Naima Morelli

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Twenty-fourteen has been a year of cementing for me. I recovered for my crazy mindset according to which I should have pick a new country to live in every year. These last twelve months have been much quieter, with small scattered events versus the glaring adventures in Indonesia or Australia of the past few years. But after you do your research, there is also the part where the research comes into being, and that’s what happened in 2014. This year was meant to see the harvest.

I’ve been writing for magazines since 2008, and for English magazines since 2012, but this year I feel I took it to a new level, increasing the number of articles published and types of magazines I’m freelancing for. This year I’ve published twenty-one articles in total, five in Italian and sixteen in English, which is a great achievement for me, considering that I have split my time also with other projects. I’m happy to have started a steady collaboration with Trouble Magazine, who is publishing the English version of all my interviews from my Indonesian and Australian reportages.

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busking

Aussie magazine Birdee has just published a personal essay piece of mine. It was good fun to write – and it’s still about art, in a way. It’s the tragicomic account of my super-short busking career in Melbourne: “With a full set of paints and an open mind, Naima Morelli took to the streets of Melbourne to try her hand at busking. Three hours later…”

Here’s the link to the piece

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TimesofMaltaArtissima

The Times of Malta has  just published my article on Shaun Gladwell’s performance featuring BMX champion Matti Hemmings at Artissima Art Fair in Turin.
“It was actually quite enjoyable to see Shaun Gladwell’s high-brow/low-brow performance. I liked this idea that art is made to be used and experienced. I started imagining Shaun sitting in a pub with Hemmings, bouncing off ideas before a beer. ‘Man, let’s climb the Mont Blanc, let’s spend the whole winter in Brazil, let’s make a performance with you riding Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel. And let’s make that pretentious crowd at Artissima watch it!’ ”

Here’s the link to the online version of the magazine

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alasdair1
My interview with Aussie artist Alasdair McLuckie has just been published on Trouble Magazine with the title “Modernism on Gertrude”. The interview is part of my reportage about emerging artists in Melbourne and it’s my eighth feature on Trouble!

Here the link to the interview

Here the link to the online version of the magazine

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blog2
Do you remember MSN? That fairly basic chat you used to spend hours on, chatting with your faraway summer friends during winter? Ten years ago MSN was one the first ways to keep all your “contacts” together.
Back then, my friend Enrico was very big on “contacts”. He was – and still is – a very friendly person who is comfortable with pretty much everyone. When he was thirteen the idea of having all his friends in one single place was to him the most exciting thing ever – right after Harry Potter I suppose. As for me, I used to considered other people being an annoyance most of the times – fictional people like Harry Potter included – so the fact that he was bragging about the number of his MSN’s contacts sounded funny to me. Fast forward to the Facebook era, my friend’s account is bursting at the seams, and so he periodically purges it – only to repent short time after and re-add his unfriended ones.

Today as a grown up girl I finally understand the importance of other people. I gave up my antisocial punk attitude and I started to appreciate talking and exchanging ideas with people big time. If I have to spot a precise time I decided cut on my misanthropy, I would say when I first encountered the Roman art world. At nineteen I was going to plenty of vernissages, often with my two best mates – “compagni d’arte” – and we were wondering about why all those caryatids, err, older people, didn’t want to talk with us. If you are not familiar with art openings in Italy, you should know that you seldom see younger people there. This was far from bothering me. I figured I just had to be more stylish, so I started wearing a little black dress, red lipstick and the right amount of boldness.

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jake1

My interview with Melbourne-based Kiwi painter Jake Walker has just been published on Trouble Magazine. The interview is part of my reportage about artists in Melbourne.

Here the link to the interview

Here the link to the online version of the magazine

jake2

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live1
I remember one beautiful evening few years ago in Rome. I was walking with my new friend Francesco, a mime just met at Cinema Trevi. Quite strangely for a mime, he was a chatterbox. I thought that was because he couldn’t talk on stage, so that was his way to vent. Since I just came back from an opening at Gagosian gallery, I was wearing red lipstick, a little back dress and red shoes. Francesco and I keep on whirling in the street paved with cobblestones and he said: “You know what the beauty of life is? That you can live wherever you want. You just have to choose a city, and you can move there anytime.” Then he went on telling me about when he was my age – twenty-one at the time – and he moved to Spain by himself. He was working in a bar near the beach, studying as an actor at the same time. He also told me about that time that he saved a girl abused by a group of guys – an anecdote he clearly unsheathed to impress me. Aside from that, the beautiful thing about Francesco was his constant excitement and exaggerated optimism. He could have been banal and cliché in his representation of happiness, fancying sunsets on the beach and the like, but he was still infusing me merriness and even a little inspiration.

Over the years I kept on asking myself: Is that true? Can you really pick a city you like and decide to move there on the whim?

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1ff

There is a mesmerizing Patti Smith’s song I used to listen to when I was in my teens. It’s called “Land” and tells – in a very surreal way – the story of this guy called Johnny. Since the chord progression wasn’t too complicatedly, I quickly learned to play it on the guitar. There was a particular line that made me pretty excited when I sang it. It was “I hold the key to the sea of possibilities”.

When I was seventeen I had a number of small abilities, but very little how-to knowledge.
My guitar practice alone branched off into my folk Neapolitan repertoire, my intimate Carla Bruni-like songs and my love for punk rock. These three aesthetics were not conflicting to me. That was confirmed by reading on a magazine that Norah Jones also had a punk band. I thought, if she does it, why I shouldn’t? (Well, if you have ever heard me singing and playing, the answer is pretty straightforward).

Way before I would learn the position for a E chord, I was making been comic books. Since I was born, I have never stopped drawing and creating stories. As often happens, I started making comic books since I was in high school and my school mates were my first readers. Never in my life I considered to stop that. Then of course, there was the writing. I was that annoying kid asked by the teacher to stand up and read her essay out loud. I didn’t really like to do that, mostly because my pulp Tarantino-confronts-Romero-on-the-theme-of-abortion like essays were meant to be read with a little verve. Which I completely lacked of . Anyways, at eighteen I started writing for an art magazine and a number of rock and general publications. Around the same time, I started covering every blank spot I could find in the city with graffiti. Man, that was real fun!

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glory1

When it comes to creative jobs in general – and jobs in contemporary art in particular – the word “work” often assumes nuanced meanings.
After all work is not supposed to be fun. It has to be a daily ordeal, something that drains off your love for life, fades the colours around you and makes food tasteless.
Well, I think that today, more than ever, that is simply not true.
If you are into Brain Pickings, TED Talks, School of Life & similaria just like I am – and you probably are since you stumbled on this blog – you listen to people spurring you to make a business out of your passion every day. Nothing seems to be impossible in the era of internet. The sheer fact of owning a computer opens up a myriad of resources and possibilities.

Yet once again I hear people in contemporary art industry saying “Obviously with this project we are not interested in making any profit. We are doing that for the glory.” What followed is usually a resigned nodding: “That’s the way it is.”
The glory? What the hell, I thought, we are talking of contemporary art! If you are in for the glory, you better choose something a little more mainstream. Contemporary art gave fame and glory to very few people. The majority of these people are just a handful of artists, the rest are Hans Ulrich Obrist and Achille Bonito Oliva. Full stop. You may worship Palma Bucarelli (the late charming director of Rome’s National Gallery from 1942 al 1975) just like I do. But you also have to acknowledge that she’s pretty niche. Niche to the point she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page in English. The best part is that I don’t think she would care about having a Wikipedia page either. She was not in for the glory; working in a museum was her job and it was a real respectable job, the kind that pays the bills – and in her case all those glamorous dresses as well.

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Si è da poco conclusa la mostra con mia curatela “Nothing’s happened since Yesterday – Due artisti da Melbourne” di Georgina Lee e Kenny Pittock alla Galleria 291est, Roma. Se non avete avuto modo di visitarla ma siete curiosi di sapere di che si trattava, ecco il mio testo critico a corredo della mostra, più una galleria di immagini:

“Paesi geograficamente lontani da noi come l’Australia suscitano suggestioni diverse che dicono molto non tanto del paese stesso, quanto della persona interpellata.
Per alcuni all’Australia si associa all’esodo in corso della gioventù italiana in cerca di prospettive lavorative. Sono infatti sempre di più coloro disposti ad affrontare più di 24 ore di volo e un cambio radicale per sistemarsi in quella che è vista come la nuova America. Per loro l’Australia sarebbe tutta percentuali di disoccupazione bassissime, clima amichevole e qualità della vita alta; almeno secondo le statistiche. Per altri invece Australia vuol dire esclusivamente spiagge sconfinate popolate da biondi surfisti abbronzati. Altri non penseranno altro che ai coccodrilli e ai cappelli di pelle a falda larga con i dentini di alligatore (ne ho uno e sono indecisa se indossarlo all’opening di questa mostra o meno, giusto per il gusto di farmi accoltellare dai due artisti indignati per lo stereotipo). 

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blog1

The other day I was reading this interesting interview on Design Sponge to business owner Jess Lively. Jess pointed out that there are four questions everyone should ask themselves before starting a business, or while running it. These question have subconsciously run into my mind all the time, but now I really wanted to put them “on paper”. The answer we give to these questions is ultimately what makes you keep going through a bad day and what can probably stop you making things half heartedly. It is a powerful reminder to do what you can with what you have and not be scared to figure things out along the way. Here my answers; I’m sure many arts writers and curators can relate to.

1. Why are you starting this business?

Because I love writing and connecting with people. What motivates me is a huge curiosity about the world and the human beings inhabiting it. I enjoy hearing people’s stories and retell them through my own writing. I’m usually enriched and energized by a good conversation, and at times also moved.  As a journalist and interviewer I always bear in mind the motto: “La vita è l’arte dell’incontro” (Life is the art of the encounter).

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benjamin
The Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) has  just published the interview I had in Rome with artist Benjamin Skepper with the title “Benjamin Skepper, l’olandese tra Australia, Tokio, Russia, resto del mondo e bellezza. L’intervista”. The interview is part of my reportage about artists in Melbourne.

Here the link to the interview

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