Chiara Camoni’s mystical garden at HangarBicocca

Chiara Camoni’s mystical garden at HangarBicocca

Giorgia Massari · 2 months ago · Art

Flowers, branches, clay, stones, terracotta, and ceramics. Animals, souls, sisters. From February 15 to July 21, 2024, Pirelli HangarBicocca‘s Shed takes on the appearance of an idyllic and mystical Italian garden with symmetrical pathways. A site-specific installation that encapsulates the body of works by Chiara Camoni, constantly in motion, change, and evolution. A potentially infinite and never solitary walk. A poetic dance, much like the title of the exhibition. Chiamate a raduno. Sorelle. Falene e fiammelle. Ossa di leonesse, pietre e serpentesse. (Literally: Call to Gathering. Sisters. Moths and flames. Lioness bones, stones, and serpents.) An artist’s composition, a kind of spell that aims to invite access to the space «with vigilant eyes embracing a sense of wonder and amazement,» emphasized Lucia Aspesi – co-curator along with Fiammetta Griccioli – during the press conference on Tuesday, February 13. In particular, the ten Sisters engage in a dialogue with the viewer, carriers of a strong sense of collectivity and feminine energy stemming from their participatory genesis. The artist usually creates the works with her own children and friends, artists and non-artists, during extended and profound sessions that take place in the small Alpine village where Camoni lives. «A dance with other people, without the need to know where it is going,» the artist described the shared work sessions, which, for her, are like «the delivery of a thought that then continues in sharing.»

Chiara Camoni | Collater.al

A walk between the sacred and the everyday

The poetic and mystical component anticipated by the exhibition’s title is once again tangible at the entrance. A portal in Lecce stone depicting two lionesses, facing each other, marks the viewer’s passage from the external environment to the radiant space of Chiara Camoni’s sculptural garden. Diametrically opposed to the portal, titled Leonesse, are two other explicitly animal figures, two aluminum dogs, a male and a female, joined by the same base and therefore impassable. While on one hand, the artist welcomes the viewer by evoking a certain sacredness, on the other, she connects them with everyday life and familiarity, recurring sentiments of the exhibition.

Once through the entrance, the viewer is beckoned by the Sisters to wander through the space without a predefined path. Sculptural entities with zoomorphic appearances, charged with different energies and created through participatory means, populate the space and dictate the narrative rhythm of the exhibition, establishing a lively relationship with the viewer. The artist describes the sisters as true animated beings, speaking of them as subjects with distinct personalities and expressive freedom that “demand” the artist’s completion and realization. Consider, for example, Burning Sister, the only immaterial sister and the only video in the exhibition. Camoni composed the work with flowers and leaves on a beach in Greece, only to set it on fire. «She is the fiercest of the Sisters, as if she had requested to be burned. What you see in the video is not a sacrifice but the moment of her ultimate fulfillment, the moment she disappears,» explained the artist. «In the background, there is the sea of Greece, which culturally embraces our origins but is also a sea that today evokes a sense of tragedy.» With the ashes of Burning Sister, Chiara Camoni then glazed the ceramics contained in the sideboard on which the video is projected.

Chiara Camoni | Collater.al

Fairy tale meets everyday life

An important aspect of Chiara Camoni’s exhibition is the tension between the artwork and the artisanal artifact. In this sense, it is evident how the fairy-tale element intrudes into the artist’s daily life, and their encounter is then transposed into her works. Il Carrozzone is perhaps the most illustrative example. It is a structure shaped like a small caravan reminiscent of a traveling theater. The spaces are constructed by assembling reclaimed objects, arranged to accommodate memorabilia and books donated by collaborators and friends of the artist, forming the artwork. On the other hand, even the silk drapes explicitly express this encounter between the magical and the natural. A series of architecturally shaped structures, sometimes appearing as doors to pass through and other times as impassable circular traps, feature light curtains depicting «sprites that appear in space and react to our passage,» as explained by the artist. What we see are natural prints that synthesize the landscape the artist lives and experiences. These images emerge from the natural imprint of leaves, flowers, and plant materials collected and composed by Camoni. The entire exhibition is thus a succession of presences, eyes, mouths, entities – such as I Tre Serpenti – that exist in the artist’s everyday and domestic sphere but acquire a mystical dimension dictated by the encounter between the ritualistic process, instinctual approach, and simplicity of gesture. A dance between ancient knowledge and everyday knowledge, in which nature plays a prominent role.

Chiara Camoni | Collater.al
Chiara Camoni | Collater.al
Chiara Camoni | Collater.al
Chiara Camoni | Collater.al
Chiara Camoni | Collater.al

Courtesy Chiara Camoni, Pirelli HangarBicocca

Chiara Camoni’s mystical garden at HangarBicocca
Art
Chiara Camoni’s mystical garden at HangarBicocca
Chiara Camoni’s mystical garden at HangarBicocca
1 · 10
2 · 10
3 · 10
4 · 10
5 · 10
6 · 10
7 · 10
8 · 10
9 · 10
10 · 10
Ivana Sfredda, If We Assimilate To Enjoy (And To Lose Ourselves)

Ivana Sfredda, If We Assimilate To Enjoy (And To Lose Ourselves)

Giorgia Massari · 3 days ago · Photography

I’m not sure if it’s the sexual component that catches my attention. Perhaps it’s some elements, especially snails, that evoke a sense of familiarity in me, but also nostalgia for something I can’t quite identify. There’s a call back to my childhood, and it’s precisely the snails that evoke it. They were my only playmates when I spent the summer in a remote mountain location, in my grandparents’ garden which after a storm became the perfect habitat for these small creatures, as slimy as they were curious. Back then, I would pick them up from their shells, place them on my arms, and let them slide over me, amused by the trail of slime they left on my skin. I didn’t know it then, but I was assimilating them. In fact, that’s exactly what Ivana Sfredda talks about in the photos she showed me a few weeks ago in her studio in Milan. Soak up is the title of the series still in work in progress that the Molisan photographer has been working on since 2022, or perhaps even earlier. Interpreting the Anglo-Saxon term “soak up” literally, it refers to the sensation of enjoyment perceived in the act of assimilation. A unique human and animal need, that of joining someone or something, of being connected, and of “annihilating the boundaries that delimit a body.”

ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda

Ivana Sfredda’s macro shots do not contemplate any subject hierarchy. A strawberry in a man’s mouth, a group of worms intertwined, a droplet about to fall from an old faucet, all appear one after the other in a carousel of images that dance hand in hand in a perpetual circle, without jerks or arrogance. Hand in hand, united, assimilated into each other, in the other. So that in the act of encounter between two bodies, there is no longer a “my body” and “your body.” The power dynamics that humans have built in the relationship between artifact and nature are nullified. Perhaps this is where my childhood memory fits in, where it is clear that in that space-time arc, I did not know of this imposition, and no construct had yet had time to settle in the logic that today exists in me, the inequality of man > animal or even more so, artificial > nature.

ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda

But there is something beyond this unconsciousness or yet uncorrupted consciousness. Ivana explains it to me by citing Mario Perniola, a philosopher, writer, and theorist of contemporary art, delving into the sexuality mentioned earlier. Because it is clear that in the union of two bodies there is a tension that moves them towards each other, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be laden with a pleasurable end. Perhaps it’s just an unconscious need to lose one’s original form?

«Perniola identifies in sexuality a point of suspension that he defines as neutral sexuality: the detachment from one’s own body that implies a sense of estrangement, cybernetic and indeed neutral. This erotic impulse detaches itself from the pursuit of carnal pleasure in function of an intense contact where the organic and inorganic body becomes a meaningful surface. A very powerful communication system that leaps beyond the categories of human/artificial, human/animal, animal/artificial – relative to being as such – which traces the fluid architectures of an alternative body.»

ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda

As explained by Ivana Sfredda, in the encounter with the other, the self feels fulfilled. This reminds me of a book I read some time ago when I was searching for a more conscious self. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle – found in the “esotericism” section of a bookstore – actually talked about this. It discussed how the self exists only in the reflection in the other, when the annulment of the ego occurs, which only defines the boundaries of a prison where a false narrative of ourselves lives. So, in Ivana Sfredda’s shots, which she explains to me are a sort of exercise and play, all this is visually translated, as if to illustrate the daily and widespread existence of continuous equal and harmonious connections between elements that seem distant both in a hierarchical and semantic sense.

«The series focuses on the meaning of contact and relational energy, an exercise in imagining how these incomplete relationships can represent profound portals of learning.»

ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda
ivana sfredda

Courtesy & Copyright Ivana Sfredda

Ivana Sfredda, If We Assimilate To Enjoy (And To Lose Ourselves)
Photography
Ivana Sfredda, If We Assimilate To Enjoy (And To Lose Ourselves)
Ivana Sfredda, If We Assimilate To Enjoy (And To Lose Ourselves)
1 · 13
2 · 13
3 · 13
4 · 13
5 · 13
6 · 13
7 · 13
8 · 13
9 · 13
10 · 13
11 · 13
12 · 13
13 · 13
Alec Gill and Hessle Road photo archive

Alec Gill and Hessle Road photo archive

Anna Frattini · 3 days ago · Photography

Alec Gill is an English photographer, historian, and psychologist born in Hull, a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire county, famously known for its port. A few years ago, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on Kickstarter to celebrate the fifty-year anniversary of the first photo taken for the project dedicated to Hessle Road with a book, and we’re discussing it here today. The archive of 7,000 photographs – taken with his Rolleicord twin-lens reflex camera – dates back to the decade between 1970 and 1980. There are 240 images included in The Alec Gill Hassle Road photo archive, and in each of them, one can feel the atmosphere of a very difficult historical moment for the residents. It marks the decline of the fishing industry and the demolitions of mass housing in the area.

alec gill photo archive

The Alec Gill Hassle Road photo archive

The book, launched on May 18th last year, was written and conceived by Iranzu Baker and Fran Méndez. In this interview with Port, Baker discusses some aspects of working with Alec Gill. The photographer – during the writing of the book – proved to be «endlessly curious, extremely determined and dedicated». During those years, Gill also focused on the lack of play areas for children and how younger generations adapted to the changes in the area. Another goal was certainly to freeze time before the end of an era. That of fishing in the area, ended with the Cod Wars starting from 1958 until 1972 and 1975. A piece of history that thanks to Gill has not been forgotten.

Gill’s is a genuine inclination towards the stories of the underdogs. The aim was to ensure that these stories were told, both now and at the time of the shots. The Alec Gill Hassle Road photo archive is not just a social study, therefore. It is a testament to the relationship Gill has established on a human level with his fellow citizens. Their stories seem to tell themselves in front of the photographer’s lens. Furthermore, the naturalness of the shots not only captures the theme of childhood but also communicates extremely functionally moments of the daily life of the inhabitants of Hassle Road.

Alec Gill and Hessle Road photo archive
Photography
Alec Gill and Hessle Road photo archive
Alec Gill and Hessle Road photo archive
1 · 10
2 · 10
3 · 10
4 · 10
5 · 10
6 · 10
7 · 10
8 · 10
9 · 10
10 · 10
Nanni Licitra’s non-places

Nanni Licitra’s non-places

Giorgia Massari · 2 days ago · Photography

Nanni Licitra ‘s (1988) photographs focus primarily on non-places, anonymous and impersonal spaces that dot urban peripheries. Licitra transforms these marginal areas into other scenarios that acquire new meaning. We are talking about the series Hell end in Hell, whose images are emblematic reflections of a society in transformation, where the individual struggles to find a sense of belonging and identity in an increasingly chaotic and alienating context. The series, winner of the Liquida Photofestival Grant, on view in Turin from May 2 to 5, is a true socio-cultural analysis that reflects in toto the contradictions of contemporary society.

nanni licitra

Nanni Licitra ha iniziato la sua ricerca fotografica nel 2008 concentrandosi esclusivamente sulla fotografia analogica. Questa scelta non è casuale; infatti, la fotografia analogica richiede una pazienza e una precisione che si riflettono nel suo approccio distaccato e contemplativo. Licitra si pone come uno spettatore attento delle realtà che lo circondano, privilegiando uno sguardo che va oltre le apparenze per cogliere l’essenza delle cose. L’utilizzo dell’analogico da parte di Licitra non è solo una scelta tecnica, ma rappresenta anche una dichiarazione di intenti. In un’epoca dominata dalla velocità e dall’effimero delle immagini digitali, il fotografo siciliano opta per un ritmo più lento e contemplativo, che permette di approfondire le tematiche trattate e di trasmettere un senso di nostalgia e malinconia tipico dei non luoghi.

nanni licitra
nanni licitra

Courtesy Nanni Licitra

Nanni Licitra’s non-places
Photography
Nanni Licitra’s non-places
Nanni Licitra’s non-places
1 · 10
2 · 10
3 · 10
4 · 10
5 · 10
6 · 10
7 · 10
8 · 10
9 · 10
10 · 10
MIA Photo Fair, What We Liked Most

MIA Photo Fair, What We Liked Most

Giorgia Massari · 2 days ago · Photography

The preview of the eighth edition of MIA Photo Fair, the photography fair that returns to Milan every year with a selection of international artists, was held yesterday, April 10. This year it is no longer in the usual Superstudio Maxi, but moves next to the star of the week, Miart. So that, potentially, in one day the bravest can see two fairs by getting off at the Portello metro stop. Miart at gate 5 of Allianz MiCo while MIA Photo at gate 16. Getting to the point, let’s talk about what we liked. As is always the case, following the trade fair system, many of the exhibits are seen and seen again, but still enjoyable to review such as shots by established photographers of the caliber of Giovanni Gastel and Ugo Mulas, or even photojournalists Fausto Giaccone and Carlo Orsi. But, among the many evergreens we have unearthed a few new ones, perhaps a few names we have already heard, but not so much in our opinion. Therefore, we made a selection of our favorite booths.

#1 Maria Svarbova – ARTITLEDcontemporary (B022)

mia photo fair

#2 Irina Werning – OTM Gallery (B023)

mia photo fair

#3 Karla Hiraldo Voleau – Christophe Guye Galerie (B019)

mia photo fair

#4 Laetitia Ky – LIS10 Gallery (E014)

mia photo fair

#5 Giulia Frump – Young Art Hunters (F018)

#6 Paolo Ventura – MarcoRossi ArteContemporanea (A022)

mia photo fair

#7 Daniele Ratti – VisionQuest 4Rosso (C018)

mia photo fair

#8 Najla Said – Mashrabia Gallery (F005)

mia photo fair

#9 Angelo Formato – Welcome to my known collective exhibition

mia photo fair

#10 Thorsten Brinkmann – Galleria Fumagalli (A019)

mia photo fair

MIA Photo Fair will remain open until Sunday, April 14.

MIA Photo Fair, What We Liked Most
Photography
MIA Photo Fair, What We Liked Most
MIA Photo Fair, What We Liked Most
1 · 11
2 · 11
3 · 11
4 · 11
5 · 11
6 · 11
7 · 11
8 · 11
9 · 11
10 · 11
11 · 11