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.