Naima Morelli

October, 2013 Monthly archive

“The Act of Killing” is the kind of movie that shuts you up for at least fifteen minutes after the credits. It makes you so uncomfortable that you can just chatter about irrelevant stuff with your friends out of the cinema.
Then, on the tram the way home, you suddenly burst in wordiness.

What happened is that “The Act of Killing” has finally been screened in Italian cinemas.
I went to see it the other day with a group of friends at the “Cinema Aquila”, in Pigneto, Rome.
The Act of Killing is an unconventional documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
The film deals with the systematic slaughter of real or supposed communists in the aftermath of a failed coup in 1965 that led to General Suharto assuming power.
The director was not interested in gave a full picture of the historical events though. He didn’t even mention Suharto once.
The documentary revolves instead around the character of Anwar Congo, a leader of paramilitary organisation Pancasila Youth, whose job was to kill prisoners.
Because the historical picture was only hinted, I wouldn’t say it is a movie specifically about Indonesia’s ’65.
I would rather say it’s a movie about “the act of killing” itself, the psychology of the killer and the banality of evil.

Read More


Coming back from Australia, I decided to see the Venice Biennale before it ends.
Maybe it was not the greatest Biennale ever, but there are some artworks worth talking about. Here you are, my personal list of favourites:

  • Arthur Bispo do Rosario

I didn’t know about this incredible Brazilian artist before. Apparently he spent fifty years confined to the attic of a psychiatric institution because he started telling people about his visions. In the institution he started making art not with the idea of becoming an artist, but for his own eternal salvation. His work was first shown at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and now he is exhibiting again at the Arsenal.
I have always been attracted by work that relates with paganism, religion and folk tradition. His clusters of waste material, paper, wood and rags are just beautiful. His installations look like toys or fetishes.


Read More

image-tools (1)

Bindi Cole is one of the first artists I interviewed in Melbourne.
I come to know about her work during the presentation talk of “Melbourne Now” exhibition at the NGV.
Her work span through different mediums, from photography to installation, and the themes are often related to her personal history and aboriginal issues.
She constantly challenges stereotypes, revealing overlooked complexities behind communities and identities. In the series “Not Really Aboriginal” she photographed her family and herself with black painting on their face. The title refers to the accusation that some people addressed to her, that of not being “really” Aboriginal, because of her anglosaxon aspect and her light skin.
One of her most challenging work is “Sistagirls”, a photographic series about the transgender community of the Tiwi Islands.
Recently Bindi Cole decided to reflect on her personal history, mainly through video and installations. Even if she went through tough times, her vision underlies a constant optimism and reveals the beauty of the human experience.
I find her recent installation with emu feathers “I Forgive You) (currently exhibited at Queensland Art Gallery) just moving.

Read More

Obviously openings are not for art appreciation. Openings are for networking, for the glamour of being there, for “bella figura” and so on.
Sometimes though, if you talk with a friend about the opening of the night before, she may happen to mention the art.
Sometimes she would even have an opinion about it. Maybe she went there, she wouldn’t meet anyone she knows already, everyone was grumpy and unfriendly, no buffet even! (so rude).
What was left was to pay attention to the art.

Well, that’s not certainly the case of the recent opening at Volume! Foundation in Rome.
Forget about people being there reporting you about the art. In the opening aftermath the only comment you could collect was: “There were so many people.”
I mean, it was Kounellis opening we are talking about, not a light weight.
You certainly know who Kounellis is, but maybe I can repeat it for the guys who failed in the contemporary art test.
You may argue Kounellis’ worship is mainly in Italy, but then I remind you that his work is exhibited all over the world from Minnesota to Paris.
So, to keep it short, Kounellis is a talented Greek guy who decided to subscribe the art academy in Rome when it was still reputable. (There are still tons of people lured to the art academy in Rome from far countries, and I really feel bad for them).
1960 is the date of Kounellis’ first exhibition at Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome, and in the following years he contributed to the emergence of Arte Povera.
Kounellis, according to the principles of Arte Povera, started using materials from everyday life, animals, fire, bed, stones, iron in his artwork.
He also did some fun stuff artists use to do in Rome in the sixties, like unleash twelve horses in the gallery L’Attico. Just like that, for the sake of art.

Read More