Corridor Pink A-19
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Corridor Pink A-11
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Corridor Red 3
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Corridor Red 8
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Corridor Pink B-10
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Hello! We welcome you to Artissima 2022. This is the AudioGuide project and you are listening to route number 3 entitled "Decolonise Ourselves", dedicated to the practices of artists belonging to diverse generations and disciplinary traditions. They focus on different geographical orientations, yet all their ideas echo a decolonial approach. Their projects lead to generating sites of construction and deconstruction of knowledge, complicating pre-existing narratives, through a transcultural, transdisciplinary and transgenerational approach. Colonialism changes forms and modes of expression, but survives in many other areas of social living. Decolonising to re-signify, generate a new approach to the concept of identity and work on the future. Different poetics and declinations that have in common the urgency to restore cultural autonomy where there is a condition of subordination, dependence; precisely, that of colonisation. Every 'decolonisation' has the project of 'disentangling ourselves' from the structure of imposed knowledge and then 'reconstituting' new ways of thinking, speaking and living. Hence the importance of memory work, not in terms of commemoration, but as a willingness to take part in the historical process that takes place between remembrance and amnesia. This year Artissima speaks to us of Transformative Experience as the possibility of challenging rationally prefigured expectations, opening up perspectives into the unknown. In this vein, we see today how even the new directions of museum institutions are moving towards disentangling themselves from the concept of permanence. Think, for example, of ethnographic museums or those that boast historical collections that are considered untouchable: the objects and narratives within them are to be 'released from prison', made independent of the story that has always been told about them. With this approach, it becomes possible to open up to the living nature of perception, with philological and pedagogical attention. Isn't this, then, the role of art? To disrupt the current logic in order to unlearn, sometimes disturbingly, aspiring to unhinge, undermine, decolonise, no less, in its ideals of fixity, our own consciousness. I am Valentina Roselli and I will accompany you on this journey. We are ready to go. Pause your player and head for the Laveronica gallery located along the Pink A route at number 19, where we will begin our tour. Press play once you are there.
We are at the Laveronica Gallery on the Pink A corridor, number 19. We start with a gallery that since its beginnings has worked with practices that investigate the human condition, with a strong approach to the public and political dimension. At a glance, it will be clear to you why we are starting here with the Decolonise Ourselves route. But do you see the work forming an alphabet? This is the project of artist Daniela Ortiz, which only from a distance gives a sense of childlike serenity; in fact, approaching it one discovers an alphabet that proposes a very direct anti-racist narrative and language. We start with A, which, translated, stands for: AEROPLANES carrying white European tourists on holiday are used for the deportation of racialised migrants and asylum seekers. During expulsions, the authorities use a great deal of violence. It is like an Apartheid regime in airports. Recently, Ortiz's artistic practice has returned to a visual and manual dimension, developing artworks in ceramics, collage and formats such as children's books in order to also formally move away from the Eurocentric conceptual art aesthetic. The project entitled ABC of Racist Europe, from 2017, takes the form of a children's book and an installation of individual images that evoke the letters usually found in school classrooms. C for: COLONIALISM that created the global conditions for detention camps for migrants from former COLONIES in European countries. In this way, the artist addresses the consequential relationship between the current system of migration control and its connection to colonialisms, in which various figures of anti-racist and anti-colonial resistance are mentioned. E for: British EMPIRE ECONOMY built through oppression and Exploitation of peoples M for: MEDITERRANEAN, the sea where the white European middle class spends their holidays, is the same sea where more than 50,000 MIGRANTS have died or disappeared. Daniela Ortiz, born in 1986, lives and works in Cusco, Peru. She explores, in a wide-ranging and critical manner, colonial, patriarchal and capitalist power structures as well as the legal dynamics created by European institutions to inflict violence on racialised communities. R for: Rejection of neo-colonial regimes! It's time to REJECT racist Rules! We will Resist with radical anti-racism The artist gives lectures and workshops, conducts investigations and participates in discussions on the system of migration control in Europe and its links to colonialism in various contexts. She also developed projects on the Peruvian upper class and its exploitative relationship with domestic workers. Z for: The ZOMBIES of the colonial system, who created comfort for themselves and suffering for others, they deserve to be locked up in a human ZOO. With the last letter of the alphabet we’ve finished our first stop. Pause your player and head for The Gallery Apart gallery, on the PINK A corridor at number 11. Press play once you are there. I'll be waiting for you!
We are now at the Roman gallery, The Gallery Apart on Pink Corridor A at number 11. We’ll concentrate on the Chto Delat collective, founded in early 2003 in St. Petersburg by a group of artists, critics, philosophers and writers with the aim of combining political theory, art and activism. The group was formed in an action called 'The Re-founding of Petersburg'. Shortly afterwards, the original nucleus, still without a name, began publishing an English-Russian newspaper focusing on pressing issues of Russian cultural policy in dialogue with the international context. They called the newspaper Chto Delat? (which means, What to do?) the name in fact comes from a novel by the 19th century Russian writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky, which Lenin referred to in his own publication, "Chto Delat?" between late 1901 and early 1902. We recall the coherence of this collective with the 2014 action of withdrawing from participation in Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg as a local protest against the development of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. This, of course, triggered a heated debate about participation and boycotts of art events. Their production is articulated in a wide range of media, deploying a wide variety of cultural activities aimed at activating and politicising the 'production of knowledge'... The collective's works are characterised by the use of alienation effects, surreal scenarios, albeit based on cases of concrete social and political struggles. On the occasion of Artissima 2022, The Gallery Apart presents them with two works: a diptych of embroidery on fabric from 2016, which has as its central element the partly true, partly invented story of a boy named Marat, a name quite common in the former Soviet republics, which plays on the homonym of the French Marat, one of the voices most listened to by the people during the revolution: in other words, the protagonist of Jacques-Louis David's painting. The young Marat mentioned in this work was killed by a gang of right-wing extremists while feeding his cat. Nikolay Oleynikov, the artist from the Chto Delat collective who creates this type of work, takes this event as the beginning of a story that changes by taking another turn. So we see the first part of the diptych recounting the actual fact of this killing, the second referring to the hypothetical rebirth of Marat in the guise of a dancing person, thus giving new meaning to a tragic event. The second work presents a series of photos, which were also exhibited at the latest Norwegian biennial Momentum. The photos are taken from the video made in close contact with a community organised according to the rules of Zapatismo, which is found in Athens. We are talking about people from all over the world who found asylum in the Greek capital and with whom the members of Chto Delat lived. All in all, a video, collages and this photographic series were produced. The portraits we see put these people back in the centre of the world with the expedient of backlit maps and some elements that characterise their personal history. The exercise lies in how we learn from each other, re-imagine a politics of the everyday, generate forms of autonomy and solidarity. But how can that learning together build a movement of struggle? This is where our second stop ends. Pause your player and head for the Leme Gallery on the Red corridor at number 3. Press play once you are there. I'll be waiting for you!
We are now at the Brazilian Leme Gallery on the Red Route, at number 3. We approach the paintings of Tiago Sant'Ana: visual artist, curator, and PhD student in Culture and Society at the Federal University of Bahia. His research is immersed in the tensions and representations of Afro-Brazilian identities. Central to Tiago Sant'Ana's research is the realisation that history, like all construction of knowledge, is a field of power. And, in turn, the social position of the viewer of the facts is intrinsic to the process of creating the story itself. The artist's recent paintings that we see today at Artissima are from 2020, that means they were produced during the pandemic. We see portraits of men in a dimension of tranquillity or intimacy as opposed to art history's crystallised idea of hypersexualised black masculinity, always connoted by situations of force, labour, violence, brutality. The emptiness around these characters is an important element in his new research, bringing all attention to the centre, to human representation. Among the paintings we also see thorns that recall the concept of mortality, but at the same time, the hands generate a throb of life despite the pain. In the Crowned series, crowns, often used in sculptures of saints in the Brazilian Baroque tradition or in Renaissance paintings, do not fit the heads of the men depicted. But the three-dimensionality of the crown crosses the top of the faces with its shadows, creating a new design. One area of insight that underpins the artist's thinking is the history of the sugar cycle, understood as a narrative constructed from a Eurocentric point of view, which saw colonial expansion as a great advantage for the world. Upon examining this history of 'colonial glory', we realise that it has been structured through violence and judgement, by Eurocentric models of life that overwhelmingly generate the parameters for every society. Giving a poetic and perturbing image of this process is the work of Tiago Sant'Ana, entitled Sugar Shoes, which is in fact a contradictory image because it is about shoes that are impossible to wear, fragile and precarious, just like the very metaphor those shoes represent, namely: freedom. Just recently, during a debate, the Italian performer Salvo Lombardo quoted the words of the revolutionary psychiatrist, anthropologist, philosopher and essayist Frantz Fanon, representative of the Third Worldism movement for decolonisation. He argued that in its own way 'every people frees itself from colonialism'. But getting there requires generating internal spaces of understanding and questioning: asking what am I compromising, what am I jeopardising? Who are my allies in this process? Tiago Sant'Ana's work has within it the power to create strong and direct images of complex and layered issues. His relationship with these themes demonstrates his capacity for dialogue and questioning through artistic making. This is where our third stop ends. Pause your player and head for the Copperfield Gallery on the Red Corridor, at number 8. Press play once you are there. I'll be waiting for you!
We are now at the Copperfield Gallery on the Red Corridor, at number 8 The gallery, founded in 2016 in London, focuses on multidisciplinary practices open to diversity and sustainability. What makes Ada M. Patterson's work unique and incredibly contemporary is her ability to integrate reflections on the concept of identity and on the climate drama into a complex and fragmented research. She investigates the various ways in which storytelling can limit, enable and complicate identity formation. She does so through performance, poetry, textile compositions and masquerade, interspecies love songs, queer and trans pedagogies and reflections on climate imperialism. A kind of lyrical portal to urgent social dynamics. Ada M. Patterson was born in 1994 in Bridgetown, capital of Barbados, and works between Rotterdam and London. The complex issues she touches upon are further intensified by her Caribbean nature that finds itself coming to terms with living in the UK, although she claims she has never sought to identify with a sense of Britishness. Just this year, Patterson took part in a group show at the Tate Modern, a historical exhibition that chronicled the breadth of Caribbean-British art over four generations. An example of very good intentions, where, however, the risk of Britain being at the centre of this exhibition, with 'the Caribbean' in the background, was quite high. Ada M. Patterson, the youngest artist in the exhibition, has highlighted a contemporary voice of her region with her work in the photographic series we find today at Artissima. The photos are taken from the brilliant video Looking for 'Looking for Langston'. Here is an insight on the origins of her choice: The video raises the question of access: in fact, this work grew out of her experience of trying to physically access Isaac Julien's 1989 film Looking for Langston, a milestone in the exploration of artistic expression and African-American studies. The original film was a lyrical survey of the private world of the poet, social activist, playwright Langston Hughes and his fellow black artists and writers who formed the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. It was a movement that had a profound impact not only on African-American culture, but also on all other cultures resulting from the African diaspora. Afro-Caribbean artists and intellectuals from the British West Indies were an integral part of the movement. In this artist's work we often find the relationship with water and the Atlantic coast as a symbol of fluidity and change, qualities that constantly resonate in Patterson's work. In the images here we see a captain dreaming of setting sail, in search of a mysterious, intangible, comforting vision that remains on the edge of the horizon. A vision embodied by a blindfolded sailor who moves with fluid movements, far removed from a masculinised and stereotyped image. At the heart of the original film was the nature of desire and the reciprocity of the gaze, which would become the hallmark of New Queer Cinema. But Patterson's film is not just a poetic and nostalgic homage. She takes us back to the days of her upbringing, when the works of the Black queer cultural archive could only be accessed illicitly, in a fragmented way. In Patterson's memory, Julien's 'Looking for Langston' represents a crucial but elusive, evasive work. We also see printed fabrics entitled 'Kanga for the Present'. Begun during Hurricane Dorian in 2019, kanga is a practice the artist inherited from her mother, an ancestral East African clothing tradition. Patterson applies a contemporary attitude to the kangas and assigns a name and practice to each. These works are then given to a person for whom that name and that action are meaningful, so that they can wear them and feel protected, loved. Made in a time of natural and social disasters, these kangas provided Patterson with a means to find the few words she needed to explain what was happening in the Caribbean, and what is still happening and will continue to happen in our crisis-ridden world. A crisis that is not only climatic, but also one of identity and surrounds a central theme for the artist: accepting to be different. We have finished our fourth stop. Pause your player and head for the Max Goelitz Gallery on the Pink B corridor, at number 10. Press play once you are there. I'll be waiting for you!
We are now at the Max Goelitz Gallery on the Pink B route at number 10. In this last stop, we discover the work of the young artist Natacha Donzé. We find ourselves facing research into systems of decolonising thought by immersing ourselves in the present and the at times dystopian future of everyday activities. Among the practices we are going to get to know together in Decolonise Ourselves, this artist undoubtedly has a more conceptual and abstract posture, consistent with the gallery that represents her. She is included in the New Entries section and it is with this perspective on the future that we begin to say bid our farewells. The artist's work offers an escape into reflection with a sense of poetry and decadence, this is seen in the large central painting consisting of several canvases. The iconographic complexity of Donzé's paintings are characterised by pictorial and conceptual layering that complicate and question power structures. The large formats of the Swiss artist born in 1991, who trained in textile design in Paris, are thus presented as spaces in which questions arise without being imposed. The creation of deliberately seductive images goes hand in hand with themes such as collapse, dislocation or chaos. In her paintings, the Swiss artist deconstructs the structures of the institutional, political and commercial systems of our time by collecting fragments of these orders and incorporating them into her visual worlds without hierarchy. With her painting practice, the artist takes us into an eclectic mix of references: cinema, science, popular imagery, art history and secular beliefs, all of which are deconstructed to generate a unique, integrated look that is neither fully figurative nor fully abstract. With strong colours, the artist explores the influence of human beings on their environment. In Murmuration IV, monitoring sediments, of 2022 composed of four parts, with its dark red tones and floating structures it is inspired by long-exposure infrared photographs taken by drones. Reflections of light can be seen on this undulating surface that could depict alleged targets, bringing the theme of surveillance into its visual universe. Indistinct patterns unfold on canvases with various colour palettes, eluding any kind of precise definition. This indefiniteness is contrasted by the sharp outline of the central canvas with fluorescent colours, reminiscent of the reflectors of uniforms or means of transport, as danger signals, thus drawing attention to the state apparatus and emphasising the opacity of their actions. Another pictorial theory of the artist is also based on persuasion and marketing strategies, which generate a subtle and invincible manipulation through language and images. This young artist's research takes us into the dimension of power between the folds of everyday life, between seduction and manipulation, disorientation and beauty. A transformative experience. Conclusion We have finished our fifth and final stop. We hope that this route has stimulated and intrigued you. If you'd like another perspective on the art fair, go back to the info point or the AudioGuides landing page and select another podcast! See you soon and enjoy Artissima!