Naima Morelli

September, 2014 Monthly archive


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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My article about  coffee cultures in Naples has just been published on the American magazine Fresh Cup. In this article I go back to my hometown Naples  interviewing three owners of different typologies of cafès, the historical Gambrinus, the typical Bar Nilo and the innovative Spazio Nea.

Here’s the link to the article on Fresh Cup website

Here you can order a copy of the magazine

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The new exhibition season in Rome is kicking off with a promising show entitled SHOUT! which will be held in MACRO from September – November 2014 in conjunction with the film festival Asiatica Film Mediale.
The show is curated by Singapore-based curator Santy Saptari and Bryan Collie, director of Melbourne’s MiFA Gallery and features artists Aditya Novali, Andita Purnama, Angki Purbandono Bestrizal Besta, Erika Ernawan, Gatot Pujiarto, Maria Indra Sari, Sigit Santoso, I Gusti Ngrurah Udiatara, Tantin, Yudi Sulisto and Gusmen Heriadi.
Yesterday I sneaked inside the MACRO to take some pictures of the artists setting up the show and have a chat with them. Here’s a preview of what you will see from the 26th of September:

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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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In 2012 I interviewed artist Angki Purbandono for my reportage about contemporary art in Indonesia for Art a Part of Cult(ure). That time I had the chance to snap some pictures around his studio/house filled with the weirdest objects. That was not surprising, considering that Angki is well know for his scannographies, namely giant scans of everyday objects unusually associated, defamiliarized by the size and the black background. Even if his photographs look as if they would have been taken with a complex set of lights, Angki revealed me that his only tool was a normal scanner – which of course, I didn’t fail to photograph. As for Angki himself, you could guess his personality from his body language and shirt. He is a great chap!

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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


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Many moons ago, when was a graffiti artist in Rome, I was introduced to Roman rap music by my then-boyfriend, who used to wear annoying hip hop clothes and a very nice rapper hat. I didn’t know anything about rap back then. I grew up on punk rock and when came to the spoken word I couldn’t go farther than Patti Smith’s “Piss Factory” – which still hold the title the most moving songs about ambition and an aesthetic vision of life, if you ask me.

Anyway, at the time I was listening to all those people you probably never heard of unless you are from Rome and you wear annoying hip hop clothes. Corveleno was my favourite rap group, followed by Colle Der Fomento, Gente de Borgata and – here I have some reticence to admit it – Noyz Narcoz and Saga Er Secco. As bad as it sounds, my writing style in Italian was heavily influenced by that music. You should read my art reviews from that time on Art a Part of Cul(ure). Imagine reviewing Sandro Chia with this super aggressive attitude – which let’s be honest, the Transavanguardia deserves a little bit. Plus, those reviews were great fun to write. I remember a mail exchange with Art a Part of Cult(ure) director Barbara – who usually let me go away with everything – saying: “Don’t you think that passage is a little offensive?” Offensive was a nice way to describe that passage.

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