Monday, November 17, 2014

Other projects

It's tough trying to make a living as an artist, so I am also working on other things such as teaching English, editing texts and transcriptions. You can see the services offered on my new website: The English Assistant. 

One of the projects that I have been collaborating with all year is The Conditions of Chinese Architecture, by TCA Think Tank. It also formed part the exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia Fundamentals. I worked as a transcriber and copyeditor. Some of the articles have also been published on Archdaily. It is a project that is always growing and the research is really interesting. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Costume for Gioco dell'Oca

Photographs by Leonardo Chiappini

With Cherimus at MAXXI

Cherimus did a beautiful rendition of Marco Colombaioni's Gioco dell'Oca at MAXXI. Marco was one of the founders of Cherimus but passed away in 2011. He remains a strong influence in what Cherimus stands for and his projects are still being continued.  The original version was realised in 2009 in a small Sardinian town, Valledoria. A painted game invited the public to play and participate.

This game is an old board game that translates directly as Game of the Goose, but it's rules and objective are similar to Snakes and Ladders. We did a painted version in 2011 at GAMEC in Bergamo, and this year we were invited to present it at MAXXI -  MUSEO NAZIONALE DELLE ARTI DEL XXI SECOLO in Rome. This version was interactive and performative, and involved workshops where participants actively invented and created the animals. They also invited various artists, me included, to send an animal costume. The public was invited to play every afternoon from the 29-31 October 2014. Here are some photographs of the event, and you can see more on the Cherimus website. Photographs by Leonardo Chiappini.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The "Spectacles" of Public Art.

Last week a public sculpture titled “Perceiving Freedom” was revealed on 6th November in Cape Town, when South Africa celebrated 20 years of democracy; it is meant as a tribute to Nelson Mandela. I learned about this project on Facebook where disgruntled commenters called it out for its shameless use of Mandela’s name and for being a billboard for the brand Ray Ban. It got me thinking about our project we did, and also the "butplug" incident of Paul McCarthy and public art in general.  

Two years ago two friends and I created a work in Milan, a pair of 3 meter long “Ray Ban” style sunglasses made out of cardboard titled “Monument” that we left in a public space to be torn apart by passersby. Our work was born out of a workshop during our studies where we were challenged to come up with a proposal for a public work that took in consideration the collective memory and history of the area where we were based. This was hard for us, as we were three foreigners who have only been living in Milan for a few months. Instead, we chose something; a symbol which we thought encapsulated the Milan of the moment, pink Wayfarer shape sunglasses. Sunglasses for us was the smokescreen of Milan and all its insecurities, all the fashionable people hiding behind their sunglasses and the precarious lives of immigrants selling the fakes on the street (there were a lot pink ones). For us the idea of a monument could never be permanent and our work wasn’t clean and sleek, it was messy, vulnerable and held together with sticky tape and kept up with stilts made out of wooden broomsticks. There were many flaws in our work, we were terribly disorganised. We did not involve the public very much in the initiation of the work, but we included them by allowing them to strip it apart and break down a "Monument". Our sunglasses had a  completely messy appearance which saved from looking like an ad campaign for sunglasses. Now in the light of the new sculpture revealed, I am reflecting on this work again and also the meaning of making in art in public spaces.

I ask myself these questions:
Does the work leave space for interrogation of its context?  Does it acknowledge the vulnerability of public space? Does it consider its public? Does it ask its public to participate and to reflect or does it only offer fashion and consumption, holiday photographs and selfies? 

I found this beautiful reflection by Rebecca Hodes on the new sculpture, I also remembered a text I read years ago by W.J.T Mitchell on the violence of public art.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Precarious Life

I have started a new Tumblr that follows a precarious life, documenting subjects such as gentrification, inequality and other things that either lead to a precarious life and the growing gap between rich and poor.  It has some of my little illustrations and instagram thoughts. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Haloween

One of my favourite subjects to draw: Toulouse the best dog ever!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cherimus: Gioco dell'oca at MAXXI Rome.

Some animals in play on the first day of the game.  
Photo: Allesandra Casadei

The first Gioco dell'oca by Marco Colombaioni was realised in 2009 in a small Sardinian town, Valledoria. A painted game invited the public to play and participate. This work is being interpreted by Cherimus at MAXXI Rome as part of the program Open Museum Open City | Esercizi di Rivoluzione curated by Hu Hanrou. In this version the animals are brought to live as costumes constructed by various artists and workshop participants. 

Here is the press release: 
29, 30, 31 ottobre
Cherimus Sardegna vi invita a giocare


Il Gioco dell’Oca di Macro Colombaioni, 2009 – 2014

Wednesday 29, Thursday 30 October 2014; h 4.00 p.m.
Friday 31 October 2014; h 4.00; 7.30 p.m.

A variant of the classic Snakes and Ladders game, with 63 squares which symbolically retrace the stages of human life. Markers are the players themselves, as they move across a living board consisting of characters who represent animals: a jungle with which, along their way, they relate to the final square.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Vertical Jungle; Salon Orizzonti Occupati - Vienna Secession

Here are some details and a close-up of my drawing that was in exhibition during Isola Art Center's salon in Utopian Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom. The drawing is part of a series of drawings and a story I wrote all under the title The Vertical Jungle. The prototype of the storybook have been in several exhibitions with Isola Art Center such as the exhibition 1:1 at MSUM in  Ljubljana. The book is being revised and improved, so more about that in the future.

(The photographs are not exactly the best, if anyone has some tips on how to photograph big drawings).

Utopian Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom

Here are some photographs from our show  Occupied Horizons at the Vienna Secession that ran from 23 -30 September. It was part of the project Utopian Pulse –Flares in the Darkroom curated by  Ines Doujak and Oliver Ressler. In typical Isola Art Center style it functioned like a work in progress and grew as the week went on.  A lot more happened then what is shown here, see Isola Art Center's website and Facebook.

  A shot from Camila Topuntoli's  Isola Utopia Rising shot at the Secession that week. 

 Angelo Castucci, Isola Utopia, videostill with Isola Utopia-font, 2014
View of the first exhibition space

 Valentina Montisci and Kristina Borg painting Zanny Begg's Monument to the III International. Next to it the video by Ines Doujak and on the other side  Isola Sun Cloud by Nikola Uzunovski.

A viewer in front of my work The Vertical Jungle.

working on the piece "Petition to Pope Francis for the Final Abolition of Hell" by Etcetera.

Edith working on her work The time of Anarchy, or the Time of Harmony?

Daniele Rossi printing the posters.

The Secession with Bert Theis's banner on the façade. 

Camilla Topuntoli Rabbit.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Next up: Utopian Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom

A research project by Ines Doujak and Oliver Ressler divided in 7 Salons
in collaboration with a group of 7 artist-curators
September 11–November 2, 2014

Salon Orizzonti Occupati/Occupied Horizons
curated by Bert Theis
September 24-30, 2014, opening Wednesday, September 24 at 19:00
Secession Friedrichstraße 12,
A-1010 Vienna, Austria

Isola Utopia - Fragments and Moments for New Utopias with Airfield Aerosuperficie del Sole, Amor Vacui Studio, Luca Andreolli, Aufo, Zanny Begg, Roberto Balletti and Claudio Tancetti, Emanuel Balbinot, Kristina Borg, Antonio Brizzioli, Tania Bruguera, Angelo Castucci, Antonio Cipriani, Francesco Citro, Cooperativa Nuovo Cilento, Comune di San Mauro Cilento, Ines Doujak, Nicola Ferrara, Fornace Falcone, Naima Faraò, Maddalena Fragnito, Igor Francia, Edna Gee, Mariam Ghani, Ghelostudio Architettura, Grupo Etcétera, Heinz-Norbert Jocks, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Isabell Lorey, Gianfranco Marelli, Valentina Montisci, Denis C. Novello, Walter Novello, Philippe Nathan/2001, Nikolay Oleynikov, Creative Olive, Maria Papadimitriou, Dan Perjovschi, Edith Poirier, Vincenzo Onida, Steve Piccolo, Project 2.0., Gerald Raunig, Oliver Ressler & Dario Azzellini, Daniele Rossi, Gak Sato, Mariette Schiltz, Christoph Schäfer, Milena Steinmetzer, Superstudio, Camilla Topuntoli, Transdizipinäres Planungsteam Milliardenstadt, Nikola Uzunowski, Flora Vannini, Jiang Zhi and others.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Workshop, Middelburg,South Africa.

I am currently leading a workshop in Mlhuzi, the township attached to Middelburg (Mpumalanga) the town I grew up in. I worked with a new NGO Uprising Youth MovementThese young guys from Mhluzi started this to empower the youth there. 

I have to confess that it is my first time in Mhluzi (and a township) even though I grew up right here in Middelburg. I realized I still had a ton of misconceptions about this township and it was good to have them all shattered.

Uprising Youth Movement are great hosts and the guys in the workshop are really making it so much fun for me. The participants of the workshop are between 19 and 22. They all came based on their interest in artistic fields. They are really a wide group; aspiring poets, dancers, actors and visual artists. 

I introduced them to some of my work and mainly to the things we do at Isola Art Center; introducing the ideas of collective work, Fight-specific art, using your art within your neighborhood and working with small or no-budgets.  

I have to say the outcome of the workshop surpassed my expectations.My original plan was to create a fictional newspaper with them that interpreted their battles in their town  into illustrated stories but it has developed based on the interests of these participants into a theater piece that they now wish to carry on and develop even after this one week workshop.

The starting point of the workshop to talk about their local fights in the community. They mentioned a few things, also mentioning the struggle of learning and developing as artists when they are isolated from main art scenes and do not have access to formal educations. I am wondering how one can introduce support into small towns so that these youths can have more access and contact?

The one issue that came out as their biggest fight was the fight against the drug Nyaope which has led to the death of many of their peers, but is also a large source of violence and crime in the neighborhood. It also seems that there is a lot corruption and under the table deals between authorities and drug dealers.The guys decided to take on this for their project and is now writing script and thinking about how to perform it. They also told me that they hope to continue doing projects with each other after the workshop which is I think the best outcome one can hope for. 

Thank you to all the guys participating, Uprising Youth Movement and the church that gave us the venue to work in.  More pics to come at the end of the week.  Most of the pics below were taken by the participants themselves using my canon 350 D. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More fragments of Utopia

The exhibition Isola Utopia in San Mauro Cilento opens tonight at 20:00. 

Map by Valentina Carracino and Daniele Rossi

Flag by Angelo Castucci

Isola solar cloud by Nikola Uzonovski

My diary of Utopia

Screenprinting by Seriocollective

On the bus to Salerno, lots of turns...Goodbye San Mauro. 

Last question: Can one leave Utopia?