Naima Morelli

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ThaiArtistsSpirit

My new article “5 Thai Artists that Connect Us to Spirituality” has just been published on CoBo Social. Some of you may know my new research scope is Thailand, and I’m planning to visit for a reportage in 2019. My previous long-form reportage have been Indonesia (2013), Australia (2014), Singapore (2015-2017) and Cambodia (2018).

So what form do these reportage take in our multimedia world of information and “liquid society” (to quote Zygmunt Bauman)? Well, the form must also be flexible. The bulk of the Indonesia research ended up in a book. My Australian reportage took the shape of a series of articles and an exhibition in Rome. The Cambodian material has also come out as articles. The Singapore research has also become a book which is the process of being published as a web-series, every Monday on this blog and on Medium. For Thailand, I’m planning to realize some videos as well. Will see how it unfolds.

To go back to “5 Thai Artists that Connect Us to Spirituality”; I love to write these kind of pieces because they allow me to look deeply into the practice of artists thematically, and then summarize the essence of their work in few paragraphs. I learn so much from doing this work, and I’m so happy to have the chance to share it with you guys!

Here is the link to the article

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manifestapalermo

Here is an art event where contemporary art don’t lose itself in mere theoretical speculations, but rather tackles important and timely issues. The 12th edition of the Biennale Manifesta called “The Planetary Garden: Cultivating Coexistence” (16 June to 4 November 2018, Palermo, Italy) examines through site-specific artworks the themes of migration and the environmental concerns of our times.

I spoke about it with founder Hedwig Fijen and creative mediator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli for Culture360, the webmagazine of the Asia-Europe Foundation.

Here is the link to the piece

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cover1

 Writing history


When we were studying history in school as kids, we perceived it to be a fixed, unchangeable entity. “Only history will tell”, is still a common saying, which identifies history as the ultimate judge, operating with the fairest of methods. We see that mentality in art history as well. Van Gogh is your typical case in point of the neglected artist in his lifetime who History then recognised as one of the major artists of the 20th century. At the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome my professors used to see art history as a force opposed to the art market. Market success was described to us students as kind of a cheat. Conversely, history couldn’t care less about money and other such vileness. Apparently what history remembers are the true masterpieces of real artists, not certainly what’s up on the stock market. Good art is what will stand the test of time.
While I subscribe this view, I’m also aware that along the winds shaping the rocks of history, market forces are in the picture as well. Today more than ever. History is a re-reading of the past according to what the present values important and useful. The retelling of every story necessarily implies highlighting some elements and hiding others. It does that in a functional way. In this sense, we can consider the old saying, “History is written by the winners” has been true until the ‘80s came along and postmodernism challenged this notion.

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NateeUtarit

“In the Forest of Fontainebleau, Natee remarried the world. He stepped away for a while from the human drama that is inherent in every social interaction and accessed a much slower, much quieter world, where he was not continuously bombarded by images and input from contemporary society. This allowed Natee to focus on the smaller folds of reality. It is similar to when you concentrate on subtle variations in your breathing while meditating. If you get to apply that same heightened attention to reality, everything around you transforms and takes the form of childlike wonder at the simplest things, like the sky, a sprinkle of light and the color of moss.”

In my new piece for CoBo, I have a conversation with Thai artist Natee Utarit about his new work for his show “Untitled Poems of Théodore Rousseau” at Tang Contemporary in Bangkok.

Here is the link to the interview

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VasanSitthiket
You might have guessed it; alongside Cambodia, my current research is expanding towards Thailand. I first had a glimpse of the depth of at the artists from this country in the 2015 exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, which looked at Southeast Asia. Then with the Thai focus at the last Art Stage Singapore I learned some more. I continued expanding my understanding thanks to some editing work of interviews to Thai curators and collectors. And now I’m glad to say I’m hooked!

Thanks to the wonderful curator Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani, who is a contemporary Thai art expert, I had the chance to meet Tawan Wattuya and Vasan Sitthiket in Rome. In this regards, it has been super-interesting to interview them and compare the work and perspectives of these two artists from different generations.

Here is my interview with Vasan for your friendly neighborhood magazine CoBo. I walked away from this chat with so many insights, and hopefully I managed to convey some of those to you dear reader!

Here is the link to the interview

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TawanWattuya

My interview with Thai artist Tawan Wattuya has just been published on the webmagazine CoBo. I met Tawan in Rome, on his way back from Taranto, South of Italy, where he had participated in a three-man show with Vasan Sitthiket and Tanasade Silaaphiwon.

Here is the link to the interview

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KhiangHei
Sometimes when I start an art exploration in a new country of Southeast Asia, I can be lucky enough to meet a figure which becomes a guide of sorts. This person usually helps me entangle the key mechanisms of the art system, and understand the psychology of local artists.

In Cambodia, this figure was Khiang Hei. In this interview published on CoBo, we tackled the most pressing issues together in the emerging Cambodian art scene. With an understanding of the local hardships, as well as a very pragmatic spirit, Khiang suggested possible solutions, some of which he has implemented himself over the years.

The piece is part of my reportage on Cambodian contemporary art.

Here is the link to the interview

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SophalNeak
In the third installment of CoBo’s series on Cambodian photographers, I spoke with artist Sophal Neak, a rising talent in the Cambodian scene. This piece is part of my reportage on Cambodian contemporary art.

Here is the link to the interview

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lovesharing

Migration is such an important topic for our times. I have recently explored it through an interview with Maria Virginia Siriu from the theater company Theatric, and organizer of “Love Sharing – Festival di teatro e cultura nonviolenta”, in Cagliari, Sardinia. The piece has just been published by the webmagazine Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the interview

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SopheapPich

At the beginning of the year I visited Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich in his Phnom Penh studio. He explained his view of contemporary art in Cambodia and what young artists need in order to grow the local art scene. The article is part of my reportage on Cambodian contemporary art.

Here is the link to the interview

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KanithaTith
Another interview with a super-interesting Khmer artist has been published on CoBo, as part of my reportage on contemporary art in Cambodia. For this piece I spoke with Kanitha Tith, one of the young, emerging voices in the artistic landscape, who is gaining more and more recognition internationally.

In the article she tell about her creative process and what it means to be a multi-passionate creative in Phnom Penh.

Here is the link to the interview

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VannNath1

I’m honored and humbled to have had the chance of writing about the work of an extraordinary artist and human being such as Cambodian painter Vann Nath. The piece is out in the new issue of Art Republik and is part of the Cambodia reportage I realized in February. This is the fifth piece about Cambodian art I did for the magazine, and I’m so happy to have these beautiful pages as an outlet for the research.

In the article, which I wrote in conjunction of the publication in Italy of Vann Nath’s memoir by ADD Editore “Il pittore dei khmer rossi”, I traced the legacy of this artist on Cambodian contemporary art, and how his example and practice influenced the new generations of artists in the Kingdom.

Here is the link to the pdf version of the piece

 

VannNath2

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