Sunday, March 18, 2012

The value of art

While doing research for the text I have to write for my subject Economy of arts, I came across this really great interview with Achille Mbembe a theorist living in Johannesburg. He discusses the problem with art funding in South Africa, and addresses some issues also about funding coming from the Western world to Africa and the traps of thinking so narrowly about the value of culture. Go read it here.
"We have to realize that culture is not yet another form of “service delivery”. It is the way human beings imagine and engage their own futures. Without this dimension of futurity and imagination, we can hardly write a name we can call ours or articulate a voice we can recognize as our own". 
"We need to move away from this form of crass materialism and this empiricism of wants and needs in order to rehabilitate cultural and artistic critique as a public good in and of itself. The value of art cannot solely be measured on the basis of its contribution to material well-being. Nor is artistic creativity a luxury or an immoral pursuit that should be redeemed by its annexation and inscription in the official, state-sanctioned discourse of development and poverty reduction. We must resist this trivialization.
 Artistic creativity, cultural and theoretical critique is an integral part of the immaterial and unquantifiable assets produced by a society. It is a constitutive dimension of our communities and nations wealth in the same way as our physical infrastructures. It’s value by far exceeds the means by which this value is counted. The management and regulation of art and culture should therefore pertain to a different order, one that takes seriously the “intangible” and “inalienable” qualities of culture and one that, as a result, is not dependent on purely quantitative measurements and indexes".Achille Mbembe. 
And you can read a constructive response to this by Pamela Allara , I tend to agree more with  Achille in a sense that I feel that often in South Africa, getting funding is directly related to it having some social activist role, or having to fit into the role of producing art reflecting on  Apartheid or ethnic identity.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friends:Stefano Serusi

Images source: Eurojump

With Stefano one can wander the city for hours exploring corners, churches and windows like you have not ever seen it before.  His work to me reveal something of this explorer. His works; romantic and somewhat nostalgic seems like little discovered treasures and souvenirs of  a timeless journey.  In his interview with with Arianna Beretta, he shares a poetic thought:  "Everybody  needs to be someone else for 15 minutes a  day". 

His exhibition "Trame Parallele" with Agnese Guido at Underdogstudio in Modena  will open on 17 March and run until 7 April. It is curated by  Andrea Lacarpia.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Antropologia Visuale: Experimental blog

For one of my subjects called Visual Anthropology we discussed concepts such as iconology and iconoclasm. Based on ideas of Bruno Latour, W.J.T Mitchell, Regis Debray it was quite a challenging and stimulating class. For the exam we could then develop arguments around these themes. I created a presentation on Tumblr, to explore the concept of iconoclasm within the contemporary art scened fot he 1980's to the end of the 1990's in South Africa. The Tumblr is supposed to be like a mini exhibition which summarised the main points and shows some artworks. Of course it is not all comprehensive, so probably miss a lot of things. 
 Another thing that I am not completely satisfied with is the actual design of the presentation, but I 've been trying to find the right theme that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, that gives an exhibition feel. I am still in the dark on editing the codes so that I can actually reset the column widths and for example change the way it squeezes the pictures, it is just so time consuming to try and read trough the codes.  See the actual blog here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Exhibition review: Pipilotti Rist

Here is an exhibition review that I wrote a while back for our class in writing, I thought it would be good to post it here. I have to say that I loved the exhibition.

Image from Designboom

The exhibition Parasimpatica by Pipilotti Rist combines some of her old and new work incorporated into the space of the old Manzoni cinema. The viewer is immersed into a psychedelic world of bodies, fruits and liquids. 

In the entrance hall a chandelier of underpants hangs from the roof with a colourful video projected onto it.  As one enters overhead on the stairs, viewers can see a large projection with seductive music. In the foyer one video is shown behind the bar and another next to another staircase. This leads into the auditorium which shows three major video works.  Viewers who visit the restrooms are surprised by small video projections in the toilets.

The work seems to capture a kind of zeitgeist of the images that is an occurring theme in popular culture especially evident on blog platforms such as Tumblr etc; free-spirited nymph-like figures of women, sexuality, youth and nature. Despite of the familiarity of these images, the hallucinatory colours and slightly playful upbeat nature of the work, it still addresses some serious questions about the body, our physicality, and the portrayal of women in pop culture.

The show is seductive, visually stimulating and could risks being too indulgent, but she does succeed to pull one into the works and make you want to understand more. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The end of the world

I only realised after the quilt was finished the the N was the wrong way around after a friend pointed it out to me. How did I miss it?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Barbeque # 6, Cures for nostalgia

So here are a few pages from Barbeque #6, a fanzine by  MEME arte contemporanea, a gallery in Cagliari, Sardinia. Every issue is done by  a different artist. I did the sixth issue which was launched with the exhibition Un infuso per guarire by Laura Fonsa. Infuso per guarire translates into Infusion for curing. I made a book which included three of my favourite South African recipes as a cure for nostalgia. The work is actually super nostalgic and simple and perhaps a little bit too sentimental, but I like it. I  also like the possibility that these recipes could now be made in Sardinia.