by Eugenia Bertelè
Manifesta 12 features 30 new commissioned art works, public installations, performances and urban interventions, taking place in 15 iconic venues of the city. Among others, Nigerian contemporary art performer, Jelili Atiku, will set up a processional performance on June 15th, through the streets of Palermo. French contemporary landscape architect and philosopher Gilles Clément, who inspired the biennial’s curatorial concept with his book The Planetary Garden will engage in collaboration with the multidisciplinary design studio Coloco and create an urban garden in the Zen district of Palermo. Maria Thereza Alves will dedicate a site-specific work dedicated to the floral syncretism of Sicily at Palazzo Butera. London-based collective Cooking Sections will show a project on agricultural irrigation systems held in various venues. Marinella Senatore, will feature on June 16th a collective dance movement in the streets of the historic centre and Giorgio Vasta, with the project City Scripts, a digital app dedicated to the narration of Palermo. More information, click here See collateral events, click here
Interview with Giorgio di Palma, who is pushing ceramic forwardJust one heartfelt advice: remember his name. For his disruptive approach to the ceramic, we could define him the Damien Hirst of this craft, but actually to be more precise, Giorgio di Palma is like Damien before getting his god-like attitude and marketing power. In fact from his workshop in a tiny centre in the south of Italy, Giorgio is revolutionising his art. Class 1981, he studied Archeology to then actually started working as IT technician. However, after few years he finally decided to listen to his true passion, the ceramic craft, and follow his call back home in the small town of Grottaglie, which actually is historically well known for its century old ceramic tradition. It is not a coincidence then that since he moved back home in 2010, Giorgio has been producing an incredible collection of ceramic art which are starting to attract interior designers and art collectors’ interests. His artistic statement is all about a personal and ironic approach: ‘I work my own way, without focusing on the technique, and I always avoid giving my objects a real function. I produce ceramic items which are not needed. In an era of excess and wastefulness, my aim is to create objects fallen into disuse, useless, but impossible to leave behind. They will outlive us, because now they are made of terracotta, hence immortal. Through a special time machine called ceramics I enjoy transforming the useless into the eternal and consecrating the moment.’ I have got to know Giorgio primarily via email and it immediately transpires how down to heart and committed this artist is. Do you have a mentor in your professional and personal life?
In my life I have always been surrounded by people who inspired me, hence I don’t think I have ever had only one mentor. I might sound pretentious but I believe in myself so much that I could call myself the Giorgio di Palma’s mentor. This does not mean that I believe I can do anything I want. With time I have learnt that in every craft and industry there are experts that could be my teachers and mentors. Hence if I want to make marinated anchovies I will ask for my mother’s instructions and if I want to create a complex ceramic piece, I will ask my father for some advice. Who is a living artist you admire and you would collect?
My house and studio are full of art made by artists I was lucky enough to meet and get to know closely. I need to know the artist personally in order for me to collect his pieces, in fact behind every piece I have, there is a story to tell. Hence I would say I collect stories, not art. What can you not stand in the art world?
I have to say I cannot stand the art world as a whole. I never wanted to call myself ‘artist’ and I always avoided the path of art galleries-collectors-price politics. Some of my pieces are displayed in museums where a wider audience can see them and enjoy them. However, I usually sell in my studio and in few selected shops: my buyers can be either the kid who needs to buy a gift for his aunt and the person who falls in love with a unique original piece. What’s your biggest achievement so far in life and career?
Maybe my biggest one has been to came back and make a living in my hometown Grottaglie, in Southern Italy. Are you interested in Italian politics?
Fundamentally no. I voted just three times in my life and I deeply regretted each time. I believe citizens can’t really decide on complex topics like vaccines, Euro, etc..There are designated people with specific expertise who know what and how to decide on those matters. We should just convince them to do that. Instead on ethical choice, rather economic-political matters, citizens should decide. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I see myself ‘escaping’ from Italy often but also having Grottaglie as a base for me to come back. Like his ceramic lollipop and balloons, Giorgio is a straightforward and extremely enjoyable artist who can surprise you with a genuine approach that will definitely further his career in the directions of being internationally collected and unanimously acclaimed.
Open to the public from Saturday May 26th to Sunday November 25th 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, Freespace, the 16th International Architecture ExhibitionTitled FREESPACE, will be curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Directors of the Irish firm Grafton Architects, winners of numerous international awards and recognized for a relevant academic activity. La Biennale di Venezia President, Paolo Baratta, explained that this edition focuses on the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space. The fundamental parameter of reference is indicated with great clarity. «The desire to create FREESPACE can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project. But space, free space, public space can also reveal the presence or absence of architecture, if we understand architecture to be thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit.» This year the exhibition includes 71 participants between Giardini and Arsenale with 63 countries represented; they will be joined by others gathered in two special sections: Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects (16 participants) where will be presented well- known buildings of the past to install a new reflection; and The practice of teaching (12 participants) that collects projects developed as part of teaching experiences. Curators explained they discovered «invention and creativity at the micro and macro scales historic buildings liberated by the intelligence of the architects; forgotten buildings re-visited and brought to life; transformative typologies of habitation; infrastructural needs translated into public and civic facilities.» Furthermore, «a key component in attending to the continuity of tradition in architecture is the practice of teaching». Curators have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a reference point for putting the exhibition together. This text contains a vision of architecture as the translation of a need in a significant space. They believe that everybody has the right to benefit from architecture emphasizing its role in the choreography of life. They see earth as a client. This brings with it long-lasting responsibilities. Architecture is the play of light, sun, shade, moon, air, wind, gravity in ways that reveal the mysteries of the world. All of these resources are free. The exhibition promise is to have a spatial, physical presence of a scale and quality to communicate architecture’s complex spatial nature. Some of the most well known architecture firms of the world are represented at the Architecture La Biennale exhibition, as Álvaro Siza (Portugal); Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland); Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China); David Chipperfield Architects London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA); Elemental (Santiago, Chile); Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan); Paulo Mendes da Rocha (São Paulo, Brazil); Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects (Tokyo, Japan). The Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday May 26th, 2018 during the opening of the 16th Exhibition. The international jury will announce the winners of the internationals awards: -Golden Lion for best National Participation -Golden Lion for best participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE -Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE The Jury may also award a maximum of one special mention to National Participations; a maximum of two special mentions to the participants in the International exhibition FREESPACE During the time of the event La Biennale will also host the 12th International Festival of Contemporary Dance (June 22nd- July 1st 2018); the 46th International Theatre Festival (July 20th- August 5th 2018); the 75th Venice International Film Festival (August 29th- September 9th, 2018) and the 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music (Sevptember 28th- October 7th, 2018). For more information: www.labiennale.org
By Tiziana Maggio
Look Lateral reporting from the opening night on the artists and galleries to discover this yearAt its fourth edition, the UK photography event of the year opened with a preview yesterday Thursday and promised to wow its visitors until May 20th at Somerset House in in the heart of London. After a very successful third edition, the fair is in fact coming back this year with more than 100 national and international specialist galleries and publishers from 18 countries and establishing itself as a must for all art and prints hunters and lovers. Magnum Photos at stand G6 is presenting a selection of prints, from the contemporary to the classic, from Bieke Depoorter, Alex Majoli, Matt Black, to Jim Goldberg, Carolyn Drake and Mikhael Subotzky. In particular with the last one, well-renowned for being an innovative creator, the visitors can actively be captured by the gigantic images. By just downloading the Avara application on their devices or borrowing an available iPad, they can direct them at the print and an Augmented Reality (AR) will bring the still photo alive, showing what was happening during the shoot. We recommend getting lost in the Discovery section, curated by art consultant Tristan Lund and hosting 22 emerging galleries and artists in a newly expanded dedicated space. First Chinese gallery in the Discovery, ON/Gallery from Beijing is presenting works by Shen Wei, which have a oneiric allure in their glossy fashion-magazine with a photo-journal’s authenticity. Rubber Factory (New York) is instead bringing an america allure with Pacifico Silano’ works where from few very measured details the viewer is free to guess an untold story of images.
Also this year Photo London is hosting a compelling talk-programme, installations, book signings and two awards, Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers’ Award and the MACK First Book Award. As it happens for the most popular fairs, also this fair is magnetising an increasing number of satellite events all over London: from Peckham 24 to Offprint at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, lovers of this medium will be ensured to have a busy weekend.
Before leaving, we stopped for a Japanese sake at the ‘Lip bar’ hosted by Hamiltons Gallery, which we recumbent and not just for the liquor. Replicating Bar Kuro in Shinjuku where the Tokyo’s independent photographer Daido Moriyama, recognised as one of the few living modern masters photographer from Japan, used to go for many years, this intimate special installation allows visitors to enter in a travel capsule where they can get closer to Daido’s oeuvre. It cannot be missed!
Go: to feed your mental database with the most solid reference for prints and to feel part of the always more demanding photography community.
Don’t go: if you don’t like the overwhelming Louvre’s effect.
Go: to feed your mental database with the most solid reference for prints and to feel part of the always more demanding photography community.
Don’t go: if you don’t like the overwhelming Louvre’s effect.
The short post-guide: Glasgow International finishes and this is our takeAfter almost three very busy weeks, the free GI festival finished yesterday, on a very fortunate combination of the Bank holiday weekend and temperatures reaching a high of 22 degrees. Glaswegians and fair visitors in fact have made the most of this warm weekend visiting and enjoying the festival fully for the last few days. From artists’ studios through to major museums, several locations across the city were involved, including the Forth and Clyde Canal and Glasgow’s network of subway stations and carriages. The art-hunters started every day touring from the city centre hub of Trongate 103 in the Merchant City where they could grab a coffee and GI map and plan their art walk and even bike tours leading to Tramway, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvin Hall and the Gallery of Modern Art and many other locations. As the director Parry said ‘I got the Subway this morning and came out at St Enoch and the whole floor of the station was covered in these vinyl artworks. They have transformed the space while not being overpowering. It lets everyone get on with their thing while being very beautiful.’ The performance and works displayed by Yon Afro Collective– YAC (Najma Abukar, Layla Roxanne Hill, Rhea Lewis, Sekai Machache, and Adebusola Debora Ramsay) appeared one of the post-brexit most significant events of this Biennial. Hosted by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and titled (Re)imagining Self and Raising Consciousness of Existence through Alternative Space and (Re)imagined Place, it very effectively pointed the attention on the lives of women of colour in Scotland narrating stories often ignored and and how the Black Other is viewed. Each YAC artist self founded the event and explored the topic through their media and craft, from paintings, photography to sculpture and text exploring the challenges of women of colour living in different socio-political environments. Planning already the next fair, the director Parry said he wants to increase access. “Within England, across Europe and internationally, Glasgow is really respected in terms of the artwork on show. And while there are a lot of people who know and love the festival, I think the biggest thing for us to do is to reach and invite as many people as possible to come and discover the amazing work being made here.” We can definitely say that also this year the festival has again succeeded in drawing a wider attention on the city vibrant artistic production and in positioning the Scottish artistic power-house in the centre of the international art plethora.
London, Tate Modern, 8 March – 9 September 2018 – Tate Modern recently opened a new exhibition and its curatorial concept immediately caught my curiosity. It is the first ever solo Picasso exhibition at the Tate and the curators are offering a fascinating focus on a specific year in the career of the master: 1932I decided to pay a visit, along with my friend and artist Christina. Visitors are afforded a very privileged opportunity to appreciate over 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs displayed in a month-by-month journey through Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’. As soon as I enter the first room, I am already ecstatic: The Great Depression is about to hit the art market and the Master is in his fifties and at the peak of his success, going around in a chauffeur-driven car and living in grand apartments in Paris with Olga Khokhlova, the Russian ballet dancer and mother of his son. His talent has reached a new height of sensuality now, mainly inspired by his 17 year old muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, featured in numerous works, from Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, to Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror. At the end of our viewing, I turn to my friend Christina with my elated smile of fulfilment and an unexpected comment breaks my euphoria: ‘Although prolific, he was a narcissistic, macho, lavish, misogynistic, exploitative, over-idolized , male dominatrix of an artist! Sadly this is what Western art society and art educational system still admire and promote…!!’ I was speechless. In only one comment, she opened a vortex of thoughts that I couldn’t suppress for days. I rewinded the whole exhibition in my mind several times and in the end I came to a conclusion. If on one hand this exhibition shows us the magnificent artistic peak reached by Picasso, on the other it opens the archives of his love life. There is nothing better than an exhibition that is able to create debate and open discussions. #Payavisit
By Tiziana Maggio
20 Apr 2018 – 7 May 2018 – How knew Glasgow could be the city to go for contemporary art too!?The international biennial opened last week its eighth edition and it is already showing an ambitious programme under the direction of Richard Parry: more than 80 events, 45 group shows, 40 solo exhibitions, pop-up performances, talks in conventional venues and unusual locations too. They are popping all across Glasgow, placing the art and the city itself among the most talked-about for the next two weeks internationally. How knew? In the last ten years actually, the Scottish festival has been featuring hundreds of contemporary visual art by established and emerging Scottish and international artists and site-specific exhibitions, becoming soon a not-to-be-missed event in the international calendar of most art fair connoisseurs. Formerly the curator of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, Parry in fact says ‘Glasgow has a contemporary art scene to rival that of any city in the world and Glasgow International has played an increasingly significant role since its inception over a decade ago.’ Combining art by more than 260 artists from 33 countries, this year the event is showcasing exhibitions reflecting on critical topics like politics, identity, fatherhood, race, queer feminist photography. It appears like an important sign of the current times, where it is impossible to not reflect topics that have been so drastically redefined and discussed recently. In this Scotland’s hyper art-fair, this is surprisingly made by biblical figures, dragons and elephants! Highlights will see a major new group exhibition at the Gallery Of Modern Art (GoMA) and solo exhibitions by international artists including Esther Ferrer, Urs Fischer, the group of black female artists from Cape Town iQhiya Collective as well as commissions by two Turner Prize winners, Lubaina Himid with Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down in the main hall of the Kelvingrove and Mark Leckey, the ‘artist of the YouTube generation’ with Nobodaddy (after William Blake’s poem). In particularly Lecky’s work has been the most much-anticipated and talked about: in the darkness of an empty room at Tramway a morbid figure echoing the pose of Rodin’s Thinker expresses melancholy and solitude. Job, this is its name, seems to be the personification of old sorrows and technologically new inputs coming from surrounding screens and speakers in its body. It is a mystical figures and it is creating an hypnotic space for appreciation.
Alongside the official GI calendar, the buzz is ensured all over the city to visitors, me included, in a quest for other spectacular art and some free teas and whiskey too (!), in fact they will have the opportunity to dive into emerging local art promoted by independent galleries and by the alternative platform Glasgow Why Open House Arts Festival (GYFest).
Original text by Eugenia Bertelè
The Mudec (Museum of Cultures) of Milan hosts until Wednesday June 6th 2018 a can’t-miss retrospective dedicated to the Mexican artist Frida Kalho (1907-1954). An exhibition going “beyond the myth”, that aims at beating all its many competitors born after this unstoppable Fridamania displaying unprecedented material from the archivesBIOGRAPHY VS ART How could we possibly restore the artistic value of a worldwide brand, Frida Kahlo, having her image all over the place, including tampons and nail polishes? And how should we interpret the opening of a museum, by the Riviera Maya, having its whole exhibition path based on a multimedia recreation of Frida Kalho’s life that includes everything but the display of her original works? Frida Kalho has lived the life of a rock star, that’s a fact. Looking for some examples? Woman, Latin-American, maverick, wife of the controversial wall painter Diego Rivera. Heroin surviving terrible accidents and exhausting diseases. Mother losing three fetuses. A strong personality, almost multiplying itself in the reproduction of her self-portrait – more than a third of Frida’s whole production (about 200 pieces). THE ARCHIVE, A VALUE However, what is fundamental in this Milan exhibition is the scientific study conducted by the curator Diego Sileo on the documents found by Frida’s house in Mexico City, the Casa Azul, providing a completely new perspective on her career. The exhibition consists in four sections: Woman, earth, politics and pain, and gathers together more than 70 paintings, 40 drawings, 150 letters, pictures and objects loaned by the most relevant international collections (Museo Dolores Olmedo and Jaques and Natasha Gelman Collection).
Not mentioning a couple of slipups, the romantic Italian music juxtaposing a documentary showing scenes from the life of the couple, and the explosive merchandising at the end of the path, the value of Sileo’s research stands incredibly out, making it possible to better understand Frida Kalho’s works and to give her value as an artist, giving new keys to interpretation.Moving away from all biographical simplifications, we can finally discover how she uses her body as a political and sacrificial manifesto; how she is osmotically bound to nature, how she sees the Earth as the place of both genesis and death; how she shows her femininity, how she constantly reaffirms her being Mexican through symbols like her over-stressed somatic features (eyebrows, light moustache, fuzz, thick black hair turning from pure ornament to a representation of pain), like the use of traditional clothes, through mentioning pre-Columbian characters – destroyed by her typical glance, so ironic, gritty and intriguing. A unique language, where the traditional naïf paint by Rousseau meets the influences of the surrealistic alphabet, creating Frida Kalho’s totally authentic style. BLOCKCHAIN, THE DIGITAL ARCHIVE OF TOMORROW? The archive is, therefore, one of the funding pillars of knowledge, the place treasuring history. How will archives look like in the future, I wonder? Will the new technologies – blockchain, for instance – be able to ensure data storage and simultaneously keep up with the constant upgrades of the scientific research and of the circulation of artworks? POPULARITY VS MARKET The amazing marketing now surrounding Frida Kalho doesn’t seem to depend from the quotations of her original paintings. In fact, if we look at how these quotations have changed from the ‘70s until now, it almost seems that such marketing speculations have not played in her favor.
The best result one of her works has ever achieved at an auction house was in fact recorded in 2016 at Christie’s, when Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939, was sold for 8 million dollars. During that same week a 1982 painting with a skull by Jean Michel Basquiat was sold for 57 million dollars. That painting wasn’t one of the most representatives of Frida Kalho’s vision if compared, for instance, to the self-portrait (Retrato con mono y perico, 1942) bought in 1995 by the Argentinian Edoardo Constantini for 3.192.500 dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. Such result looks very much like the cost of an opportunity within a market having a really scarce offer. www.mudec.itIn 1990, in fact, Frida had become the most paid Latin-American artist ever, selling the portrait Diego y yo, 1949, for 1.430.000 dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. Today, 20 years later, the prices have not increased significantly. The ages will tell how will the market react to this scientific reimagining of Frida Kalho, one of the most cutting-edge artists of the past century. MUDEC, Museo delle Culture, Via Tortona 56, Milan, Italy – From Thursday February 1st to Wednesday June 6th 2018 –
By Enrico Cavaliere