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Area Privata Eng

Area privata
Elio Caredda, Marcela Cernadas, Silvano Rubino

Studio Rubino, Venice
April — July 2022

English text not available

Beatrice von Babel. Under the boat Eng

Beatrice von Babel
Under the boat

Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice
April — May 2022

Under a capsized boat
Daniele Capra

Under the boat gathers the works of an artists’ collective whose practice span from visual arts to music, from dance to performance and actions, or unconventional media as marionette. The project questions some of the conventions typically underlying art exhibitions, such as the fixed/static, unchangeable works, the thematic coherence and authorship understood as a purely individual gesture. Under the boat originates from an ongoing process to which the artists contribute by engaging with both the context and the other artists’ works. Each work is therefore the result of a continuous negotiation between personal issues and previous conditions, space, environment and interpersonal relationships. In light of this, the exhibition turns into an atlas of new possibilities in which the logic of planning is always challenged by a plurality of approaches, diversity of media and codes of expression. It is a way of longing for freedom, a deliberate anarchy, manifesting in a participatory, responsible and constructive way.

Under the boat is the public and visible expression of a long-term speculative process: the artists interacted as a collective, through frequent meetings both online and in their studios in Düsseldorf, Bucharest and Venice. This debate shed light on the poetic urgency, the principles and the existential conditions of each artist, while also igniting awareness of a common perspective that would otherwise hardly surface. Thanks to this methodology, which is less and less practiced in our accelerated contemporaneity, the resulting works – be they material or performative – do not stand as single words or individual fragments that randomly fall into a context. They rather represent sentences forming a collective narration that continually renews itself. As in any non-written form of expression, every element is subject to modification, rethinking and metamorphosis, thus transforming the exhibition into a space for ever-changing possibilities, rather than offering a predetermined path. In other words: a space where unexpected things can actually happen.

The title of the exhibition refers to the idea of overturning the status quo, and represents both the condition of constant disorientation and urgency in which we live, and the need to reshape the present under the guidance of new rules and according to democratic and participatory criteria. Thus, Under the boat alludes to our need to get back on the boat, with everyone’s effort. The title also alludes to the architecture of the Sala del Camino (the Fireplace Room) where the project takes place. In fact, the exhibition space – located in the former monastery of SS. Cosma and Damiano – is characterized by wooden roof trusses that recall the hull of an overturned boat. Hence, the artists and the visitors are under the same roof, sharing the same urge to imagine a radical change for our society, and to act as a vehicle for it.

Beatrice von Babel is an international artist collective who chose a fictional woman name and will act in Venice as one complex and democratic organism for the first time. Beatrice von Babel is both a network of artists and a unique entity, a symbiotic organism expressing herself through diverse media, spanning from painting and photography to architecture, music and poetry, dance and sculpture, refusing any sort of attention-seeking behavior. She was ideally born at Dante’s time, and her name ambiguously deals with the entangled complexity of our condition today, just a step away from catastrophe, and the chance to find a guide indicating a way to go with the commitment of each one. Regina Ionescu, Noemí Morocho, Outis Quartet and Isabella Sponchiado are voicing Beatrice von Babel, from whisper to scream, from music to noise. Soya Arakawa, Baptiste Bersoux, Isabella Moro and Ophelia Young draw out her dancing limbs through performances, pantomime and marionette. Hede Bühl, Aron Demetz, Irina Matthes, Anca Muresan and Victoria Zidaru build up the elusive and expanding body of Beatrice von Babel, her sculptural bones and painterly flesh, getting a grip on the exhibition space. Matei Contoloru, Clemens Botho Goldbach, Patricia Morocho and Dorin Ștefan work as her nimble hands, wisely crafting matters and shapes. Florina Drăguș, Masao Nakahara, Alina Petre and Pio Ziltz insinuate the tactile sense of Beatrice and expand her sensitive, flexible skin made in papier-mâché, plaster, wood, painted clay or dioramas. Daisuke Ishida and Simina Oprescu make audible the electronically generated breath of Beatrice. The primary colours and the patterned geometry of Roberta Curcă, Lost.Optics and Virgina Toma’s intricate weft of threads hint to the joints and sinews, to the inner tissue system of Beatrice. Leonard Alecu and Whatisafullstop (Laura Stanciu) suggest the pristine mind of Beatrice. Bernd Kastner, Köteles Róbert and Marian Zidaru make visible the inner time and unending crossroads of Beatrice. Poets Ștefan Manasia and Olga Ștefan make up the dreams of Beatrice, overlapping longings and melancholy.

Extra Ordinario Mixtape Eng

The reality of our own lives

conversation published in the book by Nico Covre Extra Ordinario Mixtape
Vulcano edizioni, Venice, June 2021
ISBN 9788894634204

The reality of our own lives
A conversation about the experience of Extra Ordinario

Daniele Capra, independent curator
Carlo Di Raco, professor at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice
Paolo Pretolani, artist Atelier F

Daniele Capra: When we met in July 2020 I never thought that in just a few weeks it would be possible to do what Atelier F and Vulcano have achieved at the Antares industrial space. We have certainly been affected by the individual and collective impediments caused by the pandemic, but also by the complete removal of any expectations we might have had, as we focussed on resisting and getting around the difficulties in the face of a dramatic absence of prospects for the future. Extra Ordinario was also launched as a reaction to the deaf ear the Accademia di Belle Arti [Fine Arts Academy] in Venice turned to the needs of its students. For months they had no access to the workshops and were forced into largely ad hoc distance learning. I was also amazed at the fact that the students did not start protesting against an institution that was denying them the right to grow. The artists needed to reclaim a space to work together.

Carlo Di Raco: Fine arts academies owe their very existence to the vitality of the artistic research undertaken by their current and former students and staff. For example, we only need to think of what happened at the Leipzig School, which from this point of view is an example that everyone recognises. In general, we would therefore expect them to focus on the more dynamic situations where young artists become the protagonists, and certainly not to be trying to oppose their actions, their vitality and their desire for research, which is what we saw at the time.

Paolo Pretolani: I graduated in July 2020, along with many other young artists. We then had to decide what to do about the summer workshop: on the one hand the workshop Laboratorio Aperto in Forte Marghera was quite a complex situation, as we had seen in previous years; on the other hand there were all the problems related to the regulations to control the spread of Covid. So, even though it might have made sense to launch into a polemical, political debate, we decided it was better to focus on finding an alternative solution, on finding a way to realise our most important project.

CDR: Perhaps it should be said that students and young artists nowadays do not feel the need for any particularly political commitment. They may feel political with regard to the subject of their own research, but they do not feel any need for public action, preferring to focus on the development of the individual expressive elements. I understand this position to a degree, but I do think that if some action had been taken, perhaps we would not have seen such great indifference and inaction by the world of politics towards issues of education.

DC: At this point it is interesting to note that help came from a private organisation, in this case Vulcano. The company not only made the physical spaces available, but also provided organizational and creative resources. It seems to me that it was an excellent opportunity for this creative company to communicate their ideas with the outside world and show what they are about. It was in some way also the first opportunity to see the potential of Antares, an industrial space from the 1920s which Vulcano, and the companies in the group it belongs to, had been considering for use as offices before the pandemic. A project that I think will now have to be reconsidered.

CDR: The private sector has always bought new stimuli to the Accademia di Belle Arti, and the workshop with the artists of Atelier F at the Antares building is not the first example of such a collaboration. There have been previous projects with other important organisations, such as the Pinault Collection. That project saw Urs Fischer, a renowned artist, know for his ability to engage with the contemporary world, create one of his most beautiful pieces together with the students as part of a solo exhibition at Palazzo Grassi. They worked side by side, in the courtyard of the Accademia.

PP: With Extra Ordinario, we, the artists of Atelier F, also tried to re-imagine our way of working, while respecting the practices of the previous years of the Laboratorio Aperto in Forte Marghera. One aspect that remained similar was being able to work in large dimension, which it is not possible to do at the Accademia. That said, we were already used to organising ourselves independently, working day or night, depending on what time was available and the constraints of other jobs that we were doing to pay rent or buy materials. Here, on the other hand, we were dealing with a different partner, and we had to respect precise times, something that perhaps made us pay more attention to time management and be more aware of it.

DC: What are you referring to in particular? Having a scheduled daily rhythm? I have always thought that artists take all the time they need, even to make mistakes, but that they consider time to be something that is infinitely abundant.

PP: I think that having to stop in the evening was a problem for some of us. But I imagine that many of us benefited from having deadlines, finding ourselves in a position of not having “all” the time in the world, but simply “some of” the time. I am reminded of Federico Fellini, who said he did not believe in the absolute freedom of artists. He said that if he hadn’t had the pressure from the producers to finish his films, he would have gone on making the same film for a lifetime. It is not quite the same thing here, but for a young artist knowing that there is a deadline can provide the energy and concentration necessary to avoid getting lost. All the more so because sometimes taking too much time leads to the good ideas you started with beginning to stink.

CDR: Our creativity develops in a dialogue with time, or sometimes in competition with it. Not as an illusion of there being no limits, as it might seem. In terms of teaching, this aspect is even more relevant for young artists who are growing and developing, given that, in the end, a workshop is a situation that intensely concentrates research activities into a given time. I think this is even more important if we consider the context, the collaboration with Vulcano and the perception of having a common goal, in a shared and in some way harmonized time.

DC: I think time limits and deadlines are daily issues to be dealt with even in a company like Vulcano, where I imagine these aspects are somehow planned or standardized. In general, time is calibrated as part of an evaluation that must also consider economic aspects in respect to starting and finishing a project. Valentino Girardi, founder of Vulcano, told me how surprised he was when he asked “how long before you finish your artwork?”, and most of the time the artists answered that they had no idea.

PP: The question of limits is an open question for an artist, not only in terms of time, but also regarding the available space, the material and the imagination. As an artist there is a logic that you learn by growing and continuously measuring yourself through new works. It is a kind of intelligence, which is acquired physiologically by managing and negotiating the relationship with the work. It is an exploration of all the possibilities together with the awareness of the limits.

DC: I think these ways of conceiving work are important for companies. In my opinion the intelligence you are talking about could also be applied to businesses. For example, the experience of Extra Ordinario suggests a way that painting can become a tool for reconsidering the ways in which work is imagined or carried out within companies.

PP: I felt that during the workshop the people at Vulcano were very interested in understanding the framework within which the artists at Atelier F usually operate. All the more so, because for the artists this was not just an exhibition, a codified event to be held, but rather a real place of transformation, relationship and production, with works that appeared, disappeared or changed gradually while they were made. I don’t think it’s easy to enter the mind-set of a place where a crowd of crazy painters are at work!

DC: I imagine that in the huge space of the Antares building many of the visitors, including those from Vulcano, were bewildered by the enormous variety of styles, approaches and visual processes. I think everyone was struck by that huge mosaic of colours. The pavilion become a genuine cathedral of painting, where a great range of research and innumerable visual languages were coexisting.

PP: That said, experimentation is a key factor. The workshop is essentially a training ground. A classroom…

DC: But, in my opinion, Atelier F is not really a school of painting, at least not in the traditional sense of being an affiliation based on a particular style or shared expressive choices. I never had the impression that the artists’ research was based on linguistic similarities or identifying a model to follow based on a specific teacher. I found that artists were adopting different visual models, and were also using different processes to construct the image. There was perhaps a similar methodology, in terms of drawing and preparatory works, which were done in a way that has something of the spirit of a visual diary.

PP: I think that in Atelier F we always started from what everyone needed most, from the personal interests of each one of us. I do not think that there was a set method, such as “use this colour” or “paint only on paper” or anything like that. And this question of the materials is clearly reflected in the most intimate expressive aspects and in the operating methods used to undertake the work.

DC: During a visit to Extra Ordinario, the director of the Accademia di Belle Arti Riccardo Caldura highlighted prof. Di Raco’s great work in listening to the students, in a didactic operation that was essentially made to measure…

CDR: The goal is to enhance the individual development, to find a personal direction to creating the image, to understand and also negotiate what the image itself suggests to the artist as it develops, through a consideration of the world and other pre-existing images. In other words, the aim is to train artists by stimulating them to experience the greatest variety of outcomes, in a plurality of languages and poetics. The teaching, in essence, coincides with the artistic production. And then through our gaze we all contribute to verifying this process. As such, Atelier F is in some ways a school of painting, in terms of the working method, which enhances the whole consisting of everyone’s work, as if it were a single organism that continually regenerates itself.

PP: It is a system that works thanks to everyone’s work. There are no pre-established formulas or models to learn, but there are lots of people next to you that you can learn from. Not learning from the top down, but side by side. This allows you to grow faster, avoiding making too many mistakes and dealing with any doubts before hand.

DC: Do you mean that there is an essentially horizontal exchange of experiences between colleagues, with respect to learning processes?

PP: Somehow yes. It has to be said that you do not learn from someone else because something is explained to you, but because you can see it being put into practice in their work. If you pay careful attention to the work of others, you actually benefit by observing how the work is done. I don’t want to sound rhetorical, but you can learn something not only from the right or wrong decisions you make yourself, but also from the decisions of your colleagues working alongside you. This process multiplies and expands the possibilities of increasing your own wealth of experiences.

DC: Some of the artists have talked about the way the tight dynamics of a workshop like Extra Ordinario help you grow as much in a few weeks as you do in a year at the Accademia. The accelerated and intensive dynamics of the workshop help the artists run faster also thanks to the legs of their colleagues. At any time you need, you are always able to ask for an opinion about the work you are doing or the uncertainties that you may be experiencing at that moment…

PP: The question of exchange, however, is much more complex than you might imagine, because it is a dialogue that is generated with much broader timing and methods than those we find simply in the workplace. Often it is a dialogue that is also generated thanks to Venice. It is a city where it is difficult not to talk about your work, even after you have closed the door of the studio, changed your trousers and you no longer smell of paint. Even in informal situations, like at the bar or eating some pasta together. We never have the feeling of completely leaving the studio, because the worlds of work and life coincide. But in the end this allows for a continuous sharing of poetics…

DC: Which is ultimately why you are all there together to discuss things. What is painting? How is an artwork structured? What stimuli lead to its creation? Which languages are most suited to my personal poetics? How does it interact with the artist and then with the environment? Or how useful is it to support or oppose its strength and communicative power?

CDR: These are questions which we never stop asking ourselves. Painting is not simply completing a project whose results are already known, but rather an evolving process that is largely unknown to its creator. It is only through a process of experimentation that painting becomes stratified into a work that is no longer subject to modification. Sharing between artists thus serves to discover a deeper level of our sincerity.

DC: It seems to me that in this process of progressive unveiling, both mature and established artists already working in the art system and the young people who have just joined the atelier share an equal footing. It seems they enjoy the same freedom of speech or criticism and the same right to be heard. Moreover, they are also given the same weight in the final set-up of an exhibition.

PP: I think that, to all intents and purposes, there is a “Venetian School”, active in our art system, despite all its atypical character and contradictions about being a school. Even the final display of the works is in some way a testament to this. Almost a hundred different sensibilities are brought into a dialogue through a visual system of relationships that is clean, but far from simple.

DC: I was amazed by the care given to setting up the exhibition, working till late at night for three days in a row. Rather than just being a context for showing the works, aimed at the outside, I had the impression that there was a didactic aim, that it was addressing those inside. Among other things, I was amazed by the fact that you built a sort of dividing wall between different areas by assembling paintings of the same size. You created “pictorial” architecture within a piece of genuine architecture.

PP: We felt it was essential to arrange the works in relation to the legibility of the space, reconstructing the process that had generated them, leaving the brushes, supports and paints visible to the visitors. But at the same time, the set-up forces the artists to have to make choices, to read what has been produced in relation to the others. It is also an opportunity to perceive some immediate or future consequence in your work.

CDR: The final arrangement of the exhibition also came from the need to highlight all the contributions by the young artists. It makes it possible to understand how some works are brought into a dialogue, while the impact of others needs to be investigated later. In this way we discovered new relationships, revealing hidden perspectives or previously invisible contrasts. We felt very in tune with Nico Covre, and we were happy that his documentary and artistic work went precisely in this direction of researching and revealing the differences and similarities.

DC: I think Covre felt free to give an anti-academic reading of the visual relationships, mixing imagery and images. Not only in the relationship between the paintings and the papers in the final exhibition, but also with respect to their physical location in the Antares building, and to the narration of the events of the Atelier F workshop. In the end what is Atelier F? A group of people with the same experiences? A partnership, based on a free militancy, born from the painting course at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice? An informal, ideologically aware collective?

CDR: Atelier F is a form of artistic life based on a sharing of ways and relationships that goes beyond the strictly defined role of academic structures. There is an exchange that takes place constantly. Not only due to the presence of the works that are created, but also because of the presence of the more experienced artists, with whom we can share contexts, thinking, imagery or experiences that allow everyone to get further into their work. This is also the result of the shared effort, made by myself and these young people for more than twenty-seven years, to create a learning model that is not conditioned from the outside and seeks to give an active role to the young people involved. This has also been made possible thanks to the support from my colleagues such as Martino Scavezzon, Aldo Grazzi, Miriam Pertegato, and the artists of the atelier such as Nebojša Despotović, Jaša Mrevlje, Thomas Braida and Nemanja Cvijanović, who over time have become intellectual, political and poetic points of reference for us all.

DC: A kind of bedrock that is perhaps also the collective memory of Atelier F…

CDR: In general, the presence of an important artist and of significant artworks, pushes us to engage with each other even more, to try and get to the heart of things, moving past the surface and codified processes. I still remember the speech by Nebojša Despotović a few years ago at the end of one of the workshops in Forte Marghera. Nebojša said that what had been achieved by Atelier F was not a simple expressive exercise, but an action that was profoundly to do with the truth. Something so intense that it affects the reality of our own lives.

Conversation recorded in Venice Marghera, 11 March 2021.
Transcription and editing by Daniele Capra.

I is another

Chiara Calore, Greta Ferretti
I is another

D3082, Venice
March ― June 2021

Je est une autre
Daniele Capra

In the famous Lettre du voyant, that he wrote to Paul Demeny when he was only 16 years old, Arthur Rimbaud theorised how a poet must know that he must inquire into him- or herself, beyond any boundaries. The first task of a person who wants to become a poet, he wrote, “is to study his own awareness of himself, in its entirety; he seeks out his soul, he inspects it, he tests it, he learns it. As soon as he knows it, he must cultivate it!”. It is in fact necessary “to make the soul into a monster”, by indulging each of its temptations without bothering too much about moral limits: in order to go beyond the shallows of ordinariness, it is necessary to become a seer “through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness”. In this feverish inquiry, the poet, according to Rimbaud, also takes on a civic role in his face-to-face with mankind because he is, first of all, “truly the thief of fire. He is responsible for humanity, for animals even; he will have to make sure his visions can be smelled, fondled, listened to; if what he brings back from beyond has form, he gives it form; if it has none, he gives it none”. [1]
Such a process inevitably assumes a method, unknowingly in part, and no longer based on the retracing of emotions in the placid and seraphic calm of emotional detachment, [2] but in a kind of double movement: centripetal/introspective at the beginning, and then centrifugal/extroverted. If the former has the maieutic function of self-analysis, the latter has the aim of projecting one’s own persona beyond the boundary of one’s identity, in the search for any unexpected possibility. It is in the search for that limit, in the attempt to fly in order to search for the abyss, that Rimbaud finds the ultimate sense of poetry, of its fleeting, inexpressible, and crude authenticity. A truth that is lived at first hand by the poet, in the awareness that, lastly, “I is another”.[3]

Io è un’altra traces and is a witness to that same intense wish for awareness and unlimited urgency to explore felt by Rimbaud, in the works by Chiara Calore and Greta Ferretti, whose art is fed by a continuous imaginative need to test otherness, thanks to a plural individual identity that acts without any kind of hindrance through projection, amplification or deflagration (the title of the show is the feminine declination of the phrase “Je est un autre” by the French poet). These young artists undertake, in fact, a painting characterised by an articulated, destabilising, and anarchic figuration, in which realistic elements are ably mixed with the unexpected. What is extraneous, deformed or monstrous is materialised on the painting surface in an interrogative form. Both the composition and anatomy of the subject represented are upset by unexpected metamorphoses and transformations in which are freely combined images from mythology, the bizarre, and Gothic novels, as well as a fervid imagination. The unexpected change of stylistic register and the juxtaposition of narratively improbable (and physically impossible) situations are the recurring ways that the artists undertake in order to spark off the short-circuit between the different visual elements present on the scene, which from time to time are loaded with sense, mystery, irreverent irony, or psychically dense unease. The viewer is held in check by the impossibility of leading the image back to an intelligible logic, contrarily to what the figuration apparently suggests. In fact what is clear in their works, for those who force themselves to understand, is a false clue, a mistaken path that leads to a cul-de-sac. The narration – as much in the more rhythmic/broken up works by Calore as in the more lyrical/thoughtful ones by Ferretti – introduces, that is, an unexpected evolution, some event able to alter the diegetic flow: something else is about to happen, what we had not thought of. In this way their works are devised as diabolic sentries to lead the viewer into a somewhere else to be imagined, interrogating it and pushing it to keep attention high. And we seem to hear, at a distance, the mocking laughter of David Lynch.

The painting by Chiara Calore is characterised by the continuous superimposition of figurative elements juxtaposed on the canvas in an ironic, disturbing and visionary form. Her works are characterised by a lysergic atmosphere, one in which animal and human subjects, personal projections, self-portraits, and allusions to works from art history are combined in a surreal and caustic manner. A bizarre and unlikely mass of men, dogs, horses, cats, peacocks, and freaks agitate in an anarchic way the canvases in a forest of allusions. It is a painting that, as Amerigo Nutolo writes, “tends to the abstraction of the subjects, to impetuous narratives, centred on the movements of escape, synthesis, tensions within the relationship with the surface”, [4] obliging the viewer to struggle continuously between a vision of the whole and a reading of the details, between the main story and the narrative micro-episodes. In this way there takes on a form an uninhibited dance, primitive and overwhelming, where the subjects fluctuate on the canvas. Clumsy phantasms, seductive and without redemption, immersed in an orgy of colour.

The work by Greta Ferretti is shot through with a strong narrative tension and an intense psychoanalytical load. Her works on canvas and paper recount curious stories, paradoxical or absurd facts, all experienced by the protagonists in an apparently unaware form, immersed in a surreal and Kafka-like atmosphere. In her paintings the human subjects seem to search for a possible relationship with the context and with the animate and inanimate objects which surround them. However, they seem the unexplainable causes and victims of absurd, eccentric, or embarrassing situations, in which undesirable effects are about to manifest themselves under the viewers’ eyes. The sense of suspension is reinforced by a careful composition, by a dry and restrained style dominated by liquid and evanescent colours (often made with the use of watercolours or ink), and by the alternation between details with a representative function and elements of a context cancelled by the artist. Evidently aware of the power of silence, Ferretti highlights unpredictable contradictions in terms of human behaviour, and the emotive upheaval originated in the continuous recombination of reality, emptiness, and dream-like projection.

[1] A. Rimbaud, Opere, trad. I. Margoni, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1964, p. 141-142.
[2] Cfr. W. Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads: «I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity».
[3] Op. cit., p. 143.
[3] A. Nutolo, Opera viva, exhibition cat., Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, 2019, p. 12.

Linea di principio Eng

Nemanja Cvijanović, Giovanni Morbin
Linea di principio

Fondazione Berengo, Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice (I)
December 2018 ― February 2019

Linea di principio
Daniele Capra

Linea di principio (“In principle”) investigates the importance of the concept of line in the practice of two artists such as Cvijanović and Morbin whose research is characterized by formal and political analysis and by the ways in which these two fields of investigation mutually influence each other. The show compares two authors on the line as a physical, spatial and political generative element. The line is a metaphor for the beginning of a process, of simplicity and intelligibility, but also of awareness and taking a position with respect to the events we witness.The line is in fact both the primary element that initiates a design (both physical and mental) and a device that acts symbolically to define a choice, a state, a boundary, a belonging or a limit that you want to overcome.

In particular for Nemanja Cvijanović the line is instead a position of principle, the direction that marks a universe of reference, the limit too frequently crossed between our present and the nefarious ideology of dominance of our economic system. One of his new works was born from the chance observation of a badly erased writing on the external wall of the church of Santo Stefano, which stands in the “campo” of the same name on which Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti faces. Those words, difficult to decipher, have pushed the artist to imagine an orthogonal projection that surpasses distances and surprisingly passes the walls of the palazzo, and is able to give strength and vitality to a thought whose content, even in our head, cannot be erased.

For Giovanni Morbin, the line is a body element that manifests itself in posture, behavior, acting and moving consciously in a certain direction: it is a body trace, projection, encumbrance, crossing space. Poetically faithful to the line of body art that makes the body the generative element of the work, Morbin has created a site-specific installation in the central space of the Fondazione, using a part of himself as material. In this way, the artist crosses the boundary line that defines his physicality, expanding an intimate content to the outside. Thus a singular, disconcerting form of translation / spatial projection of his own tissues (and of his bodily volume) takes place in the spaces of the palazzo.

Reagents Eng


Arthur Duff, Serena Fineschi, Silvia Infranco, Túlio Pinto, Fabrizio Prevedello, Quayola, Verónica Vázquez e Marco Maria Zanin

Venice (I), Complesso dell’Ospedaletto
May ― November 2019

Daniele Capra

The ability to respond to stimuli defines one aspect of life for every living being, as well as a common characteristic in terms of chemical and physical stability of any substance or material, albeit with disparities and timing that aren’t always comparable. The immersive reality we live in, the relentless flow of events that have formed our past and consequently shape our future – are the result of continuously applied dynamics of action/reaction. Whether this modality doesn’t inevitably imply a correlation of mechanistic accuracy between cause and effect, it’s certainly significant note how this ongoing negotiation between contrasting forces generates the work. In fact, the work consequently is a culmination of infinite vectors that exert forces of physical, perceptive, psychological, political and intellectual nature against the artist: the work materialises the opposite reaction and contrasts the dispersal of forces on the ground, focussing on the energy in a physically unified time and space.

Reagents gathers together eight artists whose research is characterized by a great sensibility and reactivity for the space and for the dynamics of action-reaction triggered by the environmental variables. The show highlights as in their practice the work can be seen as an apparatus generated by a process of opposition to stimuli, which is acted by the context.
The title of the exhibition refers to the renowned Isaac Newton’s third law of dynamics formulated in the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica: during the interaction between two bodies, the force that the first body exercises on the second one is equal and opposite to the force that the second body exercises on the first one. In the same way Reagents analyses how the work can be explained as the record and the final visual result of a process, responding to the strengths that it directly perceives: the work is a factual concretization of an equilibrium which results from a continuous and constant mechanism of pushing, pulling, compressing or expanding forces.

In Chemistry, the reagent is a substance (or compound) added to a system to cause a chemical reaction, or added to test of a reaction occurs, creating a new substance. It’s a component that is introduced to fundamentally interact in some specific conditions of temperature, pressure or concentration; which is not dissimilar to what the artist can do. If we assume an anthropological and political purpose of an artist, it’s certain that she/he will be interacted with stimuli of reality – which establishes a significant trigger – as an attempt to overturn them and transform them into something else. Not simply organising them around a new subject matter, but after careful elaboration, cultivating critical tools that don’t simple articulate paraphrases/transcripts of pre-existing notions. An artist reacts when they don’t feel like adhering to the immense and fatal status quo to create an artwork, that’s uncomfortable and problematic for the viewer. Ultimately, its an apparatus facilitating an escape from the usual; the propellant leading us to a place where we couldn’t have gone, with the only strength of our own tired legs.
The works
Daniele Capra & Ludovica Matarozzo

Arthur Duff
The essentially sculptural and installative practice of Arthur Duff is characterised by a remarkable sense of freedom, whether that be based on the materials he uses, often from a non-artistic sphere, or the firm dialogue established contextually. Regularly his work derives from the research into a relationship and a form of intimacy, which the artist expresses in the space using text, neon or laser technology.
The series of work titled Scattered Edges, applies the Japanese art form, haiku – each consisting of one or just a few isolated, freely placed words in neon colours. Vertically arranged dark rods hang the syllables from the ceiling using dark ropes, resembling lianes in a tropical rainforest. Yet, the words seem isolated and as a result, it’s difficult to construct a finished statement. The viewers’ senses confront a parchment palimpsest where important sections of text are missing, whereby one still has the ability to outline slight references from unsystematic semantic universes. The words in this work lose their primary function to be merely a sound and visual suggestion, where it’s impossible to rediscover any trance of meaning.

Serena Fineschi
The artwork by Serena Fineschi derives from an interest in the matter, in the constitutive elements of making art, as well as in fugacity and constantly changes of existing. Her works, mainly two-dimensional, explore the boundary between the procedural and conceptual practice, with an emphasis ranging from melancholic to pervasive irony.
Thirty Winter Nights (from Bruegel’s Sky to Bosch’s Garden) is the culmination of research by the artist on Flemish oil painting, which particularly focussed on how the interactions between light and surface of paintings condition our retinal colour perception. Thus, Fineschi chose to intensify the dimensional landscape of the surface with depressions created by the use of glass wool and coloured cardboard abraded like raw materials. Resulting in a distinctive three-dimensional form, where before the viewers eyes the chromatic material vibrates and moves, as if under a microscope with the original detail of the painting ten-fold enlarged. However, simultaneously the work is an apparatus that draws the attention of the audience to traces of landscapes found in five-century old paintings: a conceptual window though which colour snippets enter, that reveals a dense sky and forest bursting with light.

Silvia Infranco
The artistic practice of Silvia Infranco concerns the strong bond with organic matter that is utilized to examine the phenomena of change, memory and time. Frequently her works are conceived as a continuous accumulation, removal, maceration and stratification of components, in an incessant process where the remained slight and delicate traces encourage introspection.
The use of pounce paper (a particularly resistant media) shaped the series titled, Porifera – Metaforma, where organic and mysterious forms attempt to emerge, seeking to prevaricate thin layers of matter that compose the artwork, and encourage them to surface. The artistic process that establishes this work is a lengthy and precise procedure: the artist creates a primary form, following up with a pouncing process that is replicated in various areas of the paper, producing small holes which reveal the underlying surface. This bestows a feeling of confrontation with a living organism, perpetually expanding and willing to embrace or perhaps overwhelm us. Subsequently, the attained shape is hidden by layers of oxide, bitumen and wax; thus, embodying a dense and material fog. The spectator is called upon to stop and observe the work, as well as investigate and solve its concealed enigma. In the hope that concurrently we reveal our own hidden truths.

Túlio Pinto
The quest for balance between conflicting forces is one of the primary poetic elements in the works of Túlio Pinto. In fact, the artist explores the concept of tension by using materials that are distinguished by opposite natures and behaviours. He tests the allowed technical limits thanks to an accurate understanding of their physical properties. He attempts to challenge the matter and show the viewer how often our perceived limits are a result of inaccurate perception that can be overcome.
Rectangle #2 comprises of a large transparent sheet of glass, centrally held in place by a steel rod that is anchored to the wall. Notably, the glass is entirely held in place by the balance of natural forces and friction between the materials, preventing the base from moving across the floor. The work embodies the precariousness; a potential risk which sooner or later encourages the viewer to stop and wait for something to happen. Can metal withstand the force of gravity? Can the glass withhold the strain? Thus, Rectangle #2 can be considered as an apparatus that cultivates doubt, uncertainty and the sense of temporariness. Alongside the unceasingly discontented desire of hearing glass shatter into a thousand pieces.

Fabrizio Prevedello
Fabrizio Prevedello is exclusively devoted to sculpture, employing in a poetic and anti-rhetorical form primary materials, such as plaster, marble and metal. His practice mainly concerns the exploration of landscape and the search for an almost intimate relationship with the materials, often scrap, picked up from quarries or forgotten contexts. The artist produces sculptures with a true and sincere form of care, motivating a reaction by removing the sense of abandonment from the matter.
Descending from a mountain quarry inside a backpack (thinking of Carlo Scarpa thinking of Constantin Brancusi) consists of one rock retrieved from a cave in the Apuan Alps, which the artist subsequently transported to the valley and placed in an artificial body of water. According to the artist, marble isn’t a meek material – it comes from a sincerely respectable section of the mountain, naturally triggering reflections in its metamorphic generative force. On it actually, the twentieth century art and architecture connotations join, which Prevedello transfers introspectively as a recurring thought, from which it is difficult to get away from.
The works from the series Start drawing, kid! (keep going), were created using fragmented pieces of marble slabs, which conceal a small Brancusian plaster column of plaster – a sort of hidden conceptual matrix, that can only be seen from the side. The title refers to an old sculptor with whom he collaborated with at the beginning of his career and who used to insistently address him with this warning.

The research of Quayola is based on the use of software, computer functions and algorithms, through which he breaks down forms and images that derive from reality or other artworks that belong to our imagination. These inspirations are subsequently digitally reformulated and thereafter, transposed into a two-dimensional or sculptural form. Within his investigation, the tensions between real and artificial, old and new, figurative and abstract, explode demonstrating the inefficiency of the taxonomies with which we usually regulate the world.
Remains is a series that begun with an observation in nature, of nature. Quayola follows in the footsteps of past artists, by positioning himself in front of a natural landscape, determined to capture the aesthetic essence. Instead of a brush, he uses a high-precision laser analysis that can scan every leaf, branch and tree-trunk of the surrounding environment with detailed precision. This work resolves the well-established conflict between nature and technology: Quayola harnesses the technological medium as a tool for detailed knowledge of the natural environment, with the ability to emphasise specific articulations and lines of force. As suggested in the title, the works represent remnants, the continued existence of a natural environment that refuses to be overpowered by technology, but rather embraces it and is enhanced by it. Furthermore, nature is placed in a condition whereby the vital life force can be released.

Verónica Vázquez
Verónica Vázquez frequently works with discarded industrial materials – including metal, leather and plastic – which she combines into striking poetic assemblages, employing a technique that reiterates manual gestures. In her work, it is possible to capture echoes of textile art and modernist sculpture combined with a very personal compositional sensitivity, where even the smallest fragment finds its intimate reason for being.
Works of the Textil series are a result of a casual and spontaneous encounter between the artist and the subject. Vázquez frequently explores industrial spaces in search of abandoned and forgotten materials, including scrap pieces of metal, unfinished products, screws or nails, that have all fallen into the abyss but are recovered by the artist herself. Thus, the artist is taking control over their existence, saving them from a slow process of disappearance and giving them new life. As a result, the metal pieces leave behind their original context – linked to industry, technology and intensive procedure – to attain the new condition of an artwork, a slow and immobile dimension linked to tradition. The metal becomes an unexpected tool to weave with and the artist created sparkling and sharp tapestries, that are delicate but aggressive. The rough metal material, despite softened by its charming assemblage, preserves its primordial power. Plus, as a geometric composition the spectator can still hear the distant echoes of Vulcan’s Forge.

Marco Maria Zanin
The works by Marco Maria Zanin originate from a visual interest in landscape, the remains of anthropogenic interventions, as well as the physical and symbolic legacies of rural civilisation, which he investigates using photography. His research starts from an anthropological approach and the comparison of old times, conventions and modalities of which he highlights the incompatibility, as accentuated often by the images of artefacts that no longer have a function.
The series titled Cattedrali rurali originated from a study carried out in the Venetian countryside, searching for residual architectural structures that were abandoned or are no longer in use – including ruins of houses, rural storages, small bridges or boundary walls. These res derelicta are untended buildings, that in the past used to support life and have a productivity purpose; but now they don’t have any function anymore and they are simply a theatrical background; a hazy background which nature is staged instead, as a continuously evolving form.
Arzanà and Magic Religious Figure are traces of objects of a past time. The latter depicts metal furnishings that, until the middle of last century, were used to heat beds with hot stone. Moreover, their presence is generally quite disturbing, almost a fetish of sorts. Or perhaps, they demonstrate all ties that we’ve lost with our ancestors, who appear at our front doors, as a sudden and cumbersome presence.

Elisabetta Di Sopra. Pietas Eng

Elisabetta Di Sopra

Venice (I), Bugno Art Gallery
November ― December 2018

English text not available

Les yeux qui louchent Eng

Les yeux qui louchent

Igor Eškinja, Fritz Panzer, Manuela Sedmach, Michele Spanghero, João Vilhena

Venezia (I), Galerie Alberta Pane
September ― December 2017

TextThe artists
Desirable Strabismus
Daniele Capra

Reality is the condition in which we are immersed and in which we develop our existence in a subjective form thanks to the use of our senses and cerebral structures that allow us to order and elaborate experiences. As Kant wrote, “the consciousness of my own existence is at the same time an immediate consciousness of the existence of other things outside me”:[1] the consciousness of existing therefore implies not just a boundary that defines me, but also the presence of something to know beyond me, on the outside. It is thus that we ourselves – by a continuous negotiation with other individuals – forge the interpretive instruments through which we perceive reality and the mental representations that map it.[2]

Every artistic practice based on reality – that is, that treats it as a subject to be delved into in its countless implications – requires the artist to have a sort of “double vision”. However, it mustn’t be specularly two-faced, like that of Giano, but must move forward on different trajectories. Indeed, if an eye must be turned towards that which is in front of it (that is, oriented forwards toward what is in his view), the other instead must look beyond – behind, below, above, elsewhere – and divergently, so as to take in an unordinary view of the world. The artist is therefore asked to make himself voluntarily and necessarily cross–eyed, in any case allowing him to sidestep the prefigured dictates of the orthogonality of sight. So he must visually – and even more so mentally – be outside his comfort zone, conscious that this condition must be transmitted to his works. Only thus is, his work more than just a description, empty caption or appendix, but an awkward element of tension that aims to delve into and make manifest the innermost reasons that comprise and animate reality.

The awareness that art aims to give the observer a critical reading of the world is fundamental if we don’t see the work of the artist as that of a mere producer of products with aesthetic properties, but rather as an intellectual practice that has a social utility in the Marxist sense. In the awkwardness of his own intellectual condition, visually and linguistically conveyed to the observer, a process of attention is thus activated, and that makes the cross-eyed artist an unorthodox sentry, gifted with geometric power – power of vision and of thought.

[1] I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, edited and translated by P. Guyer and A. W. Wood, Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 327.
[2] See P. L. Berger and T. Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Garden City, NY, Anchor Books, 1966.

The artists
Daniele Capra

In his research Igor Eškinja merges different visual planes, creating stratifications that lend themselves to multiple levels of reading. The Golden Fingers of Louvre series exposed overlaps the imaginative value of the French museum with the almost baroque pictorial detail of the imprints left by visitors. The marks of the hands are thus material elements that disorient the viewer, who is stimulated to direct his interpretation elsewhere, towards the visual abstraction or a possible Institutional Critique.

Fritz Panzer’s artworks are real drawings with real dimension of the represented subject made of metal wire, though they have a three-dimensional development. Thanks to the use of thin lines of iron, with which the corners and sharp edges of the object are outlined, the artist brings the volumetry back into a single visual plane, compressing fiercely its camouflaged potential and putting the viewer in a condition of perceptive ambiguity.

Manuela Sedmach’s works on canvas are the result of a minimalist pictorial exercise whose objective is to render visual landscapes in an undulating and profoundly intimate form, combining realistic aspects and elements that are the fruit of elaboration. Characterised by a limited palette of colours and a soft and hazy rendering of details, her artworks tell us of submerged and imaginary worlds, about the mental universes in which the spaces are not submitted to the rigidity of prospective metric.

With the Translucide series that stems from a reflection by Gilles Deleuze, Michele Spanghero analyses the way in which an image manifests itself to us in the form of a revelation that needs a translucent support on which it can lay. In a video and some photographic images, the artist makes this process concrete slowing it down exorbitantly, transforming the image into an event and a dilated flow of blindingly obvious information.

João Vilhena’s research is characterized by a conceptual use of drawing and painting. The series L’amour des corps arises by condensing, in the form of graphite drawing, the complex bond of visual nature featured by a woman with whom, fortuitously, the artist established a relationship of an exhibitionistic type. The images of her – aware of being seen – in the building in front of her window, are returned in poetic form, as snippets of an intense visual relationship, in which the spectator can take the place of the artist and get tangled up in a game of visual triangulations.