Carlo Fontana. A colorful Ambulant

A renewed attention has been paid to the social experiences of artists and groups who worked in the Seventies alongside a more consolidated and official artistic system, but which  already received strong shocks on the part of Fluxus, Wiener Aktionismus, Arte Povera and all those phenomena generically defined as procedural. Conferences and publications followed this renewed attention. In particular we recall: L’arte nello spazio urbano l’esperienza italiana dal 1968 ad oggi by Alessandra Pioselli (Johan & Levi, 2015); La contestazione dell’arte La pratica artistica verso la vita in area campana da Giuseppe Desiato agli esordi dell’arte nel sociale by Stefano Taccone (Iod, 2015); Arte fuori dall’arte – esiti degli incontri e scambi fra arti visive e società negli anni Settanta curated by Cristina Casero, Elena di Raddo, Francesca Gallo (Postmediabooks, 2017); Frameless / l’opera d’arte senza cornice. L’opera d’arte tra supporto, contesto e città curated by Claudio Musso and Fabiola Naldi (D. Montanari Editore, 2017); Arte in movimento. Gli anni Settanta in Campania by Luca Palermo (Postmediabooks, 2018).

We talk about those years and the aesthetics that are widespread in the territory with Carlo Fontana, an author that participated in the group of Ambulants.

What was your training?
I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, in the school of Domenico Spinosa, a painter of informal ancestry, from which I have not so much struggled to free myself, because I must say that in spite of his artistic convictions he was a very liberal teacher.

Can you tell us about the Naples of the 70s?
The Naples of the Seventies had a face very different from that of today, with a historical center put back in order, with a formal law and order and with a flow of tourists at that time unimaginable. The so called Spanish quarters and the districts of ​​Montesanto, Forcella and Duchesca were areas that could also be dangerous: now the danger has not died out, the Camorra continues to dominate, but the dirt and the “disorder” have moved away from the center. Moreover in those years there was still the theater of dramatized, where the tear-jerking stories were recited, for the streets of the centre it was still seen to turn the “pazzariello” (a sort of joker) and in the district Sanità the “pettenessa” (a sort of hair dresser) could be met that coiled the hair of the old women in the middle of the alleys. These notes of color (which we find below in many Totò movies) have really disappeared. The political climate was very tense, the contrasts were very strong, the extremist fringes of the fascists against the extra-parliamentary left then led to the armed struggle and everyone remembers the crime of Aldo Moro who was a culmination of that fierce antagonism and a immediate moment of redemption by the institutions. The art galleries, which served as a point of reference for contemporary art, for a city so disastrous yet artistically very lively, were numerous: first of all, the Morra Studio and the Modern Art Agency of Lucio Amelio, then Lia Rumma, Framart, Studio Trisorio and Il Centro; but there was no lack of cinema of essai (like the Cineteca Altro and the Cinema No) and the underground theaters. In short, there was a unique cultural ferment: everything was heatedly discussed and the paths open to linguistic experimentation were innumerable.

Moreover you have had some experiences with Leo De Bernardinis’ theater and you have also had contacts with Lucio Amelio… can you tell us something?
I frequented Leo and Perla during the years of their activity in Marigliano and when they occupied the theater of Salerno, realizing on their request some happenings during the opening times of the theater. Instead, Lucio Amelio first came to my studio in 1975 because at that time I had started working on color as an intellectual recovery and this possible sense of “chromatic dirtiness” caught his attention. Although ours was a completely marginal relationship, with the generosity that distinguished him, Lucio bought me some works and some of them even exhibited at Art Basel.

In those years, what was your approach to the world of art?
I followed the exhibitions of the galleries I mentioned earlier and followed the meetings and debates that regularly took place in the city. Nicola Spinosa, superintendent in Campania since 1984, I believe he was the first in Italy to open the city’s historic spaces to the contemporary. I remember that the Capodimonte Museum opened its doors not only to Burri’s “cretto”, but also to De Dominicis and Mimmo Jodice, while in the 1970s Villa Pignatelli housed an exhibition behind the other, with a wide-ranging activity. In more recent years, Piazza Plebiscito has come with mega-installations (for example with works of Kounellis and Paladino) and the Archaeological Museum become point of reference for international events. We must also remember that the exhibition “Terrae Motus”, very strongly wanted by Lucio Amelio, as a symbol of redemption of the city, as a cultural response to the disastrous earthquake of 1980, is then over guest at the Palazzo Reale of Caserta. When today in Italy some politicians talk about this confrontation between modern and ancient, I feel like smiling: everything was already there, everything was already marked in the history of a city full of problems, but also full of life, creativity and imagination.

In those years, your position was very politicized: can you tell us in which group you have take part for your political struggle? Furthermore, in the discussions that you have participated with the group of Ambulants do you remember any particular topic?
I played with Lotta Continua in the Bagnoli district and later with unorganized Autonomia Operaia, because these two political movements were for non-violent social change. For example, to combine the political struggle with the aesthetic story in the 1970s, I often went to Italsider-type factories with a red ball of string trying to create a zig-zag path in order to imprison the workers near the factory gates, to force them into dialogue and interaction. Even in discussions with the group of Ambulants I have always wanted to touch on a political aspect that gave voice to the underclass. For example, the culture subordinated to the bourgeois élite, according to the lesson of Luigi Maria Lombardi Satriani, was that which derived from folklore as an original and authentic lineage, so I have always tried to overturn the consolidated positions bringing in my work aspects of Neapolitanism.

When was the group of Ambulants born and what were the reasons for that birth?
Officially the group was founded in 1975, but my first adhesion was entirely political and unofficial: at the X Quadriennale I took part illegally by occupying with a square drawn a part of the space assigned to the group, which also gave me the consent to the action, but obviously my name in the catalog does not appear.

Can you give us a testimony of your participation in the Biennale 76, Padiglione Italia, in “Ambiente come sociale” section, signed by Enrico Crispolti?
Enrico Crispolti was a politically placed critic on the left and anti-system, let’s also say anti-market. His figure has had great importance precisely because of the desire not to exercise power over artists with selections driven by money, in the search for a new social dimension of art, an inclusive and democratic dimension. The book published by De Donato was a perfect testimony of his ideas. Certainly, many of his choices were not acceptable to me and many of the artists he supported seemed to me to be linked to a production anchored to the monumental idea of ​​the monument (or anti-monument but conceived in the shape of three-dimensional sculpture), while the work of the Ambulants floated towards the idea of ​​the happening and the aesthetic gesture in motion. In the first seven days of the Biennale opening, together with the group of Ambulants (I remember the presence of Marta Alleonato, Ernesto Jannini, Annamaria Iodice, Claudio Massini, and the last-minute arrival of Giuseppe Zevola), some “walks” in the Biennale Gardens and in the city. The experience was very lively and interesting, precisely because of the dialogue that took place not only with citizenship, but also with the works of the other artists who exhibited there. Of course, the answers we had obtained in the poor neighborhoods of Naples with the distribution of our aesthetic signs on the territory, a land where people are more open and cordial, were warmer than those we found in Venice, but the city already suffered from era of invasive tourism that distorted any neighborhood, even the most peripheral. On that occasion, I played the figure of the colorful water seller (which I had already completed for the Bagnoli walk): I approached people and donated drops of color embodied by small mosaic tiles.

“Ambiente come sociale” (environment as a social), how did you mean it, how do you define it?
In the Seventies I saw the art market as a closed, stale and elitist system, while the territory with all its aspects of marginalized and primary creativity seemed to me a path that could be practiced in parallel, according aesthetic and  political languages.

1975-2019: can we find a link between your work then and today?
There is a common thread, although some may believe that my dedication to painting today is a betrayal. The red thread is the color that I have always used and to which I have dedicated myself, as to an epiphanic song, as a gift that man cannot do without. Blindness is a condition related to loss; the absence of color from everyday life would be a privation. Color surrounds us, in nature, in changing seasons and even in the perimeter of a canvas.

Carlo Fontana “L’ambulante del colore” Bagnoli, Napoli, 1976, azione sul territorio con il gruppo degli AmbulantiCarlo Fontana “L’ambulante del colore” Bagnoli, Napoli, 1976, azione sul territorio con il gruppo degli Ambulanti

Carlo Fontana “Avere una patata piena di stelle tra le mani” Capodimonte, Napoli, dicembre 1977, azione sul territorio con il gruppo degli Ambulanti

Carlo Fontana “Scultura afro-napulitana” 1986, materiali di recupero e creta, ph courtesy Centro La Cappella

Carlo Fontana, “Mercatino colorato e profumato” 2008, legno, plastica e pittura, cm 80 x 60

Carlo Fontana “1 cerchio 1 albero” 2018, pittura alchidica su tela, cm 50 x 70, ph courtesy Totem-Il Canale

Paolo Ciregia. God is dead but the devil walks

Paolo Ciregia (Viareggio, 1987) – selected among the 24 photographers of the Foam Talent Call (Amsterdam) 2016 for international talents under 35 – for some years has been investigating systems of power and propaganda, wars, ideologies, symbols and language, through complex installations that reveal a clear pessimism towards man and history. I interview him on the occasion of his second solo show at the Mc2 Gallery in Milan: “Resistance devices”, curated by Vincenzo Maccarone with a critical text by Carlo Sala.

Tell me about your beginnings as an artist.
I was actually a geology student. I have always been distant from art, although I absorbed many things from my grandmother who was a Flemish painter. I started photographing late, at 26, and in winter I traveled a lot for passion. In geology I was interested in substance: how far can you take it to the limit? How much is unpredictable in the two-dimensionality of photography? Usually little. But in my case, working so much in the darkroom, there is always the surprise effect. While with the matter you find yourself confronting yourself with the failure which is the most important concept of my work. Maybe you have in mind to do something with iron or plastic and you realize that the vehicle does not allow it. Photography is too immediate. It’s all there already. In addition to the captivating aspect of art, I want there to be a solid conceptual part.

Why did you decide to document conflicts?
I worked as a photojournalist in Senegal and other countries. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict was the first I followed. I had been living for five years in Ukraine, one of the last satellite nations of the Soviet Union where they tried to look beyond, to Europe and the West. There were seeds for a turnaround. My first job was about young people: how graduates fell into the tunnel of drugs and prostitution. While some still believed in the future, many others felt defeated. For me it was the proof of a revolutionary failure. I hope you understand that there is never a positive view in my work. There is no way out. I’m not doing propaganda, I’m not an activist, rather an artist who is interested in investigating man and the mechanisms of war and revolution. I went from Kiev to Crimea to analyze how much photography and the media affect a revolution. Then there was a switch, towards something that looked more like art.

Yours was a rapid progression from the use of the photographic medium in its most objective form to the subsequent manipulation of the images up to the installation explosion.
The first step was on the field. A video work in b/w (U Okraina, 2015) for which I inserted an obsolete SD card inside an HD machine. The moment it recorded the frames it lost a lot of them. People moved in jerks. I mounted it exactly this way. As far as we want to describe objectively, we never succeed, because there are always missing parts. The more I tried to document the fact, the more I opposed it. Once back home, I adopted a form of complete criticism about myself and what I had done. What’s the use of this archive of gigabytes of death? Did I really need to be there? I was against the emblematic photos of the war. Manipulation was a form of rejection. What I did in Perestrojka (2015) was to eliminate the image of the dead. The white outline around which people concentrate is more powerful because it allows you to linger for a second. There is a pause within something extremely violent. Then the installation, the sculpture were a way to get out of photography and enter the subject.

Let’s get into the solo show “Resistance devices” in which there is a body of new works: the series 40 dictators (photography, video, sculpture) that was previewed at Artverona, the neon God is dead and the devil walks and the sound work Intermezzo.
We know Mao Tse Tung, Hitler and Mussolini, but are we sure we have really absorbed the story? This is why the scans from under the busts of 40 political leaders (40 dictators) were born, to show how a small gesture can make the situation stand out in a completely different way. From below it becomes something else. A cave in which to enter and continue to search. Or the space seen from above. When there is a dictatorship the natural person disappears and only the statue, the bust, the fetish remains. Their faces contain all the ideals and it is as if the eyes were still vigilant over people to instill fear. I wanted to analyze the dictators in order to completely cancel the head, the identifiable part, and with this gesture defuse them. Because if you don’t read the caption it becomes something unrecognizable. I started collecting busts around the world, but the research was limited to what I could find in bronze. In Cambodia you find nothing about Pol Pot or in South America there is nothing in bronze, more in wood or marble. The busts were melted in a crucible and the resulting liquid was inserted into another minimal sculpture. I would like to clarify that the shape was not taken from a pomegranate grain. This is not an idea linked to a new life …

Quite the contrary, I would say more an idea of ​​oppression.
In fact, what interests me about the pomegranate is not its red color or the symbol of abundance to which it is linked, rather how the grain forms inside it. In the perfection of the fruit the beans are all pressed. Each grain is not free to change shape. It is like an individual within a system of rules, where it is compressed without having the power to express itself. From perfection to oppression. The same is true for the work God is dead and the devil walks that fills the hole that left the sculpture. It is not the death of a religious God, but of an omnipresent dictator who has replaced religion. Something you don’t see, but of which you perceive power. Without bringing anything good, as in all revolutions. As if there were a cycle of negativity that always affects the individual.

“God is dead and the devil walks” is the true statement of this exhibition.
Some say it is a very Nietzschean concept. He at least saw positive possibilities for man without God. I, on the other hand, do not believe in man. I want to bring to light not a solution, but how much man is wrong all the time. The work of 2017 with intermittent light transmits in morse code “historia magistra vitae”. Put in a bright loop, only a few can perceive the message. It is like condemning man to repeat mistakes because he is not given the tools.

You also incorporate the sound into your works. In the video of 40 dictators the sound almost strikes the visitor…
The sound is very important both in 40 dictators and in the Intermezzo installation (for which the gallery will organize an event before the end of the exhibition) which is the recording of the bombings in Donetsk airport, where I found myself by chance with another journalist. We hear the fighters firing and at the same time the chirping of birds. There is a response of nature to man. It is a dialogue that is formed slowly.

It is perhaps your only work that possesses this double positive and negative vision.
This power is not in man, it is in nature. I am pro nature, indeed pro meteorites. (Laughs)

Petra Chiodi


Paolo Ciregia. Dispositivi di resistenza
28 October  – 7 December 2019
curated by Vincenzo Maccarrone
Via G. Lulli, 5 Milano

Paolo CiregiaPaolo Ciregia, Mussolini from the Burning dictators series, 2019, 40” loop vide. Courtesy Mc2 gallery/ Paolo Ciregia

Paolo Ciregia, Mao from the Burning dictators series, 2019, 40” loop video. Courtesy Mc2 gallery/ Paolo Ciregia

Paolo Ciregia, God is dead and the devil walks. Photo: Santiago Reyes Villaveces. Courtesy Mc2 gallery/ Paolo Ciregia

Paolo Ciregia, Dispositivi di resistenza, exhibition view at mc2galley, Photo: Santiago Reyes Villaveces. Courtesy Mc2 gallery/ Paolo Ciregia

Paolo Ciregia, Dispositivi di resistenza, exhibition view at mc2galley, Photo: Santiago Reyes Villaveces. Courtesy Mc2 gallery/ Paolo Ciregia

Paolo Ciregia, Mussolini, from the 40 dictators series, 2019, inkjet baryta. Courtesy Mc2 gallery/ Paolo Ciregia

In conversation with Ruggero Maggi

The artistic life of Ruggero Maggi was shaped by the curiosity of the surrounding world. When he was 22 years old he opened a multimedia art gallery: the Milan Art Center. Research, experimentation, neon, laser, holography, the unconscious encounter with Visual Poetry, artist books and the incredible world of Mail Art were his interests in those years.

If I think about your story I see three important paths that intersect in the guise of author and promoter: the first way is undoubtedly your long relationship with Restany…
I met Pierre in the 1970s. I accompanied a Florentine artist, a friend of mine, who, having an appointment with Restany, but not knowing Milan, asked me to accompany him to the Hotel Manzoni, in fact Pierre’s Milanese residence. After seeing the documentation brought by the artist and intrigued by my presence, I told him that I had just returned from a trip to Peru and that I had recently been in the Peruvian Amazon. Amazonia was the magic word that triggered an immediate spiritual contact: he too was a great lover and connoisseur of the Amazon forest and its world. Since then we met numerous times and always, immediately, the memory of that common love that deeply linked us was triggered. When, about ten years ago, I asked him for the first time if he could or wanted to write something about my work, he had no hesitation and the result was the text More true than Nature which proved to be fundamental for my research. After his death I thought I would pay him homage with a project not only dedicated to him, but focused on him: “Camera 312 – reminder for Pierre” also presented at the 2007 Venice Biennale within a space where the walls were surrounded by fluctuating yellow Post-it and where the original decor of Room 312 of the Hotel Manzoni (where Pierre stayed for over thirty years) was also exhibited.

The second nodal point of your artistic path is centered on mail art and small artist publishing…
Postal Art has been with me since 1975. Mail Art is not just a trivial exchange of letters or postcards, but has always been an explosive example of creativity. Postal Art has been and still is a wonderful adventure for me! In 1975 I also started working on small objects to which I gave the form of books… pages like works of art, pages that do not flip through and set in time. In the same period I also founded a particular Non solo libri archive / library which collects more than a thousand monotypes made by artists from all over the world.

Finally the project of the Tibet Pavilion, the last and current node of your artistic adventure…
Tibet Pavilion is an idea of 2010: since then it represents a bridge between cultures, between western contemporary art and Tibetan iconography. A project born to not forget a millenary culture that China would like to destroy… to give back to Tibet the dignity of a nation of law. The combination of two simple words: “Pavilion” and “Tibet” which, on the occasion of the Venice Biennale, take on a particular meaning of geo-political identity, making Tibet an autonomous country utopically. I like to think of the Tibet Pavilion as a dream that has left its mark but, as Kubrick said, dreams are never just dreams.

Let’s talk about your research on the Chaos theory…
I started to get interested in the theory of Chaos already in the 80s and in ‘98 I created and organized what I believe can be considered the first real contemporary art event dedicated to this topic: Italian Chaos simultaneously with specific sections in three Milanese galleries. Allow me a quote from Brother Fractal which I wrote for that occasion: “The chaos goes beyond the purely physical conformation of our life and pervades the human consciousness itself, to regulate, in a series of apparently random events, the whole existence. Our life itself could therefore be considered a very complex fractal scheme expanding both physically and metaphysically, both temporal and spatial”. We can represent this space-time evolution as a life-line that propagates on different levels, on various possible existential layers (for example in the film Sliding doors), as a fracture on a glass plate or in an arid terrain.

Can you tell us something about your installations with laser and neon?
I have always considered light as a primary element of research, as a real material-source of structures, patterns, signs and lines. In the early 1970s the tests with the neon light that I brought to the hard rock of the Val Camonica engravings or to the fibrous substance of the wood, and then the laser that touches and reads the roughness of the materials and the studies on interferometry that brought me to the holography with the first 3D films made in ‘79.

And what about the wood light, also used at the GAM in Gallarate?
In 2006 I was invited by Emma Zanella, at that time director of the GAM of Gallarate (now MAGA), to carry out a site-specific installation that had irony, word use and image. It was a very special and intense period: immersed in the shadows of the museum, working with the only wood that radiated the space of an unreal, metaphysical light, I undertook to paint directly on the walls of the museum with a special fluorescent paint (but transparent to normal light ) signs that otherwise would not have been perceived by the eye. It was a unique experience. Emma wrote about the presentation of the catalog: “And here is Underwood, a multi-sensorial environment where the light of wood allows to go beyond nothing, to overcome absence and to discover the under wood, the undergrowth, what is not seen immediately but that it exists, it exists, it is very present”.

Projects for 2020?
For 2020, in addition to projects in progress (for me “the art is the project”), I foresee the publication of a monograph, the restyling of my sites and the reorganization of my archives.

Ruggero Maggi, Fragilità e distacco, 2019, 25 x 20 x 15 cm, part., courtesy Archivio Ophen Virtual Art, SalernoRuggero Maggi, Fragilità e distacco, 2019, 25 x 20 x 15 cm, part., courtesy Archivio Ophen Virtual Art, Salerno

Ruggero Maggi, Voluntas Dei, 2019, libro oggetto con laser cut, part., 52 x 52 x 8 cm, courtesy Biblioteca Minnicelli, Corigliano Rossano (CS)Ruggero Maggi, Voluntas Dei, 2019, libro oggetto con laser cut, part., 52 x 52 x 8 cm, courtesy Biblioteca Minnicelli, Corigliano Rossano (CS)

Ruggero Maggi, Soaring Flight, 2018, polimaterico e craquelé su tela, 25 x 30 cm, courtesy Biamt Timisoara Ruggero Maggi, Soaring Flight, 2018, polimaterico e craquelé su tela, 25 x 30 cm, courtesy Biamt Timisoara

Ruggero Maggi, Amazon, 1979, timbro Archivio Amazon Ruggero Maggi, Amazon, 1979, timbro Archivio Amazon

Greta Bisandola. Investigating human beings, I reflect on painting

Art messes up life and expecially today it seems to have taken the character of a grotesque, futile, cruel but also passionate drama, where things are not as they appear and beauty is difficult, as Ezra Pound said. In the case of Greta Bisandola, an artist who lives and works in Padua, beauty consists not only in the “hand”, in the ability to make works of figurative art, in making a work complete a character. Greta Bisandola’s research in fact revolves around faces and bodies, where the image is the undisputed protagonist, a guardian of mystery, meanings and truths, truths that the artist tries to grasp through the stratification of memory and the motions of the a soul of the human being, without following, as she herself states, a precise project, taking off from a terrain of uncertainty to offer a shared experience, intensifying and distancing things. Bisandola therefore realizes the ancient task of art, which “makes space and time”, giving great importance to chance, often a harbinger of truth.
By investigating human being, portraying figures, the painter from Monselice investigates painting as a material, and the void that has left the emptying of meaning of the image, abandoning itself to the visions of the unconscious, to randomness, to the “monsters” represented on the canvas : exhausted souls without status, nor history, imprisoned in unpleasant, distorted, disturbing aspects, among which stand out also the self-portraits of herself.

Approached to painters such as Schiele, Turner, Freud, Bisandola feels closer to the nephew of the famous psychoanalyst, as regards the practice of time, representing what is beyond the visible and the perceptible, beyond the deformity of faces and bodies , beyond the apparent irony that hides the fear of the not beautiful as harmonious, healthy, always trying to preserve its identity.

Greta Bisandola debuted in 2010 with a solo show at Palazzo Durini, Milan. Other solo shows have been dedicated to her in Bassano del Grappa, Turin, Berlin, and at the same time she has participated in various group exhibitions in Italy and in Germany. In her future plans there is a collective exhibition at the Diocesan Museum of Padua and a solo show at The Bank of Bassano collection.

The deformity that often inflicts on the faces and bodies of the subjects of your works seems to want to do emerge the cerebral and emotional suffering and complexity of the human being, is this a correct

Unfortunately, I do not have the key of my work and there is no intention but to find correspondences that during the execution translate only into a pleasure for the eyes. So I don’t know the secret of my characters. But I can say that through the human I try to investigate painting. The complexity of the human combines the complexity of painting, but they are two separate entities in a certain sense. Painting for me means first of all having a physical experience with the subject. The face and the body are great containers in this sense.

In this sense, what does identity mean for you?
I am very attached to the figure, therefore to figurative painting, even if for me today the image has been emptied of everything, it is no longer the bearer of a meaning. And it is precisely this emptiness that interests me. There is a surplus in the work of the faces that I have realized up to now that tries to create fractures inside the shape to be able to talk about something else. The identity of my subjects is in excess and over the top, in an attempt to shatter itself. It wants to shatter because in reality it does not accept a measure, it does not want “an identity”, it wants everything, it aspires to infinity and therefore it cannot contain itself. The subject opens up and pursues the matter because it is alive and moves, it represents the identity of the real, because the world never adheres to our scheme. Painting, on the other hand, is matter and the world.

When did you start painting and why?
I was a child, first I started drawing, then painting. The beginning of everything is a very distant memory, a long road full of experiences and continuous changes. How to explain why something turns on so much passion and constantly calls you to yourself, like a voice in your head? I paint because this is my singular desire, it is my countermelody, perhaps it is a prevaricating act in the attempt to assert myself. In desire there is something that has not yet been written, something that has not yet happened but hopes to do so, which will come. So I paint to throw myself forward with the fear that characterizes me because, inspired by an interview with Giacometti, I like adventure.

Yours is a turbulent painting, however after finishing a work, do you feel satisfied by your
work, in harmony with yourself?

Of course, this is the ultimate goal, to feel absolutely satisfied. When a work ends I feel fulfilled and in the right place.

In “Luce propria”, you also highlighted your face, is it a sort of act of pacification, a wish to unravel?
When I paint there is always in my research a desire to reveal, above all to myself. The most successful work is the one that separates me from myself, the one that provokes my amazement, showing me something I didn’t know and I didn’t know I could do. I often use my face in paintings, it is the face with which I have the most confidence, the one at hand. It will seem incredible, but often a painter’s problems involve technical issues.

You were associated with painters such as Lucien Freud, Turner, Bacon … Who do you feel closest to?
Among these Lucian Freud, for the practice of time, and because he seems to me a “builder” of bodies. It tears a face to pieces and at the same time keeps it united and solid. I love that special technique that becomes a character.

The humanity without filters that you represents, disfigured and devastated, springs from the historical contingency, contemporary or by the very essence of the human being that is immutable?
Everything that concerns us and that surrounds us as human beings, the social structure, our experiences, what we are without knowing, manifests and is part of what we create, which remains, after all, always within a limit tangible. The contemporary historical contingency creates dichotomies for me, so humanity in my work does not want to talk about humanity. It is true that there are no filters, because in fact, as I have already mentioned, my humanity wants to become a container of all the containable. Contemplate a void as a gateway. It comes from the possibility of no longer having to tell a story.

Nature and history, how do these two aspects relate to your works?
History is all that we know, it characterizes us in spite of ourselves and it is material from which, inevitably, I feel I must draw in some way to be able to go on. In my work, on the other hand, nature is perceived as a process, a metamorphosis, a space of rest but in movement, where gestures are perhaps more authentic, easier. It seems to me that it manifests itself in my works in an isolated manner, cut out, it never creates an environment.

In your opinion, in the wake of the thought of Benjamin, is it true that the work of art today more than ever states how ruin dropping any beauty residue? Does beauty looks like a fossil from an era far?
The word “beauty” has an objective character, it seems to speak of a harmony shared by all in the same way. It always seems to refer to a consolidated model. In addition it is forced to tell a story inextricably linked to its appearance, to its shape as a perfect coincidence of itself, a narrow paralyzing envelope. Today the ugly becomes beautiful because the distortion is a living tension towards the real, the image does not want to tell itself as it is, but seeks elsewhere. Because the task of art is to make the invisible visible, it is transcendence. Even figurative painting feels this necessity which is why it is deformed in some way. Art is life, and life has to do with the event, takes us by surprise, overpowers us and drags, is not acceptable, it is unique.

Your works “make time”, bring the perceptible to maturity, fulfilling the ancient task of art, do you feel part of this mission?

In making contemporary art there is an individuality that places the artist only at the center of himself, of his own need, of his own incomprehensible need in some way. This perhaps especially in painting. The hope is however to leave something that lasts over time, an object endowed with a certain degree of autonomy, at least for me, which can at some point be validated. But the object succeeded even if only for those who built it, enough and progresses, in this sense, artistic creation is a damned private affair.

Any projects for the future and wishes to be implemented?
Soon I will have some shows, a collective exhibition at the Diocesan Museum of Padua and a solo showat The Bank in Bassano. The desire is to continue to paint.


Greta BisandolaGreta Bisandola. Ph. credit Andrea Rosset

Greta Bisandola, Il Bambino, 90 x 90 cm, 2019, olio su tela

Greta Bisandola, Madre, 80 x 80 cm, 2014, olio su tela

Greta Bisandola, Pauline, 50 x 50 cm, 2011, olio su tela

Greta Bisandola, Sottogiardino, 40 x 70 cm, 2014 olio su tela

Greta Bisandola, Esercizio, 50 x 50 cm, 2013 olio su tela

MAKERART: art compares with new technologies at Maker Faire Rome

MakerArt, a new project dedicated to the relationship between contemporary art and new technologies, will take place in the framework of Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition 2019, an event promoted and organized by the Rome Chamber of Commerce through its Special Innova Camera Company which will be held at the New Fair of Rome from 18 to 20 October. MakerArt constitutes, for the first time in the history of this event, the opening to contemporary art through the creation of synergistic and integrated paths between makers and international artists selected by the curator Valentino Catricalà. We now understand the importance of this exhibition moment from his words.

DS: What do you think are the strengths of this edition of Maker Faire?
VC: Being the Maker Faire of Rome the official European edition and, therefore, the largest one, it has many facets ranging from robotics to artificial intelligence, environmental and technological sustainability and this year art, the new section on which we are betting a lot, even in the forecast of future projects. So, art definitely comes as great novelty, but I also can say that the Maker Faire can be a great novelty for art.

DS: What do you expect, in terms of feedbeck, from this first time of MakerArt and from the opening to the contemporary by an event of this importance?
VC: It is also a new challenge for me. I have been dealing with the relationship between art and technology for years, both in the field of curating and of academic studies. In recent years my interest in the relationship between art and innovation has increased (a book of mine about this theme is going to be published by the Londoner publisher Rowmann & Littlefield), being able to enter in the largest context of creativity and innovation in Europe is an important occasion. It fascinates me to put artists together with companies in the technology sector, in order to create new synergies with engineers and technicians, to think about new forms of production and to collaborate with research centers. All this represents a new world still to be explored.

DS: Also considering your studies, how much importance do you think the relationship with new technologies is acquiring in artistic research?
VC: Believing that the relationship with technology is something new is a mistake. It is the mistake that many people make today that throw themselves on these themes, a look at the past is fundamental. It is true, however, that today there is a greater interest both from the art world for the technological sector, and from the technological sector for the art world. It can represent the opening to a new world. The problem is that this synergy must be well oriented and addressed, otherwise you risk a misunderstanding and, therefore, a failure. In my opinion, this may be the new role of a cultural institution today, or of an art curator: take up the reins and to work as a guide.

DS: Do you think that in the development of the binomial Art / Technology the collaboration between artists and companies of the sector can play a decisive role?
VC: For many years artists have been working with companies, we can think about Bell Labs in the United States during the Seventies, but only today it is becoming a real trend. Think about the Microsoft Research 99 program, or the artist residences promoted by Google, Adobe, etc. What is being created is a real new trend, both cultural and of marketing. The Maker Faire is the right place for this experimentation, being the reign of innovation. Art must take a leading role inside this context. The artist invents new technologies by experimenting, however his goal is never the invention itself, but the possibility that gives the technological medium to his poetic research, for the epiphany of his vision. This is fundamental for the market today: for the production of new creative contents for new platforms, the inclusion of an ethical and deeper vision, to ethically orientate innovation.

DS: By an overall reading, what do you think are the stylistic features that emerge most from the work of the artists on show?
VC: First of all I want to underline that we have adopted a particular curatorial approach. I preferred not to have an art pavilion, but to spread the works within the fair, creating an ad hoc path and allowing the building of a new synergy with the context. It was not easy to choose the artworks, but I am very happy to be able to show some fathers of the relationship with technology such as Bill Vorn, Joaquin Fargas, Cod.Act, Patrick Tresset, and more or less young national and international artists, like Aura Satz, Donato Piccolo, Richard Garet, Fedrico Solmi, Chiara Passa and many others. This year we preferred to focus on themes such as artificial intelligence, environmental sustainability, robotics, and the sound universe.

DS: Summing up, finally, do you feel that the comparison with art can be a winning bet for a manifestation like this and, above all, something replicable?
VC: As mentioned, this experience represents a challenge that, if won, can really lead to something new. What more art can do today is fundamental and this should also be understood by the art world. If we do well, something unexpected can may come up. What I’m trying to do is to bring art into the world of innovation and, at the same time, bring innovation to the art world.


1_Joaquiìn Fargas, Rabdomante, 2019Joaquiìn Fargas, Rabdomante, 2019

Mattia Casalegno, Grass Roller, 2017

Makerart. 10_Sergey Komarov e Alexey Grachev, EXALTATION, 2018Sergey Komarov e Alexey Grachev, EXALTATION, 2018

Cod.Act, πTon, 2017

Bill Vorn, Hysterical Machine, 2010

Nicola Bertoglio. The QR-code exhibition: That Human Touch

Interview with Nicola Bertoglio, iPhoneographer, who will present the project “The QR-code exhibition: That Human Touch” at the Novegro Photo Day, within the section of iPhoneography he curated. The exhibition can be visited inside the Novegro Fair from 18th to 20th October 2019.

During the Novegro Photo Day 2019 you will be exhibiting 27 QR codes alongside your works. Would you like to explain the reason for this choice?
When I was asked to curate, for the second time a space dedicated to “iPhoneography” within the Novegro Photo Day Fair, I thinked to do something that would remain in my personal artistic research and, at the same time, it goes beyond, deep in the relationship between action and image.
I thought about the now-daily gesture of approaching a QR code with the phone and what may come out of it, for example with a picture posted on Instagram.
In our everyday life we ​​are used to see many images almost automatically, as if they were shot at us, but the act of “discovering” is something rare and precious for me.

How did you select the photos? Why did you choose to mix your works, even if only virtually, with those of others?
The images that  I choose, for my installation, are of daily humanity taken from the hashtag #photocircuito1, created by me and Giuseppe Giacobino in 2013 when I was collaborating with “Studio Raffaello Giolli” to collect the best art photography from Italian smartphones.
Among the 27 selected works there are a couple of mine to underline the deep link between Instagram world, where all my creations reside, and my intention to transpose all this into a physical dimension and with a very precise grammar that I built in time.

How was the hashtag #photocircuito1 shared to the public and to artists? How do you consider the results achieved based on your precise goal? Are you satisfied with the over 1,000 posts currently on Instagram?
When Giuseppe Giacobino and I decided to organize the first “iPhoneografia” exhibition in Milan, we thought of gathering works and artists using a hashtag that was complex and unusual enough to be used only from where it was known, for select only who  was really interested in our project.
Pictures began to arrive and we were able to create a group of artists who, over time, collaborated on several of our initiatives. I know some of them personally, others just for their works. Over time we decided to let the hashtag spread regardless of our original intent and I must note that it has never stopped collecting contributions.
For this installation I could select very interesting images!

Your works, differently those presented in QR code, will be printed on reflective Chromaluxe alluminium plates, accompanied by other QR codes that remand to video and audio. Will your work be the sum of the two mediums and their contents?
In the past I associated QR codes to some of my works because I liked the idea to ​​add other dimensions beyond the purely visual. Sounds, noises, moving images are intended to extend the meaning of what public gets by looking at my work.

You started your artistic research photographing with a smartphone. You continued printing on reflective square plates that, on one side, refers to the typical Instagram format and, on the other one, to the glossy effect of mobile phone. Some years ago you added QR codes, enriching the visual content of the works with sounds and noises, often reworked to form a kind of “sound carpet”. Now the choice to use QR codes in a dedicated installation pulled you one step further in use of technology. Don’t you fear that the technological gap can result cryptic and backward remove a certain band of public, distant from technology for age, for personal attitudes or both?
I don’t think there’s a limit for the desire to learn news and the beautyness that contemporaneity offers us, even if I expect that people will have a bit of difficulty to reveal images behind those codes. Maybe it will be easier, for the public, to photograph the entire installation rather than make an effort to understand what is hidden there. This installation can be considered as a sort of collective performance where, to access the pictures, you need to perform an action, a gesture and a choice.
But it can be seen also as a provocation, to denounce a certain desire of “automatism” to approach the world and the problems that surround us.
Art doesn’t have to be “easy”, it doesn’t have to tell everything to who approaches it, it doesn’t have to give answers like slogans. Art is meditation, silence, waitness, concentration and maybe then, revelation and wonder. Art belongs to everyone, but not necessarily for everyone. Art is a gift we allow ourselves to have in change other gifts, in the form of new questions.

You mentioned it before: one of your fears is that the QR code installation could  be seen and photographed for itself, as a pure work to be passively enjoyed, and not “activated” by spectators. Do you consider this possibility, a failure or a legitimate way for free use of your art by the viewer?
If none of them will try to discover the hidden images in the codes I would be certainly sorry, but I would not consider it a failure: only the demonstration that today people want easy and immediate answers. Anyway codes are, first of all, signs and forms regardless of their hidden “content”. So I can accept that they are considered works themselves. After all, the artist creates regardless of how his creations are used. Art remains an urgency that doesn’t necessarily need understanding, but only acceptance.

Erika Lacava


Novegro Photo Day
October  18th – 19th- 20th 2019
pad. A – Novegro Exhibition Park
Via Novegro, 20090, Segrate (MI)
Opening  hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday
10.00 am – 7.00 pm
Entrance ticket: € 8

Calcio Sacro – Versetto n. 125, 60x60 cm, stampa su lastre di acciaio Chromaluxe, 2017Nicola Bertoglio, Calcio Sacro – Versetto n. 125, 60×60 cm, stampa su lastre di acciaio Chromaluxe, 2017

Nicola Bertoglio Corpo LiberoNicola Bertoglio, Corpo Libero, Il gioco del pedone, stampa su lastre di acciaio Chromaluxe, 2017

Nicola Bertoglio, Capendo Adamo – Lotta perpetua, 30×60 cm, stampa su lastre di acciaio Chromaluxe, 2014

Nicola Bertoglio, Capendo Adamo – Corpo estraneo, 30×90 cm, stampa su lastre di acciaio Chromaluxe, 2014

Nicola Bertoglio, Capendo Adamo – Sulla Apertura, 30×90 cm, stampa su lastre di acciaio Chromaluxe, 2014

Corciano Festival: the Embrace of the Muses

The evocative small town Corciano, halfway between Perugia and Lake Trasimeno, hosts an eclectic Festival of Arts every year, now in its 55th edition, conceived as a site-specific environmental installation that “materializes the knowledge of a thinking community” revitalizing key locations. The exhibition direction (open until October 6) was entrusted to the curator Gabriele Perretta, who in the STENDALE project: the embrace of the muses brought together a large group of artists of different nationalities and generations, whose work crosses a varied range of expressive media. The works, scattered on the medieval walls, in the rooms of the Palazzo Comunale, in the squares, in the courtyards and in the cloisters of the historic center, identify faceted paths of reflection on the contemporary and its possible intersections with the historical legacy.

In this interview Gabriele Perretta tells us how the project developed and how the artists’ works interact with the specificities of the local context.

The word stendale, a cultured declination of the more common term stendardo, recalls the idea of ​​a noble sign, an iconic symbol that synthesizes an identity. The Stendale of Corciano is configured as “an immense multidimensional image, in continuous mediamorphosis”. How did your embrace of the muses begin to take shape?
The Embrace of the Muses, which I would prefer to immediately redefine the round dance of the muses, starts from a general reconnection with two demonstrations that, from the eighties onwards, have seen my work concentrate on the correspondence / medial and anthropology axis of performance, as accomplished work as medialism in progress, fluid in the dimension of the five senses. The first event was called City without Border (1984), an exhibition held between Naples and the hinterland, which operated a complex mechanism capable of involving all forms of contemporary artistic installation, like a mirror room. In terms of painting it investigated the overflow between the surface techniques of the new German and Italian savages and the American writers of the early street art. In terms of photography it investigated the relationship between the new trend of Neapolitan social photography and North European artistic and conceptual photography. In terms of filmography and video, it proposed the emergence of the transition to electronics (still single-channel). Finally on that of performance, involving critics such as Filiberto Menna and Giuseppe Bartolucci, it proposed the key to my directorial coordination, such as the development and transition of the curatorial happening. The second manifestation The trades of Ergon (Latina, 2005), involving the same technique as the stendale, invited some of the same artists present in Corciano to install artworks in an architecturally minimal space, where the representative unit of the stendali constituted a unique event. The Latina exhibition was developed on banners (now stendali) and on the multimedia extension of some artists that even reached the horizon of virtual reality, an absolute innovation for the time.
From here on, my conception of exposition becomes more and more concrete as a laboratory of correspondence between the arts and synaesthesia as the only artistic destination. In fact, starting from the nineties, I often use the word laboratory to name my exhibitions, or in any case I refer to the experiential side of the artistic event. So the stendale comes from this practice and above all from the investigation on the very notion of reproduction: the realization of the stendale could be considered a real collective work, in the sense that the artists are divided between those that intervene manually on 2m x 6m and those who instead entrust their image to the process of reproduction and digital processing, performed by large printing presses. And here is the circle that sets the city walls, offers a passepartout to enter the historic center and put into operation all the spaces used for the theater of the five senses, including the Festival that represents the live performance, which gives voice to images, screens and outdoor sets.

The artists represented in this widespread exhibition are many: they range from international names such as Urs Lüthi, Marcel Broodthaers and Josef Beuys, to protagonists of Italian art such as Vedova Mazzei, Luca Vitone and Ugo La Pietra, just to name a few, up to the exponents of the younger generations. What criteria guided you in your choice and what curatorial idea did you follow in choreographing their diversity in order to enhance them and make them talk to each other?
You said it, it’s about building a choreography. The idea of ​​spatiality stems from the need to place a scenario at three hundred and sixty degrees on a suggestive and apparently local territory. Corciano is one of the most representative towns of the medieval European and western tradition; there languages ​​are mixed and urban history is grafted onto the boundless one of “communality”. The curatorial criterion arises from the capability of contemporary art to manage the “inclusive”: contemporary art can be done, must be done and done with everyone and in all possible ways. From here, it is good that there are not only visual arts, but also sound, gastronomic and above all performative arts. The stendale was a driving force to connect the cinema of Robert Smithson, with the image realized by Luca Vitone. Here Cesare Pietroiusti and Antonio Biasiucci, the work of Nello Teodori opens up to a global vision of the artist in every possible facet. Rooms and walls, squares and agora, natural theaters and historical landscapes meet between media images, analytical medialism and media companies (Bank of Oklahoma and Premiata Ditta).

How much did the architectural and aesthetic peculiarities of Corciano affect the design of the exhibition and what kind of relationship is established between past and present?
In a certain sense I have already mentioned this question, so much is decisive. We say that if the society of the show creates a sort of veil over the world, so often as to make it disappear, in which this patina becomes the heart of what is not real and whose result is an inverted world, where the real is the moment of false, historical archeology makes desires homogeneous and does not reduce desire itself to the image of the product. In other words, archeology destroys and proposes a fluidity between relational art and productive work. Archeology constitutes outside of the network, between us and the rest of the world, our understanding of the field of performance, the current way of linking and constraining past, present and future. Hence the assembly of the sections of the exhibition: Stendale one, Inside stendale two, Three Lab Academy, XD3.0 Four and the Correspondence of the senses and the arts, as an embrace of the Muses.

The exhibition itinerary is divided into thematic and topographical sections: what would you like to tell us about it?
As I tried to anticipate in the previous answers, the layout of the exhibition itself illustrates both the units of the route and the topographical ones. The schedule is thus: on the walls of Corciano, taking into account the strong influence of medieval aesthetics on modern advertising, through the paradox of the great stendale (2m x 6m in cover up), Andersen, Arcangeli, Biasiucci, Cannavacciuolo, Cascavilla, De Luca, De Nola, De Paris, Di Matteo, Issac, Kozaris, Teodori, Manetas, PIscitelli, Vedovamazzei, Vitone, represent not so much an expository moment as an end in itself, as the exterior ordered in the spatial, wall and architectural visuality of the place. Inside Expo and Four: XD3.0, in the rooms of the Town Hall and in the rooms spread in the historic center, testify to the habitability of art. Indeed, Bentivoglio, Bertrand, Cutini, Falci, Fontana, together with Giacomelli, La Pietra, Lüthi, Mala Arti Visive, Mauri, Messager, Modica, Mulas, Tozzi, Veronesi and Volpi represent the 3.0 experience. This section also tests Giacomucci, Moretti, Tancredi and Advantages with an alternative historical approach, where attention goes to the other side of the conceptual, to the empirical and real reverse of the installed art with its interactive and political offers. But the whole embrace that is given with the stendale, in my opinion could not be fulfilled without the actual correspondence of the senses and the arts, driven by the Festival; or from moving images, films, videos, performances, poetic readings and music, that is the sonorities spread in the courts and courtyards of the historic center, thanks to the contribution of: Acconci, Amaducci, Ariano, Avidi Lumi, Baldessari , Beuys, Bordini, Broodthaers, Fantin, Pietroiusti, Folci, Marcelli, Scialò, Smithson, Roseluxx, Trovalusci, Bellatalla, Rita Vitali Rosati.
All the artists involved in various ways in the performative part, setting up the theater of correspondences in support of all the arts, tell us their story of poets, performers, musicians, writers, actors, scriptwriters, directors. This affinity of correspondences, even in the fully concrete sense that performance is the most incodificabile form of contemporary artistic expression or that art is performance opens, then, to our whole vision a field of new ontological problems of artistic creation. We talked about a lively participation of the expression in the artistic development and, in this building, an open act, the action reveals a fulfillment, as a lived experience. The correspondence of the muses we could call it aesthetic and ethics of interaction: intelligibility of the world. The profound truth is linked to the activity, to the work, then via the dogmas established by the postmodern, and via those inherited from modern orthodoxy. The correspondences rediscover the different ways of artistic existence: phenomenon and effect, transcendent and immanent, neo-humanism and media neo-conceptuality. A thousand dramatic situations, for ten thousand desiring situations. The comparative aesthetics, to avoid the arbitrariness of the metaphor and go through new linguistic analyzes. Visual arts and musicology, words or expressions, such as chord and counterpoint between the arts.

Proposing contemporary art in marginal places compared to the usual exhibition stages is an act of resistance and a challenge to the system. How was the exhibition welcomed by the inhabitants of Corciano and by the external visitors that the event attracts every year?
We have outlined two key principles in which it is possible to generalize the various nuances related to the marginal and the centralistic: marginal as a resource and centralist as a tool, that is to say a crisis in a production process, or a conscious aesthetic-design choice. In the analyzed cases it emerges how the marginal, revalued through the various curatorial strategies, on the one hand assumes a completeness in its acquisition of functionality, on the other from the beginning, regardless of its capacity to intervene, maintains its critical nature, precisely because the applied solution is one of the infinite possible. At the end of the survey between spreads and correspondences we identified the junction point between those that appeared rigid classificatory types. Even the definition of “usual exhibition stage” is changing by itself, even without the act of resistance. The real act of resistance is not to allow the system to regulate itself, but to launch and re-launch beyond the challenge of the system. Starting from the new insurgencies, and starting from Corciano, the problem is no longer that of the Genius Loci or of globalism, but of the real consideration of things. Medialism has not been and is not a mere apology for mass media, just as the exhibition, between sonority and visual arts, is not an apology for television, but a horizontal instrument like the stendale that beyond the medium that considers the re – mediation as a sign, as a complex and seductive text, as a fleeting message, beyond the power of the medium. Today, perhaps, even television is no longer a mass instrument. Medialism: here is undoubtedly the label under which our period will pass in the history of art. Perhaps it will not be the true art of our time, as someone has gone so far as to support, but certainly aesthetic re-mediation, as experienced in Corciano, is one of the main driving forces of artistic economy, a very rich power that conditions the life of all mass media. And it is also the most widespread channel of communication, the one that imposes on the world, with the strength of ideas and above all great numbers, images, words, thoughts, tastes, as well as goods and products. In short, great events, like that of Corciano, are an aesthetic and ethical critique of mass ideology, the reservoir from which we draw our way of looking at things and consciences, of discovering beauty, of having fun and of criticizing nightmares.
It is therefore worthwhile to follow the developments of the total art. Because the media approach in our world, even starting from marginality, even starting from the village, overcomes advertising and even fashion not only for a distributional challenge and for the richness of means and channels, but also for pauses, antidromological slowdowns. As tumultuous as the fashions of advertising have been, however powerful and frequent the designers’ fashion shows and the fluctuations in taste marked by the media, art has long resisted its anthropological driving force and is reflected in it. Resistance lies in the search itself for an update of the visual and communicational field. Of course, the concept of art as a kind of communication presents its risks, because analogously to language one would expect communication to take place between the artist and his audience, a notion that could also be misleading. But there is something that, without incurring the risk of expressing itself too literally, can be called medial, the medial of art and in art, and precisely the statement that the arts themselves give a certain place or age to the men of a another era, of another centrality. No historical document could tell us in thousands of pages just as much about the medieval or Renaissance image, about neo-humanism, so much re-evaluated today, how much can a single visit to an important contemporary art exhibition such as “Stendale …” or ” Correspondences … “. In this sense, media and medieval art acquire their centrality, but they are neither personal nor willing to be understood. The urge to operate in an interdisciplinary direction represents, for events like Corciano, a decisive orientation to welcome and compare different “views on the world”. In particular, in the use of expressive disciplines (such as Music and the Arts), the opening of individual epistemic frames becomes indispensable to consider the aesthetic experience in its most genuine form: that which breaks boundaries and amplifies, relates senses. Through the identification of the traits that unite and distinguish conceptualities such as intertextuality, transcoding and intermedia, the contribution seeks to provide tools for the activation and reading of the relationships between the arts, to be considered also from an interdisciplinary educational perspective.
The curatorial translation is medial. It is not obvious that art is a media language. This claim must be demonstrated, and it is based on the production cycle that is created around the craftsmanship of the stendale. The painter creates the sketch and the late contemporary art industry realizes the definitive. Basically the whole Corcianese machine is medial, because it is structured like a system, because it tries to maintain coherence with the general functioning of the system of signs, their being constituted by a form or a content, their obeying stable laws of communication itself: that any codes on the basis of which the work communicates are shared by all the subjects of the linguistic act; that the obvious reformulation of the codes (typical of works of art) also has a foundation that can be explained within the system. The initial problem related to the possibility of identifying a specific media code has subsequently been divided between the identification of the specific codes of the visual language and that of the heterogeneous codes, which come into operation in the individual works that adopt the individual techniques. It is by this way, however, that the laboratories of the Stendale and the Correspondences, while maintaining their highly specialized character, have been freed from the initial subordination to the linguistic model, coming closer to the complexity and variety of the new media phenomenon, lost in translation, multimedia installation and performing media.


Corciano Festival

1 Mario Volpi-Casa percorribile con difficoltà-1973-53x80cmMario Volpi, Casa percorribile con difficoltà, 1973, 53 x 80 cm

Mario Volpi, Nosro, 2004, 67 x 100 cm

Mario Volpi, Tradito, veglia, 1995, 67 x 100 cm

Corciano FestivalCaterina Notte, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

De Nola, Stendale, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

Manetas Milton, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

Maurizio Cannavacciuolo, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

Nello Teodori, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

Santolo De Luca, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

Tommaso Tozzi, Codice Rebel, 1989

Corciano Festival VedovamazzeiVedovamazzei, Stendale, stampa su cover up, 2019

Maurizio Arcangeli, Stendale, Corciano, stampa su cover up, 2019

Antonello Matarazzo,Stendale, Mura di Corciano, in un riadattamento di Ernesto D'Argenio,2019Antonello Matarazzo, Stendale, Mura di Corciano, in un riadattamento di Ernesto D’Argenio, 2019

Sulla scrittura (Per un diario a più voci) - Barbara AmadoriBarbara Amadori, Sulla scrittura (Per un diario a più voci)

Maurizio Cesarini, Le retour de l’autre, incontro-performance, 5 agosto 2019, Corciano Festival

Tobia Ravà and the ghematrià

Tobia Ravà is artist and creator (together with Maria Luisa Trevisan) of the PaRDeS space – Contemporary Art Research Laboratory consisting of the barchessa and part of the historical park of Villa Heinzelmann then Donà dalle Rose of Mirano (VE), a charming place where he has his studio and where thematic exhibition events are held. He graduated in semiology of the arts at the University of Bologna after having been a student of Umberto Eco, Renato Barilli and Omar Calabrese and has been involved in Jewish iconography and numerology since 1988. All to look for a fusion between image, number and letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We talk about this complex and transcendental world with the author.

How did you take your first steps into the world of image?
When I was a little child I saw my father engineer at the drawing board that was making projects. I was fascinated by the drafting machine and, by emulation, so I began to do my first sketches: they were houses, roads and trees, racing cars. Then in the Seventies Schulz’s Peanuts arrived and I fell in love with Snoopy especially when he flew with his kennel and fought against the Red Baron’s triplane. I began to draw the stories myself to lengthen and complete them.

What are the elements of Jewish esotericism that have had some influence on your artistic work?
Rather than an esoteric journey, I was always fascinated by the rationality of Jewish mysticism and the mathematical path that links each letter of the alphabet to a number, the ghematrià, which combines words of the same numerical value, charging them with a new perspective of meaning.

Numbers and letters give shape to your figurative world: is it possible to talk about a multi-level narration? Can we also speak of a subliminal message?
Of course. The more the user has a high knowledge path, the closer it comes to the basic intention of my work. But it is not necessary that his path collimate with mine. The work must be open and all the possible messages, subliminal or obvious, are part of the image and often go beyond the intentions of the artist.

How do you manage to combine this world of yours, very philosophical, complex and purposeful, with the problems of contemporary art that often appear partial, disseminating and destructive?
I have always built and hypothesized a better world. I think that those who just destroy, without proposing propositive paths will have on their conscience the negativity of the future, above all the artist, who must fly high and has the moral obligation to produce with the works in the direction of the “Tikkun olam”, the repair of the world…

What are your usual collaborations with the art system?
I always liked and I was intrigued by the work of the other artists, so I always looked for elective affinities. The art systems are actually many and different in every country, all interesting; perhaps the Italian one is the most static and boring because in most cases the gallery owners are merchants without a vision of the world and without ambitions to redevelop the society by culturally forming the user and the potential buyer.

Tell me about the PaRDeS project and how is it possible to live and work adequately away from the nerve centers of contemporary life?
PaRDeS is born from the Cultural Association Concerto d’Arte Contemporanea already active in the province of Padua in the mid-Nineties. First with Umberto Daniele and the Triplani group then with Maria Luisa Trevisan and the sociologist Antonio Costanzo, we started a path that from 2004 became the PaRDeS Contemporary Art Research Laboratory in Mirano, where every year we organize a themed exhibition with several selected artists. The subject of the annual exhibition always comes from ecological, social or cultural implications linked to the world of science or the humanities.

What is your next exhibition appointment you’re working on?
I always work on different projects, I have just finished a great exhibition in Venice at the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation which was very demanding both for me and for Maria Luisa Trevisan, as a curator. Until the end of November, the exhibition in Matera “Elements of transcendental calculation” at Palazzo Acito can still be visited within the project “The poetics of prime numbers” conceived by Piergiorgio Odifreddi for “Matera European Capital of Culture 2019”. In December I will be present in Miami at Scope with Sist’Art and next year I should return to Brussels at the Atlantic Council and in Latin America with a double personal exhibition in two museums in Buenos Aires…

For more info:

Tobia Ravà, Sullam, sequenze in scala, 2015, resine e tempere acriliche su tela, 50 x 70 cm, courtesy Galerie Adriano Ribolzi, Monaco MC

Tobia Ravà, Apocalissi alle busatte, 2018, catalizzazione UV su alluminio, 100 x 100 cm, courtesy Galleria L’Occhio di Elisabetta Donaggio, VeneziaTobia Ravà, Apocalissi alle busatte, 2018, catalizzazione UV su alluminio, 100 x 100 cm, courtesy Galleria L’Occhio di Elisabetta Donaggio, Venezia

Tobia Ravà, Le anime del ghetto, 2018, catalizzazione UV su alluminio, 90 x 110 cm, courtesy Galleria L’Occhio di Elisabetta Donaggio, VeneziaTobia Ravà, Le anime del ghetto, 2018, catalizzazione UV su alluminio, 90 x 110 cm, courtesy Galleria L’Occhio di Elisabetta Donaggio, Venezia

Night Fever: a conversation with Andrea Mi about club culture

We interviewed Andrea Mi, dj and professor at IED and LABA in Florence, architecture expert, clubbing culture, communication and moderator of the meetings “My Fever. Sounds and voices of the club culture” within the show “Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today” at the Pecci Center in Prato; a review of four meetings “on display” to discover the history of the Club Culture from the protagonists’ voice, combining private stories with highlights of this fascinating journey.

Did you have the opportunity to accompany visitors through the halls of the “Night Fever” exhibition during the “My Fever” appointments. To those who have not yet seen the exhibition how would you tell it briefly?
I would say that this is one of the most complete and important exhibitions ever dedicated to the history and culture of clubs. Being produced by the Vitra Design Museum and ADAM – Brussels Design Museum, two of the highest international design-related institutions, it takes on the architectural space and the design of the furnishings, as well as the analysis of urban contexts, as privileged perspectives from which to look at the history of club culture. The subtitle is justified: “Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today”. Another factor to consider is that this story was written starting from an assumption, shared by the curatorial staff headed by Jochen Eisenbrand and assisted by Elena Magini, as an associate curator for the exhibition at the Pecci Center: the discos were real epicenters of contemporary culture. They questioned the established codes of entertainment and allowed to experiment with alternative lifestyles through the most avant-garde design, graphic and fashion events.
Along with films, vintage photographs, posters, clothes and works of art, the exhibition also offers a series of light and sound installations that will accompany the visitor on a fascinating journey full of ideas to decipher. To complete the exhibition, Konstantin Grcic and Matthias Singer have developed a musical and luminous installation, a silent disc that catapults visitors into the lively history of club culture. A selected collection of record covers, including drawings by Peter Saville for Factory Records or the programmatic cover of the Nightclubbing album by Grace Jones, finally underlines the important relationships between music and graphics in the history of discos from the 60s to today.

With which guests did you get to talk in these meetings?
To accompany us in the best way towards the end of the exhibition, with the Pecci Center we have created ‘My Fever’, a review of four meetings on display to discover the history of club culture from the protagonists’ voice. The idea was to build opportunities for an in-depth discussion but in a dialogical and informal way. That’s why we thought of a series of guests that would help us to follow the exhibition path each time with a different look. In the first meeting we had Simona Faraone, one of the first female DJs in Europe, a pioneer in the scene in Rome since the early 1990s, and Mauro “Boris” Borella, one of the founders and animators of the historic club Link Bologna, a crucial place for the development of Italian clubbing linked to international scenes. In the second appointment, together with Mario Pagano, we explored themes related to radical architecture, avant-garde design and urban contexts in which the clubs have developed. Then, with Emanuele ‘Zagor’ Treppiedi and Elisa Miglionico (Edizioni Zero) we started from the extraordinary experience of ‘Notte Italiana’, a project launched at the 2014 Architecture Biennale, to trace the history of our clubbing and tell how the world changed of the night from the beginning to the present. In the last of the events on display, Sunday 13 October from 17:00, we will have as special guests the young crew of Freaky Deaky, a good news in the map of the best Tuscan parties of recent years and a true veteran of clubbing national as Paolo Kighine, historical resident of cult clubs like Duplè, Imperiale, Jaiss, Insomnia. It will be fun to retrace with them, who are young, the historical excursus of the exhibition. And finally, end with a flourish with Paolo Kighine’s dj set. I have only had the task of urging these guests, pulling precious memories and delicious personal anecdotes out of their cylinders and mediating the questions of the public.

As a passionate, expert and professional, how would you define the “club culture” and how important it is to deepen it and study it? Often institutions and spaces of various kinds do not reserve (unfortunately) so much attention to the subject.
From the interdisciplinary red threads woven in the exhibition it becomes very clear that the clubs have been (and, in some ways, still are) fundamental places for the emergence and growth of subcultures. Temporarily autonomous zones, as Hakim Bey would have called them, or heterotopias, according to the interpretation dear to Michel Foucault. In addition to musical events, for which they were the laboratory of new trends, they were the ideal setting for the development of performing arts and design, called to respond to the need for space flexibility. A space that is both physical and immaterial, participatory and democratic. The clubs have amplified some of the most radical and creative movements (including social) and fashion schools, they have generated a new way of understanding the publishing of customs and society, they have profitably interwoven their history with that of many fundamental moments of the more revolutionary and unconventional art. And it’s not just about hedonism, in fact. On closer inspection, the exhibition emerges with a strong continuity between the movements of emancipation, social claim and the club scene. “The construction of the processes of self-consciousness and identity of movements for gay and lesbian rights – he told me, in a recent interview, Jochen Eisenbrand – would not have been the same without the fundamental work done by at least two clubs in the New York of the 70s”. And if the Big Apple, Chicago, Detroit, Berlin and London can be considered the cardinal points of this story, the role played by some seminal Italian experiences is not negligible. It was not easy to understand a very articulated, complex and full of disciplinary interactions, but now that we have a sufficient historical perspective, research in the university sector, in-depth festivals, bibliographic study films are multiplying and, even at institutional level, we begin to understand that if we have called it Culture of the Club, there will be some reason.

In a voracious and fast contemporary, what image of “club” do you carry in your heart and why?
If I have to refer to my personal ‘biography’ I should name you quite a bit. I try to narrow the field down to those who, in addition to being in the baggage of my dearest clubber and DJ memories, I believe have given a substantial turning point to the Italian history of clubbing.
The historic Link Project in via Fioravanti in Bologna, born in 1994 from the eviction of Isola nel Kantiere (another very important social center), was the first real independent cultural production center in Italy, as well as the place where I have definitely changed and expanded the meaning I gave to the word dancefloor.
The Tenax in Florence is linked with many different threads to my story. It was born, in 1981, in a people’s house in the northern suburbs of the city, strongly backed by Controradio (a broadcaster I worked with for almost thirty years) as a space for concerts and then evolved into a club tout court. Having been able to make my wish party, Unnderpop, on Wednesday night for a couple of years with guests like Kode9, Laurel Halo, Dam Funk, was a dream come true.
Finally, the Kode_1 in Putignano, a small town in the Bari area, with which I had the pleasure of working from the beginning to the end of its history, made me understand that some of the best energies today are found in the suburbs, even as regards the dancefloor. Read the tweet of an accredited international artist like Throwing Snow, the morning after he had played in our club in front of 150 enthusiast dancers, “Plastic People seems to have been reincarnated in South Italy and is called KODE_1!”, Or see the smile printed on Ben Ufo’s face, at the first light of dawn, as he asked us when he could go back and put the discs there, well … these are moments you can’t easily forget.


Night FeverNight Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today
Exhibition by Vitra Design Museum e ADAM – Brussels Design Museum. Exhibition view at Centro Pecci, Prato, 7.06 – 13.10.2019. Photo : Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio

Chen Wei, In the Waves #1 , 2013 © Chen Wei Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Shanghai/Singapore/Tokyo

Xenon, New York, 1979 photo © Bill Bernstein – David Hill Gallery, London

Grace Jones at “Confinement” theme , Area, New York, 1984 © Volker Hinz

Gruppo UFO, Night Shelter for the Beach Rescue Camels, BambaIssa,1969 Courtesy Gruppo UFO photo ©CarloBachi

Les Bains Douches, Paris,​ 1990. Interior design ​Philippe Starck photo ​© Foc Kan

Rosanna Rossi. Slight vibrations

I never look like myself. Like Roland Barthes (and like all of us), even Rosanna Rossi, now the protagonist at Prometeogallery, never looks alike.

Elsa Barbieri: Slight vibrations (Vibrazioni Sottili) is the title suggested by Alfredo Cramerotti that, I know, immediately met your favor. I seem to find an extraordinary affinity with that idea of ​​rhythm on which many critics, whose attention you have attracted, have stressed.
Rosanna Rossi: Rhythm is my way of working, it comes from what I produce. It happens that there is a predetermined rhythm, which I follow faithfully. But it can also change during processing, it doesn’t have to be primary. Changing, of course, changes the general effect of the work: in the change of rhythm there is the change in surface, in the image that comes out. It happens even if the rhythm is predetermined. It is not said that the result corresponds to the initial thought.

You come to abstraction after a figurative debut, of expressionist derivation, which was affected by some purely personal events: the war years, the transfer to Tuscany, the teaching at the Cagliari psychiatric hospital.
I taught first at the art school, then at the psychiatric hospital. I was curious to see if there was a difference between a high school student and a young art lover who was confined to a hospital. A significant awareness occurred with one of the patients. Urged to work, one of them told me that looking out the window he saw what he wanted to paint. There was no need, according to him, to reproduce something that already existed and that could be looked at. This alerted me to the necessity of geometry as the supporting form of any figuration, not determined by what appears but by what builds this appearance. Everything has a geometry that underlies it, and this created a new way of understanding the space in front of me. From that moment geometry has always accompanied me, because it is all over the world, from the grass, to the plant, to the human body. You can’t escape.

In geometric jargon the line is a set of points obtained with the continuous movement of a point of the plane. It is the basis of every form. And it is the cornerstone, along with the color, of everything you have transposed over time on the canvas, on the paper, on the table. And in the rounds.
Since I decided to walk the streets of abstraction, the narration is excluded. The line and the color are natural for me, the color becomes a line. And each time it is determined by what I mean by the brushstroke. I also did some really material works. The series of paintings entitled Garze, for example. In that case I used the line in the subject. Or the Carati series, the carat is born from the line and multiplies in the line, with the line. In the beginning I was much more vertical, the surfaces that allowed me to free the body and the mind seduced me. The round, whose shape I rejected the feminine connotation, enclosed me. I left it last. It is, moreover, a completeness from which one cannot ignore or go out. It remains inside, while the outside is perceived as another surface.

Let’s go back to the line. Gillo Dorfles in 1974 wrote that “the lines, the thin lines, the colored bands, which furrow the white neutral surface of the sheet, are for Rosanna Rossi almost bands of a spectrum that denounce the presence of precious minerals in a remote planet. The planet – dissolving the metaphor – is, of course, the mind and heart of the painter “. You have known how to never separate mind and heart, thought and emotion.
Without one there is no other. Without heart there is no intelligence, without intelligence there is no goodness, without goodness there cannot exist a determined way of changing the world. Because after all the starting point is always this wanting to change the world, I myself wanted to change the little world that surrounded me through what I did.

Rosanna, I tried to understand you as a woman and as an artist, two identities that coexist in you as if they were one synonym of the other. There is an indissoluble link between your career and your life, and your works are proof of this. They are able to take charge of the presence of those who look at them and at the same time, without intrusiveness, to return your artistic soul.
Quite right. Here it is my desire to communicate but without forcing or punching. Following the logic I made communication in the simplest and most peaceful way.

How can you never look like yourself and, at the same time, be so coherent?
Because I am authentic, can I tell? (laughs) This was the image I wanted of me. I always wanted to keep myself consistent without depriving myself of the freedom to be what I wanted to be at that precise moment. Diversity exists and when I work I try to give myself in totality and above all with the truth. Always.

The feeling that Rosanna Rossi leaves is that this “always” is to refer to the past and what she has done as well as to the future time and to what she will do. Vibrazioni Sottili realizes a desire that has required three years of study and research and well returns an artistic career based on continuous experimentation for over sixty years. Drawing on the metaphor of musical progression, we witness the reality of Rosanna Rossi who, having always proceeded in an abstract direction, with a strong intellectual content as well as a precise civil commitment, is perfectly in tune with the spirit of Prometeogallery and more than ever actual in the debate on art and female identity today. She who “never looks alike”, who has gone through a coherent, and always manifest, process, has been able to transform the work into a new alphabet of shapes and colors, spaces and surfaces that continually awaken the imaginative capacity, returning on time, a harmonious and never provocative beauty.


Rosanna Rossi. Slight vibrations (Vibrazioni sottili)
25 September – 05 November 2019
Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani
Via Privata G. Ventura 6, Milano

Rosanna RossiRosanna Rossi, Vibrazioni sottili. Senza titolo (Bande Colorate), 1972, acrilico su tela, 150×200. Courtesy: Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani

Rosanna Rossi, Vibrazioni sottili. Senza titolo (Spaghi), 1978/79, spago su carta Arches, 49×49 cm cad. (Installazione 6 e 9 pezzi). Courtesy: Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani

Rosanna Rossi, Vibrazioni sottili. Installation view (sx/dx): Senza titolo (Bande Colorate), 1982, acrilico su tela, 150x150cm / Senza titolo (Omaggio a Klimt), 1982, acrilico su tela, 200×150 cm / Acqua, 1979/80, pastelli su tela di lino, 200×150 cm. Courtesy: Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani

Rosanna Rossi, Vibrazioni sottili. Installation View (sx/dx): Senza titolo (Forma Sonata), 2007, acrilico e olio su tela di lino, 200×150 cm / Senza titolo (Beautiful Lines), pennarello su tela, 150×120 cm. Courtesy: Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani