“I am interested in the relationship between matter and anti-matter, the relationship that governs the world’s dynamics, and that I find in each of the residents’ experiences with sculpture. It is always a transformation from a natural to an artificial state – two different stages which, however, often intersect, and at times are no longer discernible”
This concept is the starting point for Federica Forti, the artistic director of DATABASE and curator of Panta Rei. Everything changes, an exhibition featuring marble and ceramic sculptures on display at the Marble Museum of Carrara from December 20th 2014 to February 20th 2015. The display set-up creates a dialogue between the permanent collection of the Marble Museum of Carrara, the custom-made art-works produced by the DATABASE 2014 residents, Mattia Bosco Sergio Breviario Ludovica Carbotta, and the works on loan from the Carlo Zauli Museum of Faenza, which were produced during the 2014 Artist Residency Programme – Ceramics in Contemporary Art, in collaboration with DOCVA Via Farini (Milan) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Vence), under the direction of Matteo Zauli.
The encounter between Carrara and Faenza, between marble and ceramics, is carried out through the experiences of artists who are not originally from these cities, but have been inspired by the local history and traditions. It is also an opportunity for citizens to draw a new reading of their own heritage through the language of sculpture, as explored from a variety of perspectives.
To set off the recommendation process to identify artists for the DATABASE program, Federica Forti called upon a group of critics and curators –Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni, Samuele Menin and Francesca Cattoi, Chiara Camoni and Silvia Vendramel – who have been working in the field of sculpture. Three proposals were selected among the nine research projects designed specifically for Carrara.
The Carlo Zauli Museum was involved for the same purpose: along with a number of other significant institutions in the field of contemporary art in Italy, it invited its residents to focus their work on sculpture.
Carlo Zauli Museum – XI Artist Residency Programme – ceramics in contemporary art
The Marble Museum of Carrara will feature a dialogue between the sculptures created during the DATABASE 2014 residency programme and the artworks produced by resident artists from the Carlo Zauli Museum of Faenza throughout 2014. The Anemoi Collective (in collaboration with Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa di Venezia), the group composed by Marco Basta, Alessandro Di Pietro, Michele Gabriele, Andrea Romano, Jonathan Vivacqua (in collaboration with Via Farini Docva), as well as the duo Natascia Fenoglio + PatrickTuttofuoco are the artists who tackled the techniques and expressive mediums of ceramics. A further opportunity to invite the duo Tuttofuoco+Fenoglio was provided by the residency project Transiti/Residenza d’Artista verso il 2019, a part of What if?, a platform supporting the city of Ravenna’s candidacy as 2019’s European Capital of Culture.
Thanks to the collaboration between DATABASE, the Henraux Foundation and BPS, Mattia Bosco has carried on his research around “speaking” matter which, as theorized by Michelangelo, contains history and form within itself. Mattia’s technique allows the distinctions between the portions he hand-carves and those resulting from the stone’s natural stratification process to be clearly visible. When employing sophisticated robotic technology, he prompts the machinery to follow the fissure’s structure and the natural conformation of the marble, as is typical of traditional marble sculpting, in which it is the marble that guides the artisan’s imagination and his hand, and not the other way around,
While the robot in Sergio Breviario’s Polaroid 230 snapshots seems anthropomorphised, captured in a direct, imperfect portrait that recalls old family photographs, the marble dust compacted with rain water – as is done in back of any of the workshops of Carrara – is seen as a footprint of action, a reflection upon the promise placed within the mechanical instruments that can guarantee anyone a correct transposal of concepts into form.
As is often the case in Breviario’s production, images and sculptures merge, their viewing and fruition becoming interdependent: the exhibition will feature recovered marble slabs, dampened-dust sculptures and photographs, showcased within a single installation designed for the Marble Museum’s showrooms.
The quarries have been a goldmine for some, while for others they are the highest expression of the havoc wrought by man on nature; for others still, they have posed a sublime challenge between human ingenuity and the supernatural. To Ludovica Carabotta, they appear as a great outdoor sculpture that returns her to her research on moulding, as a method for observing the fullness and emptiness of things. Carbotta set off from a series of photographs she took on Mount Serrone, a mountain which appears to be fully intact when viewed from the city centre of Carrara, but which has been quarried on its three other sides. Working from these photographs, she created a plaster cast of two of the quarried mountainsides, then reproduced the missing portion in marble.
PATRICKTUTTOFUOCO + NATASCIA FENOGLIO
Patrick Tuttofuoco, an Italian artist living in Berlin, worked with designer Natascia Fenoglio to create Heads or Tails (grès, varnish and decal). With technical assistance from ceramists Aida Bertozzi and Eszter Imre – and support from Ceramiche Vitali – the artists set off from the traditional technique of clay face moulding to develop an experimental approach. Forgoing the aspiration to maintain likeness to reality, the mould became a means for exploration of plasticity, employing the surface of the sculpture non as an element to be refined, but as a new canvas on which to operate and to interpret.
Anemoi is a collective formed by Daniela Da Silva Ferreira, Laura Di Nicolantonio, Maria Elena Fantoni and Nataša Vasiljević. During their residency, the artists designed an object made up of three basic components: a tubular section, a central spherical portion, and a wider, conical element. These constitute a primordial shape which has appeared with similar traits throughout numerous ages and in many locations, adapting to a multitude of contexts – including its fitting interaction and function in the present. The name Condenser/Resounder/Transformer (majolica, mat varnish) refers to the hypotheses that surround the object’s function, suggesting a transformation ensuing from the insertion and transition of an element which, through its placement or mere passage across the the central segment of the object, exits its tapered extremity endowed with new characteristics, revealing change. An object that calls back to archetypical shapes which, when transferred to the present, can be reactivated: an incubation device for a multitude of possible worlds, much like a diaphragm in which to introduce materials and extract further developments, elicited by the artifact itself which speeds up change and does not exclude radical transformations.
MARCO BASTA, ALESSANDRO DI PIETRO, MICHELE GABRIELE, ANDREA ROMANO, JONATHAN VIVACQUA
The collaboration between the Carlo Zauli Museum and Viafarini DOCVA has led to a residency-workshop attended by five emerging Italian artists selected by Simone Frangi and Marco Tagliafierro. Marco Basta, Alessandro Di Pietro, Michele Gabriele, Andrea Romano and Jonathan Vivacqua were guests at the museum for one week, during which they furthered their knowledge of ceramic techniques. The result of this workshop is included in the video Aida (10 min), which documents the residents’ training so as to offer a general view of the materials and equipment employed in this craft. This was the artists’ first approach with the worlds of artisanal ceramics, and was intended to provide them with a new skill to be included in their professional arsenal and adapted to their own artistic activity.