Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Namsal Siedlecki

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Namsal Siedlecki

In september, the start of the new season was celebrated in the wide space of Ventura XV, Lambrate, Milan, with Keep It Real, a self-produced project, managed in every aspect by the artists: Alis/Filliol, Luca De Leva, Andrea De Stefani, Helena Hladilová, Invernomuto, Diego Marcon, Giovanni Oberti, Gianandrea Poletta, Namsal Siedlecki, along with Vittorio Rappa (fundraising and logistics) and Daniel Sansavini (graph). The idea for the exhibition was born a couple of months ago, without long premeditation: Andrea De Stefani and Namsal Siedleck both had the desire to deal in a practical manner and on a common space with other artists, so they moved their ass to realize this intention. They spread the proposal to their peers and what had started as a private chat, turned into a chorus of nine artists. Keep it Real is a slogan born in the suburbs of American cities and spread since the 80s through the voices of oldschool mc’s and rappers. It is a reminder that, in an hyperbolic mood, invites to authenticity, to keep our feet on the ground, and to live in a pragmatic way.

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Diego Marcon

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Diego Marcon

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Diego Marcon

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Diego Marcon

Now that the exhibition’s doors are closed, it’s time for reviews, and Keep it Real seems to be like a message read and understood by all the artists involved in this collective project, even in the most ironic nuances. Each of them dealt with the experience of everyday life in a similar way, as active interpreter and keen observer of sensible reality. Each artist was constantly immersed in facts, landscapes, circumstances, forms, specific behaviors of the everyday, without filter: for instance, people who prefer to dive belly and then resurface the head. As a result, the works in the exhibition were multiform projections of an analysis which took place on a common ground. The aggregation of personality preceded the choice of the works: there wasn’t any previously established critical path through specific productions, the show has been built up step by step, on free and individual proposals. In order to reduce costs, the collective tried to involve friends and various stakeholders in an exchange of contributions. In a nutshell, a small cooperative making the project work.

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Gianandrea Poletta

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Gianandrea Poletta

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Gianandrea Poletta

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of Gianandrea Poletta

Diego Marcon, presented: “The Nap” and “The Phone Call”, 2014, two triptychs made of vinyl stickers applied on windows, thus creating two big screens activated by natural light, in concomitance with his new publication, a collection of 38 self-contained episodes, entitled: “A Script for Dick”, and published by CuraBooks. Gianandrea Poletta, usually working with iconic products, in “Moonwalk Pro”, 2014, managed to have a sponsorship by Nike, in order to present his rotating Nike Air Huarache, which will be visible again at the upcoming edition of Artissima contemporary art fair. Namsal Siedlecki, for his work: “Gomba Kalap”, 2014, met one of the last old craftsmen producing mushroom leather in Transylvania, a material similar to suede, obtained by the processing of a particular fungus. Siedlecki learned the procedure of making a hunting hat, and the craftman greeted him with enthusiasm in his small house in a forest where they spent three days together, time needed to go through the manufacturing stages. The formula of arrangements with companies and artisans in the production of the works, definitely seems to be a valid and repeatable experiment.

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of the artists and Pinksummer

Photo Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of the artists and Pinksummer

Alis/Filliol, Luca De Leva, Andrea De Stefani, Helena Hladilová, Invernomuto, Diego Marcon, Giovanni Oberti, Gianandrea Poletta, Namsal Siedlecki + Vittorio Rappa & Daniel Sansavini  

© Jonas Lindström

© Jonas Lindström

Nirvana – Strange Forms of Pleasure is Switzerland’s first international-level exhibition to be devoted to forms of pleasure in contemporary creation, exploring design as well as fashion and contemporary art, and the first compre­hensive study of the influence of erotica on design, contemporary art and fashion. By turns bold, luxurious and mysterious, the exhibi­tion presents works by around eighty artists and designers, and over 200 objects and installations.

© Diego Indraccolo

© Diego Indraccolo

The exhibition features a selection of contemporary designers who draw on the iconography of pleasure in their creative work, finding inspiration in erotic and fetishist literature, along with the images, objects and clothing to which they frequently refer. Visitors will discover finely-crafted, sometimes rare and inaccessible items, made from materials usually associated with the worlds of luxury goods, craftsmanship and contemporary art.

© Mustafa Sabbagh

© Mustafa Sabbagh

The exhibition invites us to examine our own ideas and perceptions of pleasure. It forces us to observe how its forms of expression can cross the line from the private to the public sphere when they are the subject of fashion, design or art. Designers cover the body with close-fitting garments or sensual materials, adorning them with jewellery that is aesthetically as well as erotically pleasing, creating furniture with evocative forms, works of art in which beauty and perfection are spiced with the whiff of brimstone. Nirvana shows that society’s desire for sensual pleasure remains vigorous in our digital age.

© Lara Giliberto

© Lara Giliberto

The exhibition focuses on design, fashion, and also contemporary art, which helps to open our eyes: its aim is to examine our relationship with the forms and objects that give physical expression to our unconscious perceptions of sexuality and our private notions of pleasure. In the exhibits, taboos are subverted by the use of unexpected shapes and materials, and by an attention to detail that has much in common with what the fashion world would consider haute couture.

© Mustafa Sabbagh

© Mustafa Sabbagh

Celebrated and up-and-coming designers alike bring these multiple influences into the spotlight, placing in the public sphere what has hitherto remained private. All these designers force us to question our value judgements on erotic practices by presenting unexpectedly luxurious items, worked to the highest standards of craftsmanship in leather, glass and precious metals.

Mudac

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

This autumn the Royal Academy of Arts will present the first major exhibition of Allen Jones’ work in the UK since 1995. This will be a long-overdue appraisal of Jones’ comprehensive contribution to British Pop art. Allen Jones RA will span the artist’s entire career from the 1960s to the present. Comprising over 80 works, the exhibition will feature examples of Jones’ paintings and sculpture, including the iconic furniture works from the late 60s, and new works created especially for this exhibition. Rarely-seen drawings will also be displayed to showcase Jones’ exceptional skills as a draughtsman, and the important influence of the medium of drawing on his practice as a whole. The female figure has remained an enduring interest for Jones, who has continually found fascination in popular culture’s prolific and differing depictions of femininity, ranging from the erotic to the seductive and the glamorous.

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

Allen Jones RA will present examples of portraits of cultural icons, for example a painting of Darcey Bussell and a new work of Kate Moss, reflecting the strong impact of cult images from 1960s America on his work. The exhibition will place a focus on Jones’ sculptural depictions of the female figure, featuring perhaps his most famous and controversial works Hat Stand (1969), Table (1969) and Chair (1969), but also more recent examples, such as Refrigerator (2002) and Light (2002). As a retrospective survey, Allen Jones RA will trace Jones’ development as an artist. The selection of paintings will explore how the early influences of European painting traditions, seen in Bikini Baby (1962) and Hermaphrodite (1963), gave way to the influence of Abstract Expressionism. Jones made frequent and prolonged visits to America where he came to admire the pictorial innovations of his contemporaries Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann in New York, and Ed Ruscha and Mel Ramos on the West Coast, with this inspiration clearly visible in First Step (1966).

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

The influences of city life, transport, advertising, music and cinema all provide equally fascinating subject matter for Jones to exploit and explore. For example, 2nd Bus (1962) evokes the energy and movement of people on a mode of transport which was to become a cultural icon for London. Matching Jones’ expansive world view is his ability to work with a wide variety of media, which is very much underpinned by his accomplished skills as a draughtsman. Drawing has played a key role throughout his career, and examples on display will explore the relationship between Jones’ drawings and finished works. Borrowing freely from other forms of expression, Jones frequently employs storyboarding techniques to imbue his work with a cinematic sense of action and atmosphere. The result is a highly developed sense of performance, as seen in Hot Wire (1970) and Three-Part Invention (2002).

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

Image courtesy of the artist. © Allen Jones

Allen Jones is a key figure in British Pop art whose reputation was established in the 1960s at the Royal College of Art, London, where he studied alongside celebrated artists David Hockney RA, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips RA and Ron Kitaj amongst others. This cohort of students was catapulted into the spotlight of the British art scene with a new visual language, firmly rooted in contemporary culture, and with the human figure often central to their work. Allen Jones was elected a Royal Academician in 1986 and his work has been exhibited around the world in both solo and group exhibitions. Jones also designs for stage and television, with productions including Oh Calcutta! (Kenneth Tynan), Männer wir kommen (West Deutsche Rundfunk), Satie/Cinema (Ballet Rambert) and Signed in Red (Royal Ballet, London). Jones lives and works in London and Oxfordshire.

Royal Academy

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

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