Naima Morelli

July, 2014 Monthly archive


When people ask me about my routine, what I can say is that it is constantly changing. After an intense July, I’m finally back in uneventful Sorrento, Italy, and I couldn’t be happier about it. In sultry Rome I was super-busy setting up the screening of Indonesian video art, so I wasn’t really able to keep a routine, which was good. In fact, my modus operandi entails intense and exciting weeks, followed by weeks of just concentrating getting the “offstage” work done. Which means a solid 8 hours a day. Then I grow restless and I leave for the next adventure. I also like the idea that thanks to the internet you can work remotely to your next mission. There is something inherently powerful in working from a remote costal town in Italy, contacting artists and magazines from all over the world. So that’s how an ideal July-August workday looks like for me (if I manage to retain myself from playing guitar all day)

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On July 18, right after an unexpected rain in Rome, we held a private screening of “Indonesia – Orienti, Visioni Contemporanee” for three members of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Italy. MNAO Contemporary’s Chief Curator Valentina Levy and I had an informal chat with Counsellor Nindarsari Utomo and Third Secretary Tinus Zainal. We discussed the difficulty to keep alive tradition in relation of Krisna Murti’s “Empty Theather”. We also dwelt on the value of documentation and national identity with Tintin Wulia’s video and we observed how the young generations of Italians can easily relate to SlavePianos and Punkasila’s work. The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Italy is constantly promoting cultural events across the two countries, and it has been great to see how visual art can be part of that. Here a couple of pictures!

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At the beginning of 2012 I started making research about Indonesian contemporary art and now I’m excited to had the chance to introduce some of these amazing artists to an Italian public through “Indonesia – Orienti Visioni Contemporanee” , a series of screening of video art in Villa Ada’s Art Project Space.
For this screening, part of MNAO Contemporary program, I wanted to show three completely different approaches to video art, presenting new-media pioneers Krisna Murti and Tintin Wulia, and the most irreverent bunch of punks in the whole Asia-Pacific, namely Punkasila and Slave Pianos.
Despite the title of the program, I tried to steer away from any kind of representation of “Indonesianess”. Krisna Murti makes an aesthetically mesmerizing observation on traditions slowly fading away. On the other hand, Tintin Wulia’s way of working goes beyond her nationality, in fact she works around the concept of nation and national boundaries itself. Punkasila and Slave Pianos, joining forces just like a crossover from some comic book, give space to their wildest fantasies, imagining an alien invasion starting from Java.
So, here a preview of what you will see this week if you happen to pass by the Art Project Space in Villa Ada.

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Dal 14 al 2o Luglio curerò una rassegna di video arte indonesiana nell’ambito del Festival di Villa Ada. L’iniziativa è stata organizzata da MNAO Contemporary, il programma di arte contemporanea del Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale Giuseppe Tucci di Roma, e si focalizza su diversi paesi asiatici. L’inaugurazione è domani sera dalle 9 in poi… intanto beccatevi il comunicato!

Villa Ada Festival Roma Incontra il Mondo presenta…

Programma di video-proiezioni ed installazioni di artisti contemporanei asiatici diretto da Valentina Gioia Levy, con la collaborazione di Elena Abbiatici e Naima Morelli

Presso l’Art Project Space
Adagio Bar
A partire dal 4 luglio
INDONESIA 14 – 20 Luglio

A cura di Naima Morelli
14 – Presentazione scena artistica indonesiana e introduzione al lavoro dei tre artisti in mostra.

15/16 – Krisna Murti – Empty Theather – Video installation (multi-channel video), DVD 3 projections, 3’58’’, loop, sound, 2010.

17/18 – Fallen –Tintin Wulia – Video projection (single-channel), 18’43”, loop, 2011

19/20 – The Lepidopters – Slave Pianos and Punkasila – Video projection (single-channel), loop, 2014
Proiezioni dalle 21 in poi
Per la settimana dedicata all’Indonesia verranno proiettati tre video che rappresentano alcune sfaccettature della complessa e variegata scena artistica locale in rapido sviluppo.
Krisna Murti e Tintin Wulia sono pionieri della video arte in Indonesia. Entrambi cominciano a lavorare con i new media all’alba della caduta del regime del dittatore Suharto nel ’98, in un clima di libertà espressiva fino a quel momento negato.
Punkasila invece è un gruppo artistico nato a Yogyakarta nel 2007 da una residenza all’Indonesian Visual Art Archive, allora Yayasan Seni Cemeti, di Danius Kesminas. Il gruppo originale di Punkasila conta sette giovani artisti indonesiani più Kesminas, ma è costantemente in espansione e aperto a nuove collaborazioni, tra cui quella con Slave Pianos per questo video.

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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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Kenny Pittock and Georgina Lee’s double-solo exhibition “Nothing’s happened since Yesterday” at Galleria 291est, Rome, curated by me, has closed a few weeks ago. Here’s a selection from the press coverage of the event:

– An interesting and funny interview with Georgina Lee and Kenny Pittock by Donato Di Pelino on Art a Part of Cult(ure) – Italian

– Face Magazine listed “Nothing’s happened since Yesterday” as a “not to be missed” exhibition alongside Warhol and Frida Kahlo – Italian

– Exhibition preview on Art a Part of Culture – Italian

– The event on Artribune – Italian/English

– The event on Italian

– The event on Exibart – Italian

And the best is yet to come…  I can’t wait to see to video of the artists at work by Mauro Piccini from Hour Interview!

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The Australian art magazine Trouble has  just published the interview I had in Melbourne with painter Emily Ferretti. The interview is part of my reportage about emerging artists in Melbourne.

Here the link to the interview

Here the link to the online version of the magazine

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