Monthly Archives: October 2010

san maurizio al monastero maggiore…

San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore in Milan…a pox on Dan Brown for making me think about his trashy novels while i am in this beautiful place, dammit…

…beautiful, decadent and decaying and currently being (over) restored…the church that is, not the rather marvelous old milano lady seated in the picture below…

cardboard vespa…

cardboard Vespa in shop window in Via Italia, Biella

OK I know i have left the place now but i leave you with this last fun fact about Biella: round about the end of WWII in an attempt to create low cost transport for the masses, the first version of the Vespa was invented there! The early version was named by the workers Paperino, or Donald Duck, because of its its strange (subsequently reworked) shape. You can read a full and comprehensive history here.

And i leave you with the worlds most amateur attempt at a Koyaanisqatsi style time laps landscape. Please bear in mind it was done one on a day when i was ill, bored, stuck in my room…and as always without a tripod!

view from a roof…

Two views from the roof accessible from my room at dawn…The peak of Mucrone, the mountain in the distance which now contains the odd light dusting of snow in the mornings, while on the other side is a turf roof with industrial views of the Cervo river.

…but it’s time to leave Biella, the leaves have changed colour, the mornings and evenings are sharp and chilly…and the residency is over for another year…

biella fashion…

More work that i really liked from another artist from the UNIDEE residence, this time a clip from a film by Aleksandrija Ajduković’. Aleks has made this rather amazing film about fashion in Biella. She has managed to find the most incredible assortment of people, from old ladies in pearls in their Sunday best, to preening young men, to girls tottering around in S&M heels. The whole thing is done with a great deal of love and affection, as Aleks works on instinct and just goes for people she likes…Below is a clip from her work “newsreel on fashion in Biella in 2010“,  it features the rather magnificent Maria Luisa, a lady in her 70’s with a predilection for hats…

UNIDEE in progress…

…well well well, after 116 days, we had our open studio. I never had so much responsibility before for such an event. UNIDEE in progress is supposed to be a work in progress rather than an exhibition in the classic sense, but it still brings with it all the problematics of a group show. On the day itself, L, my boss pretty much disappears under an avalanche of guests and partners, obligations…it’s a part of her job that i don’t envy, all that smoozing, all the politics that come with running an institution within an institution, the constant search for grants and partners…am happy to stick with the arty part…

Of course there was technical help and support, but we were short staffed and at some points i felt like i was going to be split into 14 pieces…i would stride past people saying in a shrill voice “everything all right, every thing ok?” and i would here people mutter “she’s a bit stressed isn’t she…” Too bloody right i was… and then something miraculous happened…around about 3pm, as doors were about to open, the spaces had been cleaned, the technical problems all but ironed out…and the whole thing was looking pretty bloody good actually. I have posted lots of photos on the official UNIDEE blog i have been keeping of the event, but here i wanted to mention one of my favourite moments.

Sara Hany Abed’s performance: a young Egyptian artist who has never done anything like this before, quietly got on with writing a list of  “some of the advantages of being an artist, a female, and arabic muslim” Really simple, really direct, and really, in that place at that time, moving…

The Fondazione is not an easy space to show in, you are always battling with the spectacular architecture and vast scale of the place itself…and then there is our zero budget!!!…and then you are trying to have some kind of cohesion between numerous works and projects. But (and obviously i am a bit biased here) i think this was a strong show…It was not an easy year for sure, but the work was concentrated and very focused and made for a very strong group experience and some powerful performances…