Naima Morelli

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Tag "italian artist"

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My series on studio visits is finally back! During my reportage in Singapore I had the chance to snoop around the working and sometimes also living space of local artists. First up is a wonderful Italian artist who now calls the Lion City home: Giada Tagliamonte aka Zada Tagli. Her work is delicate and poetic, and although she’s inspired by eminent figures of Italian culture, such as Giotto and Umberto Eco, the imaginary she evokes is really universal.  You will soon read my interview to her, which I realized in November – but for now I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

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quagliozzi
I have to admit the video reports with the TeenPress guys was something I was missing from my life. We are finally back with a new micro-series with the self-explanatory name “Giovani Creativi”. For these installments creatives of  all stripes join us in our studio in Pietralata, Rome. We chat about their artistic practice, creative process, everyday life and day-to-day struggles. We have started with Cristiano Quagliozzi, painter, sculptor, installation and performance artist, who opens up about his upcoming project and gives us his definition of artist. Enjoy the video!

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zevola3
I don’t now if your grandmother ever had a garden, and in that garden she used to keep palms, bamboos and other tropical plants. Imagine yourself sitting in a corner of the porch after a good grandma-style lunch. The November sun behind the vegetation transforms the leaves into mysterious green neon lights and makes the bark of threes shine like silver. You may call it a Sunday afternoon enchantment, you may call it Refulgenzia. In that moment you can even expect a tiger jumping out from behind a terracotta pot – which of course, now looks like a column from some Bengalese temple. It’s the exact same feeling that Paolo Conte – the Italian musician – so well depicted in his song Azzurro: “Cerco un pò d’Africa in giardino, tra l’oleandro e il baobab” (“I’m looking for a bit of Africa in my garden, between the oleander and the baobab”). It’s about looking for the exotic in the familiar and the familiar in the exotic. In contemporary art not many artists are able to convey that. Oreste Zevola does it.

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Walking into Stefano Canto’s studio feels like stepping on the moon. Tucked in a quiet area of Rome, Canto’s working space reflects his need for order and clarity.
The artist has a background in architecture and that comes off pretty clearly from many elements of his work, such as the relationship between solids and voids, the use of modular elements and the choice of materials to work with. In sculptures/installations like “Caedo (Opus Caementitium)” he creates evocative shapes by filling the bug-damaged interior of a tree with concrete.
As often happens in contemporary art, there are many ways to look at “Caedo (Opus Caementitium)” – for some absence becomes presence. For others the work is a comment on the damages of urbanisation – the pathogens attacking the tree trunk are indeed caused by smog and other similar substances. You can even look at these works as simple evocative shapes, reminiscent of the black obelisk-shaped object that Led Zeppelin featured on the cover of their seventh album ‘Presence’ (that’s actually my own take and when I told Stefano he looked at me like “what the hell are you talking about?) Well, my point is that there are so many layers to each work that you can fill a book – Stefano actually has an upcoming book with a few curatorial texts, so keep an eye on this guy -this is a studio visit though, so I’ll let the picture do the talk…

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After visiting Dario Carratta’s pen-drawings exhibition at Galleria 291est in Rome, I was totally curious to see his paintings. On the way to his studio in Conca D’Oro, a north-east suburb of Rome, I was wondering where his twisted world of dingy nightclubs, pulped faces and blue hair in the wind came from. I won’t say I was expecting to find corpses and carnivorous plants in Dario’s studio, but I was actually pretty surprised to hear that the artists was so sensitive to bad vibes he wouldn’t even see the news. He explained me that art for him was an outlet to negative emotions that would otherwise overwhelm him. That’s why he needed to paint every day and he couldn’t picture himself not doing it.
The paintings in flesh looked much more violent and rougher than what I could observe from the photos, but for this very reason even more exciting and fascinating.

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Three years ago Isabella Tirelli, artist and professor at the Art Academy in Rome started a video project called “Dialogo con l’artista”.
The project was based on collective interviews to artists in their studio and was realized under the direction of videomaker Leonardo Settimelli.
Tirelli gathered students and ex students from the Art Academy – I fell into the latter category – and we visited the studios of the most amazing artists in Rome.
The most notable visit for me was certainly the one to Luigi Ontani’s studio in Piazza Popolo.
I wrote about Luigi Ontani work before (for this blog, Artribune and I-Magazine Bali) and I obviously love his art. Who doesn’t afterall?
Once I was in Naples and, going down the Museo Madre’s stairs, I saw Ontani around the corner. I was wearing his typical blue silk suit and there were two guys literally throwing at his feet whispering:”Maestro… maestro…”. Even if Ontani’s physical presence is enough inspire devotion among many, the artist himself is much more down-to-earth than his public persona.

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I recently visited the studio of artist Alessandro Cannistrà in San Lorenzo.
It consisted in a white, neat room, pretty bare, except for some books, stucked in an arch in the wall over the door, and a black sofa with some black hats on it.
“This is an original gaucho hat.” he said grabbing a wide-brimmed leather hat on top of the stack “I bought it in Argentina, during my artist residency in Buenos Aires”.
Alessandro has travelled quite a bit lately and he recently relocated in Rome. His work keep on travelling internationally through exhibition and fairs, that’s why his studio was almost empty at the moment.
My attention was attracted by some 3D reconstructions that were pinpointed on the wall.
“Is that what are you working on at the moment?” I asked
Alessandro explained me that he was working on these pyramids for his new solo exhibition at Toselli Gallery, in Milan, curated by Luca Tomìo. The title was “Oggetto di Pensiero”, namely “Object of thinking”, and will open on March 28.

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Robberto is a talented emerging Italian artist that I have been not only following but also collecting.
I recently wrote the text for his exhibition Fake (Skin), now on at Madhood Temporary in Los Angeles. I posted it below along with some pictures that Robberto sent me as a preview.

FAKE (SKIN)

For his first solo show in the United States, Robberto is presenting a new series of work realized during his stay in Los Angeles.
His research starts from a linguistic observation around the meaning of the word buck, that is used for call “dollars ”
The artist decided to go deeper into this duality and study the etymology of this expression, finding out that buck is the abbreviation of buckskin, a common medium of exchange in trading between the natives and the Europeans.
There are documents from 1748 saying “Every cask of Whiskey shall be sold to you [Indians] for 5 Bucks.” The transition from buckskin to dollars seems only natural.

This finding leads the artist to think about the perception of wildlife and nature in the city of Los Angeles.
He reached the conclusion that the nature in town, is just a fake perception of the real natural environment and that the trees, the water and the animals have just been pushed in 150 years, a really short time, to cohabit together with 20 millions of peoples, this created in him a feeling of displacement.

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cassani

I met Marco Cassani in Bali during my reportage about contemporary art in Indonesia. What supposed to be an interview has become a lively chat about Marco’s art, hallucinogenic experiences and, of course, Bali.  A month ago he sent me this mail about his new work that is going to be exhibit at “Imagining Indonesia, Tribute to S.Sudjojono”  on the 23rd of November at Tonyraka Gallery in Bali:

Dear Naima,

How are you?

I am sending you the picture of my new work for the group exhibition
Tribute to Sudjojono at Tonyraka gallery on November, 23rd.

The work, entitled ‘CHANCE Project 2, Tribute to S. Sudjojono’, consists in:

1) a sculptor that represents the Sudjojono head (cement, 140 x 90 x 90 cm)

2) a box (wood, 120 x 70 x 45 cm) with a text (“This sculpture is designed
for people to interact with. The audience is free to do whatever they
want, with or without the tools provided. This is part of an interactive
event between art and its audience. The result of this encounter is a
reflection of the behaviour of the people. As Sudjojono stated Еarth of
Indonesia should reflect the character of the land and its people.”)

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Rome

We have seen plenty of celebrations of the sea. The only subject that is as hackneyed as the sea is the sky. And love.
But really, to be innovative is not to talk about a new subject for the first time. To be innovative is to be able of talking about a corny subject in a new, or personal or moving way.
If you are a musician, go ask Ivano Fossati about it. If you are a painter, ask Piero Guccione. If you are a photographer, do what Monitor Gallery did. Go ask Antonio Rovaldi.

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nietzsche

Robberto is a young artist based in Rome, native of Sardinia. I met him at the Pastificio Cerere, in Rome, and I soon find out that he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti as well. He gave me this painting of Nietzsche – charcoal and chalk on wood – as gift. The back of the wood is slate, so the artwork is super-heavy. I needed some help to carry the artwork home.

Nietzsche is my favourite philosopher, his writing is incredibly powerful. He said “I’m dynamite” long before the AC/DC. 

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