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Rahi Rezvani Attilio Brancaccio
Sound made when transitioning from a sitting to a standing position. image: © Rahi Rezvani
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P6 • rAHI rezvani • Cover Story
P70 • FRECKLED MOODS • photography
P22 • HOOP DOOP MEETS: bombay show pig • music
P78 • HOOP DOOP MEETS OSCILLATION BREVE • music
P28 • HOOP DOOP MEETS: LASER 3.14 • art
P84 • HOOP DOOP MEETS MARK BARREDA • art
P42 • BULLEYE • by Mark Janicello
P90 • HOOP DOOP MEETS ANGELA SERINO • art
P46 • HOOP DOOP MEETS: CHARLIE REUVERS • art
P96 • UNCOVERED • photography
P60 • DAYDREAM • fashion editorial
rahi rezvani ART IS LIFE Images: Rahi Rezvani Interview: Myscha OrĂŠo & Sarah-Jane Threipland Words: Sarah-Jane Threipland
It’s obvious when someone points it out. Why some art touches our hearts whilst some leaves us cold…. It takes the opportunity of meeting Rahi Rezvani, artist and photographer, to show the way. A perceptive stream of consciousness around art, life and old souls. Some art we feel in our being, as part of us. It has an energy that sings. It may lie in a sketchbook, hang on the wall or sit watchfully in a gallery. Wherever it is, it takes us by the hand and runs, until we can say we’ve seen more than simply ‘it’. Rahi’s work is like this, and what follows is a little of why. “I’m not a photographer. I’d rather people called me an artist, an image-maker. Anyone nowadays can be a photographer.” The interview consists of many statements like this, intelligent to the degree a thousand questions could arise. But what he says is so interesting, there’s not much motivation to interrupt. And it’s not only about what he says. Looking at Rahi’s images, there’s something very different about his work. Although hard to describe what ‘it’ is, his distinct style includes dark backgrounds, other worldly characters and black glances. Images are softly focussed instead of sharp, and lighting is diffused rather than flash. It harks back to a romanticism of the 1920s-40s, a time he obviously admires. It’s clear that all of what Rahi does is for himself, by himself, as well. This seems a strange thing to say until he explains that in photography, 80% of the work can be by someone else: the lighting expert, the set designer, the digital graphic artist. Rahi knows how to work digitally in post, ‘painting’ in graphic techniques, as used to be the case in dark rooms. It’s ironic that while he favours many techniques from past photography, he uses modern-day digital artistry himself. He could be compared to a renaissance painter, using the things available to him to push boundaries and innovate. And he likes to control everything. If you want to be called a true artist/photographer you need to know these skills. We only have to look at the way the media, and Instagram, function to see he’s right. In fact honing and gathering skills some take for granted is not easy,
just as it’s not easy to be an artist. There is a crazy amount of drive involved. “It’s costing your life if you’re talented, seriously.” The story he tells of another artist illustrates this point best. In front of us, on a coffee table strewn with various forms of paper paraphernalia, lies a book about Gerard Fieret. And there is a poignant tale attached; this artist used to wander around Rahi’s old art academy feeding the birds. An interesting old man, it later became clear it had been the extremely skilled photographer Gerard Fieret. He was someone totally overlooked by the Netherlands art world. After he died, his work was discovered being sold in the States at a very high price. Although Rahi does not compare himself to any artists, or look to others for inspiration, there is an obvious parallel in art-world views. Also in academies that don’t embrace change or difference and choose to ignore those who do things differently. “I could teach technical skills in four days. All of them. Other skills I can’t teach. Important ones. Artists must learn first to connect with themselves, that’s hardest.” If Rahi did teach he would only take on a talented few students. He would help them figure out their own unique way of connecting with themselves and their subjects. He knows there’s no real way to teach how to express true art’s energy, although academies do try by the hundreds every year. Luckily for us, it’s something he’s always been able to do. Rahi, who has been heatedly talking up to here, pauses, and pets one of his two dogs. Then he sends it over to the dog basket without words. He has a mastery of the conversation and atmosphere, and here we could be glimpsing how he handles his shoots. He often gets a shot before his subject even knows it. He sees 50 images in his head instantly, and goes to work, changing the lighting or setting up around his models while shooting at the same time. He doesn’t
say much to his assistant. They communicate silently and capture quickly. “The first twenty-five minutes are most valuable. Then the model is most natural, not a piece of meat. Beauty is not posed.” But how he achieves his imagery almost doesn’t matter. Rahi does things his way and this holds universal appeal. He moves on to talk about the commerciality of art. It’s clear, as with many artists, he’s struggled to come to terms with brand collaborations. “Don’t ask me who I’ve worked for,” he picks up a leaflet from the table, and flicks through it nonchalantly: it’s something for a client. “It’s not about who you’ve worked for. I don’t care. All the work I care about is my art. Look at my site, there’s nothing from brands there.” He has some big clients, they often want to work with him. And if he does the project, his way is such that he doesn’t want to be valued in terms of the time it took: “It’s not about time, it’s about the shot. I always get the shot.” It makes a refreshing change from those who cite famous brands they’ve worked for as some benchmark to talent. He’ll give clients something that lies between art and commerciality, if they’re open to it. He wants autonomy, not art direction. He wants artistry not dictation. In contrast, commercial art often ends up being all about the concept, which according to Rahi is a ridiculous thing. The precise thing about art is it doesn’t need a concept to be amazing. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. It only needs to touch us, turn our heads and reach our hearts. “Anyway…brains are not for art. Concept is not for art. You have to use something else for art. Your heart, your hand, your belly.” From the way Rahi talks, we can tell he doesn’t question his talent or his skill. He also doesn’t question where it comes from, although perhaps he has an idea: “I don’t know, it could be my old soul,” Rahi gives a small smile. “I know I’m older than I am...I’ve been here longer.” An old soul may help him to see beyond the subject into a world most of us cannot. When we feel the energy, as we look at his imagery, it’s like he connects with the same world lying within us. It takes someone who can feel darkness as well as light to be able to portray it in others. What’s created is a negative mixed with a positive image of his subjects; a darkness and light that’s a little like the photographic process itself.
maturity visible that would be hard to capture at such an early age. She stares out with an intensity that’s tangible. Printed on textured and thick paper, it’s slightly orange with age. We can see her beauty and something a lot more. It’s captivating. Travel to a few years later and Rahi was becoming a well-known photographer in his native Iran. But then he suddenly had to leave at nineteen, being flown to the Netherlands for photographing something he shouldn’t have. He didn’t see his any of his family for over ten years, it was a hard time, but then: “We are not here to be happy, we’re here for something else.” He goes on to make it clear we can be happy, but not the happiness defined by society, it’s deeper than that. Different opportunities became available to him from living and studying in the Netherlands, even if he doesn’t always agree with the way its society works. His struggle to find his place has meant he became the artist he is today. If we look at a later portrait, one of Albert Watson, it provokes the same feeling as that early shot of his mother. Albert was in Amsterdam to open an exhibition; one eye closed and covered by his hat, the black and white print shows how much has changed in skill from his portrait of before. As Rahi puts it, artists must continually change. But there is a connection visible that remains exactly the same. “I asked him to take his glasses off, says Rahi ‘his eyes had so much energy and I wanted to see them. This last story seems to sum Rahi up. He thinks about art, life and photography differently. He breathes an ancient art, a liberation of mind and soul in his work—something that’s often missing nowadays. Meeting him is like meeting an ancient folk-tale, a person who may have been reborn from a distant time, yet is expert capturing that time in others today. For him art acts the same as life–it’s fickle who will make it and who’ll die destitute. There are layers within it, as within us, both complex and touching. There is also something that connects deeply, bringing out an older part of ourselves that more usually lies dormant. In the end, some art is life taken from this most ancient, tangible, soul. www.rahirezvani.com
In the photograph Rahi now places on the table, this mix is clearly visible. An image of his mother taken when he was 15, there’s a
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bombay sho Interview : alex kitain Phototography : Attilo brancaccio
ow pig 23
Although I didn’t know it at the time, Dutch music has been with me for many years, decades even. Granted, having owned singles by 2 Unlimited or 2 brothers on the 4th floor certainly wasn’t a highlight in my musical evolution but it is proof that the Dutch have given us some really cracking tunes in the past. No no no no no no no no no no there’s no limit. Kidding. When you look at Dutch music today however, it remains dominated by the superstar dance producers whose lights are beginning to dim a bit but who are still drawing massive crowds at festivals across the world. Where the Dutch haven’t been so present really is everywhere else. As I prepared for this interview I looked back at the last 6 years in Amsterdam and the hundreds of gigs and festivals that I’ve attended here. I tried to remember the last time, or the only time, I ever went to see a Dutch band. I don’t think I ever have. Luckily, the band that I spoke to for this interview is a speck of water IN the in the vast desert that is Dutch indie music with a global reach. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Bombay Show Pig. I know, right? Hey man. Hi. Hold on a minute. I need to put my iPad on the keyboard so I can record our Skype chat. I’m not that sophisticated you know. Gosh, you got that multi-Apple thing going on. Impressive. Ha ha. I know right? Anyway. So I can see you Mathias but no Linda. What happened to her? I don’t know! She was the one who postponed the call and now I can’t find her. I think she might have passed out somewhere or maybe she’s packing? We’re going to New York tomorrow. Gosh! That’s right you’re off tomorrow. Are you excited? All packed? No, not really. I have all my stuff right here but I haven’t packed anything. I’ll do that tomorrow. Tonight is chill out time.
Ok ha ha. Good luck with that! Talking about your tour of the US though. For a lot of bands breaking the US market is quite a big deal. What are your expectations? Well, for us it’s mostly about the showcase at SXSW in Austin and meeting the right people. Hopefully we’ll get introduced to some booking agents who can help us get a bit of attention over there. We did the same thing in Germany and France recently and that was a great way to figure out how to play shows in those countries. I’ve been to a few shows in the US, including Coachella and the likes and what definitely struck me was the crowds over there are somehow different to your typical giggoers in Germany or Holland. How do you see this? I don’t know really. We’ve never played a festival over there so I can’t judge that but we did a show
in New York once and they were a really nice crowd to play to. I guess people in Amsterdam are a bit cocky sometimes but in New York they’re always super cocky because they always get the best bands in the world. They really don’t give a fuck. Austin will probably be the same in a way but what’s super interesting is that all those big and small bands are all playing in the same street. I suppose it’s a pretty big street. Right on. Now, let’s go back to your early beginnings. I am actually curious to find out how you two met and what you were doing at the time. Go! We met during conservatory over here. About 4 years ago. But when we started playing we were in a different kind of setting. We had finished all the material for the new album, which was released last year but just before we went into the studio we decided to continue as a two-piece.
What happened to your vocalist Christian? Did you kick him out? Well, his departure gave us a lot more options really. We had written all the songs before we entered the studio. We had about 3 months of studio time and it totally opened up all the possibilities. The thing with Christian was that his vocals were really determined and sometimes they just wouldn’t work with the songs. Then, we could suddenly try all sort of things and it just worked really well. Your album sounds like you were heavily influenced by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills and Beck. What I am curious about is, who did you plaster your walls with when you were a teenager? He he, well no one like Britney Spears if that’s what you mean. I loved Nirvana. No MJ? No. Actually though, I did go to one of his gigs at the Arena once and that was pretty awesome. Who’s on your iPod now? Well, some friends of mine and I have this Dropbox folder so I always get the latest stuff posted on there. I am digging the new Phoenix record actually. Also, I found this band from California called Naomi Punk, they’re pretty nice. Ok, you probably get asked this a lot but I just have to ask: What’s the deal with the band name? Yea, well it’s actually not a very long or particularly interesting story but when we started out everything was about having fun. We didn’t take things too seriously. So, Bombay Show Pig is a combination of different track titles by Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart put together. We were just scrolling through the iPod looking for words that looked interesting. And pig was one of them? Ha ha yes, unfortunately. How did Sancho Panzo get into your song writing? Do you relate to him in some way or other? I guess so. I wrote the song with my mate Tjeerd Bomhof and we had this word that sounded like Sancho Panzo and somehow we ended up with that name. The story does make sense though. It’s about being the guy who’s in another guy’s
shadow. And that’s a perfect lead to my next question. If you look at Dutch music today, it’s pretty dire when it comes to indie, or maybe there’s just tons of bands that no one knows about. Do you feel like you’re in a way, fighting to put The Netherlands on the musical map? I don’t think we’re doing it for the country per se but yes. Our goal definitely is to get recognition beyond the Dutch border and I think after touring Germany and France we’re slowly making some progress there. I mean, there are plenty of examples of bands, which are perfectly happy with being famous only here but for us that would be dangerous. Fair enough. The music industry is actually a very strange place right now, isn’t it? You’ve got all sorts of people engaging in strange collaborations like Kanye West and Bon Iver or David Guetta and Sia. What’s your take on all this? Where is this going? I think it’s great! There are a lot of very good people out there and they’re letting their guard down. It’s interesting to see how some people are stepping out of their comfort zone and you can totally learn a lot from those collaborations. Just getting yourself into someone else’s work mode and then translating that into your own style is probably a pretty good way to expand your own horizon as an artist. Who would you love to work with? Well, there are a lot of people of course but for the last couple of years it’s been Beck. For sure. How do you decide who sings what? Do you ever get into a fight like: “No! I am singing that song!” – “Ehm, no you’re not, I’m singing that song!” Ha ha no, we don’t get into fights like that. It’s more of a feeling that determines it. I mean Sancho Panzo simply wouldn’t work if I were singing it. We wouldn’t even try it the other way around. Sometimes, when I write a song and I feel like I really need to sing it myself, I’ll make sure no one else gets his hands on it.
phrase in your head and you go with that or a word that kicks off the writing process. There’s no golden rule really. Are people surprised when they find out you’re Dutch? Yea I guess so. The shows we did in France were really nice and some of the people we met were quite impressed with our sound and the level we play on. I don’t really know what people expect from Dutch bands but the feeling I got was they didn’t expect us to sound the way we do. Where are you taking your worldly Dutch sound this year then? We’re releasing an EP in France soon, so that’s gonna be pretty important to us and then we’re working towards a new record later this year. I would also love to play in the UK sometime or maybe in Spain. Just playing in the sunshine or something, we don’t get much of that here as you know. Do you guys have normal jobs? Linda teaches a drumming class and I write songs for other people so that keeps us busy but if you mean “Do we have an office job?” then luckily no, ha ha. Obviously we hope to be able to live of our music one day. Who knows when that will happen? Would you rather have fingers as long as your legs or legs as long as your fingers? Hm… Fingers as long as my legs. Definitely. I mean who would want to have short legs? They’re no use. With long fingers I could at least be some sort of alien version of Jimmy Hendrix! www.bombayshowpig.com VULTURE / PROVIDER
Where do you get the inspiration for your songs? It’s mostly a combination of things. It’s never too autobiographical. Sometimes you just have this
he owes the night
hoop doop meets
laser 3.14 interview: Julian lynn PHOTOgraphy: MYSCHA orĂŠo
Sometimes it’s easier for other people to say for us, what we lack the articulation for in ourselves. Perhaps this is why Laser 3.14 is so popular, a street poet for us to shine though, someone saying what we may never think, but know all too well deep inside the attic of our mind. When the time came to write a piece about the elusive character Laser 3.14, I felt challenged to offer something as unique as the person we see all over the city of Amsterdam. To say a proper thanks for the years of work Laser has created deep in to the night while “normal” people sleep deep away from the troubles of the day. “I no longer write words or make films about street art. What attracted me 15 years ago was the sub-cultural, it was off the radar. Now it’s just another thing to waste time looking up on the Internet. The tipping point has long been reached. Laser 3.14 on the other hand, is still firmly in the underground. I don’t care about street art, but I do give a flying fuck about Laser. His work has matured into the voice of Amsterdam. It’s part of the whole city experience. Laser has become part of the vernacular, part of Amsterdam’s cultural DNA”.- King Adz, United Kingdom. To get the most out of this article, I reached out to people around us as to shed some insight in to things. Some I knew, others I sought out. Laser of course was integral to the piece as well. But for me, it had to be more than a artists self justification or another Q&A session between pictures. I wanted the people affected by the work on a street level to chime in as well (they seem a core competent of things which often gets overlooked). Together we tried to articulate why Laser is getting a article, why you are reading it, and why you will end up talking about him to someone soon. Starting out with people like Zedz and Delta in Amsterdam’s street scene must have been exciting. Any stories to share from back in the day? I like ZEDZ he’s a cool guy; but he wasn’t around in Amsterdam’s scene when it began to explode in the early 80’s. I saw his work appear here in the early 90’s. He was part of a group of artists from Leiden (a whole other story). The stuff I was doing in those days was very trivial. I was tagging when I was around 10 or 11 but had no clue that it was called graffiti or whatever. I just saw cool names around the city which I emulated: Ego, Tarantula, Dragon, Collodi, Dr Air, Harakiri, Dr Smurry. I started out writing my own name, but soon figured out that you had to have a cool fake name to stand out, to define yourself. When I attended art school later on, I went to the Leidseplein where a lot of writers where hanging out. I felt like a kid in a candy store meeting all the people behind the tags. It was a great time of creative explosion in Amsterdam, the city was on fire. There was this intense energy in the air that all people, creative or otherwise could tap in to. Along the way Amsterdam has lost something special; when they decided to run it as a corporation instead of a exercise in social freedom.
While other street art is based on graphics. Your work has rooted itself in text. How did this occur for you? Things just naturally progressed that way. When I was focusing on painting in the 90’s I wasn’t that busy or totally aware on what was happening on the streets. I saw a lot of new 3D style graffiti, the best of them at the time was Delta. But my focus was more on painting and learning how to do that. I also started writing poetry and started to add sentences from the poems as captions under images I painted. At some point I thought the captions were stronger than the images, and started to write poetry like crazy. I soon got bored with just tagging my name cause I felt it had been done to death, and by much better artists, and didn’t add anything new. So one day I went out with the idea of spraying a couple of the poems around the city. How do you think of your text? Do you go out with a list of things written? Or do you make it up as you go along? I go out prepared with a list, but when I’m “in the zone” I’ll write something spontaneously. I don’t really know how creativity works. It’s just there. When a emotion or idea takes hold, the images take root in my mind, appearing to me, and art pops out. Whether it’s in written form or imagined, it just happens. If you over think it too much, It’s already dead. “I experienced the first piece of Laser’s work riding a bike past a wall in the Kinkerbuurt. I was really surprised when I saw this sparse, simple message written in black capital lettering. It made me focus on the words instead of the presentation.”You look perfect in that dress, all in sync with all the rest.” To me, his work interrupts my “automatic day-by-day working-drone” mode. Stoping the insane ‘mind train’ of chasing pipe-dreams such as career, money and status, helping to assess what’s really important in life. There’s a consensus among me and my friends that Laser is doing great things to improve Amsterdam. A lot more people should follow this example. Being a retired graffiti writer myself, I am happy he’s out there”. Stephen Vlieland, France. A lot of people think that the 3.14 in your name is biblical. Are they absolutely correct in thinking this, even if they are totally wrong? It’s really interesting to see the residue of religious influence in everyday thinking of people. It clearly says 3.14 and not 3:14 but a lot of times people first perceive it as a biblical verse number. That’s interesting to me because I clearly see the scientific discoveries of the last 200 years (Pi for instance), trumping those of so called religious “insights” by light-years. When you look at life functions, at the vastness of the universe and the beauty of it. Becoming aware, that if 65 million years ago a meteorite didn’t hit this planet we wouldn’t even be here, that we’ve only just scratched the surface, that’s really interesting stuff! It trumps every religious doctrine to me, and is part of why I chose a math reference as my name. I’m always in true awe about what science has revealed. But then again, when I was a kid I was a stargazer, looking up, always wondering what was out there... i’m still a stargazer .
Speaking of the stars, do you like Alien or Aliens more? If you like Alien more, please like Alien more, please explain why you are totally wrong. I think both are classics and extremely good, but Alien is the better of the two. Next to Blade Runner this is one of those films, which truly stood the test of time and still looks amazing today. I like the simplicity of Alien. It’s actually a very basic story. It such a straightforward film but executed so brilliantly. It deserves all the praise its still getting. “Poetry for me has always been related to books. He has taken it out of that context. I have spent weekends cycling around the city in search of his art. When I see a new construction site, I always wonder if he will make it his canvas. His words speak to me. Even the ones I don’t understand. His mind really fascinates me. I remember I was going through a very bad break up and walked by the verse: “If my feelings are true, then where the hell are you”. I burst into tears. He spoke my anger, my grief, my sadness. Putting words to my emotions. It’s like he could see inside me. When I think of someone, it always brings their face to my mind. I can’t do that with Laser. I don’t know who he is. I often wonder what he looks like, if I’ve ever bumped into him, spoken to him. And as you can see, I refer to him as a man. I did go through a phase when I wondered if Laser was a woman. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that hes a man. Right or wrong, it is the way I like to think of him”.- Carolina Georgatou, Greece.
People seem to like things, what do you like? I like music, films, books, collecting vinyl, comics, painting, a good conversation, working on art, writing poetry, drawing, running in the park, yoga, meditation and all the rest. I am a person like any other, I just happen to do something that resulted in answering some questions for you, as if I had anything more to say than someone reading this, we are all the same to me, that’s a part of my point. What I don’t like is political correctness. I really can’t stand it. It’s like willingly turning a blind eye to facts that are as clear as day, only because people want to hold on to a almost perverse fantasy. It’s like knowing you’re wrong and forcing it to be right at all cost, and may the world burn for it. Speaking of facts that are clear as day, is art a scam? There’s hardly anything left these days that doesn’t feel like a scam to me. Even living and breathing feels like a scam. A lot of things have been exposed as scams: Religion turned out to be a scam; politics got exposed as a scam, economics turned out to be a scam, the music and film industry turned into scams. Overproduced, superficial, fake and clearly looking only to make money, I feel scammed even if I watch and listen to most of it for free. Real art, the art that you have to make because you clearly have no other choice, you’ll sacrifice everything. It never feels and looks like a scam because it isn’t. The spectator will know whether your art is a scam or not, the question is will you know it?
Most artists seem to go out of their way to not make sense, in hopes they can hide a lack of opinion or talent. Is making sense a challenge? Do people make sense to you? Some people make sense, most don’t. Through my art I’m trying to make sense of the world and sometimes it does, most of the times though I really don’t get people. I don’t understand why we look for cobwebs in our cellar while their attics are full of gold, I don’t understand why people would kill, maim and die for crafted doctrines and perpetually silent invisible beings, who clearly have sprouted from our own imagination; or the lack of it. I don’t understand why we hold ourselves back when we have the ability to truly blossom and reach heights we could never imagine. There seems to be this fear to exceed and transcend and it’s choking and killing us. So is this a mission to wake people up? One street at a time. In my life I’ve noticed one thing; If you try to think outside the box some people will come after you. Some people cant handle if you dare question or dare to criticize this existence, and it pisses people of who believe that there is a perfect way life should be lived. For the most part people don’t want to wake up from the dream, because they then have to deal with the nightmare. You’re likely to aggravate them when you try to make sense and question the fabric of this existence. Things can get very ugly quick, but as an artist I’m not here to please. For me it’s a personal journey, which I share on the streets. Art should evoke a whole spectrum of reactions, it will make some happy and others it will piss off, so be it. “Seeing one of Laser’s pieces can hit a pause button on your day, even if it’s only for a few moments. Even when you read it and then keep walking, they seem to drift back to the surface of your mind later. The street pieces seem to set him apart from other artists because they are temporary. To me it seems that artists are trying to leave a little piece of themselves in the world; I like that these pieces of this person are there for only a little while. When I move away from Amsterdam,
one of the things I think I’ll miss the most will be running into that little bit of beauty Laser brings to the streets, especially when I’m not looking for a piece and one takes me by surprise”.- Jen Dowhie, United States. Street culture is contstantly coming in and out of the spotlight. Does this cycle excite you? Or make it hard to feel like you are making progress with a ever changing audience? To be honest when I’m working I’m not interested with what’s hip at the moment, what people may think of what I am doing. For me art is an introspective journey where I discover all sides and levels about myself, cycle of our existence, this world, subjects that interest me. This journey is something I love to keep embarking upon no matter who the audience happens to be at the time, that’s just a end game of it all, if anything I like finding new ears and eyes who have not seen the work before. Amsterdam is known for many things, from the special to the mundane. We all know what’s in the tourist catalogs and around us on our walk here and there, but when it comes to people like Laser 3.14, it’s hard to know where that fit’s in. The work is a reflection of our daily lives, more than it is a constant critique of the Amsterdam state of affairs. Every city has it’s night watch, those brave souls who “owe the night” in individual and often unsung ways. From the siren blaring across town to save a unknown life, to a new friend buying you a tosti at the local bar which saves yours. These people are all around us, making the city we live in that much more special, that much more our own. Life rarely get’s a soundtrack, not like in the movies. Perhaps Laser’s work is as close as we can come to such a overture. A spray painted sentence out of the corner of your eye helping define the moment as you laugh, love, cry, run, worry, care, live.
LOTTAROX AGENCY is a professional booking, event and promotion company based in London (UK), Florence (Italy) and Stockholm (Sweden) whose first aim is to introduce the best emergent and unsigned UK artists to the Italian Indie Market by booking the best Club Nights, In-Store shows and Exhibitions of the various countries it works in, soon in Amsterdam as well.
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MARK JANICELLO International Man of Mystery
BULLSEYE MARK JANICELLO HAS BEEN AN ARTIST SINCE HE WAS 4 YEARS OLD. HE HAS WORKED IN EVERY PERFORMANCE MEDIUM FROM OPERA TO TELEVISION TO MUSICAL, ROCK, POP AND FILM. AS A PAINTER, HE HAS ENJOYED 11 SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS AND CURRENTLY OWNS GALLERY LARAVEN. 42
Today’s column is not about answers. It is about questions, very important questions that every artist needs to ask himself, EVERY single day. Young artists often want to “re-invent the wheel.” People (especially young people) want to “change the world,” and “shake up the status quo.” It’s not for nothing that the pop group Fun had a world-wide, number one hit singing: Tonight, we are young. So, let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun Wanting to set the world on fire, is using the fire of change and of ambition that burns brightly in every artist’s heart. These are not negative things. Factually, they are quite essential thought processes which further both the individual, the society and the world of art. Without the creation of a state of “continuous advancement,” we, as a society, begin to retract. In the natural universe, there are no statics. Matter is in a constant state of movement and of change. We either expand or contract. Nothing ever stays the same – nor should it! The first question I would like to ask is: “Does changing the status quo require obliterating EVERYTHING that has come before us?” Is there an easier way? We are all artists. Generally speaking, artists want to create, and don’t really want to be bothered with “Business.” Good. Go! Create! But ask yourself this second question, “WHO are you creating FOR?” Artist: “Say what??? I_____. (draw, scuplt, sing, dance, act, WHATEVER – fill in the blank, yourself) What kind of stupid question is that????” I’ll repeat the question: “Who is your audience? Do you create for yourself? Your Mother? Your Friends? Art Critics? Art Dealers? Media attention? None of the above? ALL of the above?” Whether you are selling coffee, tampons, or a
platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, EVERY product has a target audience.
and bend them to your own will?
If you want to LIVE from your art, then you must find out WHO is your audience. Your work must reach it’s target audience.
You may ask, “Which infrastructures?” How about, the marketing, sales and distribution infrastructures that great businessmen and -women have already created.
Walking the fine line between art and commerce has been the balancing act that every successful artist has had to learn. However, once you get it right, you hit a Bullseye!
Whatever one thinks of their creative output, there are very few people who would argue that an Andy Warhol, a Banksy or a Damien Hirst did not “Shake up the status quo.”
Georges Seurat’s struggles with his revolunationary pointilistic style was immortalized in Stephen Sondheim’s 1985 musical “Sunday in the Park with George.” In the second act, there is a very telling lyric from the song “Putting it Together” which I think makes this point brilliantly :
If we look carefully, we realize, that in addition to their artworks, their marketing and sales strategies were also REVOLUTIONARY. These artists not only understood, but mastered the “art” of marketing, sales and distribution as well.
Advancing art is easyFinancing it is not. A vision’s just a vision If it’s only in your head. If no one gets to see it, It’s as good as dead. It has to come to light! Dot by dot, building up the image. Shot by shot, Keeping at a distance doesn’t pay. Still, if you remember your objective, Not give all your privacy away,
Did these artist “compromise” their vision?? Putting a cow in formaldehyde (Hirst), pissing on your own paintings (Warhol), or working as a politcially-astute, stencilling graffitti artist (Banksy) , are not the kind of artistic endeavors that have the word “COMPROMISE” tattooed all over them. However, these gentlemen have been spectacularly successful in their own lifetimes – Bullseye! Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull, gathered worldwide media attention and was “sold” for €58 million Euros. Warhol’s “Eight Elvises” sold for $100 million dollars and Banksy’s stencil “paintings’ are selling for $40,000 – and I don’t want to know how much they paid him to create the opening sequence of a “Simpsons” episode.
A little bit of hype can be effective, Long as you can keep it in perspective.
Did Warhol know that doing silk-screen paintings of the biggest movie stars of his time would get him media attention and raise both his profile and his asking prices? You’re damn right, he did.
After all, without some recognition no one’s going to give you a commission.
Do Banksy and Hirst use “shock value” methods to catapult their artistic endeavors into public consciousness?? They sure do.
Art isn’t easy. No, art isn’t easy. But consider this, what if it were possible, without (greatly) compromising your own vision, to take the existing infrastructures
Is that art? Is that marketing? Is it both? Does it matter? www.markjanicello.net www.gallerylaraven.com
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CHARLIE Reuvers Interview: Myscha Oréo & Ioannnis Alvanopoulos Words: Ioannis Alvanopoulos Photoography: Myscha Oréo
Every dream consists of a collection of images that draw a story about our hidden thoughts, fears, needs and hopes. A dream takes apparent random pieces of yourself and puts them together on the imaginary canvas of the back of your eyes. In that sense, Charley Reuvers is a dream maker. Each and every piece of his work is an endless, exciting journey built trough transparent layers and by elements from philosophy, mysticism, numerology, religion and mythology. Most of them revolve around the well-known work of Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”, but that is just the beginning of the story. It all started on a breezy spring Sunday afternoon in 1962. Charley’s dad decided to take him to the “Bewogen Beweging” exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum. It was his father’s way – an amateur painter and art lover himself – to show to Charley the tragic result of true art degeneration: the type of art always named through time with the vague statement of “modern art”. The first thing that little Charley saw when he entered the exhibition was the bicycle wheel of Marcel Duchamp (the installation of one bicycle wheel on a kitchen stool). And that was it. An artist was born. His father would say later that taking him to that exhibition, that very Sunday, may had been “the biggest mistake he ever made”. Charley grew to become complicated, restless and passionate. Both as a person and as an artist. He refused to see life for the normal spectrum of flat events and elements but rather embrace the complexity that it truly deserves. And if his father and Duchamp prepared the ground for the artist, love for a girl and Herman Melville’s masterpiece - “Moby Dick” - lit up the fire. It was Melville’s story with its numerous layers of symbolism and metaphors that inspired him, moved him and sent him to those “dark corners” that a man can visit. It became the metaphoric journey of his life. He flirted with the tragic idea of being Ahab and he turned into a true Ismael, the one that survives to tell the story. We asked him to tell the story to us. It’s all about the infinite amount of levels that affect you and the infinite possibilities that you can use to describe them. And I’ve never met anyone before Charley Reuvers that embraced
this notion with such a passion that it almost became fatal. How did you decide to be an artist? I received artistic influences from my father but I think my turning point for becoming an artist was a girl I once knew. A girl that all the guys I knew adored and one night, she picked me to be her lover. Why me, I asked myself. She was so beautiful and desired, she could have picked anyone. She told me: “you are not going to waste your entire life in that stupid office. You will go to Rietveld academy and apply for a scholarship”. She was the one that drove me to go do what I actually wanted. I applied, I was admitted and then they kicked me out in the second year. And why was that? I got too involved in the school. The school needed corruption in order to survive and I was the one reminding them. I thought that, if the academy needs corruption to survive, they should at least admit it. I made them confront the plain truth, so they kicked me out. Moby Dick was the center of your inspiration for many years. Did you pick the subject or did it pick you? I think both. I got obsessed with a book about obsession. The subject of Moby Dick could be the pursue of a divine entity. A divine idea. This interpretation is actually more popular lately for Moby Dick while originally Moby Dick was considered evil. This mainly comes from the fact that Moby Dick is a constant criticism on the white
male dominated society and the book still makes people feel uneasy. Melvin based the story on the testimonial of a sailor, Ismael, that survived a ship disaster during a whaling trip. It’s a book where a lot of the chapters end with a question, leaving the reader with an uneasy feeling and that’s what’s making it so fascinating. Tell us about your time of obsession. Were you willing to give everything for art? Sometimes you are just driven by an irresistible urge that can take you down to deep dark corners. It’s not a nice experience. Well, mine wasn’t. Look at Moby Dick. It’s not just a whale. It’s a metaphor. It could be anything. It could also be looking in the eyes of god. It could also mean that you defy god. The impact on me was so enormous that I had to personally choose life over death. I was diagnosed with manic depression and at least I was fortunate in that. It’s better to have manic depressions than being depressed alone. Are you religious? (Laugh) I brought myself up areligious, that’s one thing. Being an apostate – a fine Greek word that I don’t often use in its normal context – I understood that you have to cross through religion first in order to be an apostate. The story of the whale carries basic elements of religion. It represents primordial force, the real ancient god before Zeus and the Titans came in the picture. The name Moby Dick comes from Mocha Dick, which comes from the coasts of Chile and “Motza” was the earth goddess. It’s funny because most
of the times they associate Moby Dick with a male but actually it isn’t. Melvin based the whale character on the High Priestess, the card from the Tarot so actually Moby Dick is a woman, female. Can you give an example of the challenges that you faced during the process? There is this painting where the center depicts an eye. For months there was the canvas standing in my studio with this green eye. And I couldn’t approach it. I got more and more scared. It was like someone had cut a hole in reality in your own house and through that hole was a whale eye looking at you. It took me months to get moving. I really reached a point where I was completely paralyzed by that eye. It took me into the deepest corners of self-doubt. Tell us about your etchings It was very difficult to finish the series of etchings. It was a challenging phase. Would I knew in advance if I would survive like Ismael or be perished like Ahab, it would have definitely been different. Being Ahab would mean that I would have to go down. And many things around me
would have to go down as well. The pressure was so enormous that I became suicidal and I had to resort to therapy. That was before the series of paintings ever started. When the etchings were finished I thought it was enough, I thought I was done. I wanted to go on and do something different but it was not possible. And I was stuck in this idle state that was not very nice. Then I decided to move on to the series of paintings.
are part of the exhibition and give an idea of the many layers and symbolism that this series consist of.
Was the creation of the paintings a similarly difficult experience? These paintings were made in the 90s. I was so enslaved to the subject that I was hardly aware of what was going around that decade. I have been working on this series in total for 16 years. For six of these years I was trying to escape from them. So I stopped, I did more research and then I started again. But it’s also not an easy subject to work on. Melville put and incredible amount of research in his work and there are so many levels to explore. There is a huge pile of research documentation for each painting. WG Kunst condensed it to one research book per painting for my exhibition in March of 2013. These books
What does your work signify? I would say that it’s a kind placing a manipulated reality on the canvas. Ismael survives to tell the story. I guess this is also what this series of paintings signify. I survived to tell my story. Though you have to be on the same ship with Ahab in order to be able to produce the paintings.
Do you have a favorite painting? It’s a tough question. I don’t have a favorite one. It was a constant battle for all of them. Till the very end I wasn’t certain if I was going to finish it or not.
Tell us about how the series of Moby Dick was “cursed”. Well, I’m not sure if they are really cursed but it has been equally challenging to create them as well as to expose them. It was very difficult to have the paintings photographed. There was this fashion photographer who came by twice
with a truckload of lighting equipment, cables and screens. We had to re-do the whole interior of my apartment and I still remember that my palm tree died in the process. He made one series which I thought was alright but he didn’t like it. So he took all the equipment and went away. He came again after a couple of weeks, doing the whole thing again. He concluded again that the result was not good enough. He drove his truck away and I never saw him again. The series of paintings were photographed three times in the past. None of them successful. Next to that, two of the exhibitions that were planned in the US were cancelled because of 9/11. You also make peep-boxes. How did the idea for the peep-boxes come? Peep-boxes are more in common with my comic book work. One of its attractions is that it’s a very private thing. When you look at a peepbox you’re on your own. You have to describe it yourself and no one else can help you. You can’t look at it with another person. It’s interesting to see that reactions that people have. But I also wonder sometimes, why this need to hide things? Why this need to put things in a box?
Of course, my scenes are some kind of forbidden scenes. As a child, my father took me to the Rijksmuseum and I was so impressed on the use of light in the paintings of the great artists like Rembrandt. Since then I have always been trying to manipulate light and control the environment in such a way that it determines the view point of the spectator. What else occupies you these days? When I returned from Mexico I decided to start a series of paintings of South America. Right at that moment, I got this job of teaching art to children and it completely blew my mind, it was something that I didn’t expect. I was in doubt to do this but my son told me: “you did fine with me, so you will do fine with children as well”. In the end, to my own surprise, I found that I was great in it. And how do you teach art to children? I put a blank piece of paper in front of them and I ask them what they want to put on it. And if they can’t answer that question, they have to go away and come back later. That’s the very first question every artist should answer: “what do I
want to create?” I feel privileged to sit with them and listen to their discussions. Children in this age know so many things. What are you working on today and what are your next plans? I’m not working on anything at the moment. I will definitely do something but I don’t have any concrete plans yet. What is your advice to an aspiring artist? Anything can be inspiring. Artists can get inspired by random things. Even pessimism can be inspiring. There is that primitive mechanism of creation working within. Artists should never have to explain or justify their work. Artists don’t think. They are just driven. In this job, it pays to be stubborn. Go against advice. Do what you want to do. Dream makers are hard to find these days. The don’t appear on search engine results. You could ask for Charley Reuvers at WG Kunst.
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DAYDREAM Retro aesthetics and timeless elegance
Photographer: Attilio Brancaccio Assistant Photographer: Monyart Make up: Nyna make-up Models: Chloe Liaskou Clothes: IOLI Thanks to: The New Label Project, Amsterdam
Dress: Ioli @ The New Label Project
Vest: Ioli / Skirt: Ioli / Hat: Essyello @ The New Label Project
Dress: Ioli @ The New Label Project
Hoody: Ioli / Coat: Ioli @ The New Label Project
Coat: Ioli / Skirt & Hoody Jacket: Ioli @ The New Label Project
Gillet: Ioli / Skirt : Ioli @ The New Label Project
Gillet: Ioli / Wooden bow tie : Two-o @ The New Label Project
Freckled Moods Freckled people are in minority in Czech population. And maybe that is the reason, why the moods expressed in their faces are more surprising, remarkable and impressive. In the project â€œfreckled moodsâ€? I tried to show this impression of mine in the black and white photography, which highlights the freckles. Upset Jitka, suprised Marketa, happy Martina, wild Andrea etc. represent only a fragment of freckled faces, that we meet every day on streets and that attract our attention.
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oscillation brève “Small tremors with swirls for piano, voice, heart and wounds Balms and thorns to take Micro-surgery of the being, to heal Risk of postoperative turmoil.” Interview: Anna Kelhu Photography:Jimmy Mettier Hair & make up: Amandine Bernot
...The mix between pleasure and anxiety generated by the lack of social obligations triggered an autonomy of strenuous work... Your music is very expressive, with sensitive vocals and a melancholic piano pulling the harmonies forward. Tell us please, what do you write about? Small tremors with swirls for piano, voice, heart and wounds. Balms and thorns to take Micro-surgery of the being, to heal Risk of postoperative turmoil. What is your method for writing music? Do you sit down to work, purposefully, or do you wait for inspiration to kick in? Most texts start with a few words, which arise from circumstances or follow a conversation.... It often happens whilst walking or when I’m travelling by tube, train, plane… Movement is important. But past this initial point, everything is about work and focus . This project was born out of a vacuum. I deliberately quit my job to devote more time to music, but I did not really know what was the direction. All I knew was that the piano, out of my life for several years, would be the basis. The mix between pleasure and anxiety generated by the lack of social obligations triggered an autonomy of strenuous work, and I began to practice 3 to 6 hours a day to get my dexterity back and to try to drag something out of myself. Slowly, words and music shared a common direction and consistency. What’s most important to you in the music you listen to – or make yourself? For as long as I remember, the music that has touched me and which I continue to appreciate always carries a more or less hidden dark side ... But my preference really goes to things that are not what they seem. I like offsets, when the music takes you somewhere and the words clash and surprise you, when the density of a song occurs after several listenings. The music I
make is not what one would actually call happy, I cannot control it... but I really wish to make it less obvious in the future... and introduce more light in it. How did you come to collaborate with John Galliano? A photographer friend of mine, Jimmy Mettier, was working on the making-off of John Galliano’s perfume “Parlez-moi d’amour .... encore” when he came to watch me play. During the show, he had a sort of a “blow of heart” for the song “Golden place”, saying that it could correspond to
images. Two days later, we were at the studio of my friend and sound engineer Louis Arlette (Le Bruit blanc, Vincennes) to record a revised version of the song, specifically adapted for the order. It was a very interesting realisation that made me want to explore the world of music publishing. Where are you hoping to be, professionally, by the end of 2013? I usually try not to project myself so as not to be disappointed with reality ... But if I let go of myself... I guess I hope to release a full album and meet the right professionals, who will help me in developing my project as I imagine it. I see regular concerts in places as unlikely as
beautiful, with an acoustic piano... meetings and collaborations with musicians to allow a continuous evolution of my music... an opening so that nothing is ever frozen. I have spent a lot of time alone composing, and I’ve really enjoyed it. But now is the time for sharing and my first experience of working with the artist Cigùri from Berlin has been a real impulse. Again! https://soundcloud.com/oscillationbreve/ uneven-dance-cig-ri-remix http://www.ciguri.net Any plans to come around Amsterdam, and perform for us..? Give me an opportunity and i will accept and come and play with pleasure! Trying to find gigs has been the main part of my job since the release of the EP (Transparence & Volumes clos)... and it’s not the easy part when you don’t have a booking agent. To overcome this problem, I’ve organized most of my first concerts at home, by inviting people over. (Lili: live intime, lieu instable). The atmosphere that emerges and the connection with the public in this kind of context is unique. But it is important to also get out of the usual context to evolve, and my first experience out of France, in Berlin (at Urban spree), has been even more rewarding. The unknown is scary but it also offers a kind of liberation. It takes us out of our comfort zones and I like that feeling of instability. Now I’m looking forward to exploring new territories. www.oscillationbreve.com soundcloud.com/oscillationbreve www.facebook.com/oscillationbreve
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Seen, yet unseen. Strong yet fragile. Light yet dark. Art yet science. Glimpse through the glass and into the interesting contradictions that form Marc Barreda, glass artist. All-seeing yet obsessed with blindness, he currently lives and works in Amsterdam city. words: SArah-jane Threipland â€˘ PHOTOgraphy: MYSCHA orĂŠo
When Marc enters the studio more surprising contradictions enter with him; strong yet sensitive, firm yet gentle, messy yet precise; it’s not just his art that surprises people. Looking around his studio, another glares out unexpectedly. There is hardly any actual glass in this place. Many other things peep from dark hiding places: pieces of installations, driftwood, metal, paper, boxes, a mass of card, some wires and old machine parts. They all hint of the things they will become, or perhaps have already been. Later on it becomes apparent that his studio’s this way because he needs space to think. Marc spends a lot of time here. There are complex thoughts and concepts behind all his work, which makes it as choreographed as the movements practiced when being a successful glass blower. Perhaps it belies his scientific background—before he became an artist he gained a degree in Biology. “I like to bring to light aspects of existence that are missed. To help people see things in a new way. The illumination of the overlooked, how when it’s cloudy we still see sunlight, just differently.” Marc works within a medium most would think fragile. Yet see his work and you’ll realise it can be strong and sturdy, with thinking as intricate as the medium itself. Walking around pieces of his largest installation, called: ‘The moment I opened my eyes I began to go blind,’ he begins to talk in depth about it and very quickly we are deep into his world, both simple aesthetically and complex conceptually. The installation consists of a number of large hand-made glass lenses, filled with water and mounted onto pillars of street tiles. They’re arranged in a greenhouse, with a backdrop made from photographs of the patterns of light reflected through them. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a study into how the eye works or on seeing, but not so. In fact, it’s another contradiction: “It’s about wanting more knowledge, the more we know the more we want to know, yet somehow the less we see. It’s also about science and its futile quest for answers. It’s not seeing that fascinates me, but what happens when we go blind.” Conceptual thinking like this was a skill he honed in his pre-master at Rietveld, and then his masters at Sandberg, completed in July 2012. To Marc, conceptual thinking contrasts with an abandon of the process. Glass blowing is like a dance, and that’s part of why he loves it. It has a physicality. You have to be sharp with your mind as well as active with your body. It’s well-practiced movement, honed to perfection. “I’m never actually ‘blowing glass’, I just keep it in line and work within its fluidity. “ If Marc’s work were to be broken apart, sharp shards would reveal that almost every detail is deliberate. It’s an admirable skill in an art world where chance has come to mean so much. Many artists will make something by chance and find a way to put it into their art, but as glass is such a skilled medium, you need to know exactly what you want to do. And Marc does, some examples: A thigh bone, in a custom blown display case was a real human sacrifice. It lay for a few days at the alter of Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. On the plaque was ‘Het Misbruik’ (the abuse). Not many people would know that 85
to create the Oude Kerk exhibition space as it is now, about 10, 000 human skeletal remains were cleared from the floor...with bulldozers. His art piece was fast, relevant, and made a massive statement on life and perceptions –recurring themes. It’s something he’s proud of. There is also an earlier work ‘Zeeglas’, made for the Zuiderzee museum, which looks like a large old-fashioned telescope. It grinds pieces of glass into smooth pebbles most usually found washed up on beaches. He talks of parts of the English coast that have fallen into the sea, the irony of being on this planet now and the strength of natural forces. His recent graduation is strange, for here comes another contradiction—Marc is an old head on a young body. He grew up with two brothers, an American mother and Peruvian father on a farm in Vermont. His relationship with this remote land could account for a wisdom that’s beyond his years. An artist lived next to this farm, and guess what he did? Glassblowing. It must have been fate. “I had a great drawing teacher at Williams College, Massachusetts and he encouraged me to go further. He had this story about a student who left the sciences to become an artist. I later found out it was him, Michael Glier. So I took a sculpture class and loved it. Then I worked with the glass blower living next door to my farm. After the first moment watching, I was hooked.” Glass is not the most usual medium for an artist to work in. It can be expensive. It’s an art of precision, and one where you really have to work with it while you can—heated to nearly 1200 centigrade. You also need an assistant or two for more complicated pieces, and be physically fit to handle it. It’s like becoming the doctor or architect of the artist’s world—5-10 years of apprenticeship with an expert after learning the basics. Marc himself has studied different techniques, Venetian and Cane, amongst others. He’s now about to begin on a long-term project at the Glass Museum and Glasblazerij in Leerdam. It’s not a quick art, that’s for sure, but that’s part of its ancient appeal. ”Glass is just the medium I choose to work in,” he states like there is a magnetism that keeps him coming back time and again. And this is a medium with one final ironic contradiction. When we look at it, it allows us to forget complex thinking. We can appreciate the play of light and dark, its fragility. We see through the aesthetic appeal it has of being there, yet not; it holds a simple beauty. It’s clear there’s still much to see from Marc Barreda, if we choose to cast aside blindness.
See Marc’s work at the Amsterdam Museum until September 2013, Spuistraat, or in the Leerdam Nationaal glass museum. www.el-mudo.com www.marcbarreda.com ambidextrousambassador.blogspot.com
ANGELA’ s houses
angela Serino words: agnese roda • PHOTOgraphy: monyart
In 2005 Angela Serino was the first Italian woman to be admitted into De Appel Program in Amsterdam, one of the most prestigious curatorial masters in Europe. Since then, she has been busy with housing projects. “The residency element has always been part of my work,” she tells me when I meet her. “I have not studied Art but I have always been fascinated by the ability of artists to synthesize external “stimuli” and give them a definite form, they are like sponges, they take ideas from everywhere and mix them to create something new. Art has a synthesis potential which often does not need words – which in turn are my instruments.” “In the projects I have curated so far”, she continues, “I mostly commission and present new works by artists I value. They are often developed in response to a specific contest or issues stemming from the situation of the place where I am invited to work in. I ask artists to develop their point of view and then I present it as a final exhibition with public programs of lectures and discussions. Because of this way of working, I have always followed very closely the development of a work, the artist’s way of thinking and his/her process… and in a way the artist’s life too. In the last years, the daily contest of life and how this affects the artist’s work has become even more important, because of my work as residency curator. The house becomes even more important. I see it as a space of dialogue, a place usually seen as private that through art is actually transformed into a public space.” However, “Angela’s house” is not just her work. I ask her to tell me what that word means to her, if she has one in her heart, or if she misses one... “Now that I am 35 years old, I realize I cannot tear myself away from my house,” she says smiling. “It is a very difficult thing to accept, especially for a person like me who has always done much outside her former “house”. In my heart, the link with my family’s house in the deep south of Italy has always been there. In the past, I diverted my eyes when my mind started to think about the practical consequences of being tied to a place as far as southern Italy, so isolated, as if it was another world. I have always avoided the consequences of this emotional attachment.” “Now, perhaps through one of those grown up revelation moments, I realized that I cannot accept the idea of not going back anymore, or not to find the things that are always there waiting for me when I go back: a house with flowered balconies, full of fruit that smell fresh and clean. Now I want to preserve those things for the rest of my life. How to do this will be the next question for me.” Angela’s path in the past has gone beyond Campania. After high school, she moved to Siena to study Communication Sciences. “I wanted to attend a small college that could allow some contact and discussion with professors. Teachers back then were people who worked every day in the field of communication and at the same time taught 91
us how to approach work. “ While studying in Siena, Angela moved to The Netherlands for one year, as an Erasmus student at the Vrij Universiteit, close to Amstelveen. “I remember the day I arrived at the end of August and it was dark. It was raining and I caught a taxi from the airport, which left me in front of a suburban block in the middle of nowhere. It was summer, but Amstelveen had such a frozen atmosphere. In the beginning it was a trauma, but then the best year of my life started.” “At school I met an Italian-Dutch guy,” explains Angela “and with him I started visiting the city’s underground art galleries, a world that, at the time, was a mystery to me. I figured out that in the Netherlands I could get access to an entire history of contemporary art. The country shocked me for the extreme accessibility of materials. I was visiting regularly the Stedelijk Museum’s library, which was open during the week, for which I only needed an entrance card for the cost of 10 guilders. I could get in whenever I wanted to and consult all the catalogues. Trough them and the video collections of the Stedelijk Museum and Montevideo, I could see all the artists shown in Amsterdam between the years 60’s and 70’s, that contributed to create a European video art, which has its basis in the Netherlands.” After that experience, Angela went back to Siena, where she met all her friends who had that previous year, like her, been studying abroad. “We were all living a post Erasmus trauma. We did not spend too much time to recount the detailed stories of what had happened to each of us. That was difficult, but we definitely shared the awareness the world was bigger and made of different people and culture and we wanted to be part of it. The goal at that point was just to finish our exams. We went to live together in a house in the countryside, and spent our time just studying to be able to move away, or anyway to move on soon with our lives.” Once a graduate, Angela began to look for something that could bring her back to the reality of contemporary art. Galleria Continua in San Gimignano comes to her as a second House. Here she worked as a gallery assistant and met artists recognized in the world of contemporary art, such as Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Carlos Garaicoa, Kendell Geers and many others. “I have worked for Arte all’Arte, a large public art project organized by the gallery, where renowned Italian and international artists and curators came together to develop site-specific projects in San Gimignano and the villages around”. That Art space then became fertile ground for brainstorming on what to do in her life. “I realized I wanted to work with artists when one evening I stayed up until late to help the Chinese artist Chen Zhen finish his little chairs made of wax candles. Maybe it was that splendid artist’s aura, I don’t know, I didn’t realize his importance at the time, but I understood there was something special in his way of working that only true artists have. There was a ritual in the way of working, a different one. That evening it finally became clear what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with artists at work, to play an active role in the creation’s process.” She next figured out that the title to define that profession would be curator. “I began to investigate what it meant to do that job and realized that to do it I had to change country, that I couldn’t live in a “postcard city” such as Siena where artists arrive, stay few weeks, or months, assemble the installation and leave. I had to live in a place where artists worked all the time, throughout the year. “ The strong desire to enter the life of Art and the daily life of artists bring her back to Amsterdam where she 92
attends De Appel Art Centre and continues to think about home. “After De Appel, the idea of Italy was just nostalgic... I missed my friends but I also realized there were opportunities in The Netherlands, especially when you are young and there is a different approach to life, you are curios and enjoy seeing and getting closer to some many different cultures. I also knew that Italy was not the same country I had left a few years before. “ I knew that Italy was not the same country I had left a few years before. “ In 2009, she was the curator of Red Light Art, an art project initiated by the Municipality of Amsterdam, De Key and developed with SMBA Stedeliik Museum Bureau. For this project, a group of artists like Ahmet Ögüt, Francesca Grilli, Mounira Al Solh, Egle Budvytyte and others, lived and worked for eight months in a few vacant brothels in the Red Light area developing new works in relation to such charged places. “It was the first big project I followed. The management was pushing hard, because I was the contact person for all, artists, funding bodies as well as marketing experts employed by the Municipality and the housing corporation. I was satisfied with the response of the public and the artists’ work, but also exhausted. After that, another housing project came around: Kunsthuis SYB, with opposing conditions compared to the previous one. SYB is an artists-in-residence in a remote village in Friesland, surrounded by nature. I started working there as member of the Programming Committee, an healing step, which allowed me to continue my path.” To the question whether she feels the Netherlands is her home, she replies: “I don’t know if this will be the country for me forever. I don’t put this stress on myself, I live day by day... Holland at the beginning was an experience, which I gained through the help of the partner I had at the time. This allowed me to fit in. Then, when the relationship ended, I realized I belonged to this country as an individual, especially through the places, with which I had established a relationship that was all mine, a personal one, perhaps more so than with people. This helped me make peace with the idea of living far away from my country.” Today Angela’s home is temporarily in Bergen, Norway. This summer it will be in Beijing, China and then at another house. “I see every place, including a house, as a space in which the voices of artists and their works can function as elements to initiate and stimulate a dialogue on aspects of our reality still unnoticed, or that need to be rethought. It is a dialogue that involves other publics and people’s participation. My work is to create and guarantee the conditions for this process to happen. It is also a personal journey, in which the world of artists and their visions are as important as the final product.”
“ UNCOVERED ”
Photographer: Cath Hermans Assistant Photographer: Chriscilia Tehupeiori • Make up and styling: Elise Metekohy Hair: Marino Lambrix • Assistant hair: Marjon Merry Models: Nadia, Anne van Eyck, Elke van Eyck, 96
HOOP DOOP MAGAZINE ISSUE 21 - April 2013