Back to the Future BTTF 7
Discover it at 02:10
Corridor Dark Blue 8 - Orange 7
Discover it at 05:06
Corridor Light Blue 9
Discover it at 08:00
Corridor Pink B-34
Discover it at 09:57
Corridor Violet 3 - Green 4
Discover it at 13:56
Welcome to Artissima! You are listening to audio number 6 entitled AllAroundtheWord. My name is Elena and I will be your guide in exploring this wonderful jungle of art and artists that is the Artissima fair. But, first of all, what kind of fair is this? This fair is a place where works of art are sold, because, like any other object, even art is bought and sold. But in what kind of shops? If I need a pair of trousers I go to a clothes shop, if I need to buy a notebook I go to a stationery shop, if I want to buy a work of art I go to an art gallery. There are 174 art galleries from all over the world present here! Once a year these galleries come to Turin, here to Artissima, to show and sell their artwork. Each gallery has its own little room, a stand, and you can tell them apart by looking at the top for the flag with the name of the gallery and the city of origin. In this extraordinary chaos we will become explorers: we will have to be good at finding our way around without getting lost, have keen eyes to observe and understand details, a great deal of curiosity and good legs to move through this space. And who knows, maybe this journey of ours, like any self-respecting adventure, will transform us a little and help us look at things a little differently. Are you ready? So map in hand, pause the player and head for the GRAMMA_EPSILON Gallery that you can find at number 7 in the Back to the Future corridor. That’s where we will begin our exploration. Press play once you're there, I'll be waiting!
We are at Gramma_Epsilon, a gallery in Athens, Greece. Did you have a hard time finding it? You will gradually become an expert and the meanderings of the art fair will no longer hold any secrets for you. In our exploration today, we will meet many artists who use letters and words in their artwork. Letters form words, and what are words for? Together, one after the other, we need them to communicate, chat, make important speeches, but also to tell stories, write books, make up poems, write the shopping list, do our homework in a notebook... Are you curious to see how these artists use words and letters instead? Let's start by looking for a work that resembles an accordion booklet entitled 'History of a monument', by an artist named Mirella Bentivoglio. Have you found it? First of all, we note that this work consists of 1, 2, 3, ... 6 parts! And what does the artist Mirella Bentivoglio do? She plays with the word MONUMENT. So on the first page she actually builds a statue, a monument, out of the letters of this word. At the top there even seems to be a face, then with the M two nice broad shoulders and then down, straight as a column. Also on the second page, the letters are straight and rigid, then on the third, however, it seems that this monument is collapsing, the letters fall in groups forming sounds such as NUUU or MEEE or forming new words: MUTO, ME, NUME... can you find any others? As they fall they all get mixed up and break! In the fifth image they are shattered, and in this way, they are creating new forms. And what happens in the last image? The broken letters rearrange themselves to form a nice solid rectangle, similar to the one on the first two sheets. We no longer find the word monument, we no longer even find the letters, only bits and pieces. They almost look like symbols of a code to be deciphered - what could they mean? Are there other works by Mirella Bentivoglio in this gallery? They are all by her! Stop and observe them. Then pause the player and head for the Astuni Gallery, at number 8 in the Blue corridor. Press play when you get there, I'll be waiting!
Here we are at the second stop of our exploration. We are at the Astuni Gallery, which is found in Bologna, here in Italy. Since our journey is an exploration of artists who use letters and words, which of the works present are we going to observe? Well done! The big blue and red sign! Who is the author? Go and read the caption! The artist who created this work is called Maurizio Nannucci. But what kind of work is it? What materials does the artist use? Are you able to identify them? What are the letters made of? They are small glass tubes inside which flows a gas called neon, which lights up in different colours with electricity. This type of writing is in fact called NEON. But where is neon like this usually found? Have you ever happened to see it walking around the city? We see neon signs and lettering at night or in the evenings, on the walls or on the roofs of buildings, and they serve to draw attention to the presence of pharmacies, shops, hotels, discotheques... Nannucci very often displays his lettering on top of buildings, just as if they were real signs, and so with his work he changes the landscape of the city and transforms it. His works are not meant to stay in the rooms of museums, but are really meant to be seen and read by everyone! ...But in this case the message is not clear.. M, T, O, H... MTOHR... what a strange word!!! Maybe the colour helps a little. Nannucci mixes two English sentences together: one he writes in red, the other he writes in blue, then he alternates the letters and thus seems to create a word that does not exist! Let's see if any of you can find the word REAL, spelled R E A L. And the word NOT? If you need some help, get the adults with you to help you read the two sentences! And at home then play at writing messages to your family or friends by mixing two sentences together like Nannucci does, see if they can decipher what you want to tell them! Now pause the player and head for the Matèria Gallery of Rome. You can find it at stand 9 in the Sky-blue corridor, there is another neon waiting for us there.
Here we are on the third leg of our exploratory journey. Do you feel a little tired? Luckily there is a greengrocer here, maybe we can have a snack! A greengrocer?! Where? Have you seen the green FRUIT sign? I told you there would be another neon! But what is such writing doing at an art fair? Is there really a greengrocer here? Or is the writing a work of art? The idea sounds crazy, but even this inscription is a piece of artwork that says the Italian words for FRUIT AND VEGETABLES in full, and the artist who created it is named Giuseppe De Mattia. It looks just like an actual sign for a fruit and vegetable shop! Giuseppe has always loved fruit and vegetable shops, with all those beautifully laid out vegetables and shiny fruit. Just think that the first time De Mattia exhibited, he showed this work of art at the Matèria Gallery in Rome, where he also created a real stall with fruit and vegetable crates. There were bananas, oranges, apples, onions, peppers, aubergines, carrots... and visitors could buy them! Just think: shopping for food in an art gallery, crazy stuff!!! Imagine the amazement of visitors who thought they were going to a gallery and admiring and commenting on works of art with great seriousness, and instead found themselves in a place that looked like a greengrocer's!!! De Mattia plays and enjoys teasing us by creating things we don't expect at all! There are still two legs of our journey to go. Pause the player, as usual, and head for the Labs Gallery, stand number 34 in the Pink corridor at the end, we'll continue this tour when you get there!
Here we are at the Labs Gallery, found in Bologna, like the Astuni Gallery, the one with Nannucci's red and blue neon work. What should we look for in this gallery? Pieces of stone and a sheet with lots of writing and drops of gold. Have you spotted them? These objects were made by an Austrian artist who has been living in Bologna for many years, whose name is Greta Schödl. These works are very different, one is attached to the wall, soft, light and delicate, the other is heavy, rough and hard, we can walk around it... However, there are some common characteristics. What do you think they are? Pause the audio for a moment, discuss it together, and then press play. Here we are again! Have you discussed this? One aspect these works certainly have in common is that they all have lettering on them. Approach one of the stone blocks. What’s written on it? Marmo, the Italian word for Marble! It is the material of which the work is made, and to think that it was also the preferred material of the great sculptors of the past, such as Michelangelo. Greta, however, instead of turning it into a statue, writes the word MARMO on it. But how many times has she written it? Are you able to count them all? Maybe it would take us all afternoon because Greta repeats the same word, written extremely small and without spaces between letters so many times. Think about how long it takes to cover these objects with writing and think about the concentration, and the patience, and the effort of writing so much! Up close we saw what was written, we recognised letter by letter. But if we turn away, what do we see? The writing can no longer be read and we seem to see a block of stone with very dense and elegant decorations, made more precious by the gold droplets that Greta often likes to use in her works! Why did Greta decide to use precisely these materials? Marble, a sheet... Greta says that she does not go looking for materials to write on, but finds them by chance. They appeal to her for some reason and takes them to transform them! Before belonging to her those objects had had other owners, they had been used, had known different places and seen different people... they each had their own history! The sheet for example: it belonged to her grandmother (if you get closer you can read SW, her initials) and Greta imagines how many dreams were made there, how many tears shed, how many thoughts, how many wishes were born between those sheets! Greta then takes these objects and transforms them in a very personal way (because she does it with her own writing, which is different from anyone else's). The artist turns objects into precious works of art by adding a brand new piece to their story! And who knows now who will buy them, where they will go in the world, who will be able to see them... who knows how their story will continue! Now, thinking of the extraordinary journeys that await these objects, pause the player and head for the Di Caro Gallery in the Green corridor at stand number 4. Press play once you're there, I'll be waiting!
Here we are finally at the last stop of our wonderful exploration! We conclude our journey by meeting a very funny artist, now an old lady, but let's not be fooled by appearances: she continues to work with energy! What is the name of this artist? Tomaso Binga. But how can she be called Tomaso? We just said it's a woman, Tomaso is a man's name! And Binga... that's a silly surname! Actually, this artist was called Bianca Pucciarelli, but at some point she decided to change her name, and so she chose Binga as her surname because it made her laugh, and she signed her early works this way; while for her first name she chose Tomaso, which was the name of one of her favourite poets. Bianca, or rather Tomaso, has always had a great passion for poetry: she was already writing poetry at the age of ten, and when she was a child she enjoyed taking famous poems and mixing up the words to amuse her relatives, friends and classmates. Speaking of school... the work Tomaso Binga presents in this gallery seems more suitable for a classroom than an art fair. Looking around have you figured out which one we are talking about? Tomaso Binga's work is called 'Proverbial Alphabet' and is made up of many cards, each with a letter, written in block letters and cursive, and a drawing, just like the alphabets that are sometimes hung in the first classrooms of primary schools, used by teachers to teach children to read and write. Take the letter A for example,... a for AAApe, which is Italian for bee B as in BBB Boat C as in CCCane, the Italian word for dog and so on! But are we really sure this is a normal school alphabet? First of all, we notice that there are little letters hidden in the drawings that Tomaso cuts out and pastes. And then at the bottom it doesn't say the Italian words for Bee, Boat, Dog, Moon, Toad, etc., but sentences that look like rules, orders, proverbs, using the same letters the cards depict... Sentences like ‘Sing, Don't Count!’ or 'No More Lies'! Would you like to try it too? Choose a letter and invent a piece of the 'Proverbial Alphabet' together, just like Tomaso Binga does. Put the audio on pause, then when you have invented it, press play. Have you managed to invent your own piece of the proverbial alphabet? I would be very curious to hear it! Just think that Tomaso Binga has made a lot of strange alphabets. She even made one he called a 'Wall Alphabetiser' where she mimicked the letters of the alphabet with her body. For example, think of how you would make an A with your body? And an I? And a Z? In today's extraordinary exploration we went in search of artists who have something in common: they all have a great passion for letters and words. We have discovered that these are not only for writing stories, talking or making shopping lists, but artists use them to write in neon as if they were large signs, build monuments of letters that then collapse and break into a thousand pieces, decorate marble blocks or sheets of paper with their own handwriting, and even form strange and original alphabets... Who knows how many other artists here at the fair today that we have not encountered include letters and words in their artwork? What do you say, wouldn't it be fun to notice them when you are going through the fair? And when you come out of Artissima, now that you have your eyes trained, try looking around on the street, or at home, and see how many writings are all around us! Have fun while you continue to explore! Ciao!