Monthly Archives: June 2011

embrace your enemy…

This year the UNIDEE main office was moved to a less convenient part of the building with a loud not always fragrant bathroom adjacent. It’s not nice at all. Then last night i was listening to Jello Biafra who always says don’t fight your enemy (in his case the media), BECOME (infiltrate and supersede) your enemy.  So in the spirit of the aforementioned Jello, am embracing my enemy…and also loosely inspired by all those mirrored surfaces at the Anish Kapoor show,  here is Self portrait in said evil bathroom:

…on another matter

Elmas, one of the artists in residence made the bag above, it is definitely my quote of the week…

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blockbuster art and absolutely no photographs please…

It’s blockbuster-grand-spectacle art time, as split over 2 venues, Anish Kapoor has a show in Milan. Now am all for a bit of spectacle and am definitely up for a bit of Anish Kapoor, but was really irritated by the 2 exhibition sites covered in “photography strictly forbidden” notices. This is at the behest of the artist, but really, in this day of instant mass communication where we seem to live and die by the instantaneous sharing of photo images…well really all this photography verboten seems a bit old fashioned and really kind of hard to implement…needless to say, at the Fabrica del Vapore, the Italians were all snapping away, as was i goddamnit…

At the Fabrica del Vapore site (see above and below), a work called “Dirty Corners“,  kind of a leap of faith. You walk into a giant steel tunnel structure and wait /hope for your eyes to adjust to the darkness…actually its a very gratifying, sensorial experience. For full “sanctioned” coverage and some great images see here

Meanwhile at the other site at the Rotonda de via Besana you can see 6 other works…

C-Curve 2007

This room is heavily invigilated, hence clandestine style (not so great photos)…strange that such a public artist should be so persnickety about the public actually photographing his work. Lighten up Anish!!

S-Curve 2008

Anywhere else this would be a blockbuster show with huge crowds, yet this Saturday i enjoyed the luxury of both locations with only 4 or 5 other people around.

…and regardless of my earlier moaning, if you are in Milan, the show is hugely enjoyable and definitely worth a visit…hours of fun…

non verbal communication skills…

I would like to speak a little about Cai Weidong (one syllable pronounced ts-a-ee), the Chinese artist from this year’s UNIDEE residency. So Cai arrives here with not one word of English, which makes things a little difficult as English is the language of the residency. At first, it seemed an insurmountable obstacle, he has a small electronic translator with him, but it takes forever to tap words out on it, so it is not exactly conducive to exchange or dialogue, but little by little we get to know each other using google translator and a lot of  sign language.

The other day a Chinese friend he had made came in to translate for him during his presentation which was a revelation as he finally relaxed as he was able to communicate fluidly. His work is strong, he is a photographer and works at an extremely high level both technically and aesthetically, touching on classical, satirical and potentially polemic themes. We were all slightly giddy with this new possibility to communicate with a person who has hitherto been present but a bit of an enigma…he is learning a little English now, and google translator is really quite good…really can’t wait to see what he does here in the next 4 months…Will post examples of his work here (if he lets me) in the future.

the same but different…

It’s kind of like groundhog day to work each year for UNIDEE, especially if you also have experienced it yourself before as an artist in residence. A lot of the same group activities, a tour of michelangelo’s works, a visit to a lanificio (woolmill)…the fact that everyone starts off loving the food here, but eventually they will probably end up complaining a lot about it!…the way friendship and camaraderie is created at warp speed (everything is faster and every experience is heightened when you live, breathe, eat, work and socialise with the same people in the same place for 4 months…)It is incredible how the same situations with different participants can create sometimes weirdly similar scenarios while at the same time be completely different…like i said, the same but different…

a tour of his own works by Michelangelo Pistoletto…he must have said the same things a thousand times or more by now and yet he is still enthusiastic, still trying to change the world and still trying to enthuse and activate others to change it too…i can’t help but admire that.

the man himself between 2 early self portraits

part of division and multiplication of the mirror series

segno arte

self portrait with stars

rotazione dei corpi (rotation of heavenly bodies)

what happens when you leave art out in the rain…

A while back i posted about a work by Mimmo Paladino called “La Montagna di Sale” – “The Salt Mountain”  (see here) which involved some horses and a giant mountain of salt. I wondered what would happen to it if it rained…well i have my answer…

Much of the now dirty salt has been washed away by weeks of torrential rain revealing the underlying tiered wooden structure of the “mountain”…The work has shrunk considerably in size, the pristine salt is now a dirty brown and its disappearance reveals that a lot of the horses have not been buried in the salt but are in fact just sections placed on top of it…in other words the illusion is shattered… not to worry, i noticed sacks of salt in the corner, so i guess it is going to be revived…

before…after

…and speaking of rain, there was a thunderstorm imminent when i was in the town centre, managed to catch it as it hovered (“omen” style) over the Duomo di Milano…