The Gagosian Gallery of London celebrates Avedon and Wahrol

gagosian3.jpgThe English critics defined it “effortlessy cool” , bringing together the iconicicity of Andy Warhol and the style of Richard Avedon in one exhibition, indeed, can only lead to a successful outcome.

Larry Gagosian. the contemporary art shark, bets on two bigs of the last century for the namesake impressive gallery of Britannia Street, London, where he boasts two other spaces, in Mayfair. Where else?

My camera and I, together we have the power to confer or to take away.

-Richard Avedon

They always say That Time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

-Andy Warhol

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The exhibition opens with these two quotes of its protagonists, both rose to prominence in postwar America with parallel artistic output that occasionally overlapped. Their most memorable images are icons of the late twentieth century.

Many are the reasons why Gagosian chose to pair the two artists, often parallel not only in time.

minelli-review-warhollPortraiture was a shared focus of both artists, and they made use of repetition and serialization: Avedon through the reproducible medium of photography, and in his group photographs, for which he meticulously positioned, collaged, and reordered images; Warhol in his method of stacked screenprinting, which enabled the consistent reproduction of an image. Avedon’s distinctive gelatin-silver prints and Warhol’s boldly colored silkscreens variously depict many of the same recognizable faces, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolf Nureyev and the self portaits of the artists themselves.

The new trend in the Contemporary Art is to stop using the captions, but in this case – due to the celebrity of subjects and authors- we won’t miss them.

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Both came from modest background, but soon have tremendous commercial success working for major magazines in New York. The 1960s marked artistic turning points for both artists as they moved away increasingly from strictly commercial work towards their own mature independent styles. The works in the exhibition, which date from the 1950s through the 1990s, emphasize such common themes as social and political power; the evolving acceptance of cultural differences, and the glamour and despair of celebrity.

Meanwhile the other two London spaces of “art broker”, (which boasts galleries in the world’s best hot-spots), not surprisingly nicknamed “Larry Go-Go,” display the German Albert Oehlen and the American Harmony Korine. But if you are around Mayfair, take the opportunity to admire the Master of Bronze, Arnaldo Pomodoro, at Tornabuoni Gallery, and Piero Manzoni at Mazzoleni. Here, once in a while, we can feel proudly Italians.

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Roxy in the box, il Rock travestito da Pop

RoxyinTheBox.jpg“La scatola è la mia casa, la mia testa, il mio cuore, il mio ventre.” Rosaria Bosso, in arte Roxy in the box, è un’artista ed una donna complessa: eterogenea ma mai difficile , Roxy non si nasconde. Per parafrasare un verso di Whitman(niana memoria): contiene moltitudini.

Rifuggendo da qualsivoglia etichetta, utilizza il pop come strumento ma con un sapiente occhio critico. Fino ad approdare lo scorso autunno alla Street Art con “ Chatting” : una chiacchierata (neanche tanto) immaginaria con 18 iconici personaggi legati al mondo dell’arte, politica, letteratura , tutti dipinti ed incollati ai muri dei quartieri spagnoli (di Napoli naturalmente) seguendo la tecnica della poster art.

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Da Pierpaolo Pasolini a Marina Abramovic, passando per Amy Winehouse e Martin Luther King fino ad arrivare alla Gioconda e Frida Kahlo, nuovi illustri inquilini popolano i Quartieri , e fanno compagnia alle signore che hanno l’abitudine di prendere il caffè fuori casa – i caratteristici e folkloristici “vasci”. Una sorta di metateatro, quasi un progetto antropologico.

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“La street art è stata una necessità, un forte bisogno di comunicare verso l’esterno in tutti i sensi. Non pensavo di ricevere tanta attenzione, ma la cosa che mi gratifica di più è che la gente comune, spesso quella non educata all’arte, mi ferma e mi ringrazia per quello che faccio. Prima di scendere per strada mai nessuno mi aveva ringraziato per quello che avevo fatto.”

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Roxy, ti ho sentito dire che il Pop per te è la “crosta” della nostra società, puoi spiegarti meglio?

“Il pop non risparmia nessuno. Solitamente ha un linguaggio semplice, colorato, apparentemente leggero e fruibile a tanti. A volte snobbato e trattato con superficialità da chi invece usa o ama un linguaggio completamente opposto.

Se dovessi immaginarmi il pop, lo immaginerei come un grande parco giochi dove ci sono delle giostre bellissime e dove in tantissimi vorrebbero salirci, dietro di loro quelli che con una faccia un po’ disgustata restano a guardare la giostra e quelli che ci salgono su.”

Il pop è sociale, in quanto popolare.

L’arte di Roxy sembra vivace e ironica, ma sottende una velata malinconia. Ha dichiarato: “ Il colore copre il mio nero”. Spesso ha indagato temi difficili che poi ha ricoperto con dei colori vivaci.

L’arte attraverso il corpo. La tua presenza nelle opere non è mai autoreferenziale. Raccontaci del tuo trasformismo.

“Sono la persona che conosco meglio di tutti, quindi mi uso. E poi mi piace entrare fisicamente in alcune situazioni, e il trasformismo mi permette appunto di avvicinarmi maggiormente al tema trattato.”

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Internet è il tuo terzo braccio?” Internet è la nostra seconda testa, ormai nessuno ne può fare a meno.”

Come ti rapporti alla cultura delle immagini?

“Io vivo di immagini, ferme e in movimento.

Quando entro in libreria, il mio tempo lo dedico alle copertine dei libri.

Una volta lo facevo spesso nei negozi di dischi, che soddisfazione quei 33 giri, belli grandi e quadrati, era come entrare in un museo a sfogliare opere. Youtube poi non ne parliamo.. passo ore incantata a guardare videoclip: musica ed immagini perfette insieme.”

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Il tuo rapporto con la Napoli di ieri e quella di oggi.

Il mio rapporto con Napoli è meraviglioso. Amo questa città, è la lingua che ho nella mia bocca. Questo suo ritmo frenetico e morbido mi rende tutto meno difficile da affrontare. Qui sono al sicuro, so di vivere in una città aperta dove è quasi tutto possibile se ci sai fare almeno un po’.

Chiusa ironica: alla mia domanda, “può ancora un artista essere locale?” Roxy risponde:

Per me di locale sono rimaste le trattorie e le pasticcerie, da non sottovalutare mai!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calder: La Scultura è Mobile

CALDER-TATE.jpgPuò una scultura essere mobile, quasi eterea? Performing sclulpture, la mostra che la Tate Modern ha scelto di dedicare ad Alexander Calder , ci dimostra di sì.

Un delicato equilibrio di fili di ferro ( pionieristici per la scultura degli anni 20) sospesi ai soffitti e ombreggianti sulle pareti che assumono le forme delle loro proiezioni. La realizzazione di un ossimoro: Calder libera e rende cinetica la scultura, fino ad allora pensata come stabile e robusta, ora leggera e fragile . Ed ecco che Marchel Duchamp consacra questa “rivoluzione” coniando il termine “mobiles”: forme danzanti, che ondeggiano al minimo flusso di corrente..

“L’arte di Calder è la sublimazione di un albero nel vento”. ( M.D.)

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“Sandy” Calder, originario da una famiglia di noti artisti della Pennsylvania, studia come ingegnere meccanico presso il Stevens Institute of Technology di Hoboken, New Yersey.

Poco più che ventenne si sposta a Parigi. Qui viene da subito attratto dal mondo del circo, tanto da crearne uno tutto suo “: Le Cirque Calder”, smontabile e trasportabile in sole 5 valigie.. marionette, acrobati, personaggi sottili e aggraziati.

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Il 1930 è un anno decisivo: Calder visita lo studio di Mondrian, folgorato dalle sue forme geometriche colorate, immagina e presto dà vita ad un arte astratta in movimento.

L’ingegnere ottiene esattamente quello che voleva l’artista.

Una scultura aerea, sciolta dell’immobilità statuaria. Oltre ai “mobiles”, che affascinarono persino Einstein ( pare che rimase a fissarne uno per circa 40 minuti), la mostra propone anche alcuni progetti che testimoniano le sperimentazioni di Calder in altri campi, quali cinema, teatro, musica e danza. Ma soprattutto include anche quelli che Jean Harp nominò gli “stabiles”: bisogna camminare intorno ad uno “stabile” – il “mobile” invece danza di fronte a noi. In sostanza, nei suoi “mobiles”, il più delle volte manca la base tradizionale o un piedistallo che ancori l’opera al pavimento. Gli Stabiles, invece , sono sculture rigide, rette da una base poggiata a terra. Alcune di esse ricordano le contemporanee lampade di design Pallucco..unnamed.jpg

Una trasformazione radicale del concetto di scultura, che da oggetto tridimensionale diventa quadrimensionale – grazie all’aggiunta della dimensione del tempo, dovuta al movimento – e che in seguito assume ulteriori sfaccettature con la possibilità di interazione (tramite mani, dispositivi elettrici, correnti d’aria o il solo respiro umano) o di generare suoni. ( Si pensi al Gong)

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L’arte per Calder è sinonimo di spazio e movimento, sempre legata all’idea dell’Universo: volumi, masse, leggere, pesanti, di diversa taglia e colore, linee, vettori che rappresentano la velocità; forze, accelerazioni che creano angoli meravigliosi e ben studiati. Nulla è immobile, tutto può muoversi, oscillare, entrare in relazione con altri elementi.

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Tra una cascata di dischi bianchi e colorati di metallo, Foliage verticali,sfere che ricordano corpi celesti, arriviamo a “Black Widow”: realizzata nel 1948 e donata all ‘ IAB (Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil), l’opera è una delle eredità più tangibili del viaggio di Calder in Brasile . Normalmente ammirabile all’interno in uno spazio centrale nella sede dell’Istituto di San Paolo, è anche visibile dalla strada attraverso le finestre. Black widow, in viaggio per la prima volta, dimostra che Calder era capace di ridefinire lo spazio architettonico, non semplicemente di occuparlo .

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A guardare le dimensioni imponenti e le forme aguzze dei lavori esposti, ci viene naturale chiedere come siano trasportabili. Ebbene Calder ha reso possibile smantellare anche le più grandi sculture in modo che potessero essere spedite evitando problemi doganali. Ha essenzialmente progettato opere d’arte “Flat pack”, coordinate con dettagliate istruzioni codificate e colori numerati in modo da poter essere riassemblate correttamente una volta giunte a destinazione. Questa tecnica permette alle opere di Calder di viaggiare. E questa è una fortuna universale perché, come dicono numerosi critici: “Non si può descrivere il lavoro di Calder- si deve vedere “. Ebbene cosa aspettate? Performing Sculpture, ( oltre cento capolavori) , curata da Ann Coxon, è visitabile alla Tate Modern fino al 3 Aprile!

 

AnnaChiara Della Corte

DUE ANNI DI ARTOROOMS, LA START-UP DEL CONTEMPORANEO

 

TEAMARTROOMS.pngArtrooms è l’intuizione di tre manager, italiani doc, ognuno col proprio background e percorso professionale, messi al servizio di un innovativo spazio virtuale (e non) dove condividere un diverso modo di vivere l’arte contemporanea.

Tutto ha inizio nell’ ottobre 2013 al Master di Amministrazione Aziendale del Politecnico di Milano. Qui Giuseppe Autorino e Giuseppe D’Aniello, che diverranno presto CEO e CFO della start-up, elaborano il primo progetto di lavoro e nel mentre conoscono Diego Ciotola, artista emergente : l’ incontro si rivelerà determinante ed insieme i futuri soci indagano limiti e potenzialità del  mondo dell’arte e la sua fruizione, dalle aste alle gallerie.

I circuiti sembrano essere molto chiusi e circoscritti ai “soliti noti” giri di grandi nomi, ambiti dai collezionisti e portati avanti da un entourage di esperti mercanti e galleristi. Ecco che allora si fa chiara la necessità di digitalizzare l’arte, creare una vetrina per quel segmento di mercato che non si vede rappresentato da curatori o spazi espositivi esclusivi.

A metà strada tra l’e-commerce ed uno spazio creativo dove divulgare arte contemporanea, nel Gennaio 2014 nasce Artrooms.

Prendono forma delle stanze d’arte online che gli utenti possono percorrere e rendere vive , scegliendo il loro pezzo d’arte preferito con un click : “Noi puntiamo l’attenzione sulla percezione di bellezza, sul trasferimento di emozioni, e questi aspetti riguardano ogni persona, senza necessità di trovarsi di fronte a un esperto o un collezionista.” Afferma il CEO Giuseppe Autorino.

arki-star-2013-200x200dittico DI MASSIMO DIVENUTO.jpgDemocratizzare l’arte contemporanea, mettendo gli artisti al centro, ed escludendo intermediari ed escamotage commerciali speculativi: l’opera va dal laboratorio dell’artista alla porta del compratore, assicurata, e con il rilascio di una certificazione digitale che ne attesta l’autenticità e la proprietà.

Per facilitare l’acquisto, pensate che Artrooms ha messo a punto persino un app che consente al potenziale compratore di riportare l’opera esposta online su parete, per scegliere la sua collocazione più adatta. Nulla di più facile e pratico.

Non solo vendita, ma anche noleggio: liberare i pezzi d’arte dalle “gabbie” dei magazzini, farli viaggiare, ammirare in luoghi di prestigio o nell’ufficio del futuro acquirente. Il famoso rent to buy.284.151005.121002_12023087_10207852260254571_515979525_n DI LUCIA SCHETTINO.jpg

Ma facciamo un passo indietro. Come funziona Artrooms?

La caccia agli artisti è affidata agli Arthunters,  che in qualità di esperti, selezionano le opere che arricchiranno le stanze d’arte online . Ad ognuno di loro viene riconosciuto un fee che corrisponde a una percentuale del fatturato. L’arte è assoluta protagonista: ad oggi oltre 250 artisti e 1900  opere, tra sculture, fotografie e quadri di artisti emergenti ed affermati. La forza rivoluzionaria del progetto è data dalle innovative tecnologie sviluppate al suo interno, non a caso il CEO è un ingegnere.

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Atrooms continua a porsi nuovi sfide e lancia la prima “call” per artisti denominata “Different point of view” , finalizzata alla promozione e valorizzazione dell’Arte Contemporanea. Il tema è un oggetto, comunemente concepito per essere statico: la sedia.  Interessante sarà dunque conoscere le diverse interpretazioni di tale oggetto , solo apparentemente banale.

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I 50 progetti scelti dalla giuria saranno esposti in mostra a Milano durante il fuori salone del mobile 2016 , dal 12 al 17 aprile.

La collettiva , organizzata in collaborazione con MiLoft Concept, sarà allestita negli spazi SOLARI 11 – BISLERI 1881 che per l’occasione apriranno le porte al pubblico. I 50 progetti realizzati saranno inoltre messi in vendita su Artrooms.it,  e diverranno protagonisti del catalogo che racconterà la storia di “Different point of View”. Per saperne di più: http://www.artrooms.it/call-for-artist.html.

 

Ultima novità, non di certo per importanza, Artoroom offre ora la possibilità non solo di acquistare o noleggiare online, ma garantisce anche un servizio di organizzazione e gestione di un evento d’arte a 360 gradi. Basterà dunque affidarsi alla maestria del team di Artlovers per avere un pacchetto completo.

Finora il riscontro per ArtRooms è stato più che positivo: nei due anni appena scorsi, le opere e gli artisti aumentano sempre più,  il successo si consolida tra fiere, manifestazioni e gallerie di prestigio. Motivo di vanto per una start-up  orgogliosamente partenopea, segno che Napoli non smette di essere florido bacino di menti creative.

AnnaChiara Della Corte

 

NOT TO MISS: GLI APPUNTAMENTI FIERISTICI DI INIZIO 2016

A cavallo tra fine gennaio e inizi febbraio, appassionati e collezionisti di arte moderna e contemporanea rimandano i loro rilassanti w-end in montagna per partecipare alle maggiori fiere di settore.

bdcimageAppena conclusasi la London Art Fair (dopo Frieze, la più grande fiera di arte moderna e contemporanea del Regno Unito) che sceglie come location il Business Design Centre nel super trendy Upper side della City.

Insieme a una serie di eventi come talk e performance, la fiera è stata divisa per quest’edizione in tre sezioni – The main fair, L’art project e Photo 50, per un totale di 126 gallerie.

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Lo spazio più interessante è proprio quella fotografico, Photo 50 : cinquanta sguardi sulla fotografia contemporanea, attraverso la mostra “Masculin Feminin ”, curata dall’italianissima Federica Chiocchetti, un viaggio che spazia tra luoghi comuni, satira e romanticismo, riecheggiando il nome della storica pellicola di Jean-Luc Godard.

 

Collateralmente , all’interno del Melià White House di Regent’s Park, si è tenuta la seconda edizione del nostro omonimo progetto “ARTROOMS” , una fiera internazionale per artisti indipendenti, che per 4 giorni trasformano le camere del lussuoso albergo , nel cuore di Londra, in veri e propri stand.

Artrooms , ideato da Cristina Cellini Antonini e Chiara Canal e co-diretto da Francesco Fanelli, vuole dare spazio ed espressione agli artisti rimasti fuori dalle barriere dei soliti circuiti del Contemporaneo. Nomen omen verrebbe da dire, simili per etimologia ed anche per intenti!

Arte-Fiera-Bologna.jpgMa adesso è l’ora di tornare in Italia, più precisamente a Bologna: sta per iniziare ARTEFIERA la più importante fiera italiana d’arte moderna e contemporanea che quest’anno entra negli ‘anta. 40 anni di Fiere, 190 gallerie da tutto il mondo partecipano a questa specialissima edizione accompagnata da anteprime, mostre extra e un ricchissimo programma culturale che coinvolge l’intera Bologna. Dal 29 gennaio al 1° febbraio, oltre 70 eventi in più di 40 sedi.

A dare il via alle danze, l’anteprima italiana di River of Fundament, l’ultimo progetto del visionario artista americano Matthew Barney, un film-opera che fonde cinema, teatro, musica, performance e scultura; news dell’ultim’ora una performance-omaggio a David Bowie del coreografo e danzatore Lindsay Kemp. Dai maestri del ‘900 alle nuove generazioni, il tutto in scena in tre padiglioni (uno in più rispetto alle scorse edizioni) e cinque sezioni, fra cui una dedicata interamente alla fotografia, linguaggio sempre più di in voga tra i collezionisti. Ma la vera protagonista dell’edizione 40 è l’arte italiana che, oltre a predominare in fiera, espone in città, divisa tra la Pinacoteca e il MAMbo.

ArteFiera 40, a cura di Giorgio Verzotti e Claudio Spadoni, mette in luce i protagonisti e l’evoluzione della ricerca artistica nel nostro Paese dagli anni Settanta a oggi: a Bologna hanno vissuto personalità come Morandi, Fontana, Spalletti o Paladino – e continuano ad animarla giovani emergenti. Proprio per loro è stato pensato SetUp Contemporary , fiera nella fiera, che rivolge l’attenzione agli artisti meno conosciuti. SetUp sta ad indicare infatti le intenzioni del progetto: “predisporre le operazioni per il successivo avviamento di un sistema”. La scommessa è mettere in moto un nuovo processo per ripensare il sistema arte.

logo-Setup-Contemporary-Art-Fair-2016-A4_33587_18462_t.jpgIl format di SetUp è pensato per far interagire le tre figure chiave del sistema dell’arte contemporanea: artista, curatore/critico, gallerista. Per questa ragione gli aspiranti espositori presentano un progetto curatoriale con almeno un artista under 35 ed un testo critico di un curatore under 35.

Spinti dalla convinzione che si possa ancora generare una sana “economia della cultura”, il comitato scientifico (Giuseppe Casarotto e Silvia Evangelisti, ex direttrice di ArteFiera) valuta i progetti di singoli artisti che dimostrano coraggio di mettersi in discussione.

L’inverno è ancora lungo, ma non si smette di mercanteggiare, solo qualche settimana di pausa, ed è già alle porte “Mercanteinfiera” , dal 27 febbraio al 6 Marzo a Parma. Da segnare in agenda tra i next step dei nostri itinerari artistici. Valigie leggere, mi raccomando, potremmo tornare con un pezzo da collezione sottobraccio.

 

SAATCHI TURNS WOMAN

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Saatchi Gallery, the hot-spot for contemporary art based in the heart of Chelsea , London, just opend “Champagne Life”, an exhibition that celebrates the Saatchi Gallery’s 30th anniversary presenting the first all-female show.

Charles Saatchi has been collecting during the years works of emerging and recognised artists: this extensive collection will honour the contribution of female artists (working in a variety of mediums and on a variety of subjects) to the ongoing development of art today

The title itself is taken from one of the works , by Julia Wachtel. It comes from a succesfull song of American singer Ne-Yo, who refers to a lifestyle involving the enjoyment of luxuries pleasures. A life “where dreams and reality are one in the same” : the stereotype of a culture driven by the pursuit for celebrity, and the symbol of champagne as an affordable luxury. Indeed, the perception of art word is mostly linked to the idea of glamour, prestige and success, that the exhibition’ title revokes. . However, on closer inspection, it reveals the reality of many labourious, lonely days ( or even months) working on a piece of art. Bringing together 14 emerging women artists,Champagne Life allows us to reflect on what it means to be a female artist working today.

Let’s pick some of the most impressive artworks displayed.

Alice Anderson: Bound

 Quoting the artist: “The digital revolution is probably going to turn out as decisive for the mechanisms of human memory as the invention of writing was. This evolution is a fascinating process, and I keep track on it by crystallizing its phases. “

Alice Anderson artworks lead us to think about the act of memory. How we create, record, and transform the present and how we imagine the future?

ring.pngInspired by the digital evolution, Anderson developed a unique weaving technique with copper wire initially taken from inside an alarm clock.

 

Mummifying an object as an act of protection, preservation and resistance. The sculptures are the result of performances revealing a process similar to the shamans’ dances.

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It’s good to know that the artist founded the Welcome Collection: itinerant studio, open to anybody who wishes to contribute to a collective archive by recording with copper wire significant objects of our time. People can take part not only in the performances but also in choosing what is to be archived or not.

According to the Guardian ( Johnatan Jones):

“This might be in a museum a thousand years in the future, dedicated to the strange artefacts of the 21st century. Why, archaeologists will ask, did the people of that time choose to mummify their old TV screens, obsolete telephones and loudspeakers? Was it a bizarre religious attempt to apologise for the culture of waste that was at that moment eating up the planet? ”

 

Anderson is not the first artist to have wrapped up everyday objects. Wrapping indeed is a modern tradition. German sculptor Joseph Beuys wrapped a grand piano in grey felt .

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Rene Magritte represented lovers with a sheet covering their faces.

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So Alice Anderson is working in a tradition almost a century old.

Coke bottle, bicycle, tools, telephone, suitcase, canoe, and even a mummified car. This way of recording no longer consists in representation by the image, rather it takes shape through the presentation of the object, which the artist and the participants choose from among the everyday shapes of contemporary life. She revisits what Magritte referred to as “the treason of images”, the original title of his late 1920s painting of a pipe. Just as the surrealist pipe wasn’t the object it was intended to be, so Anderson’s mummified objects are no longer the objects they once were.

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“This is not a pipe – it is a mummy. It is a ghost.” A.A.

Sounds like the Magritte of the third Millennium.

“Will this collective ritual of mummification awaken the gods of mass production? Can things come to life if we love them and respect them as Anderson does? “

Why Copper?

Copper is the most ancient metal in terms of human usage . It was mostly mined on Cyprus, therefore the name. The “red metal”, key to the fortunes of the Minoan, Mycenean and Phoenician cultures, shows remarkable conductivity and malleability and is resistant to heat and corrosion. Last but not least, it was associated with femininity by the alchemists.

N.B: Anderson’s hairs are red, and sometimes she used her own mane in her artworks.

She captures an aspect of how the brain makes possible the creation and re-creation of our familiar and unexpected visual worlds by connecting our perceptions over time.

We can properly remember people, places and things we have seen because images of them have been imprinted and permanently stored in our brains. But we are much better at recognition than this would suggest. We recognise people despite their ageing. We recognise Picasso’s style even in a painting of his that we have never seen before. When we do this, we are recognising categories that can include variation.

Our capacity to remember, then, is not about recall of a specific image stored somewhere in our brain. Rather it is an ability to organise the world around us into categories – some general, some specific.

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Another remarkable artwork is the one of Sohelia Sokhanvari. Her taxidermied horse revokes magic realism, in which reality is revolutioned with imaginary events, revealing meanings more profound that naturalism could do. Sokhanvari shows the use of the form as a method by which artists have been able to create an open-ended narrative to promote or resist a totalitarian political system.

Indeed, the title Moje Sabz refers to the ‘Green Movement’ uprising of 2009, in which violent protesters’ demonstrations lead to the annulment of a fraudulent election result.

 

Also here, we can go around the art piece, an look at it in its entirely. And I think it’s no coincidence it is exhibited in the same gallery of the work “Jerusalem Donkey”.

 

Sohelia research is about collective trauma and collective amnesia interpreted through irony and absurdity.In her drawings and paintings she often uses earth elements like crude oil or natural pigments like Lapis lazuli, malachite etc., she wants the earth being part of the work.

“Moje Sabz” represents a taxidermied horse mounted onto a jesmonite ( a mix of gypsum and resin) blob. Through the denaturalisation of the horse, Sokhanvari shows us a open-ended narrative, with the intention of encouraging discussion about worldwide political systems.

Describing herself as a “cultural collage between East and Western philosophy” the work of Iranian-born artist Sohelia Sokhanvari are both methaphorical and politic, they deal implicitly with the Iranian state.

“Things are always what they are but also point to something outside of themselves, the art object then becomes a metaphor for an event, emphasising the mutability of meaning and form through viewer participation.” ( S.S)

 

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Copper tools, bodies (human and animal) and why not..pots!

Food for Thought, by Maha Malluh. She lives and works in Saudi Arabia, her installations are assemblages of found objects from junk shops and flea markets, reflecting on the impact of globalization and consumer culture in her country. “My inspiration for art comes from my country, a country of contrasting images and ideas. Good art forces us to take a pause, to contemplate and take greater account the surrounding environment.”

Al-Mu’allaqat” (the artwork takes its name from the most famous collection of Arabic poetry of the sixth century) consists of 233 aluminum cooking pots- I would say heavily used- – across the Arab world.

A wall of pots, how many stories and how many lives could tell ..

Women codes and practices deserve representation, as subject and object of art. Not only in the UK.

Coming back to Italyto, do not miss Veritas Feminae, the Art Contest to be held in Matera from the 24 to 31 March 2016, an open call for artists inspired by a project by Alec Von Bargen: photographs, portraits –all about marginalized women. And of course, I invite you to consult the profiles of the artists on artooms.it: in spite of national and international ranking that see women always considered still too little compared to the male universe, our portal has a massive presence for women (about 50%)

AnnaChiara Della Corte

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDITERRANEAN REVISITED. A glocal architect and designer: from the vineyards of Anacapri to the international scene

PortraitArchitect, artist and designer, Francesco Della Femina is an eclectic and creative spirit. Born in 1966, from modest origins: “My father was a bricklayer, I miss him , my mother is a housewife, a woman whose strength equals an entire nation.”

While attending High School, every summer since 14 years of age, Francesco used to help his father. “I always liked to build.” A Degree in Architecture from the University Federico II of Naples, during his early twenties he worked with Livio Talamona, an experience to remember. After finishing his studies, Francesco started working on his own: “From the beginning, I realized that working in Capri is an opportunity to develop your skills, not just exploiting the fact that I come from there .” Two children, 7 and 9 years, an Irish wife, Barbie Ryan, expert in Marketing & Communication.

Square Chair

Square Chair

One of a kind style, Mediterranean by heritage, he finds inspiration in the traditional historical beauty designing original spaces using clean contemporary lines.

“The architecture of Capri, and Mediterranean architecture in general, has always fascinated me, architecture without architects made by farmers and fishermen, elementary volumes, wisely built , with unprecedented solutions; organic, measured, elegant, sinuous and sensual architecture: a sort of archaic track marking even my current projects.”

Familiar with creating original interiors he began designing bespoke furniture to suit clients’ needs and hence began his foray into furniture design.  After attracting attention in the media for his interiors and design, he launched his first public collection in 2014 which was very successful.  Elements of geometry create a delicacy and symmetry rendering even the grandest structures graceful (chairs, tables, lamps, candlesticks …).

StudioViaNilo 05

FDF Studio

Each piece is personally overseen by Francesco and made by skilled craftsmen ensuring the highest quality.

StudioViaNilo 03I met him in his studio, in the heart of Spaccanapoli. More than an office, its a living room, cozy and informal, an inspirational calling card. “Natural” but refined Materials, handmade furnishings. In short, it encompasses his style, and often includes selected works of art and craftsmen.

It was 2006 and Francesco decides to compete on a different scale and to build a bridge in the mainland, where he finds the perfect location at Palazzo Monte Manso, in Via Nilo 34, the historic center of Naples . “A place where I had lived as a college student, impossible to describe, full of immeasurable human energy and able to inspire me as much as the beauty of Capri had done until then.”

The space has an inherent atmosphere rich in creativity, a Seventeenth-century palace,  that houses many laboratories and art galleries as well as a beautiful Seventeenth century church on the third floor , in whose perimeter there is one of the most precious jewels of Naples, the San Severo Chapel.

“My studio reflects the idea that I have always had: a place dedicated to the development of ideas and projects, I started working very young in Anacapri, at the Atelier of Via Vigna (maybe someone can still remember it) , there I used to paint, and I often hosted friends and visitors. My studio in Napoli is a creative workshop and at the same time gallery / showroom for design production, exhibitions or site specific” works of art ” .

It is like stepping into a classic Neapolitan apartment revamped with modern style, closer to the idea of ​​a house than that of an office, but at the same time adaptable to various uses and decor. “Consisting of three main rooms – all with high ceilings, it contains everything that helps us shape our plans, samples of different materials, colours, fabrics, magazines, books, objects of art , common objects and -why not? – Flowers . When I imagine a place I like to think about it in its entirety.

 

Why did you move your studio from Capri to Naples?“I think that being an architect (like Interior and Design work) is a global activity and not purely local, and I always looked for the opportunity to work outside of Capri where I was born and raised and even outside of Italy.

Capri Chair & Barstool 01

Capri Chair and Barstol at Il Riccio Anacapri

I never considered this shift as a migration, rather a process of “osmosis” useful to enrich and qualify the work that I still follow on Capri. Vice versa my “Caprese” heritage enriches the projects that I follow elsewhere; today I think the same with regard to Naples from which I start moving to other destinations (Milan, Paris, New York, etc.), places where I can confront new realities, bringing the experience and energy of my land, and returning with a new vision rich in suggestions. ”

 

 

Your works are inspired by the Mediterranean. A Mediterranean-ness revisited, with sophisticated materials and furniture. Everything seems to be in its right place. How do you strike this balance?

“The Mediterranean spirit of my projects has never been paraded or contrived, it is a kind of genetic code that clearly belongs to me having been born and raised in the middle of the Mediterranean. Capri, from this point of view has given me so much, and I must say that many islanders do treasure this kind of pedigree: the habit of being surrounded by beauty , if cultivated with respect and supported by a solid foundation of knowledge, is certainly an asset, although unfortunately today we use the name of Capri or the adjective Mediterranean only for commercial purposes … “Mediterranean Style is like a language and it is the language that belongs to me, but it is not the only language that I like to talk, I have always been attracted by other cultures, influenced by different styles, as well as loving to travel and learn other languages ​​mixing them with my own accent.

In all my works I always identify pre-existing starting points, from the beginning I always try to fall in love with a place or a space, to possess it as much as possible, I like to measure it in person, going alone, listen to everything that the space itself has to tell me, and at the same time I need to know the people who live there, understanding their needs, preferences and hopes. At this point, comes the invention, the idea that guides me to develop what has already been suggested to me by the so called “genius loci”.”

Architecture from Capri: many iconic villas of yours on our island boast your imprint. Tell us about some of them.

VillaLeScale02

Villa Le Scale

I ‘m going to talk about two of them: Villa Le Scale, one of my first projects, and about Casa Dabu, one of the last.

Regarding Villa Le Scale, I was commissioned to restore this historic villa of Anacapri, famous also for its garden and its impressive staircase which gives the name to the place. The main challenge was to design a stylish, scenic swimming pool , nestled into the rocks of the garden as if it had been part of the house since the time of its construction.  I did so by using a pre-existing cistern located under the steps that ran the length of the garden that used to be an eye-sore in the otherwise scenic garden. The result was surprising: the pool was constructed without interrupting the natural architecture of the  villa by keeping the steps as the entrance to the pool, making them a feature as opposed to a limitation. Later I redesigned the interiors making independent individual rooms, furnishing them with unique pieces thanks to the collaboration with the owner who provided many antiques and works of art .

CasaDabù 01

Villa Dabù

With this transformation,Villa Le Scale regained its former glory and has become one of the most popular and exclusive residences of the island, photographed and reviewed in numerous books and international magazine. It is now part of the famous chain “Relais & Châteaux “and “Residenze D’Epoca “.

CasaDabù 05

Villa Dabù- Bed with view

Villa Dabù is instead a relatively small project, but with a global approach: indeed I took care not only of the architectural aspect but also the interior and the decoration. Also, I personally designed many of the furnishing elements ( beds, tables, chairs, lamps, sinks, etc.). The owners were looking for the ideal location to create a home away from home to escape the hustle and bustle of their chaotic lives.  Their requirements were clear: it had to be simple but not rustic, modern but not sterile, provide a familiar environment where they could feel comfortable and enjoy what they appreciate the most – the ocean,  and above all it had to be peaceful, relaxing and exist in harmony with the locale, wherever that would be.

So I proceeded to redesign the layout of the rooms, maximising the opening to the outside space and ensuring the spectacular view of the sea from every room in the home.   At the same time I furnished the space with the essentials, never forgetting good taste and attention to details , by adopting a style obviously Mediterranean but very modern. Some of the items of furniture designed for this home then became  pieces of design of my current collection, while others are unique pieces of great impact ( the bedroom “Bed with view” , whose headboard is a printed photo of the actual sea view behind that wall); or the dining table “Tablock” with the chairs that are hidden when closed within the table ).

Most of the furniture was designed and handmade by me to optimise space: such as the Kitchen Table (Tablock), both a table and sculpture  – the 6 chairs close into the table so that it becomes a sculpture block.

AD Russia Marzo 2015

This project has been rewarded with many accolades, and above all with a considerable article featured in the popular magazine ADRussia in March 2015, obtaining its cover!

Selected materials and traditional working techniques are the result of a careful and meticulous research. What are the criteria you adopt when selecting the raw materials and fabrics?

 Materials are paramount, “I work with solid brass, wood, stone, antique ceramics, iron as well as exceptional fabrics.” Each piece is custom made by skilled Italian artisans who work with Francesco to ensure the finest quality and finish.

 

In a world where the techniques and materials of construction have dramatically increased, we need a constant commitment to be updated .”

Francesco is an architect who can ‘t just stay behind his desk:

” I like to draw and design, just as I love to spend hours in the shops of the artisans who make my pieces or on construction sites with bricklayers to look for the right curve of an arch or develop the performance of a scale, analyzing their methods and developing them in new ways. It helps to involve people who collaborate with me, in order to give things an added value. “At the same time, it is essential to attend fairs, visit showrooms, antique dealers and junk shops looking for vintage pieces, frequent markets (one of my favourites is the fabric market of Paris’ Marché Saint-Pierre” ), art galleries, exhibitions etc…Consequently it’s easy to get confused by the multiple products on offer, so before doing research for a project I always try to establish a sort of framing. This means that, along with those working on the project and the client, we build a “mood board” where we outline briefly the style, the colour palette, the feelings, the tone, and all the features that can help us later on, in design choices but especially for furniture. Then of course comes your own taste: matching materials, colours, fabrics etc… never predictable, every element has to contribute somehow without losing sight of the overall harmony.

 

Every project is bespoke. Have you always enjoyed free hand? What happens when the demands of the customer does not fit your vision?

“The very fact of conceiving each project as “tailored” guarantees me, almost always, the opportunity to achieve something that suits customer expectations. In short , the design of a house or any other space for me has to be “tailor-made”, and just like a dress, a custom home will perfectly meet the needs of the customer.

On the other hand, it often happens that clients do not really know what they want and ask for unsuitable things. In this case I try to understand what are their wishes and needs by providing subliminally compatible solutions… After a few days when the client asks me for what I had (covertly) suggested then I know I’m on the right path!

You seem to have understood, ages ago, the ‘importance of being ahead of the game with digital communication and printed magazines. Tell us about this aspect.

“Since childhood I’ve never been a great communicator, I have learned through experience that communication is essential to the success of a project and especially to assert your professionalism. Until a few years ago communication was a prerogative of those who boast great communication skills or who had political and economic power. Today; things seem to have changed.

In my opinion, the first fundamental condition is to offer a good product that is able to attract people for its own characteristics, then communication does the rest.

For example, in 2014 I put together a collection of home accessories produced by me, initially I invested in the quality of these products, then I tested their value by taking them to some important trade fairs (Homi, Milan Furniture Fair, ICFF New York, etc… ): the result was successful. I noticed the interest of experts and the press. In parallel, I have always supported a growing business communication in the network, I have already re-done my website twice, trying to keep it up to date as much as possible, I’m quite an active user of social networks, especially on Instagram, FB and recently Twitter, but also Pinterest and other portals linked to architecture and design. I’m currently figuring out the world of blogs, its just a matter of finding the time!

All this takes time but certainly bears fruit: some of my projects have been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine and Elle Decor America and I am sure that this interest will continue to grow until I am able to ensure a constant and effective communication with products and images capable of catching real ( and not only virtual) interest.

Achieving these results has been possible thanks to a constant commitment, but above all because of the great support I have received from so many friends and associates, first of all: Barbie, my wife, and others such as the Architect Paolo Maria Russo, the photographer and friend Umberto D’Aniello, the stylist Antimo Assuntore, photographer Antoh Scotto, and many others.

 When I ask him the provocative question ” Which Villa of Capri you would have liked to include in your portfolio?” ( I would have expected a response like “Casa Malaparte” or “Villa Lysis,”) Francesco replies thus: ” I have restored many Villas and I keep on receiving new commitments, but the entire building heritage of Capri should be restored. After years of speculation and unauthorised development I think it’s time to understand that Capri should mainly invest in quality and thus on the building renovation.

As a new challenge, he adds, at this time I’d like to make a contribution in the field of hospitality , a hotel or restaurant, also because in my recent projects we are developing the “format” and “concept” for the adjustment of “luxury hotels”, according to customer requests from Europe and the USA, from the new high target tourism (Russia, Middle East, Asia and South America).

 Capri, an icon of style of unquestionable value, nostalgically linked to the glorious 60s. A megabrand that can generate much more value. How do you decline this aspect in architecture and design?

“The immeasurable and evident value of Capri requires a great effort to preserve the primacy which luckily it still holds. But since the wheel of fortune does not always turn on the same side, we need to go the extra mile to give visitors more than what they expect.

Many entrepreneurs have realised it and are investing a lot in their facilities and services because they know that discerning requests must be met by offering the best of what Capri has to offer.

CapriChair05
When I had to choose a logo for my design products, I preferred to choose my name, Francesco Della Femina, using the name of Capri would have seemed a useless trick. My aspiration is to make a product of quality, regardless of the fact that I am “Caprese” or “Milanese”, and I think that putting your signature on a product is synonymous with a personal guarantee.

After that, the quality of the product will show its uniqueness, origin and features.

Last summer we conducted a survey of a small sample of regular tourists of Capri, especially foreigners, for an upcoming project, trying to figure out what qualities they most appreciate on the island: why they come back every year, staying in expensive hotels always re-doing the same vacation? Well, what really matters is the direct and personal relation they have with the people of Capri, that makes them feel part of this island, not the thousand products and boxes with “Capri” written on them. ”

 

AnnaChiara Della Corte

acdellacorte@capripress.com

Italian version: CapriFocus