ART TRAIL: OSSERVATORI
The title and the project itself plays on the double significance of the Italian word Osservatori which, in the plural, allows to overlap two complementary meanings. Osservatori are observers, those who observe, who have the ability to grasp elements which are not normally noticed. And artists are always, certainly observers, and their attention, their ability to capture subtle elements and process them can result facing outward, and involve, include the world; or facing inward, and generate an intimate, private, introspective search. Osservatori are also Observatories, places or buildings appropriately situated. This definition include all architectural, naturalistic and landscape emergencies which dot the topography of the area that will be included in the project.
The artists invited to participate in the project fully respond to the call of Osservatori, with the peculiarity of implementing in their work this exercise of observation in a particular form, favouring working methods that lead them to establish a relationship of dialogue with the public and with the context in which they find themselves acting.
For the ART TRAIL section, guided by the curator, the visitors will have the possibility to enjoy an exploration tour of the Busulmone Estate, reaching the places with the artists installations.
Gino Gianuizzi is an Italian curator and art historian, teacher of the course “Planning of urban and regional works” at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 1981 he was one of the founders of Neon, a very important exhibition space for the promotion of new generations of artists. His studies are mainly oriented towards issues related to Public Art. As an independent curator, Gino Gianuizzi has collaborated with: Biennial of Young Artists of the Mediterranean (1988), Container (2007/2008), gAP (2008/2009), Green Days (2011) and Creating a Context (2012). In 2013, at the MAMbo, he curated the conference and the exhibition of documents dedicated to the work of Francesca Alinovi. In August 2014, he coordinated the workshop led by Amedeo Martegani for “Laboratòrio”. In 2017, he curated the group exhibition “Ritrattare” at the gallery L’Entrepôt, Monaco.
Stefano Boccalini (Milan, 1963). Amongst the founders of Isola Art Center, he works with public institutions and private galleries in Italy and abroad. The capitalistic nature of current economic trends is central in his latest projects: the linguistic turn of economy and its symbolic and social impact on financial pervasiveness reveal strategies on which his work reflects critically. The word has become the protagonist of his work.
In PUBLICPRIVATE the choice of materials is fundamental: just polished iron and steel appear similar, but when in contact with water they have different reactions: iron tends to rust and gets consumed over time, whilst steel is water resistant and maintains its original characteristics. The word PUBBLICA is made of steel, the word PRIVATA of iron, and they both clearly refer to water.
Angelo Candiano (Modica, 1962). Since 1984 he has worked professionally on photography theory and research, on light and with light, through the language and materials of photography and art, happily making conceptual forays into philosophy. He developed the complex system of “photosophy”, whose components are generated by conceptual and mathematical calculations in which light is subject and object at the same time.
Situation is a theoretical-conceptual procedure, though translated into reality, of recovery and activation of a very deep layer of memory, through the extraction of an “object-subject” with its context (a cube of virgin photographic paper which gets black), from which something from below inevitably emerges: a root made of local white limestone, virgin and hidden from the light because it has always been underground.
Monica Cuoghi (Mantova, 1965) and Claudio Corsello (Bologna, 1964) have been working together since 1986, both in the official art system and in street-art, where Pea Brain, CaneK8 and SUF are their most famous icons. Their artistic practice ranges from music to video animation, from installation to graffiti, from sticker art to writing, together with painting, photography and performance.
In a close relationship with the place and the local materials and in tune with the spirit of the Busulmone Estate, the two artists, who have always paid attention to both the physical and the ultra-world, created a sculpture in which traditional materials like tufaceous stone are mixed with recycled materials; flowers and symbolic elements are closely related to the luxuriant nature of the territory; some signs suggest the union of earth and sky, in a relationship of constant exchange.
Ilkka Halso (Orimattila, 1965). She is part of the original group of the so-called “Helsinki School” and has focused her research on the visual inventory of natural sciences, adopting “the attitude of a happy scientist, who does not need truth or results”. By investigating the relationship between nature, technology and architecture, she proposes a reflection on the way in which human beings interact with the natural environment and focuses on developing a complex and utopian rescue system of nature, considered as a precious asset to give value to.
The scaffolding which surrounds and protects the tree suggests the urgency of taking care of nature, of preserving and restoring it, just as it happens with monuments. The building site conceals and at the same time highlights – also thanks to night lighting – a natural element inserted in a blessed landscape: it is an invitation to ‘pay attention’, to look around and ‘feel’ the beauty which every olive tree, carob tree, every bush of prickly pears emanate.
Giuseppe Lana (Catania, 1979). His works stem from a reflection on the surrounding context and are strongly linked to his native place, with all its situations, people or events. His analysis of certain places and their often political and anthropological issues is mostly expressed through a strong connection with history. The main topic of his work focuses on the concept of “Time”, with the aim of dealing with it from a personal point of view, rather than from a merely conceptual one.
Zweisamkeit continues a research on the relationship between man and machine, economy and cultural development. In Europe, car industry has become a symbol of German excellence. The Fronton of the Parthenon, kept at the British Museum in London, is ‘reconstructed’ reusing old cars from a scrapyard, creating a contemporary frieze in which the symbols of the cultural and social power of classical Greece are replaced by the symbols of the economic and political power of today’s Germany.
Domenico Mangano & Marieke van Rooy
Domenico Mangano (Palermo, 1976). He has established himself on the Italian and international scene for his half surreal, half documentary photographic and video works. He has focused his research on local disadvantaged people, outsiders, alternative situations, opposition to or escape from the social rules. Since 2014 he has worked with Marieke van Rooy (Weert, Holland, 1974), an art history scholar and PhD student at the Faculty of the Built Environment – University of Technology Eindhoven.
Their work is a flute made with special clay called Nigra, a volcanic stone of mineral black color. Small but very precious, it is suitable for performative actions made by the visitors around the estate. It generates from a research process where the artists were committed to revealing the commonly unnoticed functioning of psychiatric institutions, which have suffered from the gradual dismantling of the welfare state in the Netherlands.
Luca Pancrazzi (Figline Valdarno, 1961). In his production, in which the artist uses different media, it is as if space and time were suspended, deprived of content and memory. His works lead to a search for meaning that is the antidote to “daily loss”, where “the need to save oneself from the shipwreck is replaced by the shipwreck of the lost soul, diffused in the same landscape which is being painted and acknowledged”.
His Mappa del cielo fuori registro (Out of Registration Map of the Sky) is a wooden platform for observing the night sky: on this platform, some mirror-head nails draw the star map of the southern hemisphere, opposite to the one we see above our head. Observers are invited to lie down to observe the sky. It might happen that one or two stars of our sky are mirrored in the stars on the platform: this casual event will be read as a sign of sensitivity of the observer. Lying on the platform, we might even try to feel suspended between the two hemispheres; the earth will no longer have a mass and will let us see the full sky, at every angle. We observers are the mass of the earth.
Paolo Parisi (Catania, 1965). In Paolo Parisi’s work, experiencing art as a cognitive act and the variation of perception connected to a change in the point of view are fundamental, through the transformation of a non-arbitrary assumption into the artistic image. The latter is deliberately transposed through tools which do not let psychological data interfere, such as architectural relief, cartography, and photography. His works, resulting from a process of stratification of manual and industrial methods, become triggers which propose a physical dimension of the artistic expression, especially of painting: its essence and tautology.
The poster shows a shape which reproduces the borders of the estate, along with references connected to the artist’s (artistic) experience of Sicily, linking the Busulmone Estate to other places: from the Brodbeck Foundation in Catania, to “the presence of an artwork in a collection in Agrigento that I did not know anything about and that comes from a gallery I no longer work with”… together with: Riso Museum, Mount Etna, Gianluca Collica gallery, Palazzo Fichera, up to the exhibition in Palermo, which will be held during the opening of Osservatori, as a collateral event of Manifesta, curated by Lorenzo Bruni.
Gianni Pettena & Marco Pace
Gianni Pettena (Bolzano, 1940). Architect, artist and critic, he belongs to the original core of Italian radical architecture. He prefers to use the tools and languages of visual arts, rather than those traditionally belonging to architectural design. His artistic activity is nourished by the languages of ‘space’ research, of conceptual art and of American land art, emphasizing the conceptual elements which are specific of his interdisciplinary ‘intrusion’.
Marco Pace (Lanciano, 1971). Whilst carrying on his research in painting, since 2010 he has collaborated with Gianni Pettena. In his paintings he represents interiors of architectures and landscapes of a primordial essence, inhabited by figures which are different, in relation to the current context: the result is a theatrical scene, an installation which highlights the centrality of the subject, directly in front of the eyes of the viewer.
Termitarium is composed of an installation and a theoretical text: it can be interpreted as a large painting, a sculpture or a giant architectural maquette. On a tree and on the shrubs at its base some non-woven fabric is sewn which wraps them completely, except for some small bush or leaf that manage to penetrate the plot. The fabric is painted with a phosphorescent paint so that, in the dark, this evanescent work will unveil its dystopian aspect. Since the work in its mutability occupies an ephemeral and virtual space, Gianni Pettena’s text – placed at a distance from the installation – has the aim of underlining its potential presence anywhere else.
Luca Vitone (Genoa, 1964). The central elements of his work are the complex relationship between the place and the map, between the materiality of things of life and their topological loss, with particular attention paid to social transformations, consequent to the introduction of new cultural aspects in the local traditions. Starting from the physical and historical architecture of the places, he analyzes a personal dimension built through the stratification of different languages linked to the identity and roots of the place itself. With a half anarchic, and half nomadic nature, his work explores the ways in which places build their identity through culture: art, music, architecture, politics and ethnic minorities.
Tracing back to the place (Compass) is a work made by three black and white analogic photographic prints. Three contact sheets reproduce three compasses. The work, which leads the visitor to the research of the artwork itself, intends to focus not only to the meaning of the object, but also to the relationship between man and the place in which he lives. The compass is a tool for orientation that offers the possibility of finding a place. Its photographic reproduction does not indicate any other direction except the one made visible. In other words it represents just itself, as an object placed in a specific space. Each individual has his own different geography in which he acts, both in an artificial and natural environment. The way we look for the artwork is totally free, as a real discovery in the artistic path. The compass is therefore a metaphor of “being here”, of the geographical surroundings and of the work itself.
Wolfgang Weileder (Munich, 1965). His artistic practice is primarily concerned with the examination and critical deconstruction of architecture, public spaces and the interaction we have with the urban environment. Weileder’s site-specific and time-based works offer a new approach, to question our understanding of the urban environment, artificial and natural landscapes and the interaction we have with them, investigating the relationship between time and space, the interface between permanence and transience.
Pars pro Toto is an architectural installation based on the traditional 18th century English garden folly, built entirely from recycled plastic waste. Combining the by-product of our excessive consumerism, with the classic Roman temple design that embodies the styles and lasting ideals of democracy, philosophy and shared values, the work juxtaposes two opposing results of our Western culture. As an artistic contribution to the on-going public debate surrounding the UK leaving the European Union and the recent political developments in the USA, Pars pro Toto questions our current understanding of culture, value systems and populist democratic decisions.