Naima Morelli

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Finally my piece on the Venice Biennale 2022 has been published by Plural Art Mag. While the piece was written in the aftermath of the opening, it came out just now, given the webmagazine’s editorial schedule.

The article is a report, as well as an overview, and it is focused on the Southeast Asian presence, which this year was much smaller compared to previous years.

Here is the link to the piece

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Nameer Qassim, “Enough”, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 100x100 cm [Courtesy of The Palestinian Museum US]

Curated by Nancy Nesvet, head curator at the Palestine Museum in the US, the exhibition “From Palestine With Art” features 19 Palestinian artists from Palestine and across the diaspora.

“This is the strongest Palestinian presentation ever,” said Faisal Saleh, director of the Palestine Museum US. “In terms of the size, and the boldness of its pieces, it is a very significant, strong presentation. I think this is going to have a very big impact and get the Palestinian name out in a big way.”

I have reviewed the show for Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the piece

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How to talk about spiritual matters in a highly secularised, hyper-pragmatic society? This was the question artists exhibiting in the show “Pneuma: Of Spirituality in Contemporary Age” at the Stamford Art Centre in Singapore grappled with during the 2020 Singapore Art Week.

The webmagazine Qantara has just published my piece on the show.

Here is the link to the piece

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At the beginning of 2019 I realized one of my yearly reportages on contemporary art in Thailand. Among the most interesting artists I have interviewed is Tawatchai Puntusawasdi; our conversation has just been published on CoBo.

Here is the link to the interview

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Rome’s favourite contemporary art webmagazine, Art a Part of Culture has just published my interview with the emerging artist Leonardo Crudi. It’s written in Italian – a language I take much more fun and freedom in. So, if you can read, you’ll find it a bit gonzoish.

I greatly enjoyed the works of this young street-artist-turned-Russian-avant-garde lover, and thanks to curator Tiziano Tancredi (who curated the show together with Giovanni Argan) I manage to keep in touch with the up-and-coming scene of the city I live in (most of the times)

Here’s the link to the piece

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The contemporary art scene in Cambodia is still very young and in the making. Distinctive stylistic trends and artistic fervour are emerging in the three major cities, creating elements for a dialogue to come.

For those looking for true solace as well as engaging conversations with artists, Battambang is definitely the place to go. Here time slows down. Artistic practice largely takes a meditative slant, and are more often than not, based on considerably traditional mediums.

I have look at the four more interesting emerging artists hailing from this Cambodian city for CoBo.

Here is the link to the article

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Robert Zhao Renhui

A definition of ‘artist’ according to my arts writer friend Donato is a person that is obsessed with something. However, as soon as artists become famous, you see this obsession wearing out or being somehow forced into a structure. Whereas over the years Robert Zhao has developed a team of people collaborating with him, I’d say his obsession is always there. He’s a total nature nerd, and you can feel his genuine obsession with it, paired with a strong conceptual background, which makes him in my opinion and in that of many other art critics, an incredibly powerful artist. Where you’d expect a snobbish, intellectual figure, you meet a very nice and considerate man who is really interested in sharing his passion and his work.

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Torlarp
More from my reportage on Thai contemporary. This piece, just published by CoBo, is an interview to Chiang Mai artist Torlarp Larpjaroensook, owner of Seescape Gallery. I have really great admiration for this self-made-man, and of course self-made-artist, who is all about the community.

And as a side note, I started doing this job, arts writing, more than 10 years ago now. And yet, every time an article of mine is published, I’m still so thrilled and grateful. The interviews, the chance to ask questions, the artworks, the artists, the magazines I write for and my incredible editors, the people I met, the people I traveled with, the chance to explore the world, to learn about it through its artists, the impressions, the learning, the struggles and still being here to tell tale.

I feel incredible blessed to live this life, doing this job. Hopefully some glimmer of the bliss, both mine and the one of Torlarp’s, will transpire through the lines.

Here is the link of the interview

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Adeline Kueh

“What gets measured gets managed,” wrote Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management. And the struggle of measuring what is imponderable is one of the shapes that the contrast between bureaucracy and spirit takes shape. In this context, we have seen how there are those giving breath to a life in a country which is all about achievement and “getting there”. If this attitude of bringing home results has proved successful for the city state, artists are those who need to rebalance the machine with a ghost. To give humanity to the clog.

Artist Adeline Kueh belongs to those who are able to give shape to feelings that you can’t simply calculate on a spreadsheet. Her sensitivity is attuned to the appreciation of beauty, and she finds it in the memories, in the history of people, places and objects. I meet this pretty, tiny and brisk woman in the Lasalle cafè where she works as an art educator. Every project she starts comes from a personal place, and has memories and meaning attached to it. She looks with a romantic and poetic eye at themes which can be considered quite risqué (she loves to drop a French word here and there — perhaps from her living in Canada as a young student, perhaps from her wide-ranging readings).

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Nature in Singapore

The garden city utopia was conceived well before Singapore would reclaim this title for itself. The term was first created in 1898 by utopian thinker Ebenezer Howard. The concept of having housing outside the city, providing to each house its own garden, was made possible by the brand new railroad, which made transportation possible. Again, it was a way to go home, away from the industrial pollution. This idea was successfully implemented in Anglo-Saxon countries. In the US especially, this sort of nuclear family solution came to correspond with the American dream.

As we mentioned earlier, suburbia proved problematic not only on a social level. There are also other problems involving a shortage of horizontal space, and most importantly, the transportation which made possible the idea of garden city must today be reduced for environmental reasons. Today’s transportation calls for a different conception of the garden city, a garden city that is mainly vertical, and that is what has been implemented by Singapore. In its modern idea of the Garden City, Singapore wants to show that nature and business can be integrated. The western division between leisure and work doesn’t have to be so sharp. Business life doesn’t have to necessarily happen away from nature, and be balanced by it. This corresponds, on a wider scale, to the dismantling of the idea of work-life balance, as if work and life would be two separate entities. What is valid for the individual is valid also for the wider community. It is true that there is a place to sleep, a place to work, a place to relax, but we must keep in mind that in our mind and life the boundaries are not so strict as walls.

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Daylight dystopia

In our worse dystopian imagination, brought to fruition by filmmakers and artists, we imagine the cities of the future being an endless continuation of buildings and city lights, from the steamy Metropolis to – moving to the ‘80s – the cities of Ghost in The Shell, or Neon Tokyo from Akira. Asian mega-cities provided a good model in this respect. The urban landscape of Blade Runner for example was inspired by a particular part of Kwaloon, also known as the Walled City. This was an area of incredible density, a human anthill, picturesque and inhuman at the same time. In 1994, Kwaloon was demolished. Visitors eager to see the ruins of this mythical place will instead find a park with gardens, floral walks, ponds and pavilions. The future was not as we imagined, if not only for the lack of flying cars which many of us lamented, but also because it doesn’t look as evil as we thought. Then came the daylight dystopia. As a child, I remember approaching this slightly less suffocating concept in the Disney PK comics. This was a superhero series of Donald Duck set in a futuristic future. In a particular episode, PK travelled to the future to find that instead of the tower he operated from – the Ducklair tower created by a tech genius – there was a garden. Our beloved flying cars came in handy in that comic in order to reach the heights of that vertical city, whose buildings have gardens on top, another idea which is being implemented in the green architectural world. An idea that has been developed by many architectural firms reimagining the future of the urban landscape as we will see. The palaces of the old city will be pillars, or comprised into other buildings, and of course we have plenty of examples of this as well. The final look of this city is a green aspirational environment which will preserve history and won’t look as dingy and ugly as we imagined dystopian cities to be.

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The work of Geraldine Kang

For Geraldine Kang, art-making has the functions of helping her process her thoughts and feelings and to get herself out of her head. In the awarded series ‘In the Raw’, she depicted her family members in surreal situations dealing with nudity, aging and death. The artist defines In the Raw as a “shock treatment” to introduce her parents to her art practice, which in the beginning they didn’t understand. In an iconic picture of her series, she is in bed with her parents, just like a little child would do, but with a photographic book showing breasts. The photographs encapsulate the lack of intimacy and the difficulty of maturing and dealing with desire where you share the same living space with your family.

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