Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York
Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Koenig & Clinton is pleased to announce Huh, Lily van der Stokker’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, in which the artist celebrates defiance and embellishment in both subject and form, with all new works—all pink. At its core, Huh presents a greater discussion about beauty, femininity, and optimism to which the ugly, the cheap, and the vacant are tethered. In the artist’s words, “Huh is about stupidity, paint and the body, the baby, the flesh; about roundness, closeness and softness…it is girly, sweet, decorative, cheap, and about pleasure and color. It is about the ground, the beginning, Zen and nothing, the monochrome.”

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York
Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Huh holds a mirror to art world clichés and power structures, and laughs about them. Affixed to the gallery’s wall, a pink retail sign advertises: only yelling older women in here/nothing to sell. Just opposite, van der Stokker’s vast acrylic wall paintings engulf the main gallery space. Initially inspired by the artist’s own floral-patterned pajama pants, handwritten speech bubbles are adorned with curlicues, puffy clouds, and floral motifs. These charming blob-like texts comment on their own situation in the exhibition: very nice to lie here togetherlovely to be next to youwe are the same.

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York
Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Sculptural objects expand the wall paintings’ reach into three dimensions, while custom-made furniture invokes interior décor, a nod to feminine beautification and domestic coziness. At the center of the gallery, the eponymous freestanding sculpture is covered in doodles, and appears to be spilling over with goopy paint; textual quips such asoopy, ucky, and uffy, puffy seem to ooze out from underneath. Just behind it, a large wooden panel is decorated with flowers and several small shelves, each one cradling a roll of toilet paper. In the lower-left corner, the object’s title: Nothing.

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York
Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Huh plays on the tension between viewers’ assumptions and the reality present in van der Stokker’s expansive pink installation, challenging conventional ideas of girlishness, enthusiasm, and ornament. “The reputation of pink is one of low intellect,” notes van der Stokker. “For me, Nothing and pink represent a comfort zone, a return to the womb, to the mother, to sleep, to the bed; a world without ambition or hierarchy; the ground. Here, pink is a world of pleasure, of goals unreached, a world without urgency or pressure.” Exuberantly striving toward the comfort of decorative flatness, Huh stakes out an antithetical position to ‘bad boy art’, and encourages the viewer to question the anatomy of substance, meaning, and above all, seriousness.

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York
Courtesy the artist and Koenig & Clinton, New York

Lily van der Stokker has exhibited extensively in both Europe and the U.S. In January 2015, van der Stokker’s installation will be on view in the Hammer Museum’s Wilshire Lobby, Los Angeles. Her most recent exhibitions include Sorry, Same Wall Painting at The New Museum, New York; Terrible at the Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam; To The Wall with David Shrigley at the Aspen Art Museum; and Plug In #52 with Jim Iserman at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindoven. She is the subject of It Doesn’t Mean Anything, But It Looks Good, published on the occasion of her exhibition No Big Deal Thing at the Tate St. Ives in Cornwall. Van der Stokker has been commissioned to produce numerous public works, including Kalm nou maar…(Don’t Worry), Rotterdam (2013); Celestial Teapot, Utrecht, Netherlands (2013), andThe Pink Building, Hannover (2000). The artist lives and works in New York City and Amsterdam.

Koenig & Clinton

 

The western cultural abuse of type-symbols such as:

! # * (: , @ % ~ / . ` “ $

underlines a lack of genuine thinking in favour of an overloaded mass production of globalized

Hyper-signs > more close to the indiscriminate glazing on doughnuts than a real ECOLOGY of language

WikiLeaks and rainbow gradients:

Gogoși are Romanian sweet pastries similar to doughnuts

shaped into a flattened sphere > deep-fried in oil

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

> optionally > dusted with icing sugar

> filled with chocolate, jam or cream cheese

 They have no hole and are believed to date back to classical antiquity

HTML tags:

< head>

<title>EAST</title>

</head>

<body>

the opposite of west

perpendicular to north and south

 

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

By convention:

the right hand side of a map

the direction toward which

the  Earth rotates about its axis

delimitarea este mobilă

și poate avea în vedere puncte de radicalizare

a limbajului plastic

     un amalgam de reacții și curente dialectale

</body>

*E-W:

 

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

A Symbol,

contrasted with continuous and analog signals,

linguistic information,

input devices of a group of switches pulled at regular intervals

*E-W: W-E: E-W: E-W: W-E: E-W: W-EAST

The *E-Wstern cultural abuse of PROP-Political values:

Geographical algorithms

Economic schedules for web interdependence

Manufactured critical masses

 

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

Classifications > involved in the delivery of limited industrial outputs

Tweet seed: The Information Age

a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy, with precise personalized needs, focused and enforced by the State, under social and cultural trends, beyond the glaze of HIP-Industrial Revolutions

Pollution and unsolicited low-value information:

> PUBLIC CUSTOMED PEEPBUZZ

The premise of art

Aesthetic Growth, attention-grabbing patterns,

Objects on landscapes and financial transactions on

 

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

Courtesy of Stefano Calligaro

retailers – who offer corporate aesthetic in order to

costumize human hands in creatures of suggestion -

> businessdictionary

literally > ethics and billions of mobile ads

a unique model for teaching primary principles of

BILINGUAL infomercial display

STICKERS on apples in supermarkets

Herbal Essences

music in the background and a silhouette listening:

For instance the brochures have a beautiful design,

they have no hole and are believed to date back to classical antiquity

I met Michele D’Aurizio in a late, rainy, night at Stazione Centrale, in a bar in front of the bus station for Milano Malpensa. The idea of having a meeting when flying to another city is always fascinating, and Milan’s railway station is, for me, one of the most beautiful places in town.
I can’t remember exactly when I learned about the importance of Michele. I broke into his social life several times but he never really addressed a word to me. But I kept checking the art facts related to him for more than a year, admiring everything he wrote, or curated. In spring the esteem I had for him became an urgency. The necessity to talk about precious things with someone who understands them.
Being in presence of Michele D’Aurizio is like being in Bergman’s film “Persona”. Michele takes care of every single word in the conversation, including delicacy in every gesture. That night I was expecting to face a totem, and instead I had the strange impression of being in front of a mirror during the whole talk.

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D'Aurizio

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D’Aurizio

I. How would you describe the scene in which you grew up and how it has changed as you got older and became an active player?

As of now, I have spent two-thirds of my life in a small town in Central Italy and one-third in Milan. I can state that my entire practice strives towards drawing a cosmopolitan vision of the phenomena of the province, and at shifting the provincial ethos into the urban environment—a lifestyle based on empathy and the search for communal relief, not so dissimilar from everyday life at the oratory.
I can talk to Italy, because I’ve learnt that I embody the country’s contradictions myself, feel the weight of its obscure history, and tuned myself to the right amount of cynicism for not feeling trapped in the nonsensical functioning of its institutions. Despite a friend recently telling me that our country doesn’t want to be rescued, and I sincerely agree, I have no intention to leave—let’s say that I am afflicted with trench syndrome.

II. “Brianza Eleganza” is the title of one of your recent articles, published in the Spring Summer 2014 issue of PIN–UP magazine. How do you relate to Milan as a whole? Do you feel like your cultural research and program is unique in Italy?

I love Milan because of the pragmatism that the city distills—but not more than Naples because of Neapolitans’ subtle inventiveness… As is true of Brianza, everywhere Milan claims “yes, we can do it”—and you can do it pretty well, or better: in the shape that your own professional community understands as the most avant-garde and thus sharable with its international branch.
My research is not unique per se: it is just among the few agendas developed by Italian young curators that is a little bit know abroad. And it is known abroad because it is developed in Milan.
My feeling regarding the city is indeed based purely on utilitarianism.

III. When did you start feeling a responsibility to present the art scene around you thought Gasconade’s platform? Do you realize how explosive is your own potential?

Gasconade is born out of the endeavor to offer myself and my artist peers a reason to stay in Italy after graduating from the art academy and to test our professional vision before entering the proper art industry.
Hence it took the shape of a ‘space’, that is first of all a place to share; and developed into a program of exhibitions and events which pursued rather canonical formats, such as the solo show—Gasconade has been giving emerging artists what they needed: a structured presentation of their art that could work as a calling card.
The nature of my commitment to my peers is probably more ‘human’ than ‘political': it stems from my Catholic and middlebrow background, and serves to face the loneliness and the abstractness of Milan social landscape.

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D'Aurizio

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D’Aurizio

IV. Do you understand Gasconade as a project space, or do you think more about it as an abstract entity that provides a home and a purpose for a major dialogue about contemporary culture?

Gasconade is a curatorial platform aimed at fostering a community of emerging artists and art professionals. As I stated above, the first installment of the project was—strategically—an exhibition space.
This stage is now over: our last presentation, “Tufo” (a group show including works by Gianluca Belloni, Daniele Milvio and Mattia Pomati) closed in June. During Summer we have developed a number of off site exhibitions (such as “La pace tra gli animali” [Peace among the Animals] at Galleria Civica G. Segantini, in Arco (TN), and “Mess on a Mission”, for the 2014 edition of Art-O-Rama, in Marseille).
All these projects introduced a sabbatical from the exhibition activity. The 2014-15 season will be indeed devoted to the collective writing of a coming-of-age novel, Le petit jeu, which will recount the ‘growth’ of our community to professional ‘maturity’. Accordingly, Gasconade will turn into a writing workshop—and it will keep changing its identity according to the nature of project we intended to promote.

V. How the novel will it be structured? And what’s its ultimate goal?

The writing process will develop throughout the entire season. It will involve more than twenty writers, who will work autonomously or in small groups in order to draft a broad range of ‘anecdotes’, short stories that will then constitute the volume’s chapters.
I will write myself and contribute to the writing of a few chapters, but I will serve mainly as editor of the different submissions.
The chapters will be structured in parts and each of these will frame a theme in the narrative: from the outline of the social background of some of the most significant members of our community, to the commentary of our lifestyle specificities, to the account of the interplay with our international peers, to the proper report of Gasconade’s program and hence the drafting of a critical reading of this phenomenon.

VI. So the doors of Gasconade’s space will shut down for this project. What are your curatorial plans for the Expo Milano 2015?

We are moving into a sort of off-the-radar location—that anyway we are supposed to open from time to time to welcome our audience to partake readings of the novel drafts.
Actually I like the fact that during an extremely animated season for our city, we are not going to feed the cacophony of the Expo 2015 and the hundreds of its off site events, and will ‘withdraw’ into an intimate project that anyway is conceived as an homage to the city…

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D'Aurizio

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D’Aurizio

VII. An editor at Exibart introduced Gasconade into a column labeled “The beauty of nonprofit”. Doesn’t it lessen the importance of your research? Does your image have any importance in your practice?

Of course, but I don’t intend to take to trial the sloppy journalism of some internet art platforms…
In Italy there is no ‘beauty’ in the nonprofit. It just means that you need to count on private funding, quite often your own… I guess the only advantage is the possibility to set your own degree and ‘understanding’ of the institutionalization process: as a nonprofit platform, you can call yourself an institution, but also go out of business if you are tired or bored, move in wherever location, chance your identity and role within your local system, truly experiment with formats and outputs… You can even not feel responsible towards your own community of people if you don’t care…
At Gasconade we do, so we chance and move and experiment according to the community’s requirements.

VIII. Do you feel like someone else in Europe is pursuing a curatorial endeavor similar to yours with Italian artists?

New Jerseyy, in Basel, was a project space that I admired because of the systemic attitude that led their programming… Today, I feel that a similar attentiveness towards the dynamic at play between a specific community and the larger art world can be traced in the program of the New Theater, in Berlin.
That said, I am very sympathetic also to spaces that pursue a more solitary research. I think, for example, at what was Studiolo, in Zurich, or at what is now Piper Keys, in London: programs that, because they value a sophisticated curatorial vision, suggest how the communitarian agenda, despite allowing you the freedom of ‘doing’, sometimes clips the wings of intellectual drifts…

IX. Rivista Studio’s editors described you with an efficient term: “rightness”. I totally agree on this definition. How do you feel about it?

It is a term, or better a pursuit, that I learned from my artist friend Alessandro Agudio. Among Alessandro’s early works, Bravissimi (2010) is a couple of plexiglass planks which serve as speakers—indeed they are provided with an mp3 player charged with a dance music mixtape. Bravissimi is conceived for amusing their viewers and in doing so perceive a ‘right,’ appropriate presence in the context of the exhibition space.
The search for ‘rightness’ that the journalist highlighted is, on the one hand, a striving for quality and aptness within a specific professional environment, on the other, a purely human relief deriving from the sense of belonging to a larger social group… In other words, it is one more embodiment of the teenage inquietude and ambition that still ‘haunts’ my practice and preserves its naiveté and genuineness.

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D'Aurizio

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D’Aurizio

X. In “The Renegate”, a script you created for an artist book by Diego Marcon, to be published by cura.books, your character goes through fourteen tableaux, some of them featuring an explicit sexual content. Do you think that writing goes hand in hand with sex?

Last March I gave a lecture at the Ecal, in Lausanne (on the invitation of Allianz, a platform run by Alfredo Aceto and Emanuele Marcuccio) which recounted a number of sexual relations of mine and their consequences on the understanding of my professional role. The text of the lecture can be downloaded here and I guess that a brief reading would fully answer your question…

XI. Numéro featured Gasconade within a survey of emerging galleries tamed as “the new wave.” Isn’t it an old school concept to define what is happening around you, or do you still feel in that spirit?

I sustain myself working as editor and art journalist, so I am quite sensitive to sensationalistic labeling…
I appreciate the program of the other galleries that were mentioned in the survey (High Art, in Paris; Lars Friedrich, in Berlin; and Real Fine Arts, in New York), and I believe that all of them are ‘pioneering’ in their own way… That said, I feel that we are all still far from true innovation—and a truly cutting edge ethos—that necessarily comes through the questioning of the formats we inhabit, and isn’t always brought forth by the presentation of art that is supposed to be groundbreaking only because it is the output of a young mind…
For Gasconade it is not even the case: we are not a proper art gallery; but for an emerging gallery, in the current scenario, what should be after Liste if not Art | Basel?

XII. You have been collaborating indeed with several art magazines. From Mousse to Kaleidoscope, to Spike. Today you are Managing Editor at Flash Art International. What about the environment here? Will you be able to impress a fresh touch?

Flash Art is the oldest art magazine in Europe: it was founded in 1968, and had released the manifestos of a number of seminal XX century art movements, such as Arte Povera and Transavanguardia.
Of course I am knowledgeable and I care about the publication’s legacy, but at the same time I strive for not feeling trapped by it. Hence, since I took up the position last January, I worked at rationalizing and accelerating the production of the magazine and structured the edition in order to balance the information with the research, the editors’ choice with the art industry ‘requirement’.
I don’t want Flash Art to look ‘fresher’ than before… I want art enthusiasts and professional to see the magazine as a well-respected, receptive, reliable and compelling tool. This is definitely my next challenge.

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D'Aurizio

Illustrations Alina Vergnano. Courtesy Michele D’Aurizio

Gasconade 

Alina Vergnano 

 © Joshua Zielinski

© Joshua Zielinski

Your new solo exhibition Traces opened last Friday at Pavillon am Milchhof, in Berlin. Could you tell me something about it, the story behind the exhibition?

Over the last year I’ve been working with found materials and combining them with my own images. I am interested in making works with an incoherent or at least not a clearly evident past, to open a space for possible narratives and to allow viewers to construct their own narrative conclusions and meanings. For me my works are an investigation of the relationship between an image’s material, its history and how it communicates.

I met you this summer when you were in residency in Paris, at Cité Internationale des Arts. Originally you come from Michigan, and currently you live and work in Berlin. How does this vagabond lifestyle affect your work as an artist: do you experience sometimes difficulties when starting again in a new context, or is it something necessary for your creative process? How do you conceive the notion of traces and (re)beginnings when working?

I think that it is necessary for an artist today to be mobile. Not only to meet other artists and gain experiences and but also to learn from others and exchange ideas. At times it can be quite challenging starting out in a new place, having new problems with a language and meeting new people. It is however just as rewarding when you meet others who are interested in what you are doing and can exchange ideas. It can be difficult and sometimes exhausting, but it is definitely a positive experience for my creative process and for me very inspirational. I hadn’t thought of it before but these works are related recent experiences and to my own re-beginnings. Moving from one place to another one brings their previous experiences. There is never a total break from the past, in a way it is present and it influences the future. I think that this notion of starting again with the traces of the past has influenced my work.

 © Joshua Zielinski

© Joshua Zielinski

You work a lot with found materials, questioning the perceptions on history and its representation. I imagine that this is something that enables you to form new narratives: what do reality and fiction mean to you?

You are right, found materials give me inspiration to form new narratives. I use them in my work not as they were previous intended but in a new way. I am more interested in the object itself. I think then the actuality of the object comes forth even though I’m using it for a different purpose. In this way, I feel that the line between reality and fiction are blurred. For me it becomes more about storytelling.

Your body of work features several different media: sculptures, installations, paintings and analog photography. Despite this versatility of working methods, I couldn’t help noticing a certain absence of technology in your work, an often featured trend lately in the contemporary art scene. Do you intend to explore the possibilities offered by the digital? What is your relationship to technology?

I have also recently discovered the absence of technology in my work myself and have often questioned why I work like I do. I am actually interested in technology and have experimented with digital photography and video. Maybe in the future I will work more with them but right now I haven’t found it to be my material. There are lots of possibilities with the new technologies and they are quite exciting, but also with older materials. I don’t think that just because a technology is new makes it better, especially in regards to making art.

© Joshua Zielinski

© Joshua Zielinski

One of my favorite pieces among your work is Untitled (Tapestry) from 2014, could you tell the story behind this piece?

This work was made by a series of happy coincidences. I found this paper in the garbage. I couldn’t read French but understood thermal on the paper. I figured the paper reacted in a special way to heat. I was curious and took it in the studio. There I experimented with lots of different ways of making marks with heat. Everything from hairdryers to candles, to lighters even to cooking plates. After experimenting with a variety of ways to make marks on this strange paper. I learned how I could control the images I was making. This primitive way of making drawings with basically only with fire and water influenced motifs. Animals hunting and other primitive images emerged. At the time I was, and still am, very interested in the relationship between man and animal, nature and culture, this work is in a way my reflection on this relationship. I was also visiting some of my favorite museums in Paris the Musée national du Moyen Âge – Thermes et hôtel de Cluny and the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and was inspired from the collections there. The material itself influence me as well. The dimensions of the work developed from the fact that the paper was on rolls and I was extremely fortunate to have such a studio with high ceilings to be able to create this work. With these ideas and combinations of influences and studio space I was able to make this work and am pleased with the results.

What would you consider as your strength and weakness as an artist? What do you find most fascinating about the creative process?

I think my surfaces and textures I make with my materials is a strength of mine. I find these aspects of an artwork very interesting and I am interested in how through working with this facet a rhythm can be developed and materials can then communicate. I think a weakness of mine is trying to control my work too much and not let it develop on its own. It often takes me quite some time to realize where my work is going and to develop an idea further. I think letting go and experimenting more would be good for my work. For me the most fascinating part of the creative process is a moment of discovery. It can be something very simple but it changes the work and leads me to more realizations. For me it often comes by chance or at the end of the workday. When I think that the whole day was a waste. I find something positive in the work or see an aspect differently. I think that this is a very important part of making work. It keeps me coming back to the studio.

© Joshua Zielinski

© Joshua Zielinski

The idea of traces and history, past and present are clearly transmitted through you work, but how does it correlate with the temporal conditions of exposure when it comes to arts?

I think my work correlates with exposure by being made now. I don’t believe that art is a linear development from a to b and further to c. I think that it is a field where the past is current or can be current. My work reflects on the past while being present. I see the temporal conditions of exposure correlated to reoccurring themes in the arts therefore for me the past is just as current as the present.

One could define your work even as something primitive, when working with coarse and harsh materials, with connotations to mythology along with ephemeral dark moments. What is your relationship to nature while being surrounded by a highly urban context?

I think you are right. I have also found my work to be related to something primitive and I think it does have some sort of essential relationship with nature. I love nature and the natural world. Living in an urban context is great and it offers many opportunities. It can be sometimes quite draining though and I long for a more natural setting without the planned idea of nature in the city. I think my relationship to nature is then one of desire and longing.

© Joshua Zielinski

© Joshua Zielinski

Could you tell me about your upcoming projects for this autumn? What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am working on applications for exhibitions and residencies, but this coming September a very close friend and I are going to make an exhibition at Kultur Palast in Berlin. I am really excited for this exhibition, my friend Thomas Korn is a great artist and we have shown a few times together. It is always a good experience to work with him and I am excited to be able to again.

Your dreams for the future?

Dreams for the future, I’m not quite sure exactly. I don’t have everything planned out. I would like to do another residency. The Cité Internationale des Arts was a great experience for me and I learned a lot about myself and about art. Overall I would just be happy to continue my growth as an artist and an individual. To keep learning and to strive to be my best version.

Traces, the solo exhibition of Joshua Zielinski at Pavillon am Milchhof, on view until August 24 .

Joshua Zielinski

We asked Paris based artist Donatien Aubert, to write a small text for us about his latest exhibition.

 © Donatien Aubert

© Donatien Aubert

Politicians are facing today a profound crisis of legitimacy: this is a direct consequence of the rapid circulation of information and the preeminence of social networks. This marks a new threshold in the democracy of opinion, when the access to free information gives Internet users a power to educate themselves. Since the 1970’s, when confronting the mobilization of citizens, governments have tried to develop tools to take better into account requests of the civil society, that is, making the use of power more translucent and accessible for the citizens. To ensure this, they have sought different solutions, such as introducing public debates: this tendency has only intensified with the preeminence of the Internet. However, not everyone welcomes this democratic aspect offered by digital era: extreme right parties and politico-religious organizations denounce easily this as a corporatist or demagogic strategy. Nowadays, when observing the identity withdrawal of European nations, it seems appropriate to confirm some historic elements that give European continent its specificity: Europe is a melting pot, a geographic space of mixture, assimilation and hybridization of cultures, while its political history is built on the emancipation from authoritarianism. Traditionally, European philosophy is dedicated to an examination of conditions that assure the exercise of individual liberties: our conception is based on humanism and its successive historic movements.

 © Donatien Aubert

© Donatien Aubert

For me, it seems necessary to revitalize these humanist ideas that were established in the European intellectual circles in the Renaissance and which are still vivid. Today, opinions and expertise offered by NGO’s aren’t sufficient: besides these, the figure of an artist constitutes an unexpected and polyvalent model through artistic production and the theoretic training of artists. I hope to be the embodiment of such an actor, when working as researcher in the laboratory of Spatial Media at the Ecole National Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. We are living in a particularly dynamic and fast period: the complexity of today’s crisis together with the deterioration of our natural environment calls for a mobilization, as never seen before in the history: urgent political and economic solutions are needed in order to counter the negative effects of anthropisation (the geographical space transformed by human activities). In order to find an adjusted answer for these challenges, I would like to emphasize the role of an artist: the desire of young creators to concretize their visions for a better future, by deploying the tools offered by the digital era, such as computer-aided manufacturing. Visual arts offer an alternative to the imaginary of disaster, to nihilism spread by eschatological discourses of our times.

 © Donatien Aubert

© Donatien Aubert

In the exhibition that I realized for my diploma, I was hoping to bring these ideas forward: the visitor takes a stroll, starting from the presentation of two videos, retracing my trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. There I had the opportunity to interview the guides and researchers living on shipboard in extreme conditions. To develop necessary technologies for the survival of human beings living over there, it is necessary to study the possibilities offered by experimental anthropology. How to organize human life in conditions, which are, by definition, hostile for it? This interrogation motivated my desire to undertake this exploration. While it’s impossible to assure a frequent provision of supplies, people living in Antarctica have created an infrastructure, which enables them to be self-sufficient during periods when freight is impossible. The insecurity of the people living in Antarctica can be compared to that experienced by astronauts in the International Space Station. Rationalizing energetic and alimentary needs of teams in the continent is necessary for the success of human adventures in these conditions: in this framework, renewable energies are essential for the fulfillment of needs of human beings. New technologies enable to think up and foresee solutions, which should be deployed in the medium term if the renewable technologies are seriously intended to become ubiquitous.

 © Donatien Aubert

© Donatien Aubert

These accounts help us to understand the problems I wanted to study in the second part of my exhibition. After having exposed the two videos, the visitors are invited to take a stroll in a hall leading them to the room 019, where the setting is composed of a five sided pyramid together with a big platform of seven meters, finishing in a diorama and supported by two models, alongside with three columns of steel lit from inside. When ascending to the stage, the visitor can discover a transparent side of the pyramid, which reveals its content: three plants, chosen for their resilience, are placed in pots, which give the piece an aspect of growth and expansion. The luster gives the plants the light they need, and helps to adjust the temperature inside. This is facing the model of a Soyuz capsule coupled with a module of Space X (the company who’s in charge of the cargo of NASA).

 © Donatien Aubert

© Donatien Aubert

On the right side of the stage, I interrogate other models of self-sufficiency. A model resembling an Italian fortification, typical for the XV century during the Renaissance era, overhangs by three copies of buildings, which figure in the paintings of the ideal Cité of Urbino, attributed to Piero della Francesca. They surround a complex structure whose appearance reminds that of rhizome, printed in 3D.
The juxtaposition of these different architectural models helps me to show the evolution of the concept of utopia throughout history. During the Renaissance, when the neologism appeared for the first time, an ideal model of city-state followed a plan of central organization. Today, the image of an utopia is conceived differently, even though the nature still conserves there an analogous place: to set the limits of agglomerations more porous, to smoothen the passage from city centers to semi-urban areas, at the same time giving them a similar attractiveness thanks to the creation of green areas and artistic installations. The desire to find the ways to give cities spaces dedicated to agriculture retains the same importance, as prove the efforts deployed in research and development concerning vertical farms. In the exhibition, three panels, which end the stage, demonstrate these different themes, in order to extend these reflections. On the left, a carcass of a space shuttle is presented in a “white room”, a space of decontamination, which is used to sterilise objects that are sent to space.

 © Donatien Aubert

© Donatien Aubert

On the right side, the plants of the interior garden seem to enter in a competition with the architectural structures having a vegetal appearance, whose growth seems to be guided by enormous props. In the middle, diverse architectures, important in the sense of the utopian imaginary, follow a sort of a mini golf itinerary: la Villa Rotonda de Palladio is presented next to a kiosk, whereas in the background appears a structure on a jacket-deck, reminiscing of the Walking City of Ron Herron. In the middle of the image we can find a theatre of memory, as conceived by Fludd in the middle of the XV century. This is the central element of the display, perceived as an enormous mnemonic apparatus, a palace of memory, dedicated entirely to a contemporary phenomenon, which is constituted by the procedure of making existence more ecologic. The sculpture made of steel tubes reminds us of tree trunks. The reference to the symbolism of trees underlines the possible new image of l’honnête homme. A plane tree, a symbol of regeneration in Ancient Greece, is accompanied by an acacia plant, which is, in turn, a symbol of rebirth in the Christian mysticism. Finally, we can find a birch tree, a synonym for wisdom in Celtic folklore. The ensemble is realized through a modern aesthetics, especially when reactivating the perspective effects introduced by analytic cubism: the same principle that several artists rediscover today through the diffusion of 3D technologies.

Donatien Aubert

Translation by Sini Rinne-Kanto

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Ingrid Melano: Dear Patrick, you were born in 1974, you live and work in Berlin. Your works have been exhibited in museum contexts and in public spaces in Italy (Venice Biennale, Gallery of Modern Art in Milan, Piazza del Popolo in Rome, MART) and abroad (Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, de Appel, Amsterdam, Shanghai Biennial, Biennial of Havana, Folkstone Triennial). Could you confirm the correctness of this information?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: Everything is correct!

Ingrid Melano: Great :) When I think of your work, I have in my mind reflective surfaces, lasers and colored neon lights, are there other components that I forget?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: I would say the man and its possible representations, his figure recently.

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Ingrid Melano: Yes, actually there is a very nice dimension in your past works, of dialogue with the public, but lately it has been replaced by the item “mask”, could we talk a bit about it?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: More than the mask I think to the face, the place of the human body that perhaps better than others can tell certain emotions.

Ingrid Melano: Our editor Martina Alemani came to see the making off of the exhibition for Studio Guenzani in Berlin this spring, together with the artist Andrea Romano, they told me wonders..

Patrick Tuttofuoco: They have seen a lot of the creative process, it is always nice to see everything that goes on before the show!

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Ingrid Melano: Yes, I would like to know more about your family, and your life in Berlin in general, how does it work? Do you follow a routine in the creative process?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: More than routine I would say that I try to maintain a certain constancy of studio work, the reality of the studio is one thing that I started to love here in Berlin, before it wasn’t really my dimension. If I think about my situation here in Berlin I think of a strange mix of the children (with all that they represent, full of joy and responsibility) and art that also gives you beautiful emotions and bitter-sweet situations.

Ingrid Melano: How were the faces presented in Ambaradan, your last show in Milan, technically created?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: It is a few years now that I’m working on hardening of tissues, in this case I wet the flat matter of the fabric in a mixture of resins and before the curing process began, I gave it a form that is close to a human face.

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Ingrid Melano: What was it like to work with the curator Nicola Ricciardi in the exhibition ?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: Funny and inspiring, and it was an exchange of contents which only after that took shape and in my and in his head, from there we began to develop the idea of the exhibition.

Ingrid Melano: It may sound like a rhetorical question but, having traveled around the world for Revolving Landscape, and after the Berlin experience, do you plan to stay there?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: It is always very difficult to think of ourselves in one place, my curiosity for sure did not stop, but Berlin could become a good base for constant movements.

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Ingrid Melano: I understand, but it seems to me that the city of Milan always welcomes you with great enthusiasm.

Patrick Tuttofuoco: Milan is my home and it always will be, there are some people to whom I am deeply connected and gave me a lot, I will never leave for good from Milan!

Ingrid Melano: My favorite work among yours is certainly Luna Park (2005), could you tell me something about the installation?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: It was the original sign of the amusement park “Varesine”, an important place for the city, for my generation and those before, unlike other similar places in the city center it occupied the area as a species of geographical anomaly. Then issues related to speculation have led to the closure and before that they dismantle it all, a friend told me that the signage was still there, so I decided to retrieve it and bring it back to light.

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Ingrid Melano: Yes and it is a great idea, every time I walk by Lambrate, the signage makes me think of Marcovaldo (1963, Italo Calvino), and stories of ghost towns. Which is the feeling you have, revisiting the place after many years?

Patrick Tuttofuoco: It is my most nostalgic work, perhaps even too much, what I think is that I was very lucky to manage that project!

Ingrid Melano: It is true! Nostalgic is an interesting definition! Thank you Patrick!

Patrick Tuttofuoco: Thank you, it was fun and I hope to meet you soon in real life!

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Courtesy of Patrick Tuttofuoco

Studio Guenzani

 

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

A Moveable Feast – Part XI is the second collaborative exhibition of Eileen Quinlan and Cheyney Thompson at Campoli Presti, Paris, on view until 26th July. In Quinlan’s new black and white gelatin silver prints (2014), photography is used as a space for performance. The female body, reshaped by the glass it’s pressed against and veiled by the effect of vapor and water, is first documented extensively with a regular digital camera. Selected images are later rephotographed with a 4 x 5 large format camera, allowing Quinlan to work serially and to explore further the relationship between the limits of analog photography and the virtually infinite possibilities of the digital. The final prints are the result of a wide array of physical interventions that degrade the surface of the negatives, such as scratching the film with tacks, steel wool, and ballpoint pens and leaving the film in a bath saturated with chemicals that accelerate or alter the developing process. Here, the sheets of film are processed by hand. Quinlan uses her fingers to push the emulsion across the surface of the negative rather than using the rollers of the Polaroid back.

The prints are all equally sized and pinned directly onto the wall, emphasizing their status as images rather than formatted objects. The lack of a frame, a distancing mechanism, makes these works fully available to the eyes of the viewer. The color Polaroid photograph Fine Motor Skills (2014), is the first in a new series. Quinlan is using the tiles the artists’ children play with to create a sculptural form reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle or the Cologne Cathedral.

Courtesy of the artists and Campoli Presti

Courtesy of the artists and Campoli Presti

 

Courtesy of the artists and Campoli Presti

Courtesy of the artists and Campoli Presti

Thompson’s latest series of works continue his investigation on the technology, production and distribution of painting within the context of current abstract economy. The works on view are based on the “Drunken Walk” algorithm, an aleatory path that is used in financial theory to predict stock prices. In his “Stochastic Process Paintings”, Thompson executes the algorithm inside the three-dimensional color-system created by Albert Munsell. The diverse positions the line draws within the solid of the color model can be translated into amounts of different hues, saturations and values that Thompson finally applies on canvas in squares of one centimeter. All of the works in the series share the same quantities of color information, 8034 square centimeters, thus determining the format of the paintings.

A homologous procedure is followed in his Broken Volume sculptures through the multiplication of a one inch concrete cube along a path prescribed by the Drunken Walk algorithm. In these works, the constraint placed on the sculptural form consists only in the quantitative. All the works produced in this series share the same volume of concrete, 10 liters. With no regard for their own structural limits, they are left to break under their own weight. Outside of the smoothed numeric space of their conception, they continually orient themselves to the material forces embedded in the temporal conditions of exposure and circulation. The works are developed in dialogue with recent critical approaches towards parametric architecture, used for modeling, monitoring and prediction purposes in a context of increasingly mobile political decisions.

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

 

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

Eileen Quinlan lives and works in New York. Her work forms part of the permanent collections of MoMA, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the FRAC (Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain), France. Her work formed part of the exhibition New Photography 2013, curated by Roxana Marcoci at MoMA, New York. She has recently participated in the exhibitions Rites of Spring at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (2014), in What is a photograph at the International Center of Photography, New York (2014), «Y? O! G… A.», with Matt Keegan at The Kitchen, New York and All of this and nothing at the Hammer Museum (2010). Quinlan has had a solo exhibition at the ICA in Boston (2009).

Cheyney Thompson’s work is part of the permanent collections of MoMA, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Centre Pompidou, Paris. His work is currently included in the exhibition Une Histoire. Art, architecture et design, des années 80 à aujourd’hui at Centre Pompidou, Paris. He recently had a solo survey exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts (2012) with an accompanying monograph and was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Past exhibitions include Chat Jet – Painting ‘Beyond’ The Medium at Kunstlerhaus Graz (2013), The Complete Reference: Pedestals and Drunken Walks (solo) at Kunstverein Braunschweig (2012); The Indiscipline of Painting at Tate St Ives (2011); Systems Analysis at West London Projects and Langen Foundation, Germany (2010); Greater New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (2005) and Clandestine at The Venice Biennial 2003.

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti

Campoli Presti

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