Naima Morelli

Tag "arte contemporanea"

My article on Italian colonialism in Libya has just been published by Middle East Eye. The piece explores how filmmakers and artists are exploring a largely neglected history of Italy’s presence in Libya in the 20th century.

It took me some three months to get all the voices together and get a clear picture of history. Thought I’m taking the art lens, this artist and country and type of research is a bit outside my comfort zone, so I was tempted to stop at what I had a few times.

It took a very determined editor to allow me to go all the way down with it. Like all the difficult things in life, this allowed me to bring my understanding and writing to a new level.

Here is the link to the piece

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Yesterday was the opening night of the show “Attualità Indonesiane” at Il Ramo D’Oro in Naples, Italy, featuring artists Balinese artists Made Bayak, Gede Suanda and Naples-based Setyo Mardiyantoro. It was a successful and interesting night where people from many different background come together to learn about art making in Indonesia and the value of art in helping to grow awareness. The interesting thing about il Ramo D’Oro is its non-elitist approach. Gallerist Vincenzo Montella doesn’t want his space to be accessible only by vernissage hoppers, but rather to people from every walk of life.

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This is a public service announcement (with guitar! As the Clash would say); I’m working on a new book. It will revolve around my research on contemporary art in Singapore and will explore some concepts I started looking at in my previous book, Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia, un’introduzione.

Of course, having a second “baby” might look easier if you already had that kind of experience. But a second book comes with its new challenges. On top of that, I also had an aborted book which still is very much a looming presence. (Should we stop once and for all with these stupid baby metaphors when talking about book projects?)

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Naples in December is possibly even more stunning and lively than normal, and walking from the train station to the Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale in the winter sun has been truly a gift. Likewise, it has been a gift to have the chance to introduce contemporary art in Indonesia to the students in a seminar organized by Prof. Antonia Soriente. Prof. Soriente is a wonderful and inspiring women who is having a fundamental role in introducing Indonesian literature and culture to Italy, both with her work in the university and projects like translation of books. I was really honoured to be invited to her course.

The audience was great and there have been a lot of interesting questions popping up at the end of the lecture. Students were asking about the relationship of Indonesia with western art and eastern art, landscape painting and Mooi Indie, what role Islam is having in the contemporary art scene and also inquiring about the best way to approach contemporary art in general – as many of them are new to it. I deeply enjoyed engaging with students, as for me it’s always a chance to share and reflect, and most importantly being part of someone’s experience. With every single thing you do, you’re able to have an impact, however small it is – and you can learn so much through discussion! And now a few pics from the presentation…

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The Italian magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) has just published my review of the exhibition “Sintattica”, featuring artists Luigi Battisti, claudioadami e Pasquale Polidori. The show was curated by Francesca Gallo at Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen.

Here is the link to the review

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“In a constant relating western and eastern art, Naima dissects and offers interesting models that make legible the ‘new’ culture even to those who aren’t introduced to it”

Arts writer and curator Maila Buglioni has written a very interesting review about my book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia, un’introduzione” for the webmagazine Artnoise. Check it out here (in Italian).

Picture above: Pinkswing Park, Collaboration work for CP Biennale by Agus Suwage and Davy Linggar, 2006. Courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.


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“Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia” finally makes his debut. During the event “Indonesia Update 2015” at the Embassy of Indonesia in Rome I introduced my book to the press. It was great to sign the copies and have a chat with the journalists – for once I was on the other side of the microphone! What came as a nice surprise was a plaque of merit from the Ambassador August Parengkuan, an honour I shared with Vanni Puccioni, who directed a project for reconstruction after the 2004 tsunami in the Indonesian island of Nias.

In a couple of weeks the book will be finally distributed to the public – I can’t wait! In the meantime, here’s a couple of pictures from the presentation!

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Here’s my first published piece of two thousand and fifteen! Is there a more wonderful way to kick off the new year than an interview with curator Roberto D’Onorio and his project at Rialto Sant’Ambrogio in Rome?

Roberto is not just one of the most articulated and sensitive curators I know, he’s also a dear friend. This interview is already known in the sketchiest Roman art circles as the “notorious Naples interview” and it has been a lot of fun to do. It has been published by the Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) with the title “L’immaginazione per reinventare la felicità” namely “The imagination to reinvent happiness”.

If you haven’t been to the Rialto Sant’Ambrogio yet, you totally should. It’s straight-up amazing! And now for the article:

Here’s the link to the interview (in Italian)

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Here’s the second part of my photostory from the research for my book about contemporary art in Indonesia. If you miss the first part you can find it here

Rome, Berlin, Sorrento, Melbourne, Naples, Venice. Since I came back from Indonesia I tried to look for Indonesian art, artists and exhibitions wherever I went – and I met wonderful people in the process. At the same time I faced the challenge to organize all the material from my research and integrate it with new information. For months the arts pages of the Jakarta Post, the Jakarta Globe and Asia Art Pacific became my morning reading. I didn’t know much about how to write a research-based book when I started and I learned so much in the process – in the photo above you can see me experimenting with post-its.
In a few weeks the book will finally be published (want to be updated? Drop a mail to contact[at] with the subject line Indonesia Book and I’ll keep you posted). In the meantime here are some pictures from the European and Australian part of my research:

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I have been talking about my so-called “Indonesian book” for such a long time. My profile description at Trouble magazine reads: “she’s currently working on a book about contemporary art in Indonesia that will be published in Italy the near future”. Well, the near future is finally here. My book “Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia – un’introduzione” will finally be published and presented in Rome during a series of exhibition focused on South-East Asia and Australia called “AU.SIAN”, that I will curated with my collegue Roberto D’Onorio at the gallery Parioli Fotografia.

I look at this book as a step in the process of connecting different cultures via contemporary art and people’s stories around contemporary art. Thus the decision to link this book to the wider program of AU.SIAN. I’ll give you guys all the details of the November/December release pretty soon!

“Arte Contemporanea in Indonesia ” is an introduction to contemporary art in Indonesia and looks at how the cultural, social and political conditions in Indonesia have influenced four generations of artists. Through this book I didn’t just learn about art in Indonesia, but I also reconsidered my idea of contemporary art. I started became more and more aware of the context that surrounds contemporary art. I went around asking questions, rather then just see a show, come home and write my thoughts about it. I still consider myself an art critic, but I don’t want to criticize anymore. I want to understand and let people understand what’s behind every human expression. I’m convinced that by giving background coordinates, readers could see beyond the pretty picture. One of the aim of this book is also challenging the outdated western hegemony on contemporary art, a point of view that is still prevalent in Italy.

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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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The Italian web magazine Art a Part of Cult(ure) has  just published the interview I had in Rome with artist Benjamin Skepper with the title “Benjamin Skepper, l’olandese tra Australia, Tokio, Russia, resto del mondo e bellezza. L’intervista”. The interview is part of my reportage about artists in Melbourne.

Here the link to the interview

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