ART IS ALWAYS PUBLIC
AN ARTIST'S FILM EACH WEEK!
Mikhail Karikis, Love is the Institution of Revolution, 2014, coloured pastel chalk on cardboard, 60 x 85 cm
Dear friends of Villa Romana,
how can we maintain closeness and exchange when the survival motto these days is social distance? With a film programme we would like to maintain a form of public and an attention towards artistic productions. In a state of emergency, as we all live it now, together and individually, these can generate forms of friendship, courage and solidarity.
Every Wednesday in the next few weeks we will share an artist's film online, which has been produced in or around Villa Romana in recent years or was shown here. There are also some new releases!
We would like to thank all participating artists for connecting with us, with you and with each other in this way and for agreeing to show their films in private formats - instead of a big screen. The programme of the next weeks includes films by Mikhail Karikis, Shannon Bool, Lerato Shadi, Sophie Reinhold, Fide Dayo, Mario Rizzi, Maya Schweizer, Eleni Kamma, Dani Gal, Karolina Bregula, Andrea d'Amore, Alessandra Ferrini, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Eske Schlüters, Caterina Pecchioli and others.
For the actual available video work please follow our announcements on Facebook, Instagram bio or subscribe to our Newsletter.
17 - 23 Jun 2020
Eske Schlüters, Title (Life goes on) (2015)
Eske Schlüters, Title (Life goes on), 2015, video still
This is a film about the making of a film, about a film that was never made. The film described here, as it is being made, is a true film, which however operates with film illusions to the extent that the film that treats this film is a film that was never made because it would have served to maintain illusions. This is a fictional documentary or a documenting fiction about a film that was planned and partly realized by the Ufa in the 1940s. Title (Life goes on) is formulated in Future II. The videographic narrative of the genesis of a film planned by the Nazis, partly realized but completely lost, whose shooting ultimately served to camouflage the film team and serve as a pretext for leaving bombed Berlin, takes on an updated character against the background of newly reviving right-wing movements. Although the starting point of this work is a real documentary, Eske Schlüters does not reveal the sources and references of her research.
Eske Schlüters lives and works in Hamburg and was a 2009 Villa Romana Prize winner. By using and reassembling visual material from cinema films and archives, she addresses the relationship between narrative, image and imagination in her film installations.
10 - 16 Jun 2020
Clemens von Wedemeyer, Found Footage (2008 /2009)
Digital video, 4:3, 31’
Clemens von Wedemeyer, Found Footage, 2008 /2009, video still
Editor: Janina Herhoffer, Clemens von Wedemeyer
Speaker: Stephen Jacob
Sound Editor: Thomas Wallmann
A selection of found footage ranging from news reports and feature films to anthropological documentaries are arranged in mutual commentary, drawing relations between separate regions of the world and differing eras of interpretation and translation. Misinterpretation appears to be inherent to all cases of media attention to previously isolated groups. Sections cover Exploration, The Uncontacted, Expectations, First Contact, Reporting, and Examination, and, while remaining open-ended, the film also touches on the Tasaday controversy and possible hoax. The commentary proposes the thesis that the camera and the mask are related devices which generate culture through concealment and division. The Tasaday were a group of 26 people found living in the rain forest of Mindanao, a southern island of the Philippines. Before their discovery in 1971, their lives had purportedly been untouched by contact with other civilisations, and unchanged since the Stone Age. Cave dwellers who wore only leaves and used stone tools, they immediately became a sensational subject for photographers, reporters and anthropologists. In 1986, 15 years after the Tasaday's discovery, a journalist seeking the group managed to reach their dwelling caves which were now abandoned. He found the Tasaday people nearby, now inhabiting houses, smoking cigarettes and wearing blue jeans.
Clemens von Wedemeyer, born in 1974 in Göttingen, Germany, currently lives and works in Berlin and holds a professorship for media art at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig. The artist and filmmaker studied photography and media at the Fachhochschule Bielefeld and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Leipzig and graduated as Meisterschüler of Astrid Klein in 2005. He participated in group shows such as the 1st Moscow Biennale, 2005, the 4th Berlin Biennale, 2006, Skulptur Projekte Münster, 2007, the 16th Biennale of Sydney, 2008 and dOCUMENTA 13, 2012. He had solo shows among others at MoMA PS1, New York, ARGOS Centre for Art and Media, Brussels, the Barbican Art Centre, London, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Hamburger Kunsthalle. ESIOD 2015 premiered at the 66. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (Berlinale) in 2016. In 2008 Clemens von Wedemeyer was living in Florence as a Villa Romana Fellow.
03 - 09 Jun 2020
Alessandra Ferrini, Sight Unseen (2019)
HD video, 18’47’’
Alessandra Ferrini, Sight Unseen, 2019, video still
Omar al-Mukhtar (1885 - 1931) was the leader of the organised resistance against the Italian colonisation of Libya (1911 - 1943). He became the symbol of Libyan people's resilience and has been greatly celebrated and exploited both by Gaddafi's regime and the armed groups currently fighting over the control of the Libyan territory. In Italy, his name remains unknown – yet, it briefly appeared in the media during Gaddafi's first visit to Italy in 2009. Indeed, the colonel emerged from his plane in Rome, wearing an image of Omar al-Mukhtar in chains, surrounded by the Fascist Army as he was taken to his execution by public hanging. While researching this event in Rome, I came across a controversial history of concealment and appropriation around the memory and documentation of Mukhtar's final days and spectacularised state killing. Sight Unseen reflects on such history through the analysis of visual and material culture that has been subject to either manipulation or obfuscation in Italy. These materials include the most complete - but legally unpublishable - series of images of Mukhtar's capture and execution; Mukhtar's contested glasses and purse; the Hollywood production The Lion of the Desert; and Monumento al Carabiniere, a memorial to Italian armed forces in Turin. In this way, Sight Unseen attempts to portray the carefully orchestrated politics of visibility and invisibility that shape the memory of colonial trauma in Italy.
Alessandra Ferrini is a London-based artist, researcher and educator. Her practice is rooted in lens-based media, anti-colonial and memory studies, historiographical and archival practices. Her research investigates Italian foreign and racial politics, notions of resistance, self-reflexive and positioned cultural activism. In particular, her work is preoccupied with questioning the legacies of Italian colonialism and fascism with a specific interest on the past and present relations between Italy and the African continent.
27 May - 02 Jun 2020
Ciboideale, We Love Lebowski (2011)
40’, Italian with english subtitles
Ciboideale, We Love Lebowski, 2011, video still
ln We Love Lebowski a Florence-based artists' group accompanies and comments on a group of enthusiastic football fans. The film does not show the ball or a single player, but only the animated hooligans from the Florence suburbs, who decided, in 2008, to support a team that stood for the values of old-fashioned football—for a kind of football that no longer exists in the commercialized upper ranks of the Liga Italia. They support AC Lebowski (cslebowski.it), which occupies the last place in the third league.
Ciboideale (Gian Luca Rossetti and Andrea d'Amore) started a collaboration in 2002 including video works and performances.
20 – 26 May 2020
Karolina Bregula, Photophobia (2016)
Karolina Bregula, The Sugar Pot (2015)
Karolina Bregula, The Sugar Pot, 2015, video still
Photophobia is a story about a clerk holding power over a small concrete town. She makes every person who comes to her office fill in countless forms and then she sends them to an unused floor of a Brutalist office building (in Florence). Although it is in darkness and nothing whatsoever can be expected to be dealt with there, the characters thoughtlessly do as they are told and wait in the dark corridor for hours. Nobody calls the clerk's pointless orders into doubt. After work, the protagonist steals light bulbs from street lights (in the Sorgane quarter in Florence) which she then brings home and destroys to prevent them from shining again. By gradually annihilating light she tried to put limits on the people living in her town, at once trying to convince them that darkness is exactly what they need. "There is freedom in darkness," she says.
The short film The Sugar Pot is a performance for camera, with the artist sitting in a bar at Piazza San Marco delights with a wicked smile in every single moment of slowly destroying an old sugar-bowl, an object that might exist but might as well not be there at all.
Karolina Breguła, born in Poland in 1979, is a graduate of the Film School in Łódź, where she received her PhD in 2016. Her work scrutinises the reception of contemporary art and undermines official art narrations, questioning their language and opening them to new interpretations. In her recent practice she addresses political instability and social tensions.
13 - 19 May 2020
Dani Gal, Fields of Neutrality: (The Last Interview with Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe), 2019
HD video, 32’
Dani Gal, Fields of Neutrality: (The Last Interview with Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe), 2019, video still
Commissioned by Staatsgalerie Stuttgart on the occasion of the Bauhaus centennial, this staged television-style interview with Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe depicts the architect late in his life, confronted with his time as the final Bauhaus director, and his refusal to take a political stance amid pressure from the newly established Nazi government and communist students. The interviewer confronts Mies about his unwillingness to take a political position amid pressure both from communist students and the newly established Nazi government. Focusing on the events that led to the closure of the Bauhaus by the Gestapo in 1933, including Mies's meeting with Alfred Rosenberg, his meeting with a young Gestapo officer in an attempt to keep the Bauhaus open under the Nazi regime, and his interest to continue his practice in Germany, the film questions cultural notions of modern architecture as an aesthetic reflection of progressive humanistic values.
By examining the nature of the relationship between Mies and the Nazis, insight is gained not only into the climate of the last days of the Bauhaus and its clash with fascist forces, but also into historic and contemporary principles of morality.
Dani Gal (born 1975 in Jerusalem) is an Israeli sound and video artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His sound, film and slide installations manipulate the original narrative logic and address the difference between the truth of collective memory conveyed by media and subjective feelings.
06 - 12 May 2020
Caterina Pecchioli, Mani Nostre /Talking Hands (2016)
64’, Italian with english subtitles
Caterina Pecchioli, Mani Nostre /Talking Hands (2016), video still
Director: Caterina Pecchioli
Photography: Aimée Zito Lema, Caterina Pecchioli
Editing: Aline Amélie Bonvin, Caterina Pecchioli
Original Music: Juan Felipe Waller
Sound Design & Mix: Giacomo Vitullo
Produced by Dugong in co-production with Shoot&Post
Producers: Giulia Achilli, Marco Alessi, Caterina Pecchioli
Associate Producer: Luca Borkowsky
Italy, Germany, Sweden, 2016
Following Pasolini, who in Comizi d'Amore as an improvised travelling salesman studied the sexual preferences of Italians with the sincere intention of understanding and faithfully reporting them, I took a similar position to investigate another subject: the relationship of Italians with legality, justice and a sense of ethics. In the intimacy of a living room, like a wagon creates, I tried to stimulate personal narratives and avoid general comments in order to get to know the motives of the actions and thoughts of my interlocutors. (C.P.)
Talking Hands is a story suspended between reality and poetry. A train ride through Italy from north to south to investigate the relationship of its inhabitants with legality and corruption. What results is a composite picture, where are the hands of the respondents to tell the stories, along a track that alternates the reality of the documentary with the abstraction of video art. (Beatrice Rinaldi, indie-eye)
Caterina Pecchioli studied at the DAMS (Discipline delle Arti, della Musica e dello Spettacolo) of the University of Bologna and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her works, videos, photographs, performances and installations focus on the relationship between the individual and society, starting from the investigation of everyday actions, collective dynamics and power relations. She is co-founder of the participative platform and art collective Nation25 which addresses in particular issues related to migration and she is art director of the art and fashion project B&W-Black&White, The Migrant Trend.
29 Apr - 05 May 2020
Eleni Kamma, Georgofili (2012)
HD video, 27’
Eleni Kamma, Georgofili (2012), video still
The Accademy of the Georgofili was founded in Florence in 1757 in order to promote science in favour of agriculture. In Eleni Kamma's film Georgofili, Italian voices from different times come together: The old genre of the Tuscan contrasto (battle of words), in which the performer-poets Emilio Meliano and Realdo Tonti use their debating skills to discuss the politics and morals of contemporary Italy, meets educational dialogues from the era of enlightened despotism, which are recited and commented on by the young Italian actors Lavinia Parissi and Marco Rustioni.
Eleni Kamma was born in 1973 in Athens and lives and works in Brussels and Maastricht. In her artistic work, she explores gaps and contradictions within cultural narratives and structures. She reinterprets systems of order, strategies of description and classification and thus investigates the relationship between cliché, banality and stereotype in the formation of history and meaning. Eleni Kamma has been an International Guest Artist at Villa Romana in 2010 and 2011.
22 - 28 April 2020
Mario Rizzi, Il malinteso /The Misconception (2009)
video, colour, 9’, Italian with English subtitles
Maya Schweizer, La Corsa del Venditore /The Run of the Seller (2008)
video, b/w, 6’48’’
Mario Rizzi, Il malinteso /The Misconception, video still
The short film Il malinteso /The Misconception deals with the endless humiliations and repeated human rights abuses many refugee women endure simply for being born female. It was shot in a shelter for trafficking victims and its protagonist is an Eastern European woman, who migrated to Italy in search of work and ended up in forced prostitution. With unconcealed intimacy, she tells about herself and about her aspiration to an ordinary life, certainly a very modest request but completely unheard. The beauty of her hands and the elegance of their movements strongly contrasts with the tension in her voice and the depth of her reflections. The camera becomes an empowering tool of self-affirmation, against prejudices and misconceptions. The Misconception is the title of a book by Franco La Cecla, in which he states that "the distance which keeps us separate is also a deep common layer which keeps us close but which we will never understand."
Mario Rizzi is an Italian artist and filmmaker, born 1962 in Barletta and living in Berlin. Over the last 25 years his films and photographs were mainly focused on the Middle East and on the theme of migration. He has developed a practice of interacting with internally displaced people, refugees and activists and spent many years working in refugee camps.
Maya Schweizer, La Corsa del Venditore /The Run of the Seller, video still
In La Corsa del Venditore /The Run of the Seller, Africans who immigrated to Italy, in this case to Florence, are never seen but talked about by an outsider. La Corsa del Venditore takes the form of a monologue spoken by an Italian woman talking on her cell phone, presumably to a friend, and describing a scene that she just witnessed. The well dressed woman is pacing in front of Florence's main train station, accompanied by what the viewer assumes are her daughter and granddaughter. She describes in detail a scene during which African street vendors harassed by the police, were forced to quickly fold up the blankets used to display their merchandise on the pavement and to run away. To her surprise, the vendors settled down just a block away.
Maya Schweizer, born in Paris in 1976 and living in Berlin, investigates structures and processes of memory in her films and sound works, exposing their narratives and identity-forming functions. In doing so, she always proceeds from a quasi ethnological research on site. La Corsa del Venditore was made in Florence in 2008 during her stay at the Villa Romana.
15 - 21 April 2020
Fide Dayo, Minister (2016)
HD video, 94’, English with Italian subtitles
Fide Dayo, Minister (2016), video still
After the assasination of her father, a political activist, Kemi leaves her home country Nigeria. On her arrival in Italy she finds a job in a bakery and builds a new life as a single mother. Developing an interest in fashion, Kemi eventually joins the fashion company Nero. In the meantime her brother Banky has also made his way to Italy. When the fashion company has financial difficulties, Kemi manages to save it from bankruptcy by introducing Adire, an indigo blue fabric from West Africa. Minister is a stirring drama, set in a country where immigration is still perceived as a threat. The moment when Kemi becomes appointed as Minister of Migration as a result of her commitment to labour rights, marks the film's turning point. Kemi's joy is clouded by conflicts with her daughter, her brother and racist hostilities within the party. Meanwhile, there is a fierce power struggle for the fashion company, which puts the lives of mother and daughter in danger.
Fide Dayo, living in Rome, is a Nigerian filmmaker born into the Ekundayo family in Lagos, Nigeria. After his studies in architecture at the Florentine University he switched to film making. He realized a series of short films: The front line (2001), Diaspora (2002), Fuga (2004), That Day (2006) and two documentaries: Who are the Yoruba's (2008), Identity on the move to integrate different worlds (2009). He had a breakthrough with his first feature film Ben Kross (2011), in which he also played the role of an Nigerian immigrant worker in Italy. Ben Kross was nominated as best film by an African film director living abroad at the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) 2012. Fide Dayo is director of the African Diaspora Cinema Festival (ADCF) in Florence, hosted at Villa Romana in 2018 and 2019.
08 - 14 April 2020
Sophie Reinhold, cava no 150 (2012)
HD video, 31’
Sophie Reinhold, cava no 150, video still
The Carrara mountains, where white marble was already quarried for Michelangelo's sculptures, is an extremely dissected, dismantled landscape, which is exclusively dedicated to the extraction of this resource - with extraction also meaning the clearing of the production site. Inside the mountains, inside the blocks are potential objects waiting to be exposed. Until then, material and landscape are set in a strict grid. The excavation of the marble is made to perfection in such a way that it seems to lose its material properties. The blocks, just removed from the ground, look clean and smooth, the stone seems soft enough to be carved. The transport vehicles drive along the edges of the mountain like miniature cars, they seem not to have to carry any weight. When the mountain is removed, horizontal and vertical incisions are placed straight and at right angles to each other in a way that the cut-outs look like rooms and corridors. The mountain is domesticated, looking like a large peeled house.
(Nora Schultz, artist and Villa Romana Fellow 2011)
Sophie Reinhold, born 1981 and living in Berlin, is a painter and uses classical techniques as well as conceptual approaches to explore the relations between painterly surface, the object as a fetish and public space. She lived in Florence in 2012 as a Villa Romana Fellow.
01 March - 07 April 2020
Shannon Bool, Forensics for a Mamluk (2013)
HD Video, 9’
Shannon Bool, Forensics for a Mamluk, 2013, video still
Shannon Bool made the video Forensics for a Mamluk during her stay as a Villa Romana Fellow in 2013. In many of her works Bool deals with the motif and ornament of carpets. In Florence she was in dialogue with the carpet expert Alberto Boralevi, who in 1982 rediscovered and identified a large-format Mamluk carpet from the first half of the 16th century in a sealed chamber of the Palazzo Pitti, which had been believed lost. It is considered one of the rarest and most precious carpets in the world.
For Shannon Bool's filming, the carpet was taken out of storage and rolled out. The video is composed of extreme close-ups, adjustments to the RGB colour palette and camera pans on the carpet's motifs and texture. It transfers the Florentine experience of the so-called Stendhal Syndrome to the film montage and at the same time addresses the density of information of a material that does not belong to the canon of European art history.
Shannon Bool, born in Canada in 1972, teaches as a professor at the Kunsthochschule Mainz and lives in Berlin; in her paintings, carpets, photograms, sculptures, and installations she combines media of the fine arts with craft techniques and dedicates herself to a history of the gaze.
25 – 31 March 2020
Lerato Shadi, MOSI KE O NE … (2018)
HDV 1080p, colour, audio, 11’50’’
Lerato Shadi, MOSI KE O NE …, 2018, video still, © dewil.ch (cc by-nc-nd 4.0)
MOSI KE O NE … looks at erasure and asks if it is possible to make whole again what has been lost, essentially questioning if it is possible to reverse time. Can lost knowledge be reclaimed? Can time be reversed? Is it necessary to reverse time? The video connects a recovery of a lost history to the recovery of a personal self. The digging up of bones, treasures and a restorative fire. The video taps into a well established visual archive of using a book to mean knowledge and fire to mean destruction.
Shot on location at Villa Romana, Florence, 2018
Lerato Shadi, born 1979 in Mahikeng, South Africa, lives and works in Berlin. She was a Villa Romana Fellow in 2018. Her artistic practice is concerned with body politics. This involves institutional violence, patriarchal and colonial strategies of exclusion and forgetting, and resistant subjective narratives.
Working across video, performance and installation, and often employing repetitive processes, she argues the importance of centering – not just including – the marginalised body as a main figure of narrative experience.
18 - 24 March 2020
Mikhail Karikis, Children of Unquiet (2013 /2014)
stereo sound, single channel video, 15’30’’
Mikhail Karikis, Children of Unquiet, 2013 /4, video still
Children of Unquiet is a body of work by Mikhail Karikis that takes place within the intricate natural, historical and socio-economic context of the geothermal area of the Devil's Valley in Tuscany, Italy. Known for its legendary association with Dante's Inferno, this is the very location where sustainable energy production was invented 100 years ago and where the first geothermal power station in the world was built, in the village of Larderello. Until recently, a community of around five thousand people lived there in a group of iconic modernist industrial villages planned by italian architect Giovanni Michelucci. Following the introduction of automated and remote operation technologies by the industry, unemployment increased and prospects for the young became limited resulting in the rapid depopulation or abandonment of entire villages.
At the centre of Karikis's project is this homonymous film, which he produced in collaboration with children from the region. The film orchestrates a children's take-over of a deserted workers' village and its adjacent industrial and natural locations. The film has been shown in major biennials, group and solo shows internationally and all together in about 50 exhibitions. The exhibition Children of Unquiet took place at Villa Romana in 2014.
Mikhail Karikis is a London-based artist whose practice emerges from his ongoing exploration of the role of sound and the human voice in creating a sense of collectivity that shapes people's lives and professional identities, and challenges dominant political and cultural conventions.