence of the “Court” section, the space dedicated to outdoor works exhibited in the courtyards of other palazzo’s or public areas.

Mara Sartore: In 2013 you moved to Turin, leaving Rome. The art week in Turin is internationally renowned and a must see event in Italy, but it has been said that from the commercial point of view it is not very lucrative…

Giorgio Galotti: The major Italian collectors are located between Turin and Veneto. Milan, Naples and Palermo also play their part, but perhaps we must get rid of the thought that opening a gallery in a specific place implies a geographically local collecting public. I love dealing in this area because there are a few galleries, and this is of course an advantage. As for the city’s art scene, in Turin there is the most beautiful museum of contemporary art, Castello di Rivoli, two major Italian art foundations, and many non-profits organisations that rely on an international audience. The support of the sponsors is also excellent. So I am fully satisfied with the choice of having my gallery in Turin, and even if I spend my life mostly in Milan rather than in Turin, I would never move the gallery to Milan.

Mara Sartore: Regarding the participation fee, how is DAMA placed compared to other fairs?

Giorgio Galotti: Being a gallery owner I am well aware of the costs of participating in a fair. For this reason, we have quantified the expenses of the building’s rent and the general organisation costs and we have divided the costs with the participating galleries. The fee is half of what an emerging trade fair could cost, DAMA is absolutely affordable despite not being an open-call project. This allows us to ask the galleries to invest more on the production since their participation fee comes to about 1500 / 2000 euros.

Mara Sartore: Since DAMA’s inception, as a gallerist what has been the most rewarding of the success so far?

Giorgio Galotti:  I would say that the most important thing for us is having the opportunity to get in touch with people and the chance to build a proper dialogue with visitors, journalists, collectors, and we believe this is the approach that emerging fairs should have. This is why we do not want to categorise ourselves as a fair.

Mara Sartore

  • Martha Kirszenbaum © Deborah Farnault Martha Kirszenbaum © Deborah Farnault
  • Giorgio Galotti © A.Ruth Giorgio Galotti © A.Ruth
  • Domenico de Chirico © Tassili Calatroni, 2016 Domenico de Chirico © Tassili Calatroni, 2016
  • DAMA 2018, Nick Oberthale Exhibition view, (Furiosa) Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano DAMA 2018, Nick Oberthale Exhibition view, (Furiosa) Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano
  • DAMA 2018, Renata de Bonis, Exhibition view, (Giorgio Galotti) Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano DAMA 2018, Renata de Bonis, Exhibition view, (Giorgio Galotti) Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano
  • DAMA 2018, Yves Scherer (Cassina Projects) and Nika Neelova (Osnova), Exhibition view, Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin DAMA 2018, Yves Scherer (Cassina Projects) and Nika Neelova (Osnova), Exhibition view, Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin
  • DAMA 2018, Caroline Acaintre (Arcade Gallery) Exhibition view, Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano DAMA 2018, Caroline Acaintre (Arcade Gallery) Exhibition view, Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano
  • DAMA 2018, Marcin Dudek, Installation view, (Edel Assanti), Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano DAMA 2018, Marcin Dudek, Installation view, (Edel Assanti), Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano
  • DAMA 2018, Johanna Von Monkiewitsch, Installation view, (Berthold Pott), Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano DAMA 2018, Johanna Von Monkiewitsch, Installation view, (Berthold Pott), Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin © Sebastiano Pellion Di Persano
Turin - Interviews

Artissima – 25 Years of Art: an Interview with Ilaria Bonacossa and Other Artissima Stories

2 weeks ago

For the 25th anniversary, Artissima fair presents Artissima Stories. 25 years of art, an exclusive format of interviews in blog and video formats, coordinated by Edoardo Bonaspetti and Stefano Cernuschi, with Anna Bergamasco. A programme of 25 stories about Artissima: 5 directors, 5 curators, 5 collectors and 10 gallerists. 25 viewpoints on Artissima and the contemporary art world, released every week at the fair website and social media profiles, from September to November.

In the frame of this project, we asked Fair Director Ilaria Bonacossa a few questions on the fair’s anniversary.

Mara Sartore: Can you introduce us to Artissima Sound? The project will be hosted by OGR and is one of the new initiatives to celebrate the fairs 25th anniversary.

Ilaria Bonacossa: Artissima Sound is a bit of a bet. We will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fair with a new section dedicated to sound experimentation in the monumental spaces at OGR – Officine Grandi Riparazioni: 15 immersive, vibrant and poetic installations, selected by two international curators, Yann Chateigné Tytelman, Berlin-based art critic and associate professor of history and theory of art at HEAD in Geneva, and Nicola Ricciardi, artistic director at OGR.
The society in which we live, constantly assails us with images and videos, so I have the impression that the ‘aural’ dimension is returning to relevance.
The works, presented by Italian and international galleries, will be on sale; a will, to sell sound, which arises from the attention of Artissima on experimentation and new trends, revealing the ability of sound to impose itself and engage despite its intangible nature.
Among the 15 proposals, a jury made up by Anna Colin, associate curator of Lafayette Anticipations of Paris and co-director of the Open School East of Margate, Lorenzo Giusti, director of GAMEC, Bergamo and Judith Waldmann, curator and head of monitoring at Kasseler Kunstverein in Kassel, will select the winner of the second edition of the OGR Award.

Mara Sartore: A brief excursus to the key moments of 25 years of Artissima. And how will the topic “Time” present itself for this years edition?

Ilaria Bonacossa: “Time is on our side” marks 25 years of innovation. From 1994 to today, Artissima has transformed, responding to changes in the art world and foreseeing trends. Over the span of a quarter of a century it has hosted 1394 galleries, 946 of which are foreign and has witnessed the birth and development of talent, both in the galleries and among the artists.

A young Cattelan, for example, featured in the first edition and was one of the artists in the catalogue.

In 1996 the fair website launched,, and Artissima became an opportunity to promote contemporary art week in Turin, creating a fruitful collaboration between institutions dedicated to the contemporary in the city.

In 2000 the programme dedicated to visiting collectors was established and for the first time the number of foreign galleries exceeds those of the Italian.

In 2001 Present Future came to life, a section that has marked the emergence of many talents and that for 18 years has supported emerging art with the illy Pesent Future Award. An important anniversary that will be brought to light at the fair via a video tracing the history of this long-standing partnership with illycaffè.

2002 saw the entry of the New Entries section open to galleries  which have been active for less than 5 years; this year, thanks to the Professional Art Trust Fair Fund, 3 exhibitors in the section received financial recognition to support their participation in Artissima.

Since 2003, the Foundation for Modern and Contemporary Art CRT has provided funds for acquisitions at the fair, for GAM and Castello di Rivoli.

In 2004 the Artissima brand was acquired by the City of Turin and the Piedmont Region and became a public fair, whose management is entrusted to the Fondazione Torino Musei.

Artissima is the first fair to have had contemporary art curators as directors and this has marked its DNA: from 2006 to 2009 Andrea Bellini, from 2010 to 2011 Francesco Manacorda and from 2012 to 2016 Sarah Cosulich.

Among the most significant moments to remember we have; the projects in the theatres of the city by important international artists and l’École of Stephanie in 2009; the birth of Back to the Future in 2010 which launched the international trend for the rediscovery of pioneers of art; the Per4M section commissioned by Cosulich, dedicated to performance art and the “Shit and Die” exhibition curated by Maurizio Cattelan, which in 2014 recorded more than 30,000 visitors.

In 2017, with my first Artissima came about the Drawings section and the project “Piper Learning at the Discotheque” that involves the city on a journey back in time.

For the twenty-fifth anniversary, in partnership with Combo, we launched “Artissima Experimental Academy” whose first appointment, DAF Struttura, combines the educational side of things with a participatory experimental and technological dimension, welcoming students, international speakers, experimenters and artists in an environment – “Structure” – which synthesises the sound. A factory open to the public that focuses on the artistic creation through exchanges and contamination led by the experimental musician Jan St. Werner (founder of the Mouse on Mars group).

The topic of time also manifests itself at the Meeting Point by La Stampa thanks to a programme of conversations curated by Paola Nicolin, which aims to offer the public a plural proposal, highlighting both Artissima’s past and thanks to its experimental character its ability to become a treasure trove to the history of the contemporary art market in Italy.

The time of artistic creation is central to the new Artissima Junior, in partnership with Juventus, to allow children to create a choral installation at the fair together with the Argentine artist Alek O.

Lastly, this year we have launched “Artissima Stories 25 Years of Art“, an integrated programme through blog and video, edited by Edoardo Bonaspetti and Stefano Cernuschi. A programme of 25 interviews with important key figures in the history of Artissima: 5 directors, 5 curators, 5 collectors and 10 gallery owners. 25 different points of view on Artissima and the world of contemporary art.

Mara Sartore

  • Ilaria Bonacossa @ Silvia Pastore Ilaria Bonacossa @ Silvia Pastore
  • Courtesy of Artissima Courtesy of Artissima
  • Courtesy of Artissima
  • Oval, Artissima 2017, Photo: Perottino – Alfero – Bottallo – Formica Oval, Artissima 2017, Photo: Perottino – Alfero – Bottallo – Formica
  • Artissima, Internazionale d’arte contemporanea, Torino, 2016 © Perottino-Alfero-Tardito/ Artissima 2016 Artissima, Internazionale d’arte contemporanea, Torino, 2016 © Perottino-Alfero-Tardito/ Artissima 2016
  • Artissima Special Projects, DAF Artissima Special Projects, DAF
Turin - Interviews

Artissima 2018 Special Projects: DAF Struttura Introduced by Zasha Colah

2 weeks ago

Carla Ingrasciotta: What is the Artissima Experimental Academy?

Zasha Colah: A year ago, on the invitation of Ilaria Bonacossa, Paola Nicolin had brought her on-going project the classroom to Artissima, and curated the inimitable Piper. Learning at the Discotheque as a new take to a regular curated talks program. Seb Patane, an Italian artist based in London, led the classroom. There were several conversations and workshops staged within the recreation of Piper, a 70s discotheque where Arte Povera happenings had taken place. This was a small revolution into imagining what an Art Fair can do in terms of its discursive potential, in relation to the collective memory of a city. It was at the same time a good tribute to what Artissima had always been known for: an experimental fair, with curatorial instincts.
Responding to these recent and past innovations of the fair, from this year begins Artissima Experimental Academy, an education initiative based on co-learning and cohabitation, in collaboration with Combo who provide heated tents on the fair grounds. It is important to stress that with Combo and Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT, housing and the school are entirely free.

Carla Ingrasciotta: DAF Struttura is one of the Special Projects launched by Artissima to celebrate its 25 years’ anniversary. Could you briefly introduce the project to our readers?

Zasha Colah: I invited one of the most extraordinary musicians of the last 30 years, the artist/composer Jan St Werner, and he in turn invited DAF (Dynamic Acoustic Research/ Dynamische Akustische Forschung, his class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg) to create an environment—DAF struttura, which is traveling, itinerant and shape-shifting: a stage, an auditorium, a workspace, a thinking place, an archive, a radio station, a recording studio, and an art exhibition space. It is self-built, by the members of DAF, from recyclable sine-wave cardboard. It is a four-day experience during Artissima 2018, and is an invitation to build and inhabit an experimental free school in Turin.

The definitive experiment is what pedagogy looks like if non-hierarchical, lateral, and based on co-learning. We begin with two lectures: one an introduction to DAF struttura, its itinerant, traveling, mobile, recyclable form, and the second, a grassroots history of some experimental school structures from different moments in history, and their connection to socio-political transformation. What that means to us today, in the context of Turin/Italy, in the context of working with a collective-in-formation, and through the possibilities of relation of sound, are explored over the week.

Carla Ingrasciotta: The project is based on an international open call to 25 participants from any country and any field of study. In which way are you coordinating the selection?

Zasha Colah: Three people independently read the answers to the 4 questions of the Open Call, and we then together made a selection, so that the group would have a diversity of interests, knowledges, inner resources and strengths–to truly learn from one another. Some respondents to the call devoted a paragraph to each answer, some just a sentence, but while reading them we realised how that can carry equal weight. The coordination will be wholly based on collective learning and self-organization.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Could you tell us about the collaborative side of this project, who are the contributors involved and how did you develop this network?

Zasha Colah: I invited the Jan St. Werner, and he is the composer of the project. He invited his class DAF, Marc Matter, Matthias Singer, Yael Salomonowitz, and Moritz Simon Geist to help build different elements of struttura. Matter works on sound and text, and radio. Simon Geist on sonic robots. Singer on sonic lamps, really beautiful strange cinematic sculptures. The robots and lights function as instruments, producing sound. St. Werner on activating the space, the “instruments” and architecture. Salomonowitz on staging the material produced by all the participants. The most extraordinary is the cohesive role of the class/collective DAF. Co-inventors of the struttura, they travel from Nuremberg to Turin by van with its various parts: a gradually descending tribune and stage, and inverse pyramid seating structures; and they are the ones who build it by hand, guided by Michael Akstaller.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Which kind of audience are you aiming to attract? Which strategies have you developed to engage the public during the fair days?

Zasha Colah: Struttura opens at various times to members of the public. Struttura is composed like Various Small Fires, like walking into the Factory, or a fluxus performance space with various small activations and possibilities and experiments being worked on by different groups. We have not discussed this explicitly, but underlying this organization is that the audience experiences a kind of freedom: to walk around the space, and choose what pulls them near. Rather than huge spectacle, and manipulation of an audience, the hope is that the audience feels free; free to be shy, free to be participative. The audience will have the opportunity to tune in via a short-throw radio transmission from any point of the fair, join sonic walks, or enter within the struttura to hear lecture-performances, discussions, acoustic experiments, stagings of archival recordings, or new compositions. These will be experimentally documented by the school, and a publication and vinyl capturing these sound texts will be collectively conceived and launched early next year.

Carla Ingrasciotta: How was the collaboration with Jan St. Werner born? Which are you expectations after this project?

Zasha Colah: I invited Jan St. Werner to make a temporary school, based on a dream 4 of us (with Rosa Barba and Luca Cerizza) had shared in 2015 to create an inclusive, experimental school for sound and art in Italy inside a lighthouse. For Artissima, Jan decided to compose a school as an environment. The participants each bring distinctive exciting knowledges, and will be involved in producing new artistic works together in collaboration, during the sets called, “group experiments” that will be open to the public. The recording of these, will become a publication and vinyl, and through the week, we pay special attention to unique recording methods. We all hope, the family just grows to include these new members, in the same spirit of generosity and energy that has been DAF till this point.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Zasha Colah © Francesca Verga Zasha Colah © Francesca Verga
  • Jan St Werner © Daniel Patlan Jan St Werner © Daniel Patlan
  • Photo credits: Visual identity, DAF Struttura, by FIONDA Photo credits: Visual identity, DAF Struttura, by FIONDA
  • Jan St. Werner's itinerant, modular DAF Struktur (Dynamische Akustische Forschung), Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, 4-8 July, 2018. Jan St. Werner's itinerant, modular DAF Struktur (Dynamische Akustische Forschung), Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, 4-8 July, 2018.
  • Jan St. Werner's itinerant, modular DAF Struktur (Dynamische Akustische Forschung), Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, 4-8 July, 2018. Jan St. Werner's itinerant, modular DAF Struktur (Dynamische Akustische Forschung), Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, 4-8 July, 2018.
Miami - Interviews

Miami as an Artistic Ecosystem: an Interview with Dennis Scholl

3 weeks ago

Mara Sartore: Last year you have been named president president and CEO of ArtCenter/South Florida. This was just after developer South Beach TriStar 800 bought the ArtCenter’s historic building at 800 Lincoln Road in a sale that provided the organization with an unprecedented cash windfall. ArtCenter stated that this money would be used to expand its role in serving the city’s growing cultural community, and in particular you aimed to develop the city’s reach “beyond those five days in December”. Could you tell us what has been done after one year since your nomination, and which are the plans for the future as the next edition of Art Basel Miami Beach is approaching?

Dennis Scholl: As I write this reply, we at the ArtCenter are preparing to announce 44 awards to artists and art teachers in Miami Dade County totaling almost $500,000. This new program, entitled The Ellies, after Ellie Schneiderman, our founder in 1984, received over 500 applications from visual artists in our community. It has been christened “Miami’s Visual Arts Awards”. It is an effort on behalf of the Trustees of the Art Center to give direct support to artists in our community and help them realize their individual artistic ideas.

MS: In the last fifteen years Miami’s cultural art scene has been developing quite considerably, what is still missing? Which are the actions you think both privates and public institutions should undertake to continue the growth for the next 15 years?

DS: Perhaps the most important step our community needs to continue to evolve as an artistic ecosystem is to strive to create a top 20 Masters in Fine Arts program. We generate dozens of the best and brightest artists out of our high schools, especially New World School of the Arts and Design and Architecture Senior High. Many go on the New World for an undergrad degree but then when it comes time to seek an MFA, (a defining degree in the art world), they are forced to leave our community to go to Los Angeles or New York City to seek that opportunity. We need to create a program that would allow for them to stay here and continue to develop at a high level of excellence.

MS: How you combine your role as president of ArtCenter and your passion as a collector?

DS: I have had to curtail a number of my collecting activities when I assumed the role of CEO of the ArtCenter, as it is truly a more than full time job! But I continue to use my relationships in the art world to bring important curators here for our Talks series, a collaboration with Locust Projects, a Miami based alternative space that also includes studio visits for our artists. Collecting is in my DNA, so I will always collect. My wife, Debra and I are working on a new collection of post war and contemporary drawings, which is a new area for us. And which is bringing us a lot of joy.

MS: Last year you and your wife Debra donated two hundred Australian Aboriginal works to three US museums, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. How many pieces does your collection counts now? Will you find another place like World Class Boxing to store and display your collection?

DS: Our donation to the US museums of a large group of Aboriginal Australian artists’ works was the consummation of a decade long plan to expose this incredible work to our nation and also to try to insure that it would be seen in the US on a more regular basis. We still own over a hundred works, and always enjoy living with them. After giving away close to 600 artworks of all genre and media over the past 5 or so years, we still have around 1000 pieces. Every time Debra thinks we have finally slowed the acquisition pace a little bit, I get excited about a new idea and off I go.. 😉

MS: We love to give insider’s tips to our readers, especially when they come from local art experts as you are for Miami and Miami Beach could you recommend 5 not-to-be-missed spots in Miami for an art lover visiting the city on a regular day?

DS: Our collector spaces are not to be missed. They represent thousands of hours by the collectors in our community to give back, through providing a public venue for their private collections. The Rubells, de la Cruz family, Margulies collection and others are simply extraordinary and where all the international attention started for the visual arts in our community.
My happy place is on the veranda of the Pérez Art Museum as there is always a cool breeze, an ice cold drink and the chance to look out at the bay and reflect. It has become our community’s front porch.
The galleries of the upper east side are starting to emerge in a wonderful way. Nina Johnson, Emerson Dorsch, Spinello, Mindy Solomon and of course the venerable Snitzer gallery have programs that shock and delight.
I am proud to say that the Art Center on Lincoln Road continues to provide studio spaces for working artists and our Resident Nights are not to be missed. All our artists are in their studios, there is typically an exhibition, a thoughtful lecture and an excellent DJ (including sometimes our own VP of Programming, Esther Park). It is how Miami likes to party!
Most of the time for Art Basel, my art world friends are asking me about food, not art… so some of my current foodie restaurant favorites are Stiltsville, Upland, any Michael Schwartz restaurant, Macchialina, Stubborn Seed, and of course Joe’s Stone Crab… Along with the amazing new Surf Club by Thomas Keller.

Mara Sartore

  • Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Art Center/ South Florida Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Art Center/ South Florida
  • ArtCenter South Florida ArtCenter South Florida
Miami - Interviews

Felice Grodin Presents Miami’s “Invasive Species”

3 weeks ago

Claudia Malfitano: You’ve lived in many cities before settling in Miami. And each one has represented a particular experience, from a climatic and geographic point of view. Could you tell us more about this interesting aspect of your biography and why did you choose Miami and how is the geography of the city inspiring you?

Felice Grodin: To quote my website (which needs updating!): “My work is also a fusion of my background and the unique cities in which I have lived. San Francisco’s earthquakes, Miami’s hurricanes, New Orleans’ weakened levees, Venice’s rising lagoon and New York during 9/11, have left indelible impressions on me of the vulnerability and resiliency of life in the big city. In turn, my work posits a contemporary interpretation of the space that we live in today – a contradictory world that is simultaneously global, territorial and always transforming.”
Upon reflection of the quote, which was written over ten years ago, I think that the very topic of climate and geography is clearer to me now than it was then. Then it was post 9/11 and geo-political conflicts due to globalism were manifesting. There was not the commencement of the Anthropocene (that had already happened) but an emergent consciousness of it. I now understand Deleuze and Guattari’s relationship of the three strata (inorganic/geology, organic/biological, and alloplastic/social) much deeper, literally.
Miami is a ground zero for the compression of these conditions. We’re sandwiched between the virtual financial flows of real estate speculation hovering above, and due to climate change, a rising sea below. Miami is diverse in its population, yet we have a common (un)ground in that our city may disappear. We live in the ‘cone of uncertainty’ lying in the path of hurricanes, fluctuating real estate markets and tropigoth.
I did not choose Miami, it chose me. I came back after 9/11. My family is here, and I needed to be with the familiar. It’s funny how the familiar can be so extreme. It makes for good art probably…

CM: From the point of view of a wider context, what is the art scene in Miami like today? As an artist, could you tell us about the current climate for artists living and working in the city compared to the other cities you have lived in?

FG: As an artist the most liberating thing I find in Miami is the paradox of the utterly synthetic and the brutally honest. Miami so nakedly exhibits a branded lifestyle to its visitors that we joke about it. The funny thing is that the real Miami is so much more interesting. There is also an understanding of how flows of money, finance and industry moves, and how we move with it.
I remember going to an open discussion at an art space in Miami about the relationship of art and real estate developers. At the time the Wynwood Walls were exploding and there was a problem beginning to be perceived. Artists were being used for promotional purposes to facilitate gentrification. Although we can say that this happens in many cities, it was so vividly clear to us artists that we were extensions of Miami urban development. But what was interesting is that we were galvanizing a knowledge of this and how we felt about it – which was disempowered. This was also a time when Art Basel Miami Beach and its related fairs and programs were beginning to focus on the global market and not the local. There were hardly any Miami artists who were participating.
But an evolution began, and the art community began to question these things. I think the Miami art scene has become one of the most possible for developing questions. The questions have become even greater in terms of grappling with not only climate change, but those related flows and how they push and pull in different ways. Being an artist in Miami is both a liberating escape from tradition and expectation, in tandem with the very challenge of what our future will be.

CM: Tell us a bit about your practice and your creative process. Where does it all start?

FG: When I began my practice, I did mostly drawings. My background is in architecture and I was interested in the relationship between mental and physical space. Living in cities like New Orleans, Miami and Venice (for my studies), I experienced space as fluid, literally and figuratively. I drew freehand abstract landscapes using isometric techniques that were both precise and organic. I began to think of these drawings as depicting processes or cartographies of nature and culture simultaneously. I realized that imaginary or speculative processes could be applied both in the virtual and actual sense.

I then decided to focus on the speculative integration of art by developing strategies for both modeling our present conditions and creating meaningful imprints upon them. I now look at existing contexts, conditions or platforms and explore where and how it makes sense to graft or overlay something contingent, something that will reroute the circulation of perception and experience. For example, my first full scale installation was called A Fabricated Field and took place in a project room (Locust Projects, Miami) where the existing ceiling was constructed out of Dade County Pine. Most of it has been deforested. I spent a full year constructing the elements of the installation entirely out of off-the-shelf wood products to accelerate the reading of logistics, mass production and consumption. The funny thing is on opening night most visitors were too intimidated to step into the work. They were lining up on the perimeter and leaning against the walls. I had to literally lead people by the hand into the piece. I don’t know if there was trauma in seeing all that wood expressed like a synthetic cave of stalagmites, or rather it was the excessive and algorithmic embeddedness of time, labor and materials that was somehow inhuman. It was uncomfortable – and I preferred that. It reformed the way I approached the creative process.

CM: Your forward thinking exhibition, now running at the Pérez Museum since 2017, is one of a kind. Tell us more about “Invasive Species”.

FG: The museum received a grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for a tech initiative. By the time I was brought onboard PAMM had chosen to pursue an Augmented Reality project featuring a local artist. What was even more provocative is rather than debut it as an ancillary project to the museum’s main programming, they rolled it out like any other exhibition. Yet it was the first full exhibition of its kind. There were a lot of firsts along the way. I could publish a backstory or catalog which would be just as fascinating as the final works in my opinion. But the focus was – what do we want to augment and why?

I had several conversations with curator Jennifer Inacio, who worked with me very closely on the exhibition. When we started we felt that the work should reflect on the environment of South Florida. We discussed how the Hudson River School utilized landscape painting to portray a pastoral and idealized view of young America. Those paintings were not in the realist genre but rather more sublime and codified. We decided to adapt a similar strategy by exploring climate change in a speculative way. What might Miami look like in 500 years? How could augmenting reality allow the future to slip backwards in time – to our present? Finally, how would the museum’s visitors interact and experience such work?

It thus became a site-specific series of artworks in which three out of the four were located on the exterior grounds of the museum. In each case, the existing architecture of the PAMM (designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron) was augmented with a notion of the takeover by an invasive species that had adapted post climate change. Jennifer brought up that point that in the future, small creatures would become bigger and bigger creatures would become smaller. Something now perceived as uncanny could very well be the new normal in 2518. A sense of wonder would hopefully be paired with a sense of consideration – about the future of our city in lieu of rising seas. Perhaps these future ‘transmissions’ would in sense beg the question of what can be, and what do we want to do about it? Where and how does the human species intersect with other species?

In addition, I have learned a lot about the potential of augmented reality as a medium. What strikes me about it is that rather than situating work within an analog materiality versus virtual reality, it hovers between both. To mediate between the concrete and the abstract is an incredible threshold that this project substantiates. I would say that augmenting the PAMM as a form of art has been a unique opportunity. Because of the ability to scale, the works can take on a large and transformative role. One can be ambitious and speculate on environments that might suggest alternative futures, presents or pasts. It has built in political and social capabilities to present alternatives. Because the interface is through a smart phone, it’s easily accessible and sharable. In our case, three of the pieces can be accessed and experienced (through the museum’s app) without ever entering the museum’s front door. Jennifer brought up the point that akin to invasiveness or even landscape, AR can migrate into the public domain outside the limits of the museum walls.

CM: My Art Guides likes to recommend to its readers unique places to visit in each destination, not necessarily connected to contemporary art, in your opinion, what are the absolutely unmissable places, landmarks and spots in Miami? And could you recommend something that shouldn’t be missed during the art week?

FG: I recommend a meal at Versailles – and don’t forget to include a café con leche. Clive’s Café in Little Haiti would be another one. I would also say just to soak up the neighborhoods. The city has its ‘image’ which tourists consume. But the actual places where people live and work – the communities, have so much more to offer. They are much more honest than the synthetic image. Yet both are what makes Miami.

CM: What are you currently working on? Any project in the near future?

FG: I recently completed a commission for a group exhibition called “E-State Realisms” (ArtCenter/South Florida), curated by Emer Grant. For the first time I completely utilized digital platforms. I modeled and fabricated nine sculptures, or ‘chess pieces’ as I call them, to explore the current use of parametrics and real estate investment in architecture. I’m also in the process of creating a new commissioned AR work for a group exhibition opening in November called “City unseen”. The project is by Snap! Orlando and consists of public AR artworks throughout the city. I’m very excited to be able to continue exploring both Augmented Reality and the transit between the digital and the analog.

Claudia Malfitano

  • Felice Grodin. Image by Pamela Gonzalez, Courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami Felice Grodin. Image by Pamela Gonzalez, Courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Felice Grodin. Mezzbug, 2017-18. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami Felice Grodin. Mezzbug, 2017-18. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Felice Grodin. Knightquarry, 2017-18. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami Felice Grodin. Knightquarry, 2017-18. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Felice Grodin. Terrafish, 2017-18. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami Felice Grodin. Terrafish, 2017-18. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Felice Grodin in collaboration with Jennifer Inacio. work in progress, 2018-2019. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami Felice Grodin in collaboration with Jennifer Inacio. work in progress, 2018-2019. Augmented Reality. Installation view: Felice Grodin: Invasive Species, Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2017-19. Photo by Christian Bonet, Image courtesy of Pérez Art Museum Miami
  • Felice Grodin. 3D_Assets, 2018. Installation view: E-State Realisms, Artcenter/South Florida, 2018. Photo by Zack Balber, Image courtesy of ArtCenter/South Florida Felice Grodin. 3D_Assets, 2018. Installation view: E-State Realisms, Artcenter/South Florida, 2018. Photo by Zack Balber, Image courtesy of ArtCenter/South Florida
  • Felice Grodin. A Fabricated Field, 2014. Installation view at Locust Projects, Miami Photo by Zack Balber, Image courtesy of Locust Projects Felice Grodin. A Fabricated Field, 2014. Installation view at Locust Projects, Miami Photo by Zack Balber, Image courtesy of Locust Projects
Italy - Interviews

“Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra”: a Conversation with Stefano Baia Curioni and Helmut Friedel

3 weeks ago

For the occasion of the exhibition “Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra (The Sky on Earth)” hosted at Palazzo Te in Mantua, Stefano Baia Curioni (Director of Fondazione Palazzo Te) and Helmut Friedel (one of the three curators alongside Marsel Grosso and Giovanni Iovane) discuss the development of the project which is on view from October 7, 2018 to January 6, 2019.

The exhibition brings together two masterpieces by Tiziano: the “Annunciation of S. Rocco” and one preserved at the National Museum of Capodimonte to which Gerhard Richter has responded with 17 works which recount the secret of vision.

Mara Sartore: How did this exhibition come about?

Stefano Baia Curioni: Two years ago – the work at Palazzo Te had started just a few months prior – I met the director of the Museo di Capodimonte Sylvan Bellenger, requesting the periodic exhibition of some pieces from his collection in Mantova. A few months after this meeting I found myself in Naples with the privilege of navigating my way through the halls of the splendid museum, attempting to suggest a potential loan to be brought to Palazzo Te. Towards the end of the visit, on the first floor, to the right, just behind the entrance jamb, I literally fell onto a painting by Tiziano: a great “Annunciation” from 1558, painted by the master from Cadore, for the convent of San Domenico Maggiore and then, more recently, deposited  in Capodimonte for security issues. I was immediately captured by the painting: the sweet mystery in Mary’s face, the blue boundless sky. But what I was most taken by were the wings of the Angel. In the skillful and dismantled painting by the late Tiziano, two wings, like those of an eagle, stood out with an outstandingly defined precision. So I asked the director of the Museo di Capodimonte if it was possible to have the painting. His answer was non-comital, requesting that I develop a project. I took  the matter to the Scientific Committee of the International Centre of Art and Culture at Palazzo Te and here Giovanni Agosti made the suggestion to make confrontation with the cycle of “Annunciations” painted by Gerhard Richter, alongside those of Tiziano, starting with the painting at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, painted before that of Capodimonte.

Mara Sartore: What is the relationship between Gerhard Richter and the canvas of the “Annunciation” of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco by Tiziano, the starting point of the exhibition?

Helmut Friedel: During the preparation of the Richter exhibition for the German Pavilion at the 1972 Biennale, the artist visited the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and saw the “Annunciation” by Tiziano (1539 ca) for the first time. This encounter embraced Richter with the impulse to deal with the painting: “I wanted to draw it (the Tiziano) as precisely as possible, to possess such a beautiful Tiziano … (laughs)” To better understand Richter’s way of proceeding, it is enough to note the number of the works of his five variants of the “Annunciation” by Tiziano. The canvas in which we recognise the first artistic approach, Richter applied the number CR 343-1, the last one the number CR 343-2. These two paintings measure both 125 x 200 cm while the other three variants (CR 344 / 1-3) measure 150 x 250 cm which size wise are more similar to the original Tiziano (166 x 266 cm). This seemingly irrelevant difference shows that the artist’s priority was not simply to make a copy but rather to enter into dialogue with the original. Richter gradually moved away from the initial attempt to faithfully reproduce the work of the Scuola di San Rocco. The artist continued to elaborate “his Tiziano” by proceeding with similar pictorial reasoning which steered him towards other works painted in the same period, his aim therefore was not to try to reproduce the pictorial technique of Tiziano, but rather to concentrate exclusively on the motif of the original. The five “Verkündigung nach Tizian” [The Annunciation by Tiziano] are the only Richter paintings with Christian iconography. As for the question about the possibility of finding analogies between the works of Tiziano and Richter, the answer is difficult and this is mostly due to the limited possibilities of language: it is easier to describe concrete things instead of emotions or an instinctive reaction at a sensory impression. Now the completely different pictorial technique of Tiziano’s maturity is known, a radical approach that left a deep impression  Richter.

Mara Sartore: What underlies the topic of the Annunciation in both artists and in our Western culture?

Stefano Baia Curioni: In the summer of 2017, whilst this exhibition was still under-construction, a seminar was held on the topic of the Annunciation with a group of young researchers. From this emerged various reflections, which until then I had attended very sporadically, but what stood out extraordinarily, beyond the relationship between the two great painters: the extraordinary iconographic reverberation, singular in its kind, if one thinks of the succinct reference that the Gospels make to this episode (Lk 1: 26-38); the formidable innovativeness of the Annunciation to Mary compared to other Old Testament Annunciations; the fundamental call in relation to the figure of Mary, woman, goddess and mediator of the visual, mystical relationship, with the divine and finally the completely earthly, humane, humble dimension of this event whose domesticity is not altered, even by the interruption of the Angel. At that time simple intuitions were dealt with, precious above all because, in their incompleteness, they alluded to the immensity of the theme and opened up multiple levels of readings of the project: the Annunciation, Tiziano, Gerhard Richter, the relationship between Gerhard Richter and Tiziano. The project therefore became even more amplified, with the involvement of scholars such as Giulio Busi and Annarosa Buttarelli, Marsel Grosso and Claudia Cieri Via, Helmut Friedel and Giovanni Iovane.

Mara Sartore: Has Richter a concrete contribution to this project?

Stefano Baia Curioni: When Gerhard Richter was informed by Helmut Friedel and Giovanni Iovane about the project at Fondazione Te, he decided to put forward a re-think on his relationship to Tiziano with a sequence of 17 personally chosen works, thought about as a story and historical testimony to a tension that has gone far beyond the original sequence, to find a permanent reference and echo, not only in his own work, but also in the vision and representation of the most cherished of female figures. The exhibition at Palazzo Te, an exhibition that – found its roots upon an encounter of the “Annunciation” of Tiziano at Capodimonte – has come to actively involve one of the greatest masters of our time, blossoming into a small miracle. Richter worked on this exhibition completely independently regardless of the insights made during the implementation phase. But in the end the project he proposed was intimately connected to the questions and reflections cultivated up to that moment. In fact, Richter solved the narration in four simple steps. The second room (the first is dedicated to Tiziano) recalls his first encounter with the canvas of San Rocco and his first attempt to reproduce it, the following room that reveals how the relationship with the “Annunciation” has been secretly reverberated in the visual representation of the women Richter has held closest in life: his daughters and partner, in their daily, affective, domestic presence. The fourth room demonstrates how the relationship with the paintings of Tiziano, represented specifically by the “Annunciation” of Capodimonte, even in its incomparability, was the source inspiration in its decomposition and exploration of colour as the basis and source of the visible. Finally, a red and slightly patinated, opaque mirror closes the exhibition and ultimately leads back to the relationship with Tiziano in the context of a reflection that is at the same time interior and yet never completely personal (the mirror reflects the figure).

Mara Sartore: Given the direct comparison between the two masters, how would you define Gerhard Richter’s artistic technique?

Helmut Friedel: This exhibition presents a dozen or so paintings by Richter in the years between 2015 and 2017, all under the title “Abstraktes Bild” [abstract paintings]. In these works the artist uses different formats and sizes, different colours and structures, dedicated exclusively to the representation of the colour itself. Although they differ from each other, they are all painted in such a way that it is practically impossible to remember individual details. Technically we can define oils on canvas, however the colour has not been traced with a brush but with a doctors blade or a piece of wood, similar to an elongated spatula. With this tool the artist can pull the colour over the whole width or height of the canvas. Stopping or interrupting the movement creating horizontal and vertical lines that give structure to the colours that create more layers, a sort of skin of the canvas itself. The thickness of this skin can be seen thanks to the overlapping layers which sometimes hide and whilst others retain the characteristic roughness of the canvas surface. In some places the artist has cut large pieces with the knife from the outer layer so as to make visible those below. All these changes add up to a multiplicity of colours to produce an almost kaleidoscopic effect. The stains of colour from which the image is constituted are not monochromatic because in the course of the pictorial process they include the near or underlying ones until they form surfaces that shine like a prism (CR 947-5). In conclusion, if in the late works of Tiziano a “retreat of realism” can be seen, an object can be formed starting from the materiality of painting and a pictorial structure that no longer needs to represent something – if all this is recognisable in the work of an eighty year old Tiziano, then likewise the paintings by richter Richter, at the same age, conquer us with the same power of the message of a painting whose subject is none other than the painting itself.

Mara Sartore

  • Stefano Baia Curioni Stefano Baia Curioni
  • Helmut Friedel Helmut Friedel
  • Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli
  • Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli
  • Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli
  • Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli
  • Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli Tiziano/Gerhard Richter. Il Cielo sulla Terra, Palazzo Te, Mantova, installation view, Exhibition Design Lissoni Associati - Piero Lissoni, © Gian Maria Pontiroli
Paris - Interviews

Paris through an Artist’s Perspective: an Interview with Tatiana Trouvé

4 weeks ago

For the occasion of the art week in Paris, we interviewed Italian born and Paris based artist Tatiana Trouvé (b. 1986, Cosenza, IT) to talk about her current and upcoming projects. She also shares her tips on Paris, suggesting art spaces and places where to spend some time out during your stay in the French capital.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Let’s start with “A Quiet Life”, the exhibition at Kamel Mennour during FIAC. Could you tell us some more about the artworks you are showcasing for the occasion?

Tatiana Trouvé: I don’t usually like talking about projects, I think that the works should follow their own path and have their own discourse. In this case, however, there was certainly an idea which continued to persist, with a dual origin: one which is linked to my own work and the other to another artist, Bruce Nauman. I have often visited my studio at night and from these nocturnal visits, “Remanences”, a series of black pencil on black paper drawings, was created. Drawings that come to life by passing in front of them, with the changes of light and the reflections of pencil and crayon. I see them as nocturnal visions of my studio. I have always worked where I live. They are nocturnal visions that come to you only at night when everything is dark and confused. I have always kept in mind a video piece by Bruce Nauman in which he films his studio during the night, on watching it you have the impression that nothing is happening, yet lots is going on: a busy fly, a howling coyote, a passing train. There is a microcosm that comes to life at night in the studio, when the mechanical activity of the day is at rest. I liked the idea of continuing this thought process about the way things work in an artist’s studio, there are finished works, but everything continues to exist on the same level, with the same importance, both the materials and the finished work. In the atelier everything depends on the other, creating a microcosm. The exhibition does not reveal the exact state or process of things: there are bags of materials that become stone, bronze, some finished works seem to be drafts. The relationship between the materials and the finished sculptures is confusing and the borders are not clear. Everything appears as a three-dimensional drawing.

Carla Ingrasciotta: What does the title “A Quiet Life” allude to?

Tatiana Trouvé: The title comes from the song by Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld where the lyrics in the first refrain are “a quiet life for me”, while in the second part of the song we hear “no quiet life for me”. Hence moving from a quiet life to a restless one, recalling a series of my drawings called “Intranquillity” which also deals with the “The Book of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa. The state of being caught between two worlds:a quiet and restless life, worlds that merge to generate new dimensions.

Carla Ingrasciotta: You mainly work with sculpture, drawing, and installation. Many of your early works incorporate architectural interventions which were not always visible to the viewer. Could you tell us about the development of your practice and of your spatial interventions?

Tatiana Trouvé:  My first pieces were little worlds, installations made from glass or plexiglass. Translating a flat image into an installation and contextualising it, this is very important to my work. From the glass dripped liquid, facades from which you could see the world as a three dimensional sphere, work which was thought about to create a dialogue in different spaces, so not to place the public at a distance. Now however these installations have taken on a greater spatiality, because I make more and more works intended for open spaces, not for galleries or closed spaces. I play with elements that confuse themselves with nature, so that it has the chance to regain possession of itself.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Could you tell us about your practice and the creative process behind your work? Do you have a daily routine in your studio?

Tatiana Trouvé: I don’t have a daily routine as such. There are long periods in which I am inactive, but these are probably the most useful, when I do my research. I don’t really have a methodical approach to my work.

Carla Ingrasciotta: You were born in Italy and lived in Senegal and Holland. In 1995 you established yourself in Paris. Why did you decide to move here?

Tatiana Trouvé: Before Paris I lived in faraway countries which were culturally diverse from one another, which has surely had an impact on my life. I was very young when I went to Africa. I arrived in Paris having lived in Holland for a period and I arrived by chance, I absolutely didn’t think I would stay. I came for an exhibition, after that other projects began to take shape and they made me stay. I think it was my work that brought me here, it wasn’t a personal choice. Now my life is in Paris and I am happy. It was my work that chose the city for me.

Carla Ingrasciotta: What was the art scene like when you first arrived in the city and how has it changed over the years?

Tatiana Trouvé: Young artists travel a lot, they are constantly moving to Paris, artists here come from all over the world. What has changed is that we no longer stop, we do not settle for long. Even young French artists leave and return frequently. Moving, flows and migration to and from Paris is a cultural richness, and I think this is fundamental for today’s art scene.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Are there any concessions from the part of institutions? Do you think these are directed positively and in a sustainably towards artists? Is there public involvement?

Tatiana Trouvé: Yes, very much so, and it has always been this way in France. Many museums, like the Beaubourg, for example, usually buy works at the beginning of an artist’s career. There are many initiatives dedicated to art initiated by young artists, including new spaces, young galleries that have taken over the 20th arrondissement. It is a vibrant scene and is inspired by the Berlinese model, and this inspiration has brought with it a little more space to breath and some vitality, enriching a Paris that was once classical, middle-class and tied to fashion.

Carla Ingrasciotta: In your opinion where does the Parisian art scene stand within the European context?

Tatiana Trouvé: Paris is a very expensive city but it is certainly well placed on the international artistic front. There are important galleries like Gagosian, Goodman and other international galleries that have settled in Paris. Paris, as well as another 5/6 cities in the world are undeniably renowned for their international art scene. I do not live in the centre of Paris, it would be unthinkable to work in the city. I live in the suburb, in the suburbs like almost all the young artists and even the established ones. If you need space to work, Paris is impossible and I think it’s also the same story in London or New York. Montreuil, the area where I live, is also called the Brooklyn of Paris as it is a cheaper neighbourhood, where you can afford large spaces without paying exorbitant rents. These are areas where many young people create dynamic and stimulating businesses and cultural startups. All these suburbs will be included in the city because they will be part of the Grand Paris 2022 project.  Demographically, Paris is growing more and more rapidly and the city is adapting to these changes.

Carla Ingrasciotta: What is your daily relationship with Paris like? Does the city itself inspire your work? Do you have artists friends here and do you happen to visit artists’ studios?

Tatiana Trouvé: I have lots of friends, in every shape and form. I also have lots of artist friends who come by Paris and then leave again. Now there is a different approach to work. In my opinion up until the 90s there was more stability, artists met in the city, they had their meeting points whilst now the situation has changed. I often visit my artist friends whilst they are putting up shows abroad, for example. This is the type of experience which is becoming more frequent in my life.

Does Paris inspire me? I live in the suburbs and it is a completely different world compared to that of central Paris. Paris to me is a very borghese reality, tied to an elite, inhabited by well off people, collectors… creativity doesn’t thrive within the centre. Artists need space and isolation and Paris cannot offer this. The creative processes take place elsewhere, on a journey, reading a book, they are not tied to a single city, it is never a place, but a series of things related to ones interiority. Paris, however, is a place to see many exhibitions and this is exceptional for artists. While outside Paris, in other cities, there are many structures called “Frac” that have very sophisticated and avant-garde art programmes that express a positive cultural policy dedicated to contemporary art in France. Thanks to these structures, which were born in the 80s and which are still very active, even those who do not live in the capital can enjoy a vast programme dedicated to art.

Carla Ingrasciotta: My Art Guides likes to recommend to its readers unique places to visit in each destination, not necessarily connected to contemporary art, in your opinion, what are the absolutely unmissable places, landmarks and spots in Paris? And could you recommend something that shouldn’t be missed during art week?

Tatiana Trouvé: There is variety of places I’d like to suggest visiting in Paris, among them these are my favorite ones around my area. La conquête du pain (47 Rue de la Beaune, 93100 Montreuil), an organic bakery self-managed and opened in Montreuil on 2010. It is a very nice place with real ethic and social values; Les Instants Chavirés (7 Rue Richard Lenoir, 93100 Montreuil), a concert venue located in Montreuil and dedicated to experimental musics. Here you can discover very interesting projects in particular during the Sonic Protest Festival that the Instants Chavirés welcomed every year; L’Observatoire de Paris (8 61 Avenue de l’Observatoire, 75014 Paris), an astronomical observatory created by Louis XIV in 1667. It’s an fantastic historical place in Paris who played an important role in the astronomical history and where have been made important science discoveries; After 8 Books (31 Passage du Ponceau, 75002 Paris) a library previously located in the independent exhibition space Castillo/Corrales. Here you can find a great international selection of artist books and theoretical texts; Shanaynay (78 Rue des Amandiers, 75020 Paris), an artist run space running by a young and constantly moving team of artists. It presents a very interesting emerging and international art scene; Treize (24 rue Moret 75011 Paris), the oldest artist run space located in Paris. The organisation welcomes a program of exhibitions as well as music shows and published also books and records since a couple of years; La Recyclerie (83 Boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris), a wonderful restaurant located in an old train station in « La Petite Ceinture » in the 18° arrondissement of Paris; Le Chinois (6 Place du Marché, 93100 Montreuil), a club and a music venue located in Montreuil and who presents a very eclectic programme (from jazz to electro, including rock and world music events).

Carla Ingrasciotta: Any upcoming projects?

Tatiana Trouvé: Right now I’m working on my next solo show opening in April at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (MSU Broad) and then I have an important exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, a collaboration with the paleontologist Jean Michel Geneste on prehistory, programmed by Jean de Loisy. It is a very particular project that will allow both to create a dialogue around this theme.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Tatiana Trouvé and Lula © Claire Dorn Tatiana Trouvé and Lula © Claire Dorn
  • Tatiana Trouvé, Tatiana Trouvé, "Untitled", 2018, Exhibition view of "A Quiet Life" at Kamel Mennour, Paris 2018, Courtesy of the gallery and the artist © Julie Joubert
  • Tatiana Trouvé, Tatiana Trouvé, "Notes on Sculpture", 2018, Exhibition view: "A Quiet Life", Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris © Julie Joubert
  • Tatiana Trouvé, Exhibition view: Tatiana Trouvé, Exhibition view: "Navigation Map", London 2018, Kamel Mennour Gallery, "Prepared Space, Navigation Map", London, 2018 © Julie Joubert
  • Tatiana Trouvé, Tatiana Trouvé, "The Shaman", 2018, Exhibition view at Frieze 2018 © Mark Blower
  • Tatiana Trouvé, Tatiana Trouvé, "Les Indéfinis", 2018 Exhibition view, “One day for eternity” KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin, Courtesy the Artist and KÖNIG GALERIE © Roman März