Emerging performance is not second-class art

Emerging performance is not second-class art

In these days is taking place, in Sicily, the third edition of Situ Festival, an art residency format, conceived by Nicola Tineo, that develops within deconsecrated sacred spaces and historical sites on the Island. In Acate, in the province of Ragusa, at the Castle of the Princes of Biscari, the former Capuchin Convent and the studio of artist Giuseppe Stornello (also curator of the present edition) began on 1st September the residency of a group of seven artists, selected through an open call, who will have to conceive an exhibition and itinerant path in the town, capable of accounting for the historical-cultural peculiarities of the place, even while respecting the issues of the contemporary scene. Therefore, at the conclusion of the residency, from 9th to 11th September, the result of the artistic cohabitation will be on view in the aforementioned sites, together with the special presence of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s installation Terzo Paradiso (Third Heaven).

In the Festival there is a section exclusively dedicated to performance, and it was here, in the context of the last edition, of 2021, that the team of organizers of Situ Festival, who are also the founders of the Milanese Cultural Association Zona Blu, found themselves reasoning with the performative collective Tempio Day Light (whose dancers had been invited to the residency, in 2021 held in Militello) about the need for a specific focus on performance. The reasoning centered particularly on resolving the urgency of sustaining the presence of performance within the Italian contemporary art circuits, especially in a metropolis such as Milan, which, although it presents itself as a great platform for emerging contemporary art, is still lacking in real support for this so undervalued artistic language.

Indeed, it very often happens that emerging performers, young or old, are judged as artists who did not know how to do anything else, such as drawing, painting or sculpting, and therefore catapulted to that artistic work as a fallback for expressing their concepts through a medium, erroneously judged as “easier”, namely the body. 

Similar thoughts were seen to give rise, in the following months, to a fruitful collaboration between the two collectives, which then culminated in the presentation, at the end of April 2022, of the first edition of the PERFORMA24 festival: a new format that proposed a range of performative acts spread throughout the city of Milan. Moreover, all the events were presented within independent and emerging spaces, often located in the most peripheral places of the city. The combination of an emerging performance art, proposed within liminal spaces, was therefore meant to bring citizens and festival-goers to know new places suitable for the promotion of emerging contemporary art, along with a real support towards such a discussed and ignored artistic operation.

Thus, between 22nd and 23rd April 2022, a continuous and branching performance took place in Milan over twenty-four hours, involving 25 artists inside and outside five different spaces. Starting from Piazzale Loreto, a throng of people followed the first performance Lenzuolisospesi (Hangingsheets) by Silvia Capiluppi that led the procession, which became more and more crowded along the way, to the second stop of the event: Tufano Studio. Here four other acts took place in succession, or at the same time, influencing and interpenetrating each other, among which it is worth mentioning Andrea Como and Andrea Colucci’s diffuse installation: Ubiquità (Ubiquity). A work that accompanied the Festival for both days that, in this case, allowed, through the installation of two cameras inside the spaces of the third stage, Tempio del Futuro Perduto, the creation of a real-time connection with the preparations and rehearsals of the performances that would be seen a few hours later. At the third stage, thus, the audience was welcomed and immersed by three more performative moments inside the Milanese club, including a debut by the Bisogno Collettivo collective with the piece Solfatara (Suplhatara). The following day, the Festival resumed its rapid pace at 9 in the morning at Mare Culturale Urbano, where the voice of performer Denise Valenti accompanied the entire course of the morning with her discourse on being happy, though… while her companions and colleagues gravitated around her carrying out various activities, such as wrapping presents, painting the canvases in the space, or interrupting with jokes or pats on the back the soliloquy of the narrator’s voice. With the backdrop of this poignant chanting, three other performances took place within the halls of the cultural center, and here, too, we find the installation Ubiquità anticipating what was to take place on the next stop: Wild Art, a center for art and art therapy, where a lively performance by Gianluca Tramonti would later take place, along with the presentation of a video and workshop. The day, and thus the whole cycle of events, ended at Zona Blu where the last two performances were presented, including Pulire, Strofinare, Dimenticare (Clean, Wipe, Forget) by Mattia Peruzzo and Rebecca Erroi.

On the sidelines of the April Festival and the presence, for the past three years, of the Sicilian Festival, we can now see how the urgency of these artists and the related promoters to find more fertile ground from the institutions regarding their practice and what they can offer of value, culturally and artistically, is emerging and imposing itself. If a group of young cultural promoters and operators has been able to organize events of this magnitude, it does not mean that help and support has come from above, but that the push from below has been really strong as it stems from the great need to emerge and not just stay afloat, but to go higher and higher. For these reasons, although the PERFORMA24 Festival concluded with immense success and prompted its promoters to dive into the organization of the third edition of Situ Festival as well, it is inevitable to note that it is extremely important to replace the institutions in the activity of promotion and dissemination of cultural events when these ones are lacking as far as, here specifically, the case of a group of emerging, but still talented, performers is concerned. Therefore, we can say that emerging performance is not second-class art and it needs its own space and the proper attention.

Anita Fonsati


various artists, Situ Festival
edition curated by Giuseppe Stornello
festival founded and curated by Nicola Tineo
01/09/2022 – 11/09/2022
Acate, RG, Sicily

Poly Marchantia, Quali voci, quali corpi, quali storie?, Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio, Militello in Val di Catania. In the occasion of Situ Festival, Militello in Val di Catania. Ph. Michael Lo Monaco and Gianpaolo Berretta, courtesy Situ Festival and the artist

Bisogno Collettivo, Solfatara, Tempio del Futuro Perduto, Milan. In the occasion of PERFORMA24, Milan. Ph. Emanuele Cristaldi and Davide Cipolat, courtesy PERFORMA24 and the artists

Andrea Como, Andrea Colucci, Ubiquità, Mare Culturale Urbano, Milan. In the occasion of PERFORMA24, Milan. Ph. Emanuele Cristaldi and Davide Cipolat, courtesy PERFORMA24 and the artists

Mattia Peruzzo, Rebecca Erroi, Pulire, Strofinare, Dimenticare, Associazione Culturale Zona Blu, Milan. In the occasion of PERFORMA24, Milan. Ph. Emanuele Cristaldi and Davide Cipolat, courtesy PERFORMA24 and the artists


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