Naima Morelli

November, 2013 Monthly archive


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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Since no one cares about the 55th Venice Biennale anymore, I feel like sharing my definitive thoughts about my favourite pavilion, without anyone there to contradict me.
So, chart lovers, my favourite pavilion was the Indonesian one, curated by Rifky Effendy.
In no other pavilion the installations of different artists work so perfectly together. The show almost looked like one single artist and yet it encapsulated such a richness of discourses.

If you were at the Venice Biennale in October, you would have seen me wandering in the Arsenal looking for the Indonesian Pavillion.
I actually overshot the main entrance, so I came in by the back door.
It was dark inside, and there was a soft music that I didn’t notice in the first place. The music though ended up being a background noise influencing the entire experience of the pavilion.
The soundscape was actually by Solo composer Rahayu Supanggah, the guy who reinvented traditional Indonesian music. For the Biennale’s composition he was inspired by the theme of the pavilion, which was “Sankti”.
As the press release stated, Sankti is a sanskrit word that refers to the primordial cosmic energy and the personification of the divine, feminine creative energy, as well as indicating change and liberation.

The first dark-metal work I encountered immediately struck me with his expressive power.
A group of man wearing a Muslim hat were sitting at a table. One man was laying with his head on the table, like someone who had been shot or something. One man was pointing his finger to another gentleman, who looked baffled. If you looked better at these two figures and you would notice that their legs where stretched under the table so to touch each other.
But the figure that really stood out was a matriarch in traditional clothes, upright at the end of the table. She was bringing a hand at his chest like saying: “Who, me?”
A weird lamp was falling from the ceiling, almost touching the table. It was shaped like something between an octopus and a tropical fruit.

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The Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) has just published my interview with the Japanese artist Shohei Takasaki. The interview is part of my reportage about emerging artists in Melbourne.

Here the link to the interview

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Dunque, per quanto surreale possa sembrare, è veramente successo. Ashley Bickerton, Luigi Ontani e Filippo Sciascia si sono effettivamente incontrati nella stessa stanza.
Chiaramente c’è qualcosa che questi tre eccezionali artisti, così diversi tra di loro per pratica artistica e personalità, hanno in comune. Bali.
Bickerton e Sciascia ne hanno fatto la propria dimora, Ontani vi soggiorna spesso fin dagli anni ’80, da quando ha cominciato a far produrre le proprie maschere agli artigiani locali.
Dico, riuscite a immaginarvi Ontani, aristocraticamente vestito di seta e con la sua elaborata parlata infarcita di giochi di parole, dialogare amabilmente con Ashley Bickerton, camicia da surfista e flip flop, il quale dichiara candidamente di sentirsi in certe situazioni “Come una scorreggia in una cabina telefonica?”.
Fortunatamente c’è Sciascia che funge da elemento di raccordo. Lui, molto gentiluomo noncurante col sopracciglio lirico, ma spiegato come un radar alla ricerca di stimoli tra cultura alta e bassa.
Ashley Bickerton possiede un dipinto di Sciascia che tiene in bella mostra a casa sua, una Giuditta dal seno rifatto e le labbra impertinenti che brandisce la testa di Oloferne: “Mi piace perché è un soggetto della pittura classica, ma è così chiaramente un’immagine presa da qualche porno!”
Ontani, il quale pure inserisce elementi suggestivi nelle sue ceramiche, conosceva Ashley Bickerton fin dagli anni ’80, momento più fulgido per l’artista americano. Sciascia invece Ontani l’ha incontrato proprio a Bali.

Il fatto è che Bickerton, Ontani e Sciascia sono bulè, è il nome con cui i balinese chiamano l’uomo bianco.
In una splendida mostra al Museo Archeologico di Napoli, curata da Maria Savarese, il trio si appropria ironicamente di questa parola, e dissemina balinesità tra le statue antiche della collezione Farnese del museo.

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The Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) has just published my review of the Katrien de Blauwer’s exhibition “Where will we hide” at Galleria 291 est, Rome.

Here you are the link to the review

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My article “An artist in a waitress’s body” is in the November issue of Art Monthly Australia. The article features interviews with artsHub director Deborah Stone and artists Georgina Lee and Boe-Lin Bastian.  The interview is part of my reportage about emerging artists in Melbourne.

Here the link to the Art Monthly Au website

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