IN STUDIO with Libri Finti Clandestini – ep. 6

IN STUDIO with Libri Finti Clandestini – ep. 6

Giorgia Massari · 3 months ago · Art

For the sixth episode of IN STUDIO, we went in Milan, to Isola area. Here is the small studio of the collective Libri Finti Clandestini. It’s a cosmopolitan artistic collective comprised of artists El Pacino, Aniv Delarev, and Yghor Kowalvsky, centered around their work and research on artist books. Libri Finti Clandestini project originated in Rome in 2012 with the aim of creating books solely using “found” paper, typically regarded as trash. Using diverse materials sourced from various “marginal” places like abandoned factories, flea markets, warehouses, libraries, and print shops, the collective manually assembles, binds, stamps, and numbers books and sketchbooks. Ultimately, it’s up to the audience to determine their fate: ready to be written, drawn upon, or given any other meaning the possessor desires.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

The studio

We’re in Isola, a buzzing Milanese neighborhood. Here lies one of the Libri Finti Clandestini locations, the smallest but also the most artisanal. The collective, due to both their creative approach and practical necessity, doesn’t confine themselves to a single location but rather disperses their production across various sites. The Milanese studio serves as their primary base, housing their archive and where all manual production takes place. In Saronno, they rely on a much larger workshop, home to their collaborators 5XLetterpress, housing some of their printing machinery including the German Heidelberg Windmill letterpress, an FTC press, and other manual presses. Another significant place for them is in Garbagnate. It’s the headquarters of Spazienne, another collective they collaborate with, equipped with a small darkroom useful for developing their photographic projects. Let’s delve deeper into this small magical space, redolent of paper and harboring forgotten memories.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

Let’s start from the beginning. How did it all come about?

Sometime between 2010 and 2011 – when concepts such as upcycling and the circular economy did not yet exist – we began to follow a “degrowth,” even though it is a not-so-nice term. In short, we started to approach recycling in publishing. The great thing is that we were among the first to start such a project. We have never stopped, we are constantly evolving and experimenting with various branches of the project but with the same ultimate goal, which is to create the editorial object.

What project did you start with? How did everything then evolve and materialize?

For several years the project has been based on the creation of sketchbooks, all made from different scrap papers and then bound. Thought to be written or drawn. For example, we did a project for an exhibition held in 2016 at the Demetra bookstore-gallery in Brera that consisted of giving one hundred artists a sketchbook. Each of them could fill it as they wanted, according to their style. Once drawn by them they became real artist’s books. In general, the Libri Finti Clandestini project then evolved into something else as well. We started to create one-off copy books, no longer just sketchbooks but also pop-up books created with the kirigami technique. Unlike classic pop-ups, here we make everything from a single sheet, without removing or adding anything except small characters we found in books from flea markets or old encyclopedias.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

How important is the studio dimension to you during the creative phase?

Actually the creative phase, as well as the design phase is nomadic. Likewise, this studio is not the only one but we have many. Some still unexplored. We are not forced into this space but rather, the research phase takes place outside. Every product we make is created in the world dimension. The idea, as well as the content, happens outside during our “urban explorations“. From the spaces we visit, which are often abandoned, we collect real material but also stories, which is what we then want to convey. We care much more about the content than the container. We treat the book, it is true, but we are at the antipodes of the classic book. We try to be as precise as possible but we like the improvised approach.

What do you mean by an improvised approach?

The improvised approach goes hand in hand with our ideology related to reuse. We start with, “Okay, we have this kind of paper, how do we process it?” whereas in 99 percent of publishing it’s “I have to make this thing, then I need this paper.” Somehow, the paper we find relies on us to be reborn. We adapt to it and get inspired by its identity. The only stake we have is to try to do everything by hand and (as much as possible) with reused material.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

Here, however, in this study, what happens? How do you experience it?

Here is our entire archive. All the material we have collected over the years also becomes a bit of an inspiration for us. As I said before, it is the paper that leads us to new projects. This is where the most manual part happens, with cutter, thread and needle. Whenever we want we come here, very often even on weekends. Doing what we love to do, we find ourselves working all the time, from 00:00 on Monday to 23:59 on Sunday. A real separation from work and study is actually never there, it is just a physical separation.

Being a collective and therefore working in threes, it was not physically possible to have the work place coincide with your home. How do you cope with having a studio outside the home and in the city center?

At first we were outside Milan, obviously economically it was another thing. However, we realized that being in the city was almost essential. We are physically present, and for those who want to visit us it is more immediate. Personally, the idea of keeping the studio separate from the house became a necessity. The very first years I started, when I did everything from home, it became almost alienating. Even just riding my bike twenty minutes to come here serves to clear my brain.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

Choosing, would you leave this study tomorrow or have you put down roots here?

Choosing no. Also being accumulators would be difficult, we have so much here.

What tools cannot be missed in the study?

Of tools here there are few really. Doing everything by hand, there are cutters and scissors. Then the whole part you need for binding: the awl, the thread and the needle. I would tell you
also the ruler and the knitting needle – for homemade “creasing” of paper – with these you can do everything. While everything on the printing level is done in the workshop in Saronno or Garbagnate.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

We have noticed the recurring presence of the Atlas. Is this an obsession of yours or is it simply the most readily available recycled paper?

Half and half I would say to you. On the one hand it is a great object of inspiration to imagine.
On the other hand, the atlas is a bit anachronistic. For example, in the East of the world with the breakup of the USSR, atlases change and people throw them away. Also we really like them because of their very thick weight. They keep very well over time.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

Last off-topic question. What are you working on at the moment? We know you have just returned from Asia. Are you going to spoil anything for us?

We have just churned out a new project, made on site in Taiwan! It’s called UFO! UFO! Taiwan Race” and it was a bit of a challenge against time. On October 31, 2023, we left for Taiwan together withLuogo Comune with the goal of exploring the island and creating a self-produced zine with the material we would collect in the days immediately following our arrival, to be presented at the Taipei Art Book Fair, starting November 3, 2023. Documenting it all with iPhones, handheld scanners, and cameras, we collected graphic and visual material on the streets of Taipei and in an abandoned village toward the East China Sea. Then, in a total of 96 hours, we edited, typeset, and printed and bound the zine.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

Somewhat in the same manner as the book made by train in one night, which we have already told you about here.

Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al
Libri Finti Clandestini | Collater.al

Ph Credits Andrés Juan Suarez

IN STUDIO with Libri Finti Clandestini – ep. 6
Art
IN STUDIO with Libri Finti Clandestini – ep. 6
IN STUDIO with Libri Finti Clandestini – ep. 6
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Has food truly conquered us?

Has food truly conquered us?

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

Over the past year, the internet seems to be obsessed with food culture, fueling a trend that is now evident even in the world of visual culture. From the Tomato Girl Summer, which many mock retrospectively, to the foodie fashion girlies, Balenciaga’s collaboration with Erewhon, and the massive success of The Bear. Food appears to be experiencing a rebirth, but in the worlds of art, photography, and design, it has always been present. Is this just a passing trend, or is it the glorification of an element that has always been part of our lives?

Un’illustrazione di Maisy Summer

From Tomato Girl Summer to the pomegranate

It was only in 2020, with lockdown recipes—does anyone remember Dalgona Coffe?—that so much talk about food emerged. On TikTok, @wishbonekitchen made us dream by showing us her life as a private chef in the Hamptons this summer. Unforgettable were her Heirloom Tomato Gallette and the garden where she harvested fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In 2023, it seems to have been the summer of food not only with the release of the second season of The Bear but also with Tomato Girl Summer. On the other hand, according to Danielle Cohen on The Cut, it now seems to be the time of the pomegranate.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Cansu Porsuk Rossi (@cansupo)

Thanks to its shape and the vivid red that characterizes it, this fruit is widely recognized as a symbol of fertility in many parts of the world. But not only that, we find the pomegranate in mythology, art history, and, according to Cohen, even in the Torah. In short, fruits and vegetables seem to be largely protagonists of this rebirth, so we have collected some works and photographs by artists and photographers we have talked about in the past and more.

Browsing through our archives, we remembered Michael Crichton‘s photos and his photographic series, Conceptual Food, as well as Dan Bannino, who many years ago narrated the eating habits of the powerful. But there is also Stephanie Sarley, an artist who, with fruit fingering, challenged the way the art world has represented the female reproductive organ throughout its history.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Stephanie Sarley (@stephanie_sarley)

Why it seems not to be just a passing trend

The success of food in visual culture can be attributed to its tangible communicative power. We see and experience the colors and textures of food daily, all evocative elements of memories that we have been collecting forever. In conclusion, we can only wonder which will be the next fruit to receive all this attention, already dedicated to tomatoes and pomegranates, even before avocados and bananas.

Has food truly conquered us?
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Has food truly conquered us?
Has food truly conquered us?
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

29 ARTS IN PROGRESS recently showcased Michel Haddi: Beyond Fashion, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Franco-Algerian photographer, marking his first solo exhibition in Milan. Starting from January 16, the second chapter of this exhibition opens, featuring unconventional shots infused with a street and urban soul. Additionally, there are elements of irony and sensuality that highlight Haddi’s complex personality.

michel haddi
© Michel Haddi – Debbie Harry, British Vogue, London, 1994 | Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

In this second chapter, nude shots and unpublished works by Michel Haddi are presented, stemming from advertising campaigns he personally captured. The displayed photographs capture the spirit of their time, thanks to influential figures such as John Galliano or Patsy Kensit, who have played pivotal roles in the realms of fashion, cinema, and music.

Michel Haddi has the ability to portray his subjects with both irony and depth, and each of his shots tells a unique story. His life, marked by a turbulent start, has nevertheless propelled him to become one of the leading fashion photographers from the 1990s to the present day.

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Collater.al Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

A few weeks ago, the Huxley-Parlour gallery in London announced the new exhibition by Joel Meyerowitz, which opened on January 17th. We couldn’t help but talk about him, the American photographer born in New York in 1938, famous for his street photography, and recognized as one of the pioneers of color photography. The London exhibition, titled “Dialogues,” highlights this aspect effectively. Pairs of photographs engage in a dialogue concerning light, color, and composition. The pairings are chosen to investigate the development of color in the artist’s work, set within non-hierarchical and unresolved compositions.

The exhibition in London

Meyerowitz’s imagery blends a distinctly American aesthetic with a meditative approach to color. Spanning from 1964 to 2011, the exhibition at Huxley-Parlour reveals Meyerowitz’s enduring interest in the sensory and evocative experiences of his surroundings. Paired with lesser-known images from the artist’s extensive archive, the exhibition features some of Meyerowitz’s most famous works, including his early street photography and images from his seminal series, Cape Light.

Joel Meyerowitz and the Color Revolution

Joel Meyerowitz is widely acknowledged as one of the first photographers, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, to bring color photography from the periphery to the center of fine art photography. Historically, where black and white photography was considered a serious medium, color was widely viewed as technically inferior and aesthetically limited, relegated to advertising campaigns, television, and personal holiday photographs. In the London exhibition, it’s interesting to trace Meyerowitz’s shift from black and white to color. On display are works from “A Question of Color,” where Meyerowitz, carrying two cameras, paired black-and-white and color prints of nearly identical scenes.

Courtesy Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

Giulia Guido · 1 month ago · Photography

Not even a week ago, Alessia Glaviano – Head of Global PhotoVogue – a guest on our Spigola podcast, reminded us that it no longer matters whether you shoot with a camera or a smartphone. What matters is the intention behind the shot, not the means. We pondered deeply on this statement, and although there was initially some skepticism, we concluded that to take a true stance on the matter, we had to try it ourselves: capturing moments solely with a smartphone, but with the same attitude we would have had with a professional camera. Xiaomi provided us with the opportunity and the means.

Almost by chance, Xiaomi presented us with a challenge: to visit a distant place and attempt to capture its uniqueness using the brand-new Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. And so began our journey, short but very intense, in Bangkok.

All the promises of this new device – which, along with four others, forms the new Redmi Note 13 Series, further enriching the brand’s Redmi Note lineup – were substantial. Starting from the battery, rechargeable to 100% in just 19 minutes with a lasting capacity of days (not hours), and of course, the camera system consisting of 3 cameras, including a main 200 MP camera, an ultra-wide-angle camera, and a macro camera.

We decided to put Xiaomi to the test in every moment spent in the Thai capital. The first stop was at the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho temple, where the goal was to capture the colors of the mosaics and decorations.

Xiaomi

Being one of the most touristy places in the city, we encountered many people who, like us, were fascinated by the architecture of these sacred places. The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G came to our aid in this moment as well. The smartphone is equipped with AI-based editing tools that, among other things, allow us to remove people who accidentally end up in our shots. You know those photos you see on Instagram of tourist spots always empty? Now you can have them too, effortlessly!

But a city is not only visited during the day; often, it comes to life at night, illuminated by a myriad of different lights. In our case, the lights were those of the legendary tuk-tuks, indispensable in a trip to Bangkok. In this case, the challenge was formidable: darkness, colored lights, movement. All the ingredients for a challenging shot were present.

Xiaomi

Not content with just the shot, we continued to play with AI tools and added a bit more movement, some stars, many stars.

When traveling, we know very well that we are not only captivated by architecture, landscape, and glimpses, but we also focus on the faces we encounter on the streets. However, we often don’t have much time to photograph them, sometimes because they move, other times because we are the ones on the move. That’s exactly what happened to us in the characteristic Thai markets, first and foremost the Floating Market.

Reviewing the photos on the return flight and at home with friends was like reliving the journey once again, leaving no detail behind.

Xiaomi

In Bangkok, on the occasion of the launch of the new Redmi Note 13 Series, the brand also introduced the brand-new Redmi Watch 4 and Redmi Buds 5 Pro. Visit Xiaomi’s website to discover all the features of these devices.

Xiaomi

Photos shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
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