Naima Morelli

Tag "pigneto"


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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“The Act of Killing” is the kind of movie that shuts you up for at least fifteen minutes after the credits. It makes you so uncomfortable that you can just chatter about irrelevant stuff with your friends out of the cinema.
Then, on the tram the way home, you suddenly burst in wordiness.

What happened is that “The Act of Killing” has finally been screened in Italian cinemas.
I went to see it the other day with a group of friends at the “Cinema Aquila”, in Pigneto, Rome.
The Act of Killing is an unconventional documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.
The film deals with the systematic slaughter of real or supposed communists in the aftermath of a failed coup in 1965 that led to General Suharto assuming power.
The director was not interested in gave a full picture of the historical events though. He didn’t even mention Suharto once.
The documentary revolves instead around the character of Anwar Congo, a leader of paramilitary organisation Pancasila Youth, whose job was to kill prisoners.
Because the historical picture was only hinted, I wouldn’t say it is a movie specifically about Indonesia’s ’65.
I would rather say it’s a movie about “the act of killing” itself, the psychology of the killer and the banality of evil.

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Productivity and Bohemia are concepts which are seldom associated.
You have to admit though that having grown up reading Sartre and Simone the Beauvoir – or at least having seen the pictures – you are not immune to the charms of café.

Every city has is own aesthetic when comes to cafés.
Not everyone is snob enough to live in Paris and go to the Café De Flore – whom has turned into an established place for loaded folks anyways.
What it is left to us is send to hell the Café De Flore, and create our own, well… café mythology.

If you live in Rome you certainly know the cafés Canova and Rosati in Piazza del Popolo.
During the sixties these two cafés gathered the so called “artists from Piazza del Popolo”, but now Canova and Rosati are the equivalent of the ultrachic cafés in Saint Germain, Paris.
Sure, it is always cool to pass by Piazza del Popolo and say hi to the Italian dandy artist Ontani– last time I checked he had a permanent permit to be parked at Canova – yet these cafés are too posh for us.
Same things with the cafés in Via Veneto, once Antonioni, Mastroianni and Fellini’s reign.

You have to consider as well that in Italy there is this tradition of kicking you out if you take too long to sip your coffee.
If you are in Rome and you are a writer looking for a place to read and write quietly, you will be likely accepted in some cosy and shabby-chic looking cafés in Via Giulia, Pigneto or San Lorenzo.
You can start to create your own café mythology from there.

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Once a friend of mine said to me: “I don’t really like funny art”

We were arguing on Pino Pascali, the Italian artist working in the seventeen, mostly known for his sculptures. Not exactly Canova’s style. Something like “Walt Disney going mad”, I mean, whale tales sprouting from the floor, brush caterpillars, pregnant canvas, that sort of things.
I not agree with my friend (who wasn’t Clement Greenberg anyway).
For me, art have to be game. A quest sometime. Something that could catch your imagination.
It’s better if art don’t take herself to seriously. I mean, not even stupid. Just intriguing. 

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