Francesca Grilli, Gold, site specific performance. Library of the American Academy, Rome, 2015
“[…] As the drama of female consciousness in the world; as an attempt to interrupt the dream that man has of woman in order to dream himself; as the possibility of relationships now freed, even if traumatized, from the realm of silence.” (1)
In this precise historical moment, to reflect on what it means to be a woman seems to harbor connotations whose implications are, to say the least, problematic. It does so, in part, because we are still prisoners of a stage in which the male gaze is the one that judges and the only one adopted by the mass media. In a 1973 essay, film theorist Laura Mulvey indicated the tendency of Hollywood movies to reduce the woman to a sexual function or otherwise to a virginal figure of salvation, ever passive with respect to her instrumentalization in male narrative. (2)
Alex Cecchetti, Le chevalier, table, 4 chairs enzo mari autorpogettazione, woodcut, prints, menu with poems, 2017, from “Tamam Shud” at Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw. Photo: Pat Mic
Quando si incontra Monsieur Cecchetti spiccano i suoi occhi castani: guizzano, si illuminano, ridono. Il corpo tracima energia e le mani e la testa si muovono con foga, accompagnando le sue narrazioni. La voce, allo stesso tempo stentorea e melliflua, porta con sé influssi della sua esistenza nomade tra Italia, Francia e Inghilterra, in un prisma di lingue e di aggettivi, che prendono sfumature diverse in base al contesto linguistico in cui ci si trova. In questi anni Alex Cecchetti ha realizzato libri, sculture, collage, coreografie, performance, riviste, tarocchi…, ma continua a scartare ogni definizione e tentativo in ingabbiarlo in un genere o in uno stile.
Ex-cinema Lietuva, Vilnius, Lituania. Foto di Caterina Riva, 2016
Ultimo giorno a Vilnius. Cammino tra le strade acciottolate della città vecchia fino al ponte sul fiume che mi porta alla zona moderna: grandi supermercati Maxima, grattacieli con l’insegna gigante di una banca svedese… Ho in mente la direzione, l’ho controllata sul portatile prima di lasciare l’albergo ma ora non sono così sicura delle distanze e mi perdo un po’. Invece di costeggiare il fiume salgo verso una strada più in alto e mi ritrovo davanti a un edificio immenso, di era sovietica, che pare un’arena sportiva. Avvicinandomi, noto che lo spazio intorno è vuoto e pieno di erbacce, alcuni vetri sono rotti, altri ricoperti da graffiti; è decisamente abbandonato.
Les Urbaines turned 20 this year, it is a remarkable platform to see exciting live works and new international productions on the threshold of theatre, dance, art and music. I arrived in Lausanne with a beautiful train journey through the mountains from Milano, which was not enough to wake me up from the realisation of how expensive everything is in this steep lakeside Swiss town.
Jacopo Jenna for SelfPleasurePublishing, 2016. Photo: Caterina Riva at RIVIERA
In my inbox there’s an email that begins with “Dear Caterina,” but the rest of which is clearly a cut and paste job from the board of yet another art institution, thanking me for the time I have spent preparing my application but telling me that they have chosen another candidate.
I get out of the metro at Belleville, I find the usual hecticness and racial mix, I look for the exit on the boulevard and on the stairs I glance at Catherine David, with a Cleopatra-like makeup that enhances her dark eyes and contrasts with her white complexion.
The first night he got on the island, after a bumpy ferry ride, the stars were bright overhead and he felt like being out of time but also gently alive. Continue reading: http://incurva.org/2016-renato-leotta/#cr Caterina Riva, 2016
Published in Renato Leotta’s Aventura, Aventura, Peripezia published by Madragoa, Lisbon
It’s not for reading, it’s for making, 2009. Collection of legs by Hans-Peter Feldmann
How are you?
We have been separated for quite some time but I loved you very much in your infancy and cared for you when you had a name, a home in London (moving from an arch on Brick Road to a studio complex in crane infested Dalston that was gearing up for the Olympics) but you were still growing up and deciding what you wanted to become. It was a playful phase, full of experiments and people and it entailed quite a bit of travelling too.
Davide Savorani, Stressed environment, 2016. Installation at Marselleria, Courtesy the artist and Marselleria.
La tua palestra di riferimento e’ Technogym.
Ti piacciono le serie in streaming, le guardi in lingua originale.
Mangi un sacco di banane: ce ne sono dappertutto, nella tua cucina, abbandonate in giro nel tuo studio, hanno la buccia nera come se fossero dei fossili del paleozoico.
Sei arrabbiato. Sei catatonica. Che noia!
Leggi David Foster Wallace, e’ una lettura lenta, impegnativa. I paragrafi devono essere letti e riletti. Mi sento stupida la maggior parte del tempo.
La routine ti spaventa ma ne sei prigioniero. Quante volte hai controllato Instagram oggi? Hai voglia di mettere qualcosa sotto i denti. Non hai voglia di uscire ma hai promesso a F. che sarai a quella inaugurazione. In realtà hai voglia di Tinder. Pensi a quello dell’altra volta e la mano ti scivola giù tra i pantaloni.
Il dinamismo e’ la tua caratteristica, la persegui nei tuoi disegni, nelle coreografie che immagini, nei fili che tirano idee e sculture, ci sono dei personaggi futuribili fatti in materiale plastico, sono personaggi che vivono nella tua galassia. Si esercitano in una palestra o in un parco pubblico, hanno desiderio di mettere un po’ d’olio sui muscoli del cuore.
Talia Chetrit, Public Billboard, LAXART, Los Angeles, 2014
Looking at Talia Chetrit’s photographs feels like being catapulted on the set of a 1970s thriller, think 3 Days of the Condor, presumably shot in New York’s exteriors and favouring birds’ eye views to scan someone in the crowd or singling out a detail among the choreography of people moving on the streets below. Frozen time is photography’s prerogative yet in Chetrit’s work the settings and the choice of the grain give a sense of an explicit temporality, which depicts a reality as well as constructing a fiction.
Diego Marcon, Untitled (Head falling 02&05), 2015. Courtesy the artist.
Careof is a not-for-profit space in Milan hosted in a public architectural complex called La Fabbrica del Vapore (The Steam Factory) which, at the beginning of the 1900s, was where trams were built. The site is next to the calm beauty of Cimitero Monumentale, a tidy layout of trees and tombs of various styles and sizes. On the opposite side is the lively Chinatown, always buzzing with people, plenty of shops and more recently trendy bars serving bubble tea.
It’s my first day in Moscow and I need to get roubles. The hotel I am staying at instructs me on how to find a bank. The lobby is spacious and shiny and I am not sure which facility I have entered. I ask someone if I can exchange currency and they take me to another room with two women behind a desk, who introduce me to a third door. After passing through a small waiting room with a sofa, a sliding door with a button brings me to a window counter. Two men in front of me take twenty minutes to finish: they carry suitcases and the counting machines are in constant motion. Two flat screens show me boats, luxury locations and offshore banking ads.
Diego Marcon, SPOOL BROADCASTING, block III, Tape 02. Elena, July 15 2012. Courtesy the artist
Milan, EXT. DAY.
A loud noise comes from inside the exhibition space. Once through the darkened threshold, a giant garden dwarf welcomes the visitor to Diego Marcon’s suggestive new body of works. The artist, on returning to Milan after over a year in Paris and after several months of tight work, faces up to what has been happening around him and analyses his own artistic drives, choosing to approach his beloved medium of film in an artisanal way. The conversation delves into Marcon’s older projects and how they are feeding this exhibition as well as driving the development of new characters for the future. Spoilers ahead: the interview contains mentions of Heads, Winnie-The-Pooh and what Franti stands for.
There is an Inside Amy Schumer sketch that I have been watching over and over: a woman bumps into a friend on a New York sidewalk, and compliments her on her looks, but in the ensuing moments the friend subverts the quality that was praised by firing off a list of negative aspects she sees in herself. New female acquaintances pass by and join in the routine of annulling the compliment just paid by describing all the freakish faults in their own appearance. The dynamic is broken to disastrous effect when someone accepts the praise at face value.
Performance Proletarians, rehearsal, Istituto Svizzero di Roma, 2015
We have entered a period of barbarism, she says. (S. Sontag)
Did I tell you I have been in living in Rome since the beginning of the year? Rome is beautiful but full of tourists, and shits. I mean real dog poo on the pavement. It’s really dirty, as my parents kept saying when they came to visit. They live in the North of the Country, you see, close to Switzerland.
Janet Lilo, photos of ‘Ite around the AAG, 2014. Courtesy the photographer
I have returned from Biel/Bienne, a small town caught between lakes and hills in the part of Switzerland that from French speaking becomes German, hence the double languages in the signage. I never thought using two languages could have been so confusing, when trying to order at the bakery I think I managed to use four languages in one sentence. I was there to follow the time based performances constituting the 2014 Swiss Sculpture Exhibition. Bodies rather than objects, interacting or reacting to the city, its public constituted by amused, confused or blind passerbys and art professionals, prepared to witness anything and following a strict time schedule.
Un gentío sigue a una mujer exuberante que usa un enorme sombrero, gafas oscuras y un vestido floreado, mientras camina por una rambla en Barcelona. La veo en un video en blanco y negro de 1973. Los niños, los hombres y las mujeres están desconcertados por las provocaciones de Ocaña, mientras descaradamente se levanta la falda para mostrar los genitales. Es la última semana de agosto y estoy en Biena, un pueblo tranquilo de Suiza donde se habla alemán y francés, ubicado a las orillas de un lago. Estoy aquí por Le Mouvement 2014, un festival que se celebra cada lustro, con obras públicas realmente propositivas. Los curadores de este año, Gianni Jetzer y Chris Sharp, han dedicado los seis días a performances que se extienden por el tiempo y el espacio del pueblo. El cuerpo es el material.
In 2012 two friends, artist Jorge Satorre and curator Catalina Lozano, went to the municipality of Valle de Chalco Solidaridad, Mexico State, a sprawling area south west of Mexico City DF where they both live. The area is known for its soil stratified with objects belonging to the cultures that populated the valley at different times. On their recurring visits Satorre and Lozano struck a friendship with Genaro Amaro Altamirano, the founder of the Community Museum of the Xico Valley (Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico).
I have known Adam for a decade: to date, we have crossed paths in Como, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome, London, Auckland, Taipei, Shenzhen, and Berlin; worked on a few projects together; and exchanged too many e-mails to count. Over the years, Adam has developed the habit of writing two, maybe three letters a day, some days none, some others, more than three. The e-mails appear inconsequential, operating as a stream of consciousness generally not requiring a personal reply, yet they are the artist’s dispatch to say that he is alive and located somewhere around the globe. The missives, usually sent to me in copy with a group of other undisclosed recipients, are addressed to names such as jesus.christ, obama, edward.snowden, jeffrey.koons, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org—which I suspect means that Adam Avikainen’s name features on a series of blacklists ranging from the National Security Agency (NSA) to the editors of Frieze magazine. It makes me wonder how much spam, how many mail-server errors, or returned messages, Adam receives on his account, especially when he makes up the names for domains or tries to reach people that have migrated elsewhere, both on the Web and in real life.
Shannon Te Ao, Untitled (after Rakaihautu), 2012. single channel video, color, sound, 3 min 26 sec. cinematography Iain Frengley
‘This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty’ declared English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, when he visited Lake Como in 1818. The lake is in the Northern Italian region, adjacent to the hills that introduce the Prealps, where I am from, and my family before me. The English translation of my surname would be ‘bank’, of a river, a lake or the sea.
From my understanding, it is customary in a pōwhiri (the Māori formal ceremony that welcomes visitors to a marae or meeting place) to recite one’s genealogy, starting from the family relationship to the mountain ranges and waterways and commenting on the spiritual link believed to exist between people and their place of origin.
The other day I was walking in the woods on the border between Northern Italy and Switzerland when I stumbled across a trench built at the time of WWI. My mind wandered back to Auckland, New Zealand, at the site of a fortified promontory called North Head, where in 1885 tunnels were dug and gun placements built to counteract the Russian scares, i.e. the threat of an attack coming from the sea. Rather than being based on historical facts, the militarization of the hill was triggered by a news-paper spoof of the sighting of the Russian warship Casko’ whisky in Auckland’s Harbour, which panicked the government. Tahi Moore told me this anecdote, together with many other links, events, and places that, if at the outset seem disparate, develop into generative threads within his artistic narrative.
Mallarmé had always been aware of the fact – unrecognised before and perhaps after him – that language is a system of highly complex spatial relations whose singularity neither ordinary geometric space nor the space of everyday life allows one to appreciate. Nothing is created and no discourse can be creative except through the preliminary exploration of the totally vacant region where language, before it is a set of given words, is a silent process of correspondences, or rhythmic scansion of life. Words exist only to signify the areas of correspondence, the space onto which they are projected and which, no sooner, signified, furls and unfurls, never being where it is. Poetic space, the space and ‘outcome’ of language, never exists like an object but is always spaced out and scattered.
Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Book to Come’, A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections About the Book & Writing, Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay (eds), Granary Books, New York, 2000
I’m about to embark on a 10-day research trip to China that will take me first to Beijing and then to Shenzhen and Guangzhou. I will be meeting artists and visiting different art organisations and I’m scheduled to give lectures on my curatorial practice and my work as the director of Artspace. What follows are my impressions of certain aspects of life in China.