Naima Morelli

September, 2015 Monthly archive

“Exoticism is an endlessly fascinating topic and an ongoing subject of exploration for me. On one hand exoticism is a necessary tool for curiosity. It has something of the infatuation in a way. When you fall in love with someone, you project your fantasies on them – which of course have nothing to do with the actual person and everything to with those damn adventures of Wolverine, Psylocke and Jubilee in Madripoor – which totally screwed up your brain as a teenager. Anyway, that confused exotic approach is necessary in order to take the next step to get closer to your subject and learn. Exoticism becomes dangerous when it’s taken at face value. When it is not the starting point for further explorations, but it becomes a stereotype to pigeonhole people and cultures. Not surprisingly many Indonesian artists and artists with a non-western background play a lot around this concept. They reverse roles, make fun of stereotypes and show potential dangers connected to them.”

I have recently been interviewed  by photojournalist Stefano Romano for the Indonesian webmagazine Baltyra. In the interview we chat a bit about my book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia, un’introduzione“, discuss the developments of art in Indonesia and talk tradition, censorship and exoticism.

Here’s the link to the interview


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Australian/Uk webmagazine ArtsHub has published my piece “Four ways arts workers can win in the new economy”. I have been interested in the sharing economy and the opportunities it provides to artists and art workers from a long time. By researching and writing this piece I got excited about the future – we tend to perceive our time as less revolutionary compared to the past decades, but actually there is so much going on, thanks to new technologies and the internet. In the piece I talk about three platforms that are contributing to reinventing the economy.

Here’s the link to the article

Here’s a pdf version of the piece

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“I never decide in advance why I want to talk about a subject; it just arises from the context. The wall in particular is a symbol that speaks to me strongly,” says Tunisian-Russian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke, to explain her new work at Dallas Contemporary gallery. “For me, walls mean separation. But walls are also skins that say something about a city and the people who live there in hidden ways,” she observes. “I have always been interested in revealing the invisible.”

Nadia Kaabi-Linke was born in Tunis in 1978 to a Russian mother and Tunisian father, she studied at the University of Fine Arts in Tunis before receiving a PhD from La Sorbonne in Paris. Her installations, objects and pictorial works are embedded in urban contexts, intertwined with memory and geographically and politically constructed identities. She currently has a solo show, called “Walk the Line”, at Dallas Contemporary in Texas, USA, from September 20 until December 21. I have interviewed Nadia for Middle East Monitor , asking her about her personal path through art, the Tunisian contemporary art scene and the theme of migration in her work.

Here’s the link to the piece

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At the beginning of August I was invited to Tuscany for Teatro Nel Bicchiere – a three days festival matching theater and wine tasting in the small town renown for his Morellino di Scansano. While I had to pass on the wine tasting – I notoriously don’t drink – the theater part was very engaging.

Among the experimental shows, what struck me the most was Coppelia Theater, a mesmerizing marionette company. When I came to know the story of Coppelia, the gal behind the company, I had no doubts – I had to interview her for Times of Malta’s new Sunday magazine, Escape. So here’s Coppelia’s tale, involving Siberian cybernetics engineer, Mexican painters and Tuscany of course!

Here’s the link to the interview

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I was invited to write a short curatorial text on the work of the Palermitan photographer Ornella Mazzola for the exhibition “PALERMO DENTRO ” held at Palm Beach Hotel, Cinisi, Sicily. Ornella is a talented friend and colleague and I highly recommend to check out her website – or even better visit the exhibition, if you happen to spend these last warm weeks in Sicily. The show will be open to the public from the 19th of September to the 24th of October. Below my text in English and Italian.

“Palermo Dentro”

Are the people making the places, ore the places making the people? In the series Palermo Inside by Ornella Mazzola, we go back to the chicken and egg paradox. There is no right of way, because people and places become inextricably linked. For the inhabitants of the most working class neighbourhoods in the city’s historic center – Kalsa, Albergheria, Borgo vecchio, Vucciria, Ballarò and La Marina – boldness fights with resignation. The People is actually made up of a myriad of stories that intersect, while maintaining their singularity. You see that in a gesture of woman, maybe aggressive, perhaps reluctant. In solitary play of children in silent spaces. In the foosball on a sultry summer afternoon. Ornella is able to crystallize a series of habits that constitute the soul of the city as much as their own buildings. Here human beings shows themselves in their theatricality. The city is a stage from which mysterious figures emerge, like a premonition. In the end, what everything comes down to is that you can take the people out of Palermo, but you can’t take Palermo out of the people.  

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