Tag Archives: art

the camera person, the interviewer, the interviewee, his wife and her lover…

Very interesting and intensive few days here at the UNIDEE residence, artist/film maker Sally Gutierrez and cultural theorist Jose Bueso are running a 3 day workshop. So they arrive like a veritable “art tornado” full of theory and exercises and it’s all great, interesting, stimulating…


Funnily enough, it is one very simple video exercise that provides for me the most interesting debate as well as an insight into the complex interpersonal relationships that co-exist under the spotlight of this micro-cosmos we call an art residence…

The exercise –  is a lesson in who exactly “holds the power” when it comes to video reportage… groups are split into 3 and take turns in the roles of film maker, interviewer and interviewee. Under a series of rules including no post production or post film editing, the residents film and reply to questions previously set forth by the group.

The next day we watched the results of the video exercise. Obviously we have 3 very different videos. Some people take the exercise very seriously while others do not, and those who do not take it seriously affect the work of other protagonists in the same group. Issues such as the (male) camera operator training a very male gaze on the female form (a fellow resident) causes much debate…and discomfort for some. But it’s great…an adult discussion about complex issues and the shifting balances of power that arise every time you point a video camera at someone or something….it’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it…

artists in black…

Had dinner with Michelangelo Pistoletto and Germano Celant…no, not just me but all the UNIDEE residents (14) and Pistoletto’s rather marvellous wife Maria. Celant for those who don’t know is one of the most eminent Italian curators working today, He has been senior curator for the Guggenheim in New York, and also curates the Fondazione Prada art collection.

igloo (1969) by Mario Merz, part of Arte Povera collection at Cittadellarte

If that was not enough, he also named, wrote about and curated much of the Arte Povera movement in the 1960’s, which for me remains the last movement of contemporary art from Italy of any real impact.

men in black, M Pistoletto and G Celant

Anyway, there they were, the old school, all dressed in black, they have both met everyone, been everywhere and and done everything. Celant entertains us with stories of early encounters with Gordon Matta Clark (he happened to have access to an abandoned building in Genoa, and Matta Clark was looking for a building…) amongst others. He is generous with his time and remained with us late into the night eating all together in Cittadellarte’s courtyard. These are always my favourite moments of the residence, in these moments i feel lucky to be here eating, drinking, talking into the night…and if you dine with Pistoletto, there is always excellent red wine and plenty of it!!

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…

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)

the revealing walls of milan…

Came across treasures revealed by demolition works on via Silio Italico in Milan. Side by side sit two very different ways to adorn the walls of a building. At first i was struck by the ornate plaster wall painting exposed on the lower right – very typical in fancy Milano Palazzos of a hundred years ago.

But the more i looked at it the more i was taken by the huge fading mural on the giant facade. I took pictures as usual but the more i looked at them the more i wondered how the work must have looked when it was freshly executed. I wondered how those bold seventies colours and graphics must have sat amongst the chi-chi palaces of via Silio Italico. Anyway i thought i would try to reproduce it. You can see the results below. May not look like it but it took me bloody ages! My colours are pretty garish but am guessing the original ones were too…Of course the original untouched version is more beautiful, all decayed and fading…tasteful if you like…

Can’t find any info about this rather nifty piece of public art other that what is written on the building itself; Mural design by architect and caricaturist Luciano Consigli, executed by Luigi Raimondi-Airaghi Mario. Will try to find out more when am back in Milan.