Hong-Kong based magazine Cobo has just published my new article on the way Singaporean artists work with the topic of nature. This is an ideal second episode of a series on artists and nature which started with this piece on Indonesian artists and nature. In the book I’m currently working on, focused on Singaporean contemporary art, I have an entire chapter out of four dedicated to the dichotomy nature/urban through the eyes of artists, and the specific form it takes in the Lion City.Read More
The webmagazine/platform Cobo has just published my piece entitled “Three Indonesian Artists Between National History and Personal Memories”, featuring work by FX Harsono, Jompet Kuswidananto and Boedi Widjaja, plus a mention to an iconic piece by Dita Gambiro and Rifqi Sukma. As always, I have decided to mix artists that are staples of Indonesian contemporary art (such as Harsono and Jompet) with others that might not be household names yet!
For the rest, I’m in a blessed phase of working (almost) uninterruptedly on the third draft of my book on contemporary art in Singapore. When you concentrate on one single thing, ideas are connecting and synapses are snapping like never before! Writing this book is a great learning process for me and gives me the chance to expand on ideas I explored in my book on Indonesian art, seeing how these have evolved over time, with my experiences and chats with artists. But I’m digressing; below the link to the article on Indonesian artists and memory!
Among the art pieces I write each month, every now and then I churn out a funny one. This time the Sorrento local magazine Sorrentum was looking for a short write-up about the participation of the miniature sail boat Stella Maris and its team of two to the annual maritime festival of the French city of Brest (the same one of Jean Genet’s “Querelle de Brest”). Half of the team was Capitain Giancarlo Antonetti – a super-chatty sea dog and certifiable nuts – and the other was my brother, who is by far the sternest and most taciturn person I have ever met.
In the article I imagined the two-days long car trip of the two from Italy to France. You can read the piece on the August issue of Sorrentum or, more straightforwardly, below. It is in Italian, but the title can translate as “Fear and Loathing in Brest”
Paura e Delirio a Brest
Prendete un pizzico di Hunter Thompson e frullatelo con una manciata di Jean Genet, e avrete la nostra rappresentanza sorrentina al Festival Internazionale Marittimo di Brest, in Francia. Questo evento tanto atteso dagli amanti della vela accoglie ad ogni sua edizione migliaia di imbarcazioni da tutto il mondo ed è volto far conoscere ai visitatori le diverse culture marittime.
A tenere alta la bandiera sorrentina, anzi, la vela a tarchia, è il comandante Giancarlo Antonetti, l’esuberante fondatore dell’associazione velistica che da sempre si fa promotore di questa antica tradizione in penisola, affiancato in veste straordinaria dal compassato Leandro Morelli, un nome che solo di recente comincia a risuonare nell’ambito nautico, ma che già è noto in alcuni circoli ginnici sorrentini per far sospirare più di una donzella.
Ed ora immaginate questo improbabile duo, il vivace e chiacchierone Giancarlo strizzato in una striminzita minicooper color petrolio con il laconico Leandro, un duo lanciato sotto l’infinita tratta del traforo del Monte Bianco con una piccola feluca pericolosamente legata sul tetto, ed ecco, avrete davanti a voi il girone che Dante aveva lasciato fuori dall’Inferno per premura.Read More
“Actually, this is a really good idea”, said my dentist throwing his blood-drenched gloves in the bin. He had just pulled out my wisdom tooth, making me more sore and more wise – pain is supposed to be the highway to wisdom after all, isn’t it? The dentist wholeheartedly approved of my habitual taking July and August away from my Rome life. That time wouldn’t be exactly “off”. I would in fact catch up on project that need breadth and space, dedicate to articles that I never have time to pitch, books that I never have the peace of mind to sit and read. Most importantly, I’d refine what I have learned in the previous months.
Hong Kong-based magazine CoBo has just published my interview with Norwegian art collector and adventurer Erling Kagge. There is a line of the interview that is applicable well beyond collecting, and definitely struck a chord with me: “To be an art collector you must be obsessed. It is beyond rationality and there is a bit of insanity in it. Many people have hobbies, they might collect stamps or cars. I personally don’t have hobbies, for me both expeditions, art collecting and publishing are different aspects of the same thing called “lifestyle”. I’m all in and I don’t set boundaries between my private life, my life as a collector, or as an explorer.”
I believe that this concept of “being all in” for the things you love, is what ultimately leads to a beautiful life. For me personally this state can be find in the technique; whether it is writing, the martial arts or creating stories. But it can also translate in simply deeply listening to a friend when he’s telling you about his take on Rudolf Steiner’s theories in front of a cup of coffee. It is that sense of connection with everything you have committed to do in depth. It creates a communion of ideas, people, nature, everything around us. It puts us in a network, as opposed to making us feeling disconnected.
So for me today it is not really about asking the point of doing a particular activity, but it is rather about recognizing what learning and practicing whatever type of activity or art in depth can make to your life. This goes especially for those privileged few of us which have time every now and then to incur in existential crisis. But I’m going off topic…Read More
My new piece “Five Indonesian artists that help us rethink nature” has just been published on Cobo. In recent years I came to feel very strongly about environmental issues and I’m a big believer that art can really help people connect with our planet on a deep level. Channelling the spirit of the times, contemporary Indonesian artists are tackling the theme of nature in a unique way.
ps: Cobo has new flashin’ fb page, check it out!
My interview with the wonderful Singaporean artist Amanda Heng has just been published on the new webmagazine D_Railed.
Amanda Heng’s work has been seminal in the development of Singaporean contemporary art and resonate with art viewers from all walks of life. Along with her production she greatly contributed to the growth of the Southeast Asian scene and the cultural discourse in the region by setting up initiatives and groups.
Interviewing Amanda Heng was a blast. She is a strong, inspiring figure and yet gentle and friendly. In the original hour and a half long recording of the interview we talk about many different topics. In this piece though I have decided to focus mainly on her perspective on Singaporean culture and the local art scene. I thought this was the best solution for someone who isn’t familiar with the context in which the artist operates.
The interview is part of my reportage on Singapore contemporary art, and part of the foundation for a book on the same topic I’m currently working on.
A few words on the magazine; D_Railed has been just founded by colleague and friend Deianira Tolema, a talented writer working between New York and Naples. I greatly admire her determination in realizing everything she put her mind to do and I’m honoured to be part of her team from the start!Read More
A few months ago I met Indonesian artist Farhan Siki for his show “Trace” at Banca Generali, in Milan. We spoke about the exhibition and his approach to art. Hong-Kong magazine CoBo has just published the interview, along with a short video of part of our conversation.
Times of Malta’s Sunday magazine Escape has just published my selection of the top four pavilions at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. While in a previous piece on Cobo I focused on the Asian Pavilions, here I take a look at the European Pavilions in the Giardini section of the Biennale. What I have found are a lot of interesting ideas, a few which is possible to implement, others to add to our toolkit for a better understanding of the world we live in.Read More
Hong-Kong based magazine Cobo has just published my report on this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. The overarching theme for the show is “Reporting from the Front” and the Asian pavilions are very much in the spotlight.Read More
For Escape – the Times of Malta’s Sunday magazine – I cover sensitive issues that are or have been in the art-related news. The news are for me a starting point for reflections, and this time around I couldn’t help to associate the polemics around contemporary Southafrican artist Kentridge’s murales on the walls of the Tiber, with self-righteous grassroots movement in the capital.
Of course what everything comes down to is a philosophical stance, spelled out by Kentridge himself: “Everyone’s triumphs and glories are someone else’s laments and shamefulness”
A few weeks ago I interviewed Palestinian artist Rafat Asad, who recently had a show called “Eltifaf – Bypass” at Gallery One in Ramallah. The conversation with this profound man and wonderful artist has just been published on the webmagazine Middle East Monitor with the title: “A place is where your memories are”.