Friday, March 17th from 4 to 7 PM, will take place the XIX° D/A/C meeting.
The meeting will be held at Iuav University of Venice, ex Cotonificio Santa Marta, Aula A2.
Dorsoduro 2196 – 30123, Venice, Italy.
Facebook event: XIX° D/A/C meeting.
Friday, March 17th from 4 to 7 PM, will take place the XIX° D/A/C meeting.
The meeting will be held at Iuav University of Venice, ex Cotonificio Santa Marta, Aula A2.
Dorsoduro 2196 – 30123, Venice, Italy.
Facebook event: XIX° D/A/C meeting.
This is a splendid venture which has been organized and sponsored by the department of culture, a high-level cultural event that Paliano needs as we want our town to be characterized also and above all by culture.
The Zerynthia Association is among the principle linchpins of this organization. The Fine Art students of Rome, Frosinone, Urbino and L’Aquila are present here to show their work. It is also our intention that this be only the beginning of a common trajectory that will continue in the coming years.
The best thing about this experience is having met the guys and having accompanied them step by step. It is looking beyond, seeing culture also through an experience on the territory. I saw in the eyes of the guys an energy which I then saw in their artistic proposals. There was vivacity and interest also from the town of Paliano, many questions, and that is the positive answer to art and to culture in general. We wanted to include another itinerary that would see the Jail as a protagonist with a sound installation for the inmates and for the visitors, a playlist specifically selected for the prisoners. These are integrated itineraries with culture at the centre.
My gratitude goes to Don Prospero Colonna who is generously hosting us, as he once did back in 1994 when this was the place for the conferment of honorary citizenship to the great American artist Sol Lewitt who had lived here for a while with us in Paliano and had created a great piece in the Forest of Paliano. Past and future fuse together thanks to the participation and collaboration of the Academies of Frosinone, of L’Aquila,of Rome and of Urbino. Their contribution was extraordinary. Some tutors, who are also very well-known artists, suggested a few students for interventions in various places in this town. I was struck by the quality of their work.
It’s important to create greater spirituality in the soul of each person because everything that we do and that we become passionate about is part of the grammar of emotions that each person has. Everyone has passions, and art is one of these. We must create curious citizens. We must modulate the sensibilities of children and let them become, yes, curious citizens with many aspirations. For this reason, the Academies play a fundamental role, in that they host great potential which must be channelled.
Working in a context like that of Paliano means creating a relationship with the territory and with the structures working within the territory. I like this situation, it is born with the aim not of moulding the students by proposing a declination of the work of their tutor, but rather of tending towards the idea of forcing them to subvert their classic idea – especially when they beginat the academy – of what art is, of what artists are. This means offering myself as a subverting element within an academic context.
Art transforms the territory, mediated through a creative eye, into landscape. Reading a book by Giacomo Casanova on a trip of his to Switzerland, it’s incredible that this man never said a word about our beautiful Alps, about the lakes, about the rivers. 25 years after him Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born. It was he who created the landscape which afterwards all romanticism would invest in. Know’st thou the land where lemon-trees do bloom? That is how a poem of his begins, the most famous in German poetry, that made generations and generations of Germans dream about Italy. They love Italy even through these lemons that bloom.
The Academy of Fine Arts of L’Aquila makes the relationship with the territory one of its fundamental elements of education. We are in a moment in which it is necessary to recreate a cultural heritage. EREMI ARTE, a show that began this summer, sets off from the premise that art determines the undetermined and undetermines the determined, constructed. It is a project that tends to involve the path leading to the hermitage. These are long paths that take time. Time leads to reflection and that is what art consists of, it is thought and pathways. In a society which ZygmuntBauman has defined as liquid, there is the need to find a point of reference. Art adds value to the territory, outlining the space and then stepping out of it.
It is important to create this type of synergy on the territory. From dialogue among all sectors comes value, for the world of culture and for the world of business. The new patronage of today is met with plaudits and with suspicion, but it has brought about results. This is an impoverished territory. The businessman must be convinced that investing in culture means creating a value for the territory itself in order to recoup the investment in terms of internal market, a cultural value in order to be attractive to the external market.
As an artist, I try to interpret my practice. I operate forms of subtraction. I appropriate materials that are available in the world and I take them with me. I make some transformations that are reciprocal, the material acts upon me and I act upon it by moulding it. When I think that the process is finished I give it back to the world. As a teacher I am in favour of ventures in which students, still carrying out their studies, have the chance of doing what is central in the work of an artist: a familiarity with the idea that what one does is then used by others; getting used to exchanging, to making their work available to others. Referring back to Goethe, an object exists in the moment that it is looked upon. What we teachers can do is accustom our students to these forms of attention.
Fondazione Antonio Ratti
Via per Cernobbio 19, Como
On September 30th 2016 Antonio Ratti’s Foundation hosted the17th round table D/A/C Shared Artistic Designation, moderated by Lorenzo Benedetti.
They attended the meeting artists that have been collaborating in the past with the foundation and non, among which: Stefano Arienti, Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, Liliana Moro, Diego Perrone and Annie Ratti; and businessmen operating in the area of Como: Giacomo Castiglioni, President and CEO Castigioni S.p.A., Paolo De Santis, CEO Meta Como e collezionista, Aram Manoukian, President and CEO Lechler S.p.A., Maurizio Riva, President Riva 1920 S.p.A., Rosanna Viganò, partner Seterie Argenti S.p.A and art collector, Giovanna Felluga AtemporaryStudio. Aritstic coordination Vigne Museum by Yona Friedman & Jean-Baptiste Decavèle of by Azienda Livio Felluga.
The D/A/C project constructs a network of connections around a possible relationship between artists and entrepreneurs, that is, somehow the idea that artists on one hand and entrepreneurs on the other can find a common stimulus. Art should not be limited to its usual modalities, modalities that make it wither. Business, above all in times of crisis, can find new strength in art. This is the basic idea of D/A/C.
In Anacapri, this D/A/C is not only a round table, in fact today we don’t even have a table, instead there is a meeting around an exhibition. So for the first time a D/A/C meeting is held in the presence of a series of works and research that are presented precisely here in Anacapri.
Here today there are various people present, some of whom have set up the D/A/C: Mario and Dora Pieroni who have worked on this project for years and in various stages, alongside Fabrice Hyber. The adventure began in the mid-90s. Then for this meeting we have called upon some locals, people who in Naples have gone down similar roads. Today it is a pleasure to meet up, to get to know each other, each person bringing their own experience, amid these works of art. I should first of all give thanks to Federico Guiscardo’s hospitality for having us in his garden in the CapriClou gallery and for opening a place like Capri that is not usually open to this kind of thing, that is presenting projects that are not quite works of art but rather prototypes, ideas, attempts. I would like to hand the floor over first to Fabrice Hyber.
When, 24 years ago, I wanted to make a self-portrait of my work, I make the biggest soap in the world. Nobody wanted to do that, so I asked a soap Company in Marseille for support and they gave me 22 tons of soap. To my own surprise, this made sense also for the communication of the Company because it did something very active inside the Company, it became something very social.
They were involved in art without any market dealings. After that I decided to make my own art production company, this was in 94. At the same time I made the HYBERMARKET in the Museum of Modern Art of Paris. I transformed the Museum into a supermarket. After that I did a lot of things with companies and than I met Dora and Mario. We decided to set up a network – the name was Woolways – with Michelangelo Pistoletto and other artists and friends. We organized this network to produce art, to create a link between artists and companies. At the beginning it was not so easy to do because between art and production there is a big distance. After some years some collectors who were also producers began to change a little bit.
The idea of art connected to production became something more effective and production became a part of the work of art. Now with D/A/C and with all these actions we are proceeding. The problem is not to control things but rather to allow them to start. What we are doing is always to motivate somebody else to do something.
It’s interesting that you started in 94 and Giusi Laurino started her Fabrica del lunedì in 95 in Naples. Perhaps it wasn’t the same concept. What has changed in terms of economic situation since that period, I mean, when we look at it today? Has something changed?
It is no longer something you do in your atelier…
It’s happening less in my atelier. I started to think that I wanted to do something that can be done by everybody.
Giusi Laurino, what was the situation when you started with La Fabrica del Lunedì?
In 95 in Naples it was a time in which people started doing public art and forming a dialogue with the institutions. I, in particular, was trying to propose the idea of art tied to design, which I thought could be interezting. At the time there were still many companies, like the mosaic company, Bisazza in Vicenza. I had recently opened my small gallery, I proposed an exhibition with Alessandro Mendini to the Scuderie of the Palazzo Reale Stables but sponsored entirely by Bisazza. So we held this exhibition called Artinmosaico in which many great artists along with great designers created the landscapes of a city of the future. There was investment in research and there were still industries that may have been interested in this. These possibilities seem to have completely disappeared nowadays. I experienced in my gallery a series of events tied to different languages, such as ceramics, a craft from our area, working with Vietri among others. Important experiences that were looking to dialogue with the institutions. Again with Mendini I participated in the great project Stazioni dell’Arte in Naples. It was a great experience in that initial phase of the project in the metro.
Coming to the point, after this series of experiences, in 2009 I opened this space, La Fabbrica delle Arti. In this ex-shirt factory I wanted to create a place where resident artists could have the possibility of meeting manufacturers. Creating works that were neither pure design nor pure artistic products, not having been constructed by the artist in his studio, but rather as the fruit of this encounter. This was my quest. My failure was in not being able to find a market for all this. Because there was a great deal put into it by me, by the artists and by the manufacturers, but there was no response because the righ market was not the local one, but rather the international one. This is what I put to you: to find a way to produce and to gain a clientele. These artisans that I called signed the works with the artists, the experiment was that of bringing out the culture of MAKING. The culture of the materials would need to be valued and protected. The institutions could lend a hand through the chambers of commerce. Through La Fabbrica delle Arti I met some members of Slow Food, and I think that if we too in the field of art do as they did and create a sort of associationism, a network, and find important places in which to show our projects and studies internationally, we could make a mark. This is what the new markets are looking for.
The question is important and I would perhaps like to ask Valerie about this aspect. I would like to introduce Valérie who is the director of the HEC art centre in Paris and who has collaborated with us in setting up this exhibition. There is also the educational side, and as such the university. What has this experience of creating an art centre been like and what is the value of art in a place of learning like HEC?
HEC is a School of Commerce that is ranked among the top schools in Europe (the second or third). We train the future managers of global companies as well as young businessmen who at the end of their studies will have the possibility of setting up companies themselves. Art, and in particular contemporary art, naturally has a place in this context. In France there are very few initiatives dedicated to contemporary art.
In 1999 we created the HEC contemporary art centre and afterwards we organised exhibitions, residencies, thematic courses, conferences, seminars and a great deal of publications. Why did we do these things? The aim was to help our students and our community to acquire a sensibility for contemporary art, to realise the force that artists can have in the world of today. Art as such learns to look at the world around and to view it in a different way.
It’s a question at once cultural and economic. There is also business in art and so we also train cultural managers. What we teach also aims to prompt our students become collectors, players within the world of art; we encourage them to work with artists in order to develop as such a new vision of the world.
You told me that you are also part of a ministerial commission.
The Ministry of Culture created a Commission for Reflexion on Art and the idea is precisely that of strengthening relations between art and the world of work and business.
I wanted to ask Dora and Mario if you would like to tell us about the experience of D/A/C, of this network that you’re creating. We have seen that in French culture there is the presence of this Ministry, these structures that supervise, oversee, that work with the aim of moving away from French centralism towards a more international circulation, while in Italy things are rather different in this sense. In your experience, what do you think of this situation?
I think that in your text you posed the question: why Capri? Because it is an international showcase which is as such a central place in which to present the idea of D/A/C, the Shared Artistic Denomination. There have been various places around Europe where we have got together. The idea was indeed to create a mobile club that brings together people of various destinations. I’m pleased to see here today Massimo and Emilia Sterpi with whom we have shared experiences in the past with the aim of working together.
In the D/A/C round tables you never really know what can happen. However, if we get together, something does happen. For the first time, Anacapri is the setting for finished projects. So in terms of the past, another step has been taken. Capri is a showcase in itself. We have therefore created a showcase within a showcase. This new step could perhaps produce further steps; other realities could out of it. The network we have set up is important because it shares an idea. Today, regarding a problematic centralism, we all share the same need. Then there is always the pleasure of being together. Deep down, it’s as if we were home; there are neighbourhood-related problems, there is daily life and you never know how it will go. There are everyday things that you cannot foresee. Donatella, your work focuses on the relationship between private and public. I would like you to tell us about it.
I always find thinking about the relationship with industry, with production, very stimulating. What I find interesting is derailing the system of production in order to create something that is not quite an object of art; that is, finding a place between the two things, art and production. By doing this there is the possibility of communicating within a wider circle. Above all in Italy the artist has a tendency of becoming isolated.
My objects speak of the relationship between me and my objects. When I come out of my solitude and I have the chance to work with artisans or with industries, I still find myself facing two very different situations. With the artisan there is a direct encounter, a tighter relationship is established; a human relationship almost, like when I made the ceramics that I’ve brought here. The relationship with an industry is perhaps a bit more difficult, but even more stimulating. In a production system there are machines making, for example, boxes.
My ideas come to me precisely when I see how a production line works. It is when, for example, I skip a step in that production line that I am able to create something without losing out economically. Maybe another economy is added. This connection between art and industry that seemed impossible has over the years instead become ever more real, even creating a new dimension for contemporary art.
I would like to ask Fabrice something: with a commission is it you who imposes something on the industry or rather the industry that asks something of you and you who switches roles?
It depends. There are times that I already have a project and I find companies and subsequently adopt their materials and production processes. But other times we end up being able to invent something together. For example, the Italian entrepreneur, Roberto Crivellini – who came to me with Mario and Dora over a year ago – had a big problem with his textile company. He wanted to restructure it in order to bring it out if its impasse.
I simply asked him to talk to me about his life and about himself. He told me about his father who made shoes following the tradition of his region, Friuli. I suggested that he pick up on that, but create a series of shoes for just one foot: the UNA. You can see them in those display cases down there. We therefore invented something and developed it. It was above all a chance for him to become aware of his own situation and create a new life.
For me, in that case, it allowed me to invent something as there was nothing to begin with. Today, given that on average we have reached the age of 90, we all have at least two lives. We have to adapt to this circumstance, we have to deal with it.
A commission is a stimulating moment. I would like to ask Benjamin to step in, Benjamin who is also in that Ministry Commission for the relationship between art and industry, but who also works for himself on that relationship, carrying out historical studies on the theme. How does an artist of your generation who knows this relationship well work on this? Is it a treasure to be found, an example to develop? In which direction do we go today regarding a museum system that is completely different?
The problem is that today the practices are many and multiform. It is no longer necessarily a case of the old way of working, that is, the artist alone in his studio. Very often artists need to be accompanied by specialists in order to develop projects of very different scopes. From a historical viewpoint we see artists that have created their own businesses. Fabrice who is here next to me created his business structure in order to produce things.
All this obviously poses questions. One must question oneself on the functioning of these processes. More than businesses, certain artists have created veritable industries. I think of Murakami or Damien Hirst. They question the artist/industry relationship, we see certain mechanisms being put into motion in which the industry is no longer just a means but also an essence and a reality that makes us think. We tend to veer more towards the exchange of encounters and less towards the simple process of production, an almost industrial production.
With Murakami, who produces thousands of paintings, surely this question must come up. His intellectual and critical interest, which goes beyond the production itself, can be seen. In history, from as early as the 60s certain artists can be found who started to work within businesses in order to produce things, playing with the adoption of a system of an economic nature. I think that nowadays this is the artistic aspect that is most interesting to observe…
There is another aspect that interests me, that is the exhibitive space. Here we are inside a showcase such as Capri. Normally the artist creates works and his dream is to display it in a museum. In this artists/industrial production encounter, artistic space often becomes something else. Not only the museum, the Kunsthalle, there is also the market, the place of consumption, auctions, etc…
Regarding my personal history, starting with the 1991 Lyon Biennale, the intention was that of presenting a collection of open ideas. That was an exceptional moment. The “Giant Soap” I had created had been around all the supermarkets in Europe: in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Holland, Germany. It was always presented in the car parks. We would place a small advert in the local newspapers and there were always hundreds of people awaiting the arrival of the “Soap” in a big white truck carrying that 22 tons of soap.
The truck wasn’t very pretty and in fact often the people were rather disappointed. Really my idea was to show that it was not the form that was important but the matter itself. I would later work again with supermarkets for different projects and then I exhibited the HYBERMARCHE’ at the ARC, turning the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris into a supermarket. I wanted to show that nothing is definitive and that every time the experience of the artwork is new.
A meeting for creating objects of a particular statute which then however have to find space, a situation, as we were saying with Giusi. After LaFabbrica del Lunedì you created this other reality, La Fabbrica delle Arti which was also an educative space.
Yes, it was above all a space dedicated to youth. The rather important idea was to create a space for experimentation, which I did with artists and artisans. Prototypes for this space were created. In my opinion, it was important to bring both out of their established space. Creating an alternative space creates a different flux. Everyone, inside their own space, is engrossed by the preoccupations of everyday life.
This is the case for the artist as it is for the artisan, for the manufacturer, for the small business. Taking them out of context means committing them to a different way of thinking. But it is also necessary to take these works to a vaster public. What we wanted to do was create something more accessible for a nurtured market, not for true collectors, but for art lovers, to allow them to enjoy the beauty of art. Through public art we can all enjoy it, but in private art there are few who can afford to. A new solution must be found.
In the 60s there was this idea of multiples having to constitute a democratic art, but that was different, it wasn’t tied to production.
I am a surgeon, a researcher, I taught for 40 years. I am a lover of all that is beautiful, of ancient art, of the 17th century, and of contemporary art. The 17th century is of great interest to me because for Naples it was the most beautiful period. I have relationships with many gallery owners, I have tried to surround myself with beauty and to make my spaces available to artists, such as the Saracen tower in Campanella. It is a very particular place that has seen a great many artists.
So I love art, I love artists. This discussion today for me is totally new and I apologise if I come across a little naive. I can’t understand the difference between the goals of the various elements, industry, art, craft. It’s difficult to understand the difference between an artist and a designer. Is Dalisi, for instance, an artista or a designer? What about Ettore Sottsass or Giò Ponti? It is very difficult to say that this object is an artistic object, but if we produce a million copies of it, is it still artistic? I find the concept of a network very interesting. I find it extraordinary and if it’s possible to set it up will be a wonderful thing and the aim should also be to find financing, like with tourism.
But what slant would I give it? The artisan in art is nothing new; likewise using manufactured products is even a subject taught in academies. What then is new? Today we have new, extraordinary materials that often the artist doesn’t know and that instead could be useful in creating new situations. This is how the first plastic objects came about, chairs and so on. The new material has influenced the way of creating. Industries could be interested in supplying these materials.
As far as crafts are concerned, artists have had ties to this sector for millennia, they know everything there is to know about it. What they don’t know on the other hand is the evolution that there has been in recent years in terms of materials.
I’m a lawyer involved particularly in art foundations in Italy and abroad.
I would like to say two things: one in answer to the initial stimulus regarding the fact that a business of great value could fail due to being unable to find a commercial outlet. I would like to say, in a positive sense, that perhaps in that historical moment all of it could be consigned to failure, but today the situation is exactly the opposite. Being in a period of robotization where more and more perfect objects will be created with no need for human intervention, the objects with a human contribution gain added value, from an artistic viewpoint, a conceptual as well as communicative value. The artistic intervention renders the object unique, and this will inevitably acquire greater value. Italy, the cradle of craftsmanship, is destined to attract more and more attention. We can see the success of the Miami Design Biennial where in reality there are editions for design, not art. The 70s saw an attempt to democratise art through the multiples of art. Here on the other hand we are talking about creating hybrid objects.
We are talking here about hybrid objects between art and productivity which is completely different from the Michelangelo Pistoletto project of the Seventies.
The second thing I wanted to share with you: two days ago I received interesting input from the Sicilian painter Francesco Laureta who is playing around with the concept of painting. It’s always something different. The last show was completely awful and I asked him: Francesco what happened to you? He answered in a really clever way that he was trying to de-identify the artistic object. He wanted to create an object which contains the negation of the painting itself. He divided the painting into pieces and made a table out of it. Which means the destruction of the painting. I found this very contemporary. The traditional artistic object finds difficulty in its existence and destroys itself by violating its own state, trying to add something.
There is certainly not a continuum between art and any form of creativity, design and whatever else. Drawing the line between art and other forms of creativity is no longer possible. The impact is the real problem of new objects, not the number of the editions. It can be one piece or a million pieces if the created object is good enough.
Murakami in his project for Vuitton poses that problem. Can we still talk of art or not? The failure of previous operations was precisely an economic one.
I don’t don’t think of failure but some changes are necessary. It is in getting together with others, in the plurality of professions, that new ideas come out. The network, in this sense too, is precious.
Talking of Murakami, with luxury comes the problem of marketing. It’s not so easy to see where marketing begins and art ends. This hybridisation you speak of is beginning to be studied in management schools.
Athina, as an artist you also participated in the D/A/C meeting at the HEC in Paris. Would you like to say something on behalf of the artists.
I think this is a marvellous experience. We met for the first time in Paris. We then see that this is then extended to an equally marvellous island like Capri. This is a showcase on an international level. Already in our group there people form all over the world and this fact indicates that what we have here is something new. What was said just now is very important. This novelty that we artists search for is the novelty of the artwork which is not tied to the means of production; even if everything is changed or modified, what is constant is the work itself as a final result. It is this result that interests us. The problem is the work of art, the location and its reach.
In fact it is precisely reach that we are looking for, that’s it. It is not something which is merely material.
There is no such thing as a new work of art, instead there is a work seen in new light, in a new day. We must measure ourselves. Capri has a very long history and at the same time an absolute contemporariness. We come here from a metropolis like Paris and pick up our discussion here. Personally, I’m very interested in this kind of extension. It is in this sense that a new work can be created.
Let me just say a couple of things in French: the discussion earlier about art today is interesting. We were talking about production. The question from my point of view really is art as a result and how this will be perceived considering this place that we have been able to work in today. It is always the result that counts. It is because of this that we are here and in Paris before.
I would like to ask Fabrice just one more question. Has the artistic process in the encounter with industrial production gone through a mutation? Has this given rise to another process?
This creates a form of conduct. We can have works of art that are not only to be looked at, but with which we can share something. Even a virtual piece can be a work of art. It just need to be valued.
I think however that there is a difference between design and what an artist does even if there are obviously some borderline cases. Over our many years in this business we have worked with a great number of artists but we have never seen something come from research of functionality. It comes from a wish to communicate, to change something. We introduce the word ‘conduct’. Over these days we have talked together. In fact our meetings serve also to grow together and to talk. It must also be said that we have not had an easy time of it. Personally, at a certain point I even panicked.
This is a very particular context that we have to take into account. We have had heated conversations with Federico and his mother on the various possible approaches for this experiment. There are several economic mechanisms that don’t necessarily fit together. When you go to a place like this what you want of course is to cross boundaries, but you are obviously on slippery terrain. For me it is very important to go back over everything that has been done here. We become aware of precise messages.
There has really been an invitation to change mentality. Once you, Massimo Sterpi, spoke of your experiences and you said that the most important thing is that they change your head. This can happen in many ways. What radically differentiates us from what goes on in the street, outside this garden, where there are clearly souvenirs, is that in here there is a factor of change. This experience for me has been really precious, but I repeat, it has not been an easy, linear process.
Going back to the idea of extension, I just wanted to add that we all know we have too much. The real problem is that none of it, no object, is of any use. We have far too much. When we create the network today it is not to create new products but to bring what we have into the network. I believe this is what youngsters are doing. This is an extraordinary moment, new compared to how it was when we started. Many years ago there was the problem of making something perfect. I started out with Alviani, everyone knows about his precision. Today there are problems and the artist is a central figure because the artist works for the world – I always say the same thing: the artist doesn’t work for himself, he works for the world; he is able to create a new vision.
I truly thank the masters of the house who have offered us a private space for a public event. This is extraordinary. It is like entering a private space and having the chance to dialogue deeply, without pretence. When I saw Fabrice writing on the display cases I watched with admiration because he was indicating that these objects of his were for everyone. So we think that with art we can bring a different vision, an extension as Athina said.
You take a risk because you need to.
I would just like to bear witness to what we call the opportunity of the object or giving the object an opportunity. Emilia has a company that deals with transferring design ideas, transferring commercial ideas, etc. When they moved office we had to furnish the new one and give it an identity. Instead of going to IKEA and buying lamps or going to Cappellini and buying better lamps, we asked various artists and designers to create objects for that setting. It is a common work space that through art becomes an extraordinarily interactive space. Just like our hosts here have allowed their home to be used as a public space, we decided to carry out an experiment in the office by turning it into a living place.
For us this has been very important. We have opened this neoclassical garden to a contemporary experience and we have made it available to the citizenry.
I thank everyone for coming and having participated in this D/A/Cmeetingin Capri that has for the first time taken the form of an exhibition, in a space that is presented for the first time on this incredible island. We now close this discussion and open the exhibition. We close the D/A/C and open it.
Espace d’art contemporain HEC
1 rue de la Libétration
78350 Jouy-en Josas
March 27th 2015 at 2.30 pm
PRODUCERS vs. ARTISTS
Participants to the D/A/C 15°:
Jean-Yves Bobe, Minister for Culture- responsible for the relations between Art and Enterprie
Valérie Bobo, businessman
Roberto Crivellini, businessman
Samson Davis, Minister for Culture
Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, artist
Anne-Valérie Delval, HEC – departiment for contemporary
Clément Dirié, journalist and art critician
Frederico Guiscardo, exhibition space at Anacapri, Italy
Fabrice Hyber, artist
Athina Ioannou, artist
Florent Lamouroux, artist
Bernadette Legrenzi, General Council of Yveline, head to the program Art/Enterprise
Esclarmonde Monteil, Director of the Museum de la Toile de Jouy
Isabelle de Maison Rouge, moderator
Mario Pieroni, RAM radioartemobile
Benjamin Sabatier, artist
Giuliano Sergio, Curator Anacapri, Italy
Giuliana Setari, President of Dena Foundation for Contemporary Art
Donatella Spaziani, artist
Dora Stiefelmeier, RAM radioartemobile
Piero Tomassoni, Economy ART/Managemnt
Laura Vedel, General Council of Yvelines, head to the program Art/Enterprise
On saturday 22nd November a round table moderated by Cecilia Casorati and promoted by RAM radioartemobile and the Fondazione Aria was held at the Alviani ArtSpace at the Aurum in Pescara. Mario Pieroni, businessmen Maurizio Felluga, Enrico Marramiero, Ottorino La Rocca and Elena Petruzzi, and artists Getulio Alviani, Jean-Baptiste Decavèle and Liliana Moro compared their experiences and established ‘common aims’ in order to create a network between art and business to give new stimuli to the territory.
Opening the proceedings was the Councillor for Cultural Heritage, Paola Marcheggiani, representing Mayor Alessandrini, who praised the active role taken on by the Fondazione Aria as well as the other organisers of the event in finally building a bridge between Art and Business in line with national and European market trends. Cecilia Casorati, the new artistic director of the Fondazione Aria, introduced the theme of the meeting, ‘Common Aims’, and briefly illustrated the foundation’s future project aimed at creating a truly operative synergy between artists, businessmen, the public and the territory within an international dimension. The President of the Fondazione Aria, Elena Petruzzi, then highlighted the shared philosophy of the D/A/C project in absolute coherence with the common aim of shifting the point of view from the singular to a collective dimension, promoting a previously unseen model of cultural development of the territory. Mario Pieroni, President of RAM radioartemobile, creator and promoter of the D/A/C meetings in the major European cities, went on to illustrate the idea at the root of these meetings, declaring that dialogue between producers and artists means demonstrating an opening towards together finding solutions not only to the practical problems of reality but of all aspects of life. He then handed over to Getulio Alviani who, with a critical yet very constructive intervention, reminded that an artists’s commitment has always been and continues to be that of creating the present with an eye to the future. The Friulian businessman Maurizio Felluga affirmed art’s ability to be an added value for a business, explaining how the ‘Vigne Museum’, realised by Yona Friedman and Jean-Baptiste Decavèle on the occasion of the hundredth birthday of his father Livio Felluga, has become in a very short amount of time a true tourist attraction, becoming as such an asset to his business, to those who have worked on its creation, but above all to the territory. Of this work – a great open structure which will in time be covered by a hundred new grapevines, becoming perfectly integrated with the land – spoke the artist Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, highlighting how producers and artists complement each other.
Enrico Marramiero, A.U. ALMA C.I.S. and President of the wine company Marramiero, underlined the active role of the Fondazione Aria which cannot do without the involvement of youngsters in its cultural projects in transferring to them the need to work for the search of an ideal; he then explained how creativity nowadays is a strategic resource for finding innovative solutions at all levels of a company. The President of Valagro S.p.A. Ottorino La Rocca affirmed that ‘Aria too began by around a hundred businessmen, artists, professionals and people active in enriching the territory through culture coming together around an idea. Aria will continue its progress creating new synergies with those who would like to share the ideals of the growth of the territory, leaving negativity behind and looking ahead with optimism towards the goals of future growth’.
The Milanese artist Liliana Moro, who for the occasion constrcucted the table ‘Quattro stagioni’ (‘Four Seasons’) around which the meeting was held, told of her own experiences of ‘Public Art’. The artist spoke of the project on which she is currently working, commissioned by the Fondazione Zegna, underlining the importance of the relationship between work and territory. Lucia Zappacosta, in closing, retraced the story of the Alviani ArtSpace, of which she is the director, which in only two years has become a reference point for youth creativity not only in Abruzzo.
The meeting held in Pescara is the 14th D/A/C
The information centre in the foyer was a piece by Alessandro Cannistrà entitled Oggetto di pensiero (Object of Thought) (2014).
I would like to point out what in my opinion are two central elements of the Vigne Museum project and of today’s meeting. Firstly, let us dwell a little on the nature of this project. One could think that this is a project typical of today’s “liquid society”, brought into focus by Zygmut Bauman, a project therefore aimed towards a lightening and which perhaps in the end by “losing weight” also loses its meaning, but it is not the case at all. Yona Friedman is indeed a great architect who currently is working with Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, and who has always worked in unfinished architecture.
Here they have created a “programmed void”, which will be “filled” by the meanings that will be developed around this Museum, through the use, attitudes, processes that will gravitate around it. Freedom of form means giving space to the construction of relationships and of an evidently shared meaning, which can be born from this territory.
It is not something that was defined at the beginning, but something that grew later, in this case precisely thanks to the relationship with the surroundings and the landscape. An intervention such as this effectively underlines and appraises the landscape the moment in which it rewrites it; it lets us see it through the eyes of art. This is a precious underlining, in my opinion, and it is precisely the best meaning for what is known as Environmental Art, an art form that gathers the advice and suggestions of the landscape and of its morphology.
I think that today one of the great challenges perhaps of our country is that of trying to as much as possible unite a cultural heritage with a heritage of business and entrepreneurial knowledge. On one hand there is a very structured business knowledge that in Italy has been decisive, having contributed in the 50s and 60s up to a few years ago to the development of our country, and on the other hand we Italians have an incredible historical heritage.
I think that today art can greatly benefit businesses or companies precisely because it brings into question certain fundamental points of entrepreneurial thinking and, even before that, of the way of thinking itself.
When a business man meets an artist the first problem is that of language because these are two worlds with different languages. Even when on the part of the business there is a sensibility for art, the language is still however distant. A business runs risks, it needs results, concreteness and at the end of the day it needs to do the books. An artist has the freedom to travel inside the imagination and see how to make possible what has been elaborated in his mind. For this reason we have created these round tables.
When one sits down to immediately set up a project it hardly ever works, things aren’t followed through. Yona, Jean Baptiste and I all love and observe dogs who are extraordinary because they sniff each other and slowly come together, forming groups. We should copy them. I think that Livio Felluga had an intuition close to that of an artist when he first saw the landscape today hosting the vast expanse of the company’s vineyards and that have allowed today’s artistic proposal to the Felluga company. I would like to add something else: I have seen here not only a passionate family, I have seen all the collaborators, the workers involved, who send their regards, who are happy with their work, and I thought that the first miracle – miracles don’t just happen; they are created – or the first result of the project was precisely this: an entire business participating with enthusiasm, and this seems to me to be truly important.
As if the internal cohesion had been reinforced. I believe a great deal in this immaterial effect that can be produced by the collaboration between artists and businesses, a bit of good will that the world is rather in need of.
Our problem was making a proposal that didn’t alter the equilibriums present which I feel the presence of. I think that what we have proposed coincides with a wider desire to find modalities that can guarantee the survival of the terrestrial globe. I truly appreciated the possibility of being able to improvise, something which is the foundation of our work. I was able to improvise along with the whole Felluga family and the workers of the company, overcoming the various problems as we went along. The question was: How do I translate what I perceive in this landscape on the one hand and the energy coming to me from the people around me and collaborating with me on the other into an architectural proposal? I have to add Yona’s and my love for wine, something which was fundamental for this project. Yona likes to say that wine is not only one of the oldest foodstuffs we know of, an enormous amalgam of flavours and tastes, but it also has the great quality of creating a sense of sharing.
Yona’s thought is that of autonomy, or rather how to create autonomy in society. Western architecture is characterised by an excess of construction; many useless buildings that could have been avoided.
Architecture was born in prehistory as a way to protect man from the elements, from the sun, from snow, from rain. Only later was another function added that would take over; that of the separation between inside and outside. This second function has collapsed with the internet. Nowadays being inside or outside no longer makes sense because everyone can participate everywhere.
Plants are the living representation of flexibility, they are extremely fascinating organisms; many of the concepts I have heard mentioned today: community, network, survival, modernity, adaptation – are all terms that perfectly describe what a plant is.
For a plant, surrounded by insects, herbivores, all types of animals, the only way to survive is to be built in a completely different way to animals which concentrate into specialised organs. A plant breathes without lungs, it digests without a stomach, it sees without eyes, it hears without ears and, lastly and most exceptionally of all, it reasons, communicates, resolves problems without having a brain; it is even capable of remembering. Plants are modern because they don’t have a centralised organisation. Everything is diffused. Our society, machines, equipment, all our objects are built keeping in mind that we are animals. Plants are different; they are a new system to be inspired by when building new things.
The landscape, particularly the agricultural one, becomes an element, perhaps the central one, in which the individual or collective existential project unravels, with the objective of realising a quality of life which should contemplate both material and immaterial aspects; children of the society producing them. With today’s eyes we can say that this landscape answers to several important watchwords among which equilibrium, rationality, scenic value, respect, emotion.
We should count ourselves lucky because in the end the people of these lands – peasants first, enlightened entrepreneurs later, who have their land in their hearts – have begun reconstructing the landscape with the same sensibilities of before, more or less conscious that places have a value, a sense and that for this reason they become a heritage which is for everyone, beyond single cadastral units overcoming the barriers and confines.
Livio Felluga has chosen as label representing himself the geographical map; the perfect description and tale of the places.
The landscape is a child of time, of the political, ideological, economic and even value-related choices of the society expressing it. In fact, every day we make choices, gestures, conducts that more or less unconsciously produce landscapes, yet at the same time we do not perceive it as ours; we reject it also on the basis of models linking it to a rural past.
As such, though at times with difficulty, a “new” concept of territory comes alive, one that is not just the place in which one lives and works, but also which preserves the history of those who have lived there and who have transformed it and the signs that have characterised it, and which contains widespread heritage rich in details and above all a dense network of relations and interrelations between the many even emotional elements that distinguish it.
The museum is planted on something, a museum of growth in a dimension of harmony with nature and this I think is fundamental for rethinking the idea of a museum in a natural context where the almost musical structure grows in harmony with nature.
The Vigne Museum presents itself as a mobile thing, linked to a dynamic concept of growth that develops and envelops. There is a harmony analogous to music. The SoundArtMuseum and the Iconostasis are very close as museums because they are both strong structures, yet open, permeable, sensitive and they interact with their surroundings like sound which is sensitive to the environment. Yona in this sense is the most musical of architects in his way of assimilating the surroundings, of being the surroundings, of being open. The very essence of the museum is to become one with the land. Culture must be planted. The growing iconostasis, a structure that grows with a shape that can change over time, can be modified and this is fundamental in a living museum. A museum must live, it must be lived.
The Vigne Museum must be seen, I think, as the most important example in recent years of a museum that does not want to close or decontextualise, but rather that is born and develops with the surrounding context. A museum today must be a space that interprets the context but that also has its own clear definition. As such it is not fortuitous; even its geometry and its shape are very precise and this is the basis of the harmony it expresses.
What is a museum? It is a way of thinking, of seeing, and this is minimal yet essential architecture. The Vigne Museum is a truly important thing because it is interesting to see how with little means, few ingredients such a fantastic, mysterious thing can be created.
Good evening everyone, welcome. On the occasion of this exhibition by Jannis Kounellis and Giovanni Anselmo we wanted to send a message to all our friends and collaborators: a new programme, a new event at the Riso Museum. Along with our curator Giovanni Iovane and with Paolo Falcone we thought that the existing pieces already at the Museum – works by Kounellis and Anselmo – could have further in-depth analysis through an exhibition of other works put into dialogue with the pre-existing ones, precisely in order to give vitality to those in the collection of the museum because our objective was to revitalise them, put them into dialogue to make it clear that the museum is not a static thing but that it wants to be something in constant innovation. Analysing these pieces and these exhibitions present in our collections is the basis for research into what contemporary art is and how it aimed at its territory. I would like for Giovanni Iovane to explain the meaning of this exhibition, and most of all I would like to open a lively debate with you by asking what it is that makes a museum, what it must do, how it has to activate itself through workshops and creative activities that must certainly give constant stimulation. Before opening the debate, I will give the floor to Giovanni Iovane who will speak to you of the exhibition that we have presented today.
As mentioned before by the Director of the museum Valeria Livigni, this project which we have called Stanze (Rooms), is a project realised and curated by myself with the collaboration of Paolo Falcone and the curatorial staff of the museum, whom I would like to thank for the precious help.
The idea for Stanze was born from a reflection on the current identity not only of the Riso Museum but also of museums in general. The question is what to exhibit, how to exhibit it and why exhibit it. The collection is what provides the history, the memory of the museum; it reflects the history of past exhibitions, but the architecture of the museum also comes into play. This first Stanze project is based on two artists – like indeed Giovanni Anselmo and Jannis Kounellis – two artists of great intellect and experience who have works present in the collection. Mentally and in terms of planning we have organised this exhibition through a reflection on their work, yet it also becomes an appropriation, be it purely transitory, through the Stanze exhibition – lasting until November – which recreates not just a simple juxtaposition of the works of one period rather than another. Their works become a sort of mechanism that recreates something present, current. Rudi Fuchs, with whom I had the pleasure of collaborating several years ago on a project in Gorizia, used to speak of accumulations. He was one of the greatest museum directors in Europe and he reflected in a determined, significant and concrete way on the meaning of the exhibition, therefore no longer creating, for example, chronological exhibitions but rather working through the collection. In some of his exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum of which he was director, the artist intervened even by changing the position and order of the collection of the museum. This is no longer therefore a traditional exhibition housing the works of the artists temporarily, but it creates instead something different. The museum as a depository of works becomes an active organism.
The second floor hosting the exhibition here at the Palazzo Riso is particular, with a restoration that is pleasantly finished yet unfinished but that has an undeniable charm, and the interventions of the artists use it as a tool. Kounellis, by uniting two cycles of works created twenty years apart, formulates a new proposal by creating a dramaturgical, existential action; a one-act meaning precisely that what is presented is not a sculpture alongside another sculpture but an act, an action, something dynamic that makes the piece present and renews, accumulates even, the memory of a previous piece. So we find ourselves facing a set of hanging cupboards recalling the Sicilian Baroque, the Sicilian flying angels, laid out beneath which, like a sort of litany, a series of iron trestles supporting metal plates onto which are hung some dark coats. To me, it brings to mind a procession. These coats that have appeared for years in Kounellis’s artistic experience, are a prefiguration of something that has occurred; they are characters or rather ghosts with their own personal and dramatic weight.
In the same way, present from the Riso collection by Giovanni Anselmo is the work which in literature or in art history is known as funambolo (tightrope walker). Anselmo says that he became an artist during a visit to Stromboli – which would later become his favourite island – in August 1965. On that occasion while going down to the sea he realised that he had lost his shadow as if it had been absorbed by the starry sky, therefore by infinity. This experience set the symbolic direction of Anselmo’s work as a budding artist. Anselmo is, in the words of Rudi Fuchs, whom I mentioned earlier, one of the few artists that puts pure fantasy into play; that is to say that what we see is not at all representative or scenic but rather presenting something that has as much to do with energy and fantasy as it has with reality; electromagnetic reality concretely symbolised by an electromagnetic needle. The installation present in the exhibition has been created specifically for Stanze, that is in-house, as we used to say. The title by Anselmo Mentre la terra rallenta la luce focalizza… (As Earth Relents and Light Focuses…) is part of the piece and contrasts with the dryness of Kounellis’s Untitled. The two artists complement each other though the underlying line between the two is the same. Both are born in the period of Arte Povera and conceptually as well as physically they have always worked in the same direction and with great results.
Anselmo creates a “physicalization” with elements which are concrete, real, yet not realistic nor tied to the universe, to which Kounellis is set against with another type of energy, the fruit of a profoundly dramatic and anthropocentric vision; almost as if the artists had spoken beforehand. In reality it was a long-distance dialogue made possible by their great artistic experience. Two apparently opposite positions that nevertheless act upon the same line. The geographical metaphor of north and south coming together through these two installations expresses more than any words that the Stanze project is a project that concerns all museums because it is about the creation of a new device for a tout court exhibition.
I would like to add that on the first floor it is possible to see a video: a documentary by Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani, that allows us to see the artists at work. I think that being able to see an artist throughout the phases of his work is an exceptional element. Having interviews inside the studio and in the home of the artist allows us to have a moment of important reflection in order to understand how artworks are born.
I would like to give the floor to Paolo Falcone who located the space in the Cappella dell’Incoronazione where he has set up a piece by Jonathan Monk that is part of a series of works by the artist as Paolo will explain.
This museum was also born as a specific collection that aimed to highlight the essential relationship between the artists and Sicily. The regional museum becomes a natural house in which to highlight such a relationship. Today the Riso Museum has that function; it is becoming a place for collection and memory of that which has been produced in the last fifty-sixty years in this territory.
One day as I was going into my office, looking out from the Cappella dell’Incoronazione and seeing this beautiful space, it came almost natural for to think of inviting Jonathan Monk with his dry, precise work; I wanted to exhibit one of his self-portrait busts as a reference to the principal project being carried out at the Riso Museum. Jonathan Monk is an artist of the new generation who is very accomplished and representative of English study in the last twenty years. He has always looked to the art history surrounding him to draw from and transform elements from the past in new works. The series from which the piece present here is part references the minimal and conceptual art of Arte Povera. It is a series of busts in which the artist portrays himself; exquisitely Greek/Roman busts, stealing an image that is often seen in our national panorama with hundreds of sculptures in parks and gardens depicting great personalities, sculptures that often have a damaged nose. Monk asked several famous contemporary artists to intervene on his copies of classical busts by hammering at the nose. This is an absolutely non-violent or vandalistic gesture.
I would to give special thanks to Zerynthia who have collaborated on this project. Collaborating on the project doesn’t only mean backing it economically when needed but it means collaborating in constructing it from a cultural point of view, in the sense of support and backing in the relationship with the artists. Zerynthia, moreover, has for some time organized and broadcast on their web radio RAMLive meetings between two worlds that up till now in Italy have been rather distant, that is the world of business and that of art. These DAC meetings – which stands for Denominazione Artistica Condivisa (Shared Artistic Denomination) – have reached their twelfth edition. In a world hit by the crisis there is a great need for dialogue and for a capacity to transgress. Today we have with us the new director of the De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, Lorenzo Benedetti, who has participated in other editions of DAC and who alongside Dora Stiefelmeier will intervene to bring certain businessmen into confrontation with our world. We also have with us Antonio Presti who, more than a businessman, to use an old expression, we could call a patron though this may be a reductive term. Antonio has created what can be called the enterprise of art. He is truly a model for future generations.
The DAC meeting, on the other hand, represents a more practical encounter, aimed at creating a new dimension and attention to those that are the aspects of realisation of exhibitions in which the museum enters as an actor but not as a final beneficiary. Over to Dora.
You have already made the introduction so I can speak of other things. Why did we propose a DAC in Palermo? I would rather like to spread out. In the run up to the creation of the European Union and to the Treaty of Rome in the 50s, a then young Hungarian architect, Yona Friedman, went to UNESCO in order to propose a great cultural project. Starting by saying that in his opinion making a Europe of Nations was a huge mistake, he proposed to create a sole great metropolis – Métropole Europe – the stations of which to be called Paris, London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, with a technical centre in Brussels. Clearly he was more or less thrown out because he was considered mad. It’s obvious that at the time this was nothing more than a utopia, but in time that project has become somewhat more concrete. His vision was certainly far-sighted.
Back to Palermo, we like to imagine it as a station of Métropole Europe. Why? I am certainly very impressed, apart from by the many beauties I see in this city, by the presence I can feel of a profound knowledge of tastes and smells, a widespread knowledge that can be found everywhere. I believe it must be something very precious once shared with the Middle East; I think, above all, of an almost entirely destroyed Syria. Palermo today can assume a very important role in defending and applying this knowledge above all in a global world that, as we know, is levelling out tastes. We thought this was an interesting topic to propose to our friends in Palermo. Ours is obviously a parallel discussion that can only give us some starting points. We know that those who work in economics run risks, they need immediate economic confirmation, while those on the side of art can propose alternative routes, they can overturn perspectives. We are convinced that by putting both categories at the same table can enrich and better the current situation which as we know is subject to phenomena of huge crisis.
DAC is not a structured organization; we call it a mobile club. It is a discussion that began in Rome around two years ago and that has already built a consistent trajectory through Italy, France and Holland, putting together protagonists of the two worlds who have largely maintained their relationship. I have beside me Lorenzo Benedetti, the new director of the De Appel Foundation as well as for many years the director of the Vleeshall in Middelburg where he has organised as many as three DAC meetings as well as a DAC at the last Venice Biennale in conjunction with the opening of the Dutch Pavilion which he directed. We thought that his presence here would be precious for the Riso Museum because in Middelburg the DAC meetings were fruitful precisely for the Vleeshall – the Kunsthalle of the city – as Lorenzo managed to involve new people around the museum who even became part of his board, giving concrete support.
The DAC experience is fundamental also with regards to a central theme which is that of the contemporary. What is the contemporary, how can it amount to art within a temporary dimension? The series of meetings held at Middelburg put together certain realities that connected art to certain business situations and with some rather interesting coincidences and this is one of the strongest and most dominant aspects that went on to create this DAC round table. Two years ago, for example, when I was commissioned to direct the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, a steel factory in Middelburg – the city of forty-five thousand citizens where the Vleeshal is – and whose partner is one of the Italian offices of Permasteelisa, one of the largest architecture construction companies in the world, made sure that permission was given for a palazzo on the Canal Grande to be used for a DAC meeting. The most important thing of this meeting is the idea that art can be developed on the idea of potential.
The contemporary in reality is a creative development that can put together or unite diverse realities. I think that what is happening here today is very important; a step that shows that it is possible to make great interventions. Obviously we find ourselves in front of certain historical gurus, great artists who have marked the contemporary at a historical level. What interests us of the contemporary is above all the process capable of producing history. The contemporary does not conserve history, it does not promote it, but it produces and is as such fundamental. Those who work in the contemporary put together diverse realities uniting the worlds of art and business in order to produce something that will remain in history. For this reason I believe that a city like Palermo can also be perfect for this dialogue between a history and an idea of contemporary that wishes to look indeed to the future.
I think it is time to give the floor to someone from Palermo and I would like Massimiliano Fragalà to talk to us about his activity, which interests me greatly. Mediating between the need for restoration in historical centres and the wish to give visibility to productive activities is already in its own right a DAC operation.
Art is a representation of life and any form of art has a meaning for all of us. Funding art through business, through economy is healthy. Economy has often been interested in art, but until now it has never entered decisively and directly in the restructuring and restoration of historical buildings. In this moment of heavy crisis in all sectors and lack of public funds there is this possibility: restructuring, financing the restructuring, which can be monumental rather than artistic through businesses that by doing this can contribute to the recuperation of a country. It is a shame to lose the cultural and artistic heritage that has marked our tradition. I am a mediator, not a businessman, but I do know many who today are working towards repairing our enormous artistic and architectural heritage.
I would like to give the floor to Antonio Presti who is an acting example of the relationship between business and art and who better than he, as a Sicilian, to speak to us about it?
I think that when we talk about contemporariness we have to about this moment and possibly also about twenty years in the future. This contemporariness is unfortunately lost as a life experience.
My story begins in 1988. As a youngster I started to frequent the art system and I could simply have become a collector who buys keeping in mind also the fiscal advantages. I became a collector/entrepreneur who out of the enterprise of art made an enterprise of life. Money is never at the service of beauty, I say that as a businessman and I say that also assuming the responsibility of the business class that in the last fifty years has hardly created beauty in our national territory. Art with regards to its own contemporariness is never resumed only in an exhibition, a catalogue. Art must search also for a relationship with society, a changing society that demands in the name of necessity. In this moment there is the necessity for giving back to a young generation – more than form or objects – thought. We have to educate a new public that perhaps does not even know our paradigm of what artistic expression is. Those of us here this evening are largely part of the same generation. To the twenty-year-old kids we have to re-propose forms, sculptures, paintings, places, museums; we have to assume the responsibility.
In the last ten years in Italy big contemporary art museums have been opened and starchitects have been called in to create these great containers. Today, in a moment not only of economic crisis but also of a crisis of thought, these containers without content are closing because there is no thought of contemporariness, because there isn’t a public that approaches these places which are also the sons of nothingness, the sons of our now dated generation. If we speak of Anselmo and of Kounellis we are not contemporary, or rather we are contemporary in another way, on another level, and for another of society’s necessities.
In all that has happened there is also the responsibility of the businessman. In this country we have had a predatory business class that has chosen to disinherit the state and to never give anything back. Because businessmen, also with the responsibility of architects, have devastated contemporary cities with often unsightly architectures without ever creating a garden, an urban design. So, perhaps art has to go back among the people, society. Art has to have a new policy, not to be a slave of the policies and power of the moment. The other policy, that of beauty means speaking to the heart of the people and giving back their sensitivity. This for me is commitment. In Catania I didn’t just want to create another box-shaped contemporary art museum; I went to the peripheries to work with youngsters who through artistic praxis have acquired a right to citizenship. Regardless of the aesthetic quality of this praxis, there has been work of signs, of future, of sharing.
Even here in Palermo I have been committed and fought for seven years for the rebirth of the Oreto river, an abandoned river. By doing this, art goes back to its political/civil sense.
Businessmen should not only build houses and buildings and the odd public work thrown in with that wicked, dishonest and criminal two percent law. The lawmaker should be shot because this two percent has not created a thing in our national territory.
The businessman has to look less to his pocket and think more of his heart and when, for example, he constructs his building in Via della Libertà, apart from an architect he should also call a great artist. Only in this way can we give back to this contemporariness not sculptures, self-referencing works, but works that re-establish a dialogue with the city itself. This is the course I have taken at the Fiumara d’ Arte, in Castel di Lucio. There too I could have chosen to make a contemporary art museum in a nice building to then have the same old people at the openings. I chose instead to create a container in the form of a tree which still today in terms of contemporary art educates passers-by little by little from the first emotional states to a knowledge of art.
These meeting perhaps serve to encourage young businessmen who are attracted to contemporary art – a rare, but precious breed that must be protected like the panda. Perhaps we should strip ourselves of our knowledge of the art of the past and with these young businessmen look to the future. It has nothing to do with availability of funds – or rather that isn’t enough – what is needed is an intelligence linked to the heart. Only in this way can we manifest beauty, above all in this moment. We need only consign knowledge, and knowledge is the greatest strength we have available. This is our power, this is our job and this is what art must do.
Antonio Presti has said something very beautiful which was stated in the first DAC meeting in Rome. On that occasion a great industrialist, Ovidio Jacorossi, said: “I am almost moved by being here with artists and curators in dialogue around the same table. Because art is my daily bread and it influences my activity greatly. I can’t not be inspired by art; I actually need it. Without art I’m stranded even if art has nothing to do directly with my activity”. In fact Jacorossi is in the oil business. He then spoke of how, in his time, he even created a collection of contemporary art at his company, stating however that this already reflects an outdated relationship between business and art. “I have understood that when a businessman considers art in his company, man is at the centre.” I think this is a discussion that can interest businessmen of any category.
I would like to bring Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani, who comes from the world of cinema, in on this debate. He too at a certain point was infected by the art bug and I think that in a certain sense his activity has been involved in it.
My chance entrance into the world of art came thanks to my friendship with Mario and Dora around ten years ago and for me it was a privilege. I had the opportunity to be near several artists, not necessarily understanding the coordinates of their works as a curator or art critic could. I understood however that the artists were ahead, that they had certain intuitions that I then tried to render and translate when I began producing these little backstage films of single artists.
The re-elaboration of what I had understood also brought something – an added value – to the rest of my work, in my way of writing, in the modalities of production. I tried for example to insert works of art into “normal” films. In my last film, Vino dentro, I set up an entire scene inside a sculpture by Fausto Melotti, at the Museum of Rovereto. This sculpture makes the scene absolutely extraordinary and unique. There is no rational explanation, but it can be perceived.
The theme of the relationship between art and business that we are discussing seems fundamental to me. Whoever can draw from art can effectively make the difference. I create my small difference in the fact that I document, gather precious material, steal moments that I then give back to my public. The problem is how to convince a businessman of what art can give. It is fundamental to find occasions for creating a doubt, opening an door to who remains distant, at times from a lack of understanding, at times for a lack of time or perhaps because they like other things. How to make them understand the fascination of art, its mystery? It’s clear that there is much work to be done. These initiatives are needed to give a the to all this.
It think it’s important to point out the importance of the relationship between private and public, abundantly demonstrated by the history of many modern and contemporary art museums in the world. In the majority of cases it’s a case of combinations with private associations or foundations – often tied to universities – that have invested in contemporary art because it represented the new. In the United States above all, think of the Guggenheim, the MOMA, the Getty. But also in Holland where the majority of museums are of private origin, like for example the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Kroeller Mueller Museum in Otterlo, the Beuymans van Beuningen of Rotterdam… These are museums that have been donated to the state or that, in some cases, the state has acquired. At times, like in France, this begins also with the public; think of the FRAC that have been various centres of action in the regions, often even in mainly industrial areas, far from the world of art. Think then of Germany. The relationship with the territory is fundamental and this is proven by many cultural policies in Europe. The museum becomes a place of distribution of knowledge, a place of the production of emotions. The museum creates shared forms of culture. In Italy we have the phenomenon of the emigration of young artists abroad because they find more open and efficient structures elsewhere. There is a lot of ground to make up, perhaps by creating bridges with other European countries. With this in mind I would like to return to Yona Friedman’s Métropole Europe in which Europe is seen as a sole city. In fact, compared to other continents, Europe has this unique dimension; the concentration in a small space of very diverse cultures that creates enormous possibilities.
I would like to say that these discussions, these round tables of ours never have a concrete or aimed objective because we never ask for money, not to mention charity. We want to create dialogues. Nevertheless certain things have been born from them. I would like to talk to you about a wonderful enterprise which incidentally involves Yona Friedman and Jean Baptiste Decavèle. Through our round tables they met with the company Felluga, producers of excellent wines. In the month of July this year construction will begin of a vineyard museum in the Felluga lands in Friuli. This project will be based on certain iconostases – cardinal elements in Friedman’s artistic research – that will form a museum/labyrinth in which to grow new vines. The fruit will in a few years become a new wine named Balkis, the name of Yona’s famous and beloved dog. All this is the result of the DAC meetings. Another case is what came after a meeting in Paris organised by Fabrice Hyber, an artist who has always been very much present within the DAC project. Fabrice met a representative of a bankrupt Italian textile company which however still had a large stock of furnishing fabric. Fabrice was very curious because Roberto Crivellini, the ex-administrator, had spoken to him about a tradition among the peasants of Venezia Giulia who stitched their shoes with bicycle tyres for the soles and scrap fabric. This was the typical poor production that Fabrice turned into the project chaussure unique, shoes for one foot only, using the remains of the company’s fabric. Production began obviously reflecting Hyber’s unconscious, but also a DAC product with a good chance of success. An initial result: the ex-owner’s depression has disappeared.
The museum is not only a place of exhibition; it is also and above all a meeting point. I would like to thank the Riso Museum for having given us the possibility of holding this meeting. Being able to dialogue between different entities creates something. It is of no importance if we agree on everything. The important thing is being around a table that is not that of a bar but that of a museum. We are in a place inside art; the museum has its own stature, it is bit like a secular church. Being here we all have to pay attention to and respect the work of the artists on exhibition at the moment. We speak quietly, yet we are proud to be here. I would like to bring to your attention a crucial fact: it is the artist who gives the ideas, he is the true sponsor. But there is always this economic reality weighing upon us; you don’t talk about it, but it weighs on you. But the real problem is not the economy – rightly so Antonio Presti made this clear – at least not in Italy. Here we have always loved art. I come from a family of businessmen and when I was young I did not deal with art, nor did it have any particular weight on my family. And yet something in me sparked. There was a first contact with an artist, then I met another and another. So I became curious and I ended up changing my life. I left the place I had grown up, but it was my decision. I hope others can also change their lives. The beauty of art is that it gives you the pride to live.
By telling his story, Mario Pieroni has given aristocracy – not noble but intellectual – to life for art. I would like to conclude this meeting by saying that as an observer from the outside I have seen at times apparently conflicting positions regarding the Riso Museum, all of which obviously interesting and in their own way complementary. As far as Antonio Presti’s experience goes, here what prevails is the institutional part, but it is important to establish a dialogue that can give birth to a shared interest in which the different realities come into contact and sow something that will be born perhaps in the next twenty years.
We are at the 11th DAC meeting. DAC is a project that most of you know. The main goal is to organize moments like this where producers and artists get together around the same table. Today we have a very special table, a project by Yona Friedman, Jean Baptiste Décavèle and Nico Dockx. We are sitting here around these hardboard boxes which are an art piece.
First of all I would like to thank our host, Bert Van de Linde, technical director of Permasteelisa which is the sponsor of the Dutch Pavilion curated by Lorenzo Benedetti.
This meeting, made possible by Bert and Lorenzo, is quite important because we spent 10 appointments to find a method of DAC, to define the spirit of DAC and to see how producers and artists can really work together. Now we start a second level. We have here producers who developed projects with artists and/or architects providing examples of how these two worlds can dialogue and can create new ways to conceive the product as well as the company. At the same time there is a new territory for art.
You are all welcome in this house of Permasteelisa. We have the honour of using the Palazzo Giustinian Lollin for a number of meetings.
The first thing I want to point out is that if you bring art in production it should be interesting in terms of business. Maybe for the small entrepreneur this might work out better than for the big entrepreneur. But, generally speaking, we have mostly to forget that the entrepreneurs will be eager to cooperate. Of course, if you start something as an entrepreneur you would like to see it finished. Many companies wouldn’t probably mind to be involved but they don’t see how to bring it together. Industry can provide some service for art in terms of material or of knowledge. But the question is how to get it together.
I think what you are saying is very close to what Mario Pieroni means when he says that it is difficult to have artists and producers speaking together if there is no mediation, if there is no filter. You have to give a guarantee to the producer.
The mediation of professionals and experts of contemporary art in the relationship between entrepreneur and artist is moreover fundamental in helping the entrepreneur take the correct approach. When speaking of a product it is easy to linger on the strictly aesthetic and visual side, on the concept of beautiful and pleasant, which are not to be excluded, whereas the artist, thanks to his intervention, delves deeper, reinventing the idea of the product itself and intervening on different levels of the organisation and the relational dynamics linked to the business.
In DAC the mediation is fundamental. Two totally different mentalities come together and need a translation. To realize a project you need continuity, it’s not just one meeting, things are not easy. Somebody has to give the guarantee to both sides that a project can be realized.
For me the meeting in Middelburg was a pure coincidence and it was between friends and started in the pub. It was nice to be in that environment. Since then I have been thinking about what we actually mean when we talk about stimulating a cooperation between the industry and the artistic world. I personally find it a very difficult subject to give it some structure and to figure out how it could increase. I don’t have the solution for that, the only thing that I can say is that in a world with a changing economy, when there is less money, the governments are always trying to move some responsibilities to the entrepreneurs. Of course in the good times you don’t need this and in the bad times it might not work. Personally I think that the role of governments should be less.
An important thing to say is that we should create many more two-way relationships. In all former DAC meetings we talked more about art than about production. As a producer you feel that there is no balance between the two parts. A two-way discussion would be more interesting and positive.
I’ve practiced supporting art for a long time. As a private person, a collector and as a foundation I have been instrumental to the production of art works on many occasions, the Sydney Biennale, Documenta, this Venice Biennial etc. I am quite trustful about these collaborations. My attitude has always been very faithful to the artists and their visions. My husband and I have been very lucky to meet good artists. The relationship that is established between an artist and a producer is a very delicate and difficult one. It is, as Mario pointed out, very important to have someone doing mediation. Acting together and working together is positive for all parts. I have seen many very good results and I can say that I do encourage this kind of process. Especially in Italy we all need to be a little bit more responsible. There is a lot of work to do together also for younger generations.
Staying on the theme of the Biennale, here we have with us Luca Vitone and Maria Candida Gentile who have collaborated together in a project for the Italian Pavilion.
I have been invited here because, together with Maria Candida Gentile, I produced an artwork, but I don’t think that it is an example of what you are talking about. Our way of working was very simple and classic. The idea of my project in the Biennale is about smell, a kind of perfume. In order to be able to do the project, I needed to collaborate with a ‘noose’. So thanks to my gallery I met Maria Candida Gentile and together we started to work; a normal collaboration which we paid for. The final perfume was spread in the space. You can go and smell. Behind the smell is a story, the dust evaporates from eternity. This was my idea. We had an economical support which enabled us to do research. All the artists from the Italian Pavilion were supported by private people. All of us could produce new work.
In terms of the cultural system in Italy you have a very different situation compared to the ones of other European countries. Public support is weak. Now, with the involvement of private people, we have witnessed a change of attitude. This is particularly important in a time of economical crisis.
Maria Candida Gentile, you are in some way a producer because you produce your own line. Starting with your ‘excellent nose’ you then apply the results to a product. Has the collaboration with Luca Vitone stimulated you and given you new ideas for your work?
I am a ‘nose’ and I deal exclusively in artistic perfumery; I do not work with commercial or chemical perfume. For my research I use particular and natural raw materials. Usually my area of application is perfumery, but in some cases I delve into the field of the psychology of smell and of curing sick people. The research I have carried out for Luca has been new ground for me. Through the use of all the molecules I know – I know over four thousand – I interpreted his wish, supplying those bitter traces that Luca had asked me for.
In the last weeks I have been totally involved with my double presence in the Biennale, the show of Gioni and the Italian Pavilion. Rather than speaking I would like to invite you to see my installations. In the second location I made a laboratory concerning the possibilities of the body, elaborating research I had already undertaken in the past. My intention is to give a key permitting the viewer to invent or modify reality. So following my idea and the mechanism I created, you choose materials to make projects, but at the same time you also can dream, you can defy reality. My research is based on the possible; everything is related to this question. You have the possibility to use the brain, to imagine and do projects and you have the possibility to dream. The two things are in contradiction but stay side by side. The possible, as Marcel Duchamps said, is something to be examined without any trace of aesthetics, ethics and metaphysics.
As the daughter of an entrepreneur I have a dual position. In my youth I have seen my father dedicate a lot of time, energy and attention to art and culture. It was not separate from what he did in the factory, it was part of it. There have been workshops, artistic forums, theatre and also exhibitions. Later he created a foundation. I choose to be an artist and I’ve been working as an artist all my life. Nine, ten years ago I entered the Foundation running workshops for young artist who I invited to do brainstorming. During the whole time of their stay their work together with an older artist, a historical but a still working figure, was able to inspire them. They do analysis of ideas and artworks and at the end together they produce an exhibition.
As an artist you love producing. I believe that as an artist you can bring something to the industry. It’s not simply two-way traffic where the producer is giving money and the artist is making objects. The point is to work together on a project. There are similarities but I think also the complementarities are very good, it’s an exchange based on differences.
For example, I personally have done a lot of books, I’ve been working for fifteen years with books and I learned a lot with the printer. The collaboration gives me feedback to make other books but at the same time the printer receives new suggestions for the printing process. It’s an exchange between me and the printer, the artist and the company.
Today we have another producer here with us who is developing a new production. For this reason he wanted to meet Fabrice Hyber who knows very what we are talking about thanks. He reflects abour relation between enterprice and art since 1999, even before, whene he opened his own production company U.R. and shortly after – together with Zerynthia, Fondazione Pistoletto, Dena Foundation and others – Woolways, an organism based on exchanges between producers, artists and Public Institutions.
For more than 20 years I have been working with companies and with producers. At the time I needed material and money for a project, the biggest soap in the world. The French government at the end of the nineties was in a critical economical situation. Less and less money was available for culture. So I decided to get directly in touch with the producers. Regarding the soap project, I made an effort and the company of Marseille soap made an effort and the two efforts made the art piece possible.
Today my work is mostly dedicated to theoretical experiments. In this moment I am involved with the creation of a school for artists. My aim is to teach them how to find producers and how to realize work together with producers. Therefore I am trying to find more links with producers not only in order to realize objects but also to create new ideas, new possibilities. I will certainly do a project with Rivellini; it’s nice to start something new.
I’m here because of the crisis and because of the coincidence of things of my life that brought us together. For many years I was in the textile business. Our company during 2008-2009 understood that things had changed completely. There was no longer a sufficient request for our home textiles. Consumers had shifted to different products connected with a new lifestyle. The new story I am starting has its roots in my childhood. My parents used to have a grocery, that kind of place where you can find everything. There were also little shoes made by countrymen from Friuli, my region, out of recycled material: old bicycle tyres and jute bags to create the shape of the shoes and whatever cloth they had at home to cover the top. These shoes were used for the work in the fields and later as home shoes. I had worn them for all my life. Today these shoes are becoming my new business. As a collector I have been close to art. This fact encourages me to look for a collaboration with artists. I am very happy that Fabrice has responded to my invitation. In the end the crisis was of good help.
I like when artists talk about a crisis. A crisis is a moment to define things.
Today’s crisis is worldwide, it is not just an economical crisis, the crisis also touches the art system. I think that when Mario and Dora, who had one of the most established galleries in Rome, years ago decided to close the gallery and open a foundation, they felt that the old system was obsolete. The gallery seemed to them not longer the right container for producing and exhibiting art. The same problem today exists with Biennales and even with Documenta. Are they still good containers? I don’t know, things are becoming quite chaotic. To create a continuity with what had been before in the art world is rather difficult.
Today we need to establish a direct communication between the private, the producers and art. The relationship is positive for all involved. We have to create open windows. A foundation is a place where you produce culture and the collaboration with artists is not so difficult; for an industry the situation is different. It’s not just about giving to industry more image, nor to art simply money. It’s about art entering the process of production, to start working together. This means a real change.
It seems to me that there are two issues and maybe it’s good to be very clear about this. One issue is that of the democratisation of art and the other is that of artistic production. The two do not necessarily have to go together because if things are forced so that they do go together, we create a sort of negative utopia that has been characteristic of all dictatorships. This should be very clear: art is not at the service of democracy; it creates a democratic atmosphere and makes an exchange between people possible.
There is the matter of the relationship with industry and I have had some experience in that sense. Two years ago I had a very close relationship with two study centres of two great Italian companies, one that produces lamps and as such light – Guzzini, and the other was Adnkronos which is a press association. I asked both to make something for a piece of mine that in my mind was possible to realize but for the two technical studios it was not. This unconscious stimulus on my part, absolutely imaginative, meant that Adnkronos would go on to produce software for managing a certain field of information and Guzzini would instead give life to a truly industrial production for a light that interacts with people’s feelings. This experience tells me that there can really be a collaboration, and what’s more an unconscious one. The more it is based on a non-specific request to realize something on an imaginative level, the more it can be productive. This I believe should be the sense of an exchange with the world of production, that is a capacity and a desire on both parts – the producers and the artists – to abandon everything they already know and venture into an unknown world.
I think I have a particular vocation for art and my company was born in this spirit. Everything I have done for roughly forty years in my company I do with love, as if each day I were painting a canvas. How much can I transmit through this everyday work? Clearly I tried to first make the frame. But it’s rather hard to talk about art in a world of industrial production. Today our company has a hundred and twenty employees and exports to forty-three countries around the world. When we communicate that our company is close to the art world, we often don’t find any particular sensibility on the part of the workers. In the industrial world in which I live and in which I am forced to make almost daily assessments it is very difficult to think of investing in art which by nature works in the long term. If I didn’t have retailers that are always careful to save money, my commitment to art wouldn’t be possible.
I would now like to ask Jean Baptiste to explain his and Yonas’ project which is looking for cooperation.
Let’s start with Bert. We met in the DAC meeting in Middelburg which was a consequence of the DAC meeting in Rome in January 2012. There I had shown a video about the project of Yona Friedman, of the iconostase conceived as a extension of the Museum. We then developed the idea. When Dora and Mario invited us to stay here today we talked with Yona Friedman about what could be the next step after the iconostase in order to develop a process able to include many persons and join common and complementary skills. The Yona’s answer was, since we are in the Biennale, let’s develop what he calls the “Musée Biennale”. It’s a very clear proposition. He wrote a little note about it.
“We all know Biennales”. Those in Venice, Paris, Moscow and many other cities. A Biennale is an exhibition, an art fair, open for one or two months every two years; a presentation of artworks, a provisional window. The proposal “Musée Biennale” is similar but also different. The idea is to exhibit a selection of works of art, which have been loaned by the artists, in the form of street furniture for the duration of two years. This is therefore a provisional museum, in relation to other places, that has its own particular scenic design that is different every two years. Contrary to normal exhibitions, the scenery would not a be a simple superimposition of the works that are to be exhibited but a work of art containing those that are exhibited, presenting them as a sole collective piece, a work of art itself. If possible in a public space, in the open air, in a square, in a park, in a place where people walk.
In a Biennale each Pavilion has a curator, here we will work all together, we will share our skills and our knowledge. Dora, Mario, Nico, Giovanna, myself. We welcome everybody who wants to be with us. Yona mentions the installation he did with “Musée dans la Rue” in Como which had the aim of exhibiting things in the street. As Annie said, there is a crisis and for me a crisis is a moment where you have to redefine things. I am very happy to be here. We come from very specific activities and have the wish to put together our knowledge and to create a common language. We need a common structure to go on.
The point is that we don’t know each other. Artists don’t know the world of producers but generally they are fascinated by production, they are fascinated by machinery, by materials. The artists we invite to the Foundation to run our program love to go to the factory. The way they use the machines is very interesting, they are intrigued by the idea of using our systems. Of course, what they do becomes part of their work but at the same time it enters our production process. Also the young artists in residency want to visit the factory, they love to go there and to produce something for the annual exhibition. They consider it an incredible border experience and often they ask to come back after the residency is finished. All this is very important also for the factory and I would say for the whole territory.
Many things happen because you know each other and a common understanding is produced. I selected the artist for a project because our daughters are going to the same school and we started to talk together picking them up after school. Things just happened. There is no common understanding without speaking together. Today we are here and we discuss and maybe it is the first step in materializing something, in doing something together. Our dialogue is on going. If you want to structure things in a forced way it will never work. Contacts are so important.
There was an interesting press conference here this morning before our meeting. It was about the differences between the way of making and producing art in Holland and in Italy. You find two completely different worlds. In Holland the Public Administration is predominant, in Italy things move more through private initiatives.
We had an example earlier of how Italian culture is sustained by the private sector when the public sector is not sufficient. Here today we also have a representative the Public Administration. I would like to hand over the floor to Andrea Dapretto, Councillor for Town Planning, State Land Administration and Public Works in Trieste, who is interested in Yona Friedman’s project. Yona himself, who Mario and Dora recently met in Paris, has explicitly asked to be confronted not only with private producers but also with someone who oversees things publically.
Jean Baptiste, I would like you to have a dialogue concerning the “Musée Biennale” with the person representing the Public Administration of Trieste.
For Yona it is very important that art is developed also in public spaces and outside of buildings. This should engage everybody, artists, entrepreneurs, the administration and the people of the city. Of course everybody has their own constraints. Yona, like most people here, believes that you can transform these constraints into something positive, into a common understanding. It’s one of the Yona’s basic concepts to make architecture with and by the people. He also is convinced that some artists will take part in the project by lending pieces. We are talking about a mobile structure in a long-term situation.
The draft of your project is already very clear and very interesting. In recent years museums have been built that are often self-referential, machines for celebrative use. Yours is in fact a great theme, the Musée dans Rue, a museum in a public space, without barriers, accessible to everyone. I think that art can again become part of the urban landscape in a significant way. If we think of old cities of the fifteen, seventeen and eighteen hundreds, art was part of the landscape very clearly and strongly. Then little by little there came about a reverse tendency. I think nevertheless that art can go back to being a great vehicle for dialogue, for experimentation and for innovation. I like this draft by Yona Friedman that in a very simple way explains how this new museum can be in dialogue with the people.
In this period the administrations – I speak for Italy and in particular for my city as the realities I know best – have little resources. But I think that already by making some public spaces available and knocking down the bureaucratic barriers something can be done. In the meantime, a better and greater use of the city can be reached, condemned and forgotten spaces can be opened to the public. Let us allow art to possess a garden, a square or a street. It is for this reason that the city of Trieste is very open to this proposal by Yona Friedman
Welcome to the tenth DAC (Denominazione Artistica Condivisa) meeting. DAC is an itinerant project that has come to Trieste for the first time thanks to Trieste Immagina and to the Gruppo Immagine who I would like to thank for having accommodated us as a collateral event within the exhibition. Today we also have among us certain representatives of public administration, and so DAC has expanded to include this category with the aim of touching what could be the insertion of contemporary art within public administration. We have with us Mayor Roberto Cosolin, who I greet, and the councillor for Heritage, Property and Public Works, the architect Andrea Dapretto. The Maestro Michelangelo Pistoletto together with Borut Vogelnik, one of five members of the IRWIN group, will represent the artists. Several prestigious representatives of the world of industry in the region will also intervene.
Here we find ourselves in a place where the dimension is of course local but also very vast. Trieste can be an exemplary place because we are in a city with a strong link to the past; we are in the vestiges of history. Therefore taking the situation and bringing it back to the life of today puts all the productive capabilities into play. I am speaking more from the point of view of perspective, from the perspective artist then come the realities that count. Here I see Illy with whom we have been working for decades with great profit in the relationship between art and productive meaning. The word productive is intended as a productivity that sees art as an indicator, a perspective beacon. However art, without being followed by those who work to move towards this perspective, remains empty, as such collaboration is very important. There is the aesthetics that art brings, but nowadays there is something else which is ethics. Ethics means knowing how to do things, even imagining how to do things artistically, as people used to say; that is doing the best possible.
Speaking of Trieste and focussing on the city, on the reality in which we live, I would like to ask the councillor if, based on the problems, on works or on current projects, the intervention of an artist as advisor would be appropriate. I’m thinking of a collaboration of a different vision and background that could give added value to the state of things.
The answer is yes, art can and should give added value to public works and we must remember that in Italy there is a law that states that a conspicuous part of the capital spent on public works must go towards the insertion of artworks within those public works. This however is not true for all types of public work but only for new buildings. Said law is a specific channel and was introduced in the 30s. In fact many buildings constructed in those years figure important works of art. It is a law that at times is disregarded and in Trieste in the past we have seen not the happiest examples of this fact.
One of the orientations of the administration is that of the recuperating disused spaces and of regenerating closed and abandoned buildings. To speak of the project we are currently working on: the recuperation of the Ex-Data Processing Department, which in reality it never was because the building was never used for that purpose. In this case the recuperation that we are working on is a project in a place in which to hold Applied Arts. The building should be approachable so that it allows those with difficulty to access the most coded and structured of museums. It should become a space with a great freedom of action. In this specific case we have involved a young artist, Davide?? and with him we have come to what could be called a convergent and divergent reasoning. The intervention should be low cost and together we opted for an intervention on the façade of the building that would become a usable palette, giving the possibility to young writers to make use of a public space. For this reason it must be said however that all the components must do their part, in the sense that there are various restrictions in terms of law and landscape and if art is to become a part of urban reality I think there must be a sort of pact between those involved, including businesses. In order to allow this type of action we must stop considering each little transformation an eternal and unmovable fact.
This I believe implicates, or rather doesn’t exclude, the intervention of what is private within the fabric of citizenship. At this point I hand the floor to Elisabetta Cividin who is here representing the Confederation of Industries in Trieste, president of the Gruppo Giovani and here as a businesswoman. Let us try to understand in the meantime if the city and the local businesses, above the young ones, can be ready for these interventions and open a dialogue with the Public Administration.
The Gruppo Giovani of the Confederation of Industries is characterized above all by youngsters belonging, like myself, to second- and third-generation industries. The innovation within our group has brought about the creation of a start up and the introduction of new ideas has pushed both the businesses and the youngsters to be more competitive. Regarding the relationship with the institutions, we youngsters need fixed and continuous collaboration, particularly in this historical moment of our region and our country. When we youngsters of the Confederation of Industries meet students of secondary schools and universities, we recommend that they gain experience abroad, but we also recommend that they return to their territory to bring their added value. We must moreover offer opportunities to those who have come to study in Trieste from abroad. We cannot forget that ours is a city of science and that it is therefore important to keep the scientists who have trained here and integrate them into productive life.
In your opinion, is it possible that through dialogue with artists new business models be reached or is this just a utopia – a subject that within the Confederation of Industries, above all on behalf of the young businessmen, can not yet be spoken about?
In the Confederation of Industries in Trieste the majority of businesses are still a little old-fashioned. As I said earlier, in the Gruppo Giovani some have had a start up and a collaboration with the new ideas brought by artists could be born. The traditional businessman might also have ideas, but ones that are only developed economically.
The collaboration with an artist would give the businessman more interior freedom and would give him greater sensibility. When our businesses in the Confederation of Industries have approached the world of art, they have done it in terms of sponsorship. Art has been used as a “means of communication” to be added to the trademark of the company in the hope of obtaining economic benefit from it.
I would like to discuss this subject with Flavio Flamio, long-time director of the Confederation of Industries in Gorizia. Having had dealings with businessmen and new developments within the companies in our territory, do you see examples of illuminated businesses that open up to art following the example of Illycaffé?
I believe that preliminarily certain methodological and practical considerations must be made. As director of the Confederation of Industries I do not only consider incumbent matters. I must be able to understand what will happen in three or five years time, how to help businesses grow, how to encourage new industries in my province. My task substantially is to invest in the future. This should be the watchword for linking art to business. When one talks of investing in art, the objection is “but art is difficult”, above all modern art; bringing it into business is a risk because art is revolutionary and upsets, it puts into discussion a series of factors. To this reasoning one can answer that what today is avant-garde, revolutionary, tomorrow will become classic. Let’s make an example: Beethoven, by then old and disheartened, was upset that nobody listened to him anymore, that no businessmen were willing to put him on the bill, and it was for this that he decided to do one last symphony, the Ninth. And he turned the rules on their head. While the classic symphony has four, at time five, movements, the Ninth has only three. In the third movement Beethoven composed for four soloists and a choir of a hundred and twenty people singing a poem by Schiller. Revolutionising the previously depository symphonic rules, he did something revolutionary that, ironically, would later become the anthem of Europe. I repeat, what today is avant-garde, revolutionary, tomorrow will become classic.
I wanted to make an observation of what has been said up to now in terms of business and regarding the question of difficulty of access to contemporary art. This is not just a problem with the visual arts; it is a more general problem. The problem is the contemporary, that is to say what we who live in this moment are immersed in. This is not a case of something which has already been filtered, historicised, where a selection has already been made. When one is immersed in an innovation that takes place contextually to our movements and to our lives, it becomes much more complex. I believe that the educators or the artists in this specific case can have the function of a guide, not just to discovering something external but something that is within us, or rather setting off that self-formation that, speaking for example of schools, does not regard solely the students but that regards above all the teachers. In the field of business I know of an exemplary case, that of the Casoli Foundation, an international company within the Elica group, which shows how it is possible to be innovative not only from the inside out but above all with regards to those working in the company. In their factory in Poland they called a Polish artist who worked with the workers – I mean with those who drive the forklifts to transport the goods – and he involved them in his artistic project, raising their motivation as workers.
I believe that there is a close link between all phases of life. I do not see any breaks between the phases of learning at school, later in the years of growth and finally in the world of business. We are immersed in a condition of constant learning. The work of art is the radical educational act par excellence.
Companies cannot do one-off actions regarding art. There must be continuity. I have worked for twenty years in artistic activities and that means that art has profoundly entered our company and territory. When I say that art permeates business I don’t mean just the businessman, managing director or the board. Our artistic activity touches all those working at Illycaffè. When there is a Biennale in Venice, we take those who work for us to see it so that they can understand what we are doing and can approach the language of art. Together with our artistic director Carlo Bach I met Michelangelo Pistoletto for the first time in 2000 at Cittadellarte. At the time there were only some large, completely empty spaces and there was only Michelangelo and Maria. Cittadellarte was still only a utopia. There was talk of an art of philosophy and of how businesses would have been able to contribute. That was the beginning. In 2002 Michelangelo created some cups for us, then the collaboration continued. There have been artists with grants given by us who went on to work at Cittadellarte. We set up prizes from which new artists emerged and from these artists, new products. This healthy concept of sponsorship has not only allowed the promotion of these youngsters in the world of art, but has also nourished the concept of sustainability between business and art.
We at Cittadellarte have subdivided our activity into various cells and one of these is dedicated to production, so we came up with this motto: “every product assumes social responsibility”, whether we want it to or not. There is as such this important phenomenon of assuming social responsibility and our discourse is born from art and the latter, as has rightly been said, is the producer of creativity therefore responsibility, thinking of the change that must come about in society both on a large scale and in local dimensions.
Here I would like to make something clear: sponsorship is not just paying money to have market visibility; this is a big mistake. There needs to be a continuity in the interventions, within the sponsorship there needs to be a thinking; there need to be strong contents that allow the project to be expanded on all levels. A company that produces coffee and that has an artistic director is not for everyone because the concept of what is beautiful or good, in terms of quality and ethics, should be present in every business activity, it should be present in the cups, it should be present in the espresso machine, it should be present when we go to eat at the cafeteria, where the food should be good. Therefore this concept of sustainability, of ethics must absolutely be present at all levels.
For 20 years we have had the Illyart Collection which means being able to bring a little piece of art to the lips of everyone because the coffee cup has entered the bar and the bar is a social place. In the social moment there are individuals, one comes into contact with the product in a truly sustainable way.
Companies must understand that they have a mission, that of living in a coherent way with the product. They also have a great obligation towards society, towards the territory, and art is the only language that through creativity is able to create a bridge between business and economy, between business and society. This is a case of a new way of thinking. When the Illycaffé projects travel the world, it means presenting that little piece of north-east Italy, it means making people understand how much creativity and willpower there is in a company – our company – and within the territory. Here in Trieste it is not always easy. There are connection and relationship problems like there are everywhere else in the world, but there is willpower. Yet when passion goes deep into the DNA of the company, everything becomes easier.
There are however undeniable practical problems: culture grows where there is culture. This may sound like tautology, but unfortunately that’s how it is. It is impossible to get to Jackson Pollock without having passed through the Renaissance, the Impressionists and the Expressionists. It is necessary for there to be a substratum that is ready to acknowledge things and in these times in Italy culture is hard to come by, as is the second element that is necessary for making culture; that is money. If we had not passed through the Church, the Empire, the Kingdom, the rich Flemish merchants, we would not have had culture. Today money too is missing. We need to go beyond a purely philosophical methodological approach, we need to find the resources to allow all this to grow and be implemented. Until now, the examples in the area have been sporadic, perhaps not organised probably because something that was able to systematically support them was missing.
I would like to talk about something that I know better than visual art; that is the movie industry. In cinema there is a very important funding system that allows productions to stay on their feet; this is external tax credit – a form of taxing contributions from companies to the creation of the cinematic product. This mechanism could, in my opinion, be transferred to visual art events. In this way there would no longer be the need to resort to sponsorship which, moreover, brings about tax problems. This external tax credit system constitutes a great incentive. My advice to you as such is to work on the infrastructure of the system, to find the way to introduce this norm that already exists in cinema into the entirety of artistic activities.
Thank you for the clarification. A very concrete business point of view of those close to companies has emerged.
I would like now to involve Borut Vogelnik representing the IRWIN group. This collective of five artists is a historical, very famous group that is a testimony to Slovenian contemporary art, but that, with exhibitions and works in collections in the most prestigious museums, is recognised on an international level.
Borut, you have worked from the off in a collective and you have carried out studies related to politics – the politics of Eastern Europe, the politics of your territory. You have carried out very important investigations, studies, archive works. Summing up, I could say that your art is an art that is somehow relational, that has always looked to society even if perhaps with a more political than economical or business viewpoint. Have you ever contemplated research based more on economics or business?
The relation between art and economy is of course of big interest for the situation of today’s Slovenia as well. Looking at history, it’s more than obvious that art was not only able to establish communication but that it was mainly used for this purpose. As far as I know this matter is part of the European Community agreement which includes precise regulations concerning art as an entity able to establish cultural bridges which has to be supported inside and between EU States.
We are neighbours and my question is if within your trajectory you are able to see art also as a trait d’union between different politics?
At the beginning of the 80’ IRWIN together with two other groups established a collective called NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst). In the frame of this collective we have been working continuously for nearly 30 years. Of course big changes have happened since then. It’s important perhaps to say why we decided to build up this collective. We did it because of the very particular cultural political circumstances in Slovenia. We didn’t trust the official cultural politics and the horizon they presented to us as – at the time – young artists of the former Yugoslavia. So we decided to establish our own Institution, to create our own identity and to deny any pretention towards official Institutions. That was our starting point. We self-organized ourselves, we invented our own ways to communicate with other artists from Yugoslavia. We also established relationships with artists and art institutions in other countries, east and west. So we had our own context, our own political system which was connected to economy as well, because the art production which we started for ourselves had a certain economic aspect. To understand what we did you have to consider the circumstances of the former Yugoslavia. The difference with the West was very big. No salaries, no market, no prices. At the beginning we were completely alone. You can follow the trajectory from the early 80s up to now. We didn’t change our position, what changed were the general cultural and economic circumstances and our relation to it. Of course we suffered economical difficulties most of the time, but we could remain working as a collective even if it was not easy. Some of our projects were completely unusual for a group of private persons, inconceivable in Western countries, touching fields normally reserved to public Institutions, to State Institutions, like emitting passports etc. We did it for very practical reasons, we had to communicate and to move because for artists from former Yugoslavia there was a total lack of opportunities. In our encounter with Western artists we found out that our art world was functioning in a completely different way. We created NSK as an answer to that. We established a strong collaboration with other artists in the East from the post-war generation to the younger one up to 2000, people sharing our whish of integrity. We created a network between artists and art critics from all the different Eastern countries, asking friends and friends of friends to take part in it. This was very useful for our art production given the total absence of art collections. We worked in a strong relationship with the territory following the path of 19th Century’s’ demand for autonomy in the field of cultural production.
It is interesting to understand how socio-political differences and distances condition being an artist in one country rather than in another.
Going back to our territory and to the Trieste Immagina exhibition, this morning a workshop with children took place centred on the project Terzo Paradiso (Third Paradise) by Michelangelo Pistoletto. In the workshop they worked on the symbol of the Third Paradise, the symbol of the infinity that, between the natural Paradise and the artificial one of our days, identifies a third way, a third Paradise indeed that includes the first two, balancing them and creating social awareness. As Pistoletto has stated, the artist becomes the sponsor of ideas. I would like however to underline that these ideas should not be instrumentalised. We are not talking about a use of the ideas of art for economic gains, we are promoting innovative and unusual ideas in the most varied contexts.
I would like to call upon Dr. Serena Mizan, Director of the Institute of Port Maritime Culture Foundation, who has been involved for a long time in projects bringing together science, technology and art. She has operated both in public and private sectors being also the head of a company.
I would like to comment on a few things that have been said up to now. We have heard about connections and the ability art has to create them. In my opinion, the most important thing to say is that industry needs art, whatever that may be, even the industries producing bolts, because industry needs creativity. And there is no creativity without art. We must nourish a connecting fabric of relationships that create creative richness, then the industry will know how to use this type of richness to suit its needs, making an economically based use of it. Industry needs art and must fund it so that a rich social and cultural context can exist in order to produce those ideas that will then enter into the circuit that from art leads to industry through innovation and discontinuity. This creates development. Art is a most powerful motor of development as it favours relationships. Art knows how to confront itself. I believe that we are mature enough in an industrial and business sense to say: “we fund creativity”. In Italy there is made in Italy which is the product of this creativity, but nowadays it is getting poorer. We must ask those who have the possibility of funding creativity however to not go and look for the specific relationship between the sponsored event and what it produces. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a cause and effect relationship. Industries can invest in the future if they invest in tout court creativity, if they give art freedom to move, to relate and to do its job, that is to make art. Then the industries will be able to find the way to regain the discontinuity that art has brought about. Change is in art. Change is innovation that stays alive if it is nourished by art. Of course money is short, but investing is important. At times it can be difficult to choose because it’s obvious that not everything can be funded. The more the resources diminish the more it is crucial to make the right choice. Often one thing must be sacrificed in order to allow another to grow.
If we are able today to regain that link between art, culture, craft and technology that has characterised the Italian culture of the past we will be able to have a more prosperous and functional industry.
Michelangelo, for the Venice Biennale of Architecture you created a sculpture entitled L’Italia Riciclata (Italy Recycled) which, apart from being an important piece tied to your philosophy and to your poetics, is also an example of consciousness, of collaboration with industry, a problem which is at the heart of our meetings.
My presence here is emblematic. I am an emblem of that which has been done with Cittadellarte and with RAM, a relationship which has lasted for a long time, putting forward common operations.
Maurizio Molini, you collaborated very actively in the genesis of Italia Riciclata. I would say that it was a rather DAC-style collaboration. Would you like to talk about it?
Let me start by saying that I have an architectural firm in Vicenza that deals in industry and business presentation. In parallel, twelve years ago I set up a project called Arte e Industria (Art and industry) that has the aim of putting the two entities together with the idea that there one may support the other. It was a solitary idea that has had fantastic results.
A few months ago Mario Pieroni from RAM radioartemobile gave me the chance of collaborating with the Maestro Pistoletto for this piece L’Italia riciclata, installed in the Giardino delle Vergini of the Italian Pavilion at the Venice International Architecture Biennale. The piece had a double value as it was not only the apogee of the Italian Pavilion curated by the architect Luca Zevi, but as it also in some way became the icon of the Biennale itself. The Pavilion this year was centred on the idea of Italian business and industry. The project of the Pavilion was based on the awareness of a fundamental study of our history and not just of economics; also the history of people, the history of work, the history of intelligence, of commitment, at times of suffering and of sacrifice. Business was intended as a place of excellence in terms of the study of the individual. The Pavilion was presented with a series of striking examples of entrepreneurs who, along with architects, have projected and created buildings of clear urban and social impact. Starting with Adriano Olivetti who in the post-war period sanctioned a series of fundamental interventions with his vast commitment.
Zevi’s idea was to place Pistoletto’s work of great value alongside this essentially architectural account. The Maestro had the intuition of creating a great template of Italy and I had the pleasure of seconding him with technical and creative assistance. A wooden template of notable dimensions – roughly 9m by 7.5m – was set very low on the ground of the garden. Upon this template the Maestro intervened assonantly – I would say even irreverently – towards the atmosphere of the Biennale as he had the idea of using leftover material of previous or current installations of the Biennale itself. We gathered various materials and, with the help of his assistants, we placed them on the surface, making them an integral part of the piece which was symbolically covered by a fishing net, clearly alluding to the global character of the work carried out in our country. The experience was very nice and, if I may add, also a lot of fun.
In this context aimed at the relationship between art and industry I would like to make it clear that the problem of industry in terms of realisation is not less relevant than that encountered by the artist when realising his work. The artist also has to face problems of budget, transport, material and finding these. The interesting thing is that the artist, beyond his imaginative abilities, is also researcher and is forced to confront himself with craft. In this sense the relationship – not insomuch institutional as personal – between art and industry is interesting.
I would like to go back to the theme of Trieste Immagina and talk about didactics, which is at the centre of the exhibition that is hosting us today. We have with us – off schedule – Maestro Dalisi, artist and designer, who has taken part in this morning’s workshop.
I agree with what has been said, that there needs to be a reciprocal relationship of ideas. Of course the artist can do things and close up within himself, but industry alone in a moment of crisis risks being blocked by its difficulties. Together on the other hand we can create a new situation. I would like to tell you about a personal experience of mine. At Benevento I was called by a very important industry to plan a giant nativity (14m high) in a square in the town centre. Four iron floors that we constructed in a month. While carrying out my project I came up with the idea of involving the people of the neighbourhood. I suggested that some sculptures could be made and displayed on the balconies of private homes along the road leading to this splendid square. The proposal was positively accepted and this then incentivised the work with the company. And so people participated in the project, adding their own contribution. This is an example of what can be done in a moment of crisis. Now we hear about the importance of creativity. We live in a magic moment even if there is no shortage of worries, but with the help of culture we can make it.
We have come to the tenth D/A/C meeting. It seems to me that today’s meeting has been particularly important not only because the presence of the artists, the companies and the Public Administration, but also thanks to the drawings made by the children that represent our future. This is a truly extraordinary thing because these drawings suggest a different and better future.
I would like to thank all the participants of today’s meeting and in particular the Maestro Pistoletto. The problems that have been debated seem to me to be fundamental for the development of our society, not only locally but nationally and internationally, because the future of populations is in the ability to produce with innovation, not only products but also ideas. I fully agree what Serena Mizzan said on the subject of discontinuity. I would also like to say that there exists an extraordinary analogy between the creative metaphor that comes from the work of the artist and from the basic study, the fundamental and absolutely not finalised study in which there is a creative moment that is common to artists and scientists. The true theme is, in my opinion, on one hand the link between art and creativity, and on the other hand realising the political necessity of redefining this theme. There is a need for a socio-political redefinition of the matter of creativity. We must realise that creativity is vital and is developed the moment in which there is significant and recognised support. It is not enough to have a cultural vision of creativity. There have to be structures supporting it.
It is a bit like what Alberto Munari wrote in his book Il sapere ritrovato (Knowledge Rediscovered) when he asked if microbes existed before Pasteur, coming to the conclusion that microbes started to have a bearing in the social context when Pasteur made his discoveries, because form that moment on there has been a socio-political redefinition of the presence of microbes with all that this means in terms of the creation of laboratories and the genesis of the power held today by medical centres, pharmaceutical companies and the national health system. For creativity to have all the characteristics referred to today, it is indispensable that there be a socio-political redefinition that allows the desired results to be obtained.
I began to comprehend the meaning of Rebirth Day as proposed by Pistoletto and I was happily struck by it. In fact I would like that on December 21st something could be done here in Trieste for it. We need to in order to give hope to the youngsters.
Water is considered mineral if it has an origin that is deep, protected and uncontaminated, bacteriologically pure at its source, with constant chemical characteristics, salutary, bottled at the spring and above all not subjected to any treatment of a chemical nature. Only a few “chemical operations” are allowed such as, for example, adding carbon dioxide to make it sparkling or removing excess iron present in the water by adding oxygen. This is mineral water. Put like this it seems so simple, yet this mineral water has some notable differences to that which we use every day, so-called tap water. This is water that has been made drinkable, disinfected by law, but above all “conducted”. Rome benefits from excellent tap water that comes from a deposit and travels eighty-five kilometres from Peschiera to the Capital. The outflow from the aqueduct is forty percent. Of course this is nothing compared to the recent scandals, but this too is a small scandal. Apparently water seems to be a simple product, but in reality it has a very complex chemical matrix. Because of this, any chemical treatment meant to improve it can end up worsening it as what is added creates a reaction that can even have dangerous effects. For example when in drinking water, that must by law be disinfected, you add chlorine or rather sodium hypochlorite, which though a disinfectant is above all a salt, if a mistake is made when adding the dose, being as sodium hypochlorite when in contact with water creates sub-products called chloroform and bromoform, the risk is that of making people drink water that is not good for you and if indeed we look at the chart by the IARC, which is the International Agency for Research on Cancer, we realise that these are possible carcinogens. On the basis of that empirical observation and on certain analyses carried out with the apparatus we have today, based on a European law naturalized more severely in Italy, we find elements at “nanogram” not “microgram” level. Mineral companies began making steps at the beginning of the twentieth century, in the 20s and 30s there were adverts in certain magazines being as television didn’t exist. We bottle water in secure containers, with a nice design but made for nature. Around mineral water there is a concept of ancestry because water comes from the sky, from rain, from melting glaciers and then penetrates the earth passing through the canals it finds in the rocks, “percolating”. As such, drop by drop it accumulates in a deposit. The water we bottle today has been there for thirty years. That is why it is bacteriologically pure. Let us start, therefore, firstly from the ancestry of the product and then worry about industry. I think however that the reason, the sentiment, the fantasy and the creativity that we put into our work is the same that the artist puts into his/her expression.
The broad solvent is water.
So vague and potent that there exists no formula.
The formula of water does not exist.
At once and just enough.
That stops the fish existing in the tank.
But just add a little water
So the fish can be saved: what?
What saves the fish and the sea in the tank?
Perhaps it is good to know that waters, particularly those that have a denser connection to the creation of the world, can produce their own salt when distilled a number of times, or rather not boiled and not discarding the first phlegmatic part. Or else reducing them by drying them into a pulp from which said salt can be extracted. I would like to add a fact that can further distinguish alchemical theory from the chemical, though they are both vague, given that the only true answer is concealed by the facts: chemical water H2O does not exist and cannot exist in nature and, probably, may not be drinkable. In fact water, chemically speaking, is an exceptional solvent that not only dissolves many kinds of physical substances found in powder form but, immediately, the gases that are in the air, the very ones that we breathe in our atmosphere. Therefore, the true formula of water is ever changing, it is not tangible nor, as such, is it imaginable. I would like to add that a fish placed in artificial, or rather chemically reproduced, seawater dies if nothing natural is added.
I fell in love with some public toilets from the late 1800s in Berlin that were beautiful octagons and I sensed that the public toilet is a place, or rather an emblem, of the level of civility of a society. For example, when I visit a city, before going to see the cathedral or the market, I ask where the public toilet is. I go and see it and I seem to understand more from that than from the altar or whatever they sell at the market, or at least it helps me understand just as much about the society, the place or the people that live there. This love for public toilets comes also from the fact that I was, and still am, unable to get over the fact that we waste around twenty/twenty-five litres of drinking water every time we flush the toilet.
My idea was to create a drinking fountain, a water source to make drinking water of superior quality. Obviously the theme of water is very important, I am interested and it has been the centre of several political, territorial and artistic discussions. What I concentrated on was the theme of drinking water in London and how to transform it into quality water because official sources recognise that the tap water we drink in London goes through canalization up to seven times, more or less, it is purified with chemical substances and then recycled. This means that the quantity of chlorine present in the water depends on how close it is to the spring it comes from as well as on the trasnportation of various chemical and organic elements that it has picked up during consumption and that have remained inside. For these reasons no one much wants to drink that water, also for the levels of calcium and chlorine present. Subsequently I started studying how to transform this water into spring water, freeing it from this dross. I worked with a chemist and I began my research with which I came to discover wonderful characters such as Victor Schoeberger and Masaru Hemoto, mentioned by Maura earlier in Memory of Water. They are all theories, and not only, that I employed in my alembic that is this sculpture installed in the Whitechapel Gallery in one of the halls used for meetings, conferences, courses and which is also available to the public and to the people who work there. I was able to find these materials and then I translated them into my piece. All the forms I use – curves and materials like glass, copper, terracotta that allows the water to breathe – were suggetsed to me by Schoeberger. The water comes out through a spiral copper tube and then drops into two glasses containing a magnet that produce a vortex that energises the water. Then at the end of this process the water we drink is “positively charged”, energised and purified.
In what you have said up to now there is always an element that is effectively physical, political, anthropological as well as obviously poetic and linguistic and that is something that is strictly tied to our everyday life such as, for example, water; the right to have healthy, clean water or to be able to recycle dirty water. Often the difference between civilisation and barbarity, between development and underdevelopment is precisely the access one has to a water source or the possibility of having water available for preparing food. We live in a society based on the idea that water is infinite, inexhaustible, but when we realise that that isn’t true tragic, often unsolvable problems arise. When chemical and radioactive pollution makes sweet water sources, the lands depopulate and all form of human life vanishes. There is a fixed idea of distance between the human and natural worlds that guarantees space to both, but in reality it doesn’t work like that. Space is given by cultural and natural forms and it is we who establish if there is a need for purity and quality.
Water is the element that goes forward. It is life that precedes and that deletes the traces that have been created in order to allow others. This ignited an obsession for me which is that of writing and water. Writing and water are at the origin of our being, in that humankind is born around water and signs, around writing and the ability to create form. As such, putting together these two originary acts seemed to me would be able to create an emotive intensity that is what interests me in my work and it is a theme I have returned to here at the exhibition in the MACRO.
We have come close to the abyss in thinking of water as an “element” since the first scenes of our imaginations were composed. It is not a case of water being directly attaining to the idea of life, of becoming in short the carbon paper of insistence with which nihilistic thought lingers still today. It may seem much, but it is true. Coming here I reflected on some readings. I thought of Zoar, of Genesis and the Torah above all. The waters part twice if we look back at the Scriptures, while today the most familiar image in the sense of symbolic, imaginary transmission is “the idea of continuity”, something that runs a course for a certain period of time because it then enters in an area that will never ever return it in that it plunges into the void and it will never rise again. This is the archetype that remains and it has been and still is one of the elements that most nourishes art in the sense that they continue to produce that sentiment of desire that is the spring of certain attitudes, even literary.
“Where there is water, life can be active in the substance; where there is a lack of water, this possibility ceases. Water exists as an element of the living and whenever it can, it snatches life from death. It is the great healer of every illness that is manifested in a loss of equilibrium. Water always yearns for an equilibrium that is full of life, never for a stable equilibrium in which life would be extinguished. Everywhere water is a mediator between opposites, which are intensified where it is missing. It gathers the contrasting, the separated, continuously creating something new. It dissolves hardened forms and brings them back to life. In itself water remains chemically neutral, still it connects with something when the solid overly opposes life. Water wants nothing for itself, it lends itself to anything and it never questions the figure it is to assume when used by a plant, by an animal or by man. It fills them all with same dedication. It always “renounces” and once it has finished its activity of mediating it retires in order to be available for new creations and mediations. As a pure being, it can always cleanse, refresh, heal, strengthen, invigorate and purify all other beings (…) “Water the element of altruistic contrast, of passively existing for others, its existence consists therefore of being for others (…) It is its determination to not yet be anything in particular (…) Water does not shut itself away from light as the solid body does, it remains clear and transparent; It reaches the fullness of luminous possibility in the simple play of colours of the rainbow. It is the altruistic mediator of the impressions of the visible world to the eye, those of the audible world to the ear. Water constitutes for man and for animate nature not only the basis of corporeal life; what for man can be the end of its spiritual development, we find prefigured as in a great painting in the quality of water.” From “Sensitive Chaos” by Theodor Schwenk, Arcobaleno, Oriago, Venice 1992; pp.96-97
The chemical formula for water H2O doesn’t mean anything, so much so that mineral water does not have this formula but is full of other things. “Water is fundamentally the earth’s fingerprint”. There are no two identical waters in nature; each one is different. Deep down, if you think about it, we are born in water, amniotic fluid is water and our bodies are seventy percent water. In children it is up to eighty percent.
I find that Mario’s stimulus is very strong and moreover I believe that he is drying up into a sort of post-ecological discussion, or rather the artist is giving an ecological cue which the industry rejects and this seems to me the wrong path to take. The path that you are instead taking is that of “cross fertilisation”. The almost vexed position of the artist and the entrepreneur is very interesting, in which the artists throws a “very distant line” and the man of reality says that “apart from a certain range, physics prevents you”. What you have said is beyond reality. In reality this is the function of the artist: he must go beyond what is real and possible or what has been possible up to that point. The very strong stimulus that this encounter has given us, I myself am fascinated by both those of you who I had never had the good fortune of meeting earlier and by the depth of reflection and all this cannot be declined to the reflection of just one product or project. What I find truly fascinating is in reality that, based on these stimuli of such high level, the very perception of the object which we are talking about in this encounter is put into discussion. This time it is water, the last time it was wine and perhaps next time it will be plastic. We are reflecting upon water itself and from this everything can arise; a new type of communication, or approach and distribution, but this is not an immediate problem. My problem is that of taking water from its physical and commercial confines and giving the artist complete information that can be useful in making sure that an artistic stimulus is transformed into, for example, an object. The very important observation made at the beginning of the twentieth century on this beautiful object – the purifier – which Annie Ratti too spoke about, today however is no longer valid because there are some certain substances in the water which were not present in our rivers or sewage before. I would like to confirm my great appreciation for this stimulus of the highest level and invite you all to appreciate the possibility of confrontation. Moreover, in my opinion it is necessary to assess on one hand the total absence of limit and on the other the presence of the limit itself as a stimulus to advance this reflection on very important themes.
I have listened with great interest to all these interventions, but I have to make a comment on something which nobody has mentioned: that “water extinguishes fire”. I say this because the in August the Baruchello Foundation was surrounded by a very dangerous fire that burned around one and a half kilometres of pine trees in front of our offices and we were there going at it with buckets until the firemen arrived an hour later. Never before that moment have I desired water so much.
I want to start with an example about what we mean when we talk in a DAC language i (Shared Artistic Designation). John Koermeling who was present in our first DAC meeting in Middelburg, and who is at the same time an artist and an architect, was asked by the Townhouse of a Dutch City to make a new bridge because the town had very hard traffic problems. He accepted to elaborate a project but after having studied the situation instead of planning a new bridge he arrived to a different conclusion. He went back to the Townhouse and said: you don’t need a new bridge. I organized your traffic in a different way and there is no need for a new bridge. People were quite astonished, but they were even more astonished when Koermling sent a his bill for the no-bridge. In fact, his project was not material, but it was a benefit for the town, both in terms of economics and in terms of a new organization of the urban space.
Yona Friedman already years ago stated that architecture is not just about buildings, architecture is about the organization of space. This is very interesting because it keeps things open, it gives opportunities of collaboration, it’s a real common ground, by the way the topic of this year Biennale of Architecture in Venice.
I really think that the organization of space is challenging. The project of Yona Friedman and J.B. Decavèle for the Vleeshal – is essentially a new conception of space, a space thought for art new form of museum. It’s a project that challenges very much artists. To show something there artists need a completely new perception of the space and this means that they needs to rethink their own work. This is moving the art world in a very positive direction.
Yona Friedman in the Sixties took part in the competition for the Center Pompidou that finally was won by Rogers and Piano, the still existing building and an important example of contemporary museum architecture. Yona made a step further about what could be this big Art Center and the step was very important as a perspective. He wanted It wanted a museum that could change. Actually, he projected a museum that was not finished, that was not static, a building that could change in corrispondence of what was showed inside. And this is a very interesting issue regarding the relation between art and architecture.
First of all I want to thank Lorenzo and the Vleeshal for the invitation to build our Iconostase. This project is exactly what you are speaking about. Our Iconostase permitsis the architectural extension of the museum right now. If you ask Yona Friedman to make a model for an Iconostase for example here in the Vleeshal, first of all he will investigate the space. Lorenzo sent us pictures of his space and Yona made a collage of a trigeometrical structure in order to show to our selves, to Lorenzo and to the people involved in the installation how it would be looking like. But the next step if people want to realize an Iconostase, the principle is: Do it by your-selves! The idea is that it is supposed to be done by the users and for the users, by the people who work for the Museum. I made an adaption of the model. It is very important for me to work with Yona Friedman. He gives me – I am a film maker and a photograph – an incredible field of reconsidering and understanding space and reconsidering also my own work. What I do is an adaptation of Yona’s idea the way a filmmaker does it. If I am going to work with an architect or with somebody else I am going to have directions. With Yona Friedman the incredible thing is that he wants you to follow your own directions.
The Inconostase is a structure made of rings. The basic idea is that you build three different geometrical forms with those rings, you have a cube, you have a triangle and a third more complex form. Based on these three geometrical forms you start building. Yona Friedman gave us a very little drawing. Then I came here and talked with the people, with the whole museum team and, formally based on my physical understanding of the space, together we started building the Iconostase. My job is to transform a drawing in space. This, of course, involves my own spatial impressions and my capacity of making out of a drawing a spatial extension, a new exhibition space.
The museum architecture that Friedman and Decavèle are developing is an architecture that is around an idea, around people. You pay a sort of price for an architecture based on mobility. It’s also about trying to consider the people, the visitors, and the content as integral parts of the form. And the form is a modular form that is easy to change, easy to transport, to transform, a form permitting to create an energy and a synergy between the different segments and relations of a museum. It’s a big dialogue, a critical point of view about the content and the container. An architecture made to think about content.
Basically this structure in the Vleeshal is a machine to display, a machine created by an architect with the aim to create an exhibition space inside the museum where people to can bring things they want to show. This means an open structure for everybody, not only for artists. A structure in movement which will change in the course of the weeks.
What elements do Yona Friedman and you give us as a direction of recoinsideration, what characteristics do you give us as a direction to do things differently?
The direction is almost a technical practice, it is more a process in which, hopefully, there is a common understanding. I may disagree with you on certain topics, but I think there is a level of complementarities. It’s very beautiful with Iconostase because there is an incredible level of complementarities not only with the building but also with the people I was working with. You need complementarities in the practice, complementarities in the gestures in order to build something. For me the process was an affirmation. Not only it was possible to do it, but it’s possible to expand it. The question is: how can you live on that kind of building? When you see it in the Vleeshal it’s like an incredible graphite. It’s possible to make it habitable, it’s also possible to do it outside.
We never create questions of power, because than it would be conflictive, of course there is always a problem of misunderstandings…
But it’s much more just about bringing possibilities together. These possibilities create platforms for the people and that includes all the components, all the actors of a Museum. It goes from the technicians to the curators, to the artist, to the public. There is no question either for Yona then for me. Yona Friedman established a very straight modality of doing , there is a very strict technique of adaptation. What I really enjoy is this kind of freedom which is given. You call for everybody’s imagination and complementarities. Of course there are different approaches, you have a technical approach, you have the client, but it’s complementary.
There is no rule, no specific frame, you just start to work together, the field is totally open. The only rule is that there must be based on complementarities and that you have to agree with the fact that we need to be together in order to develop new forms, whatever the field is. It can be architecture or art, it can be publishing and so on. It’s always a kind of curiosity towards the other, you have to trust the knowledge of the other. In order to build an Iconostase you have to be very precise in the organization, in the structure. Of course I know how to be directive, how to deal with people and to push them, we have to be very serious and precise without any naivety.
I think there is a central point in the whole discussion, the fact to put together these different practices, to combine different visions of one and the same thing. You multiply the possibilities. The benefit for the producers is to have this artists view which opens landscapes and scenarios which are very important to take in account. Busyness also needs visionary. The thing is to open up, to bring together different fields.
There was a very good example in Italy with Adriano Olivetti, a very important company at the time. In Ivrea Olivetti created a village where the best architects, artists and designers of the country got hospitality and could collaborate. He understood that everything belongs together.. You cannot separate one thing from the other. All the different disciplines create one culture, one situation. That is the platform and you need the different figures that permit you to see the world from different points of view.
I think that we are very lucky to live in an inclusive process. I think that we have an incredible situation of coexistence in our Western world. When you coexist you don’t have to wait for things, they are just here. Of course there are specific temporalities in exchanges. I am never frustrated by waiting because I believe in active process and I also believe that it needs time for things to become concrete. It takes time to have a complete understanding of each other. But it is incredible to see that we have this active reality.
You need also ingredients to create something. It’s very important that there is the same sensibility, a kind of resonance. The resonance is something that reaches the people, through communication, through feelings, through ideas. It’s something you can compare with sound, with music. Sound is the first element of communication. I think that the project we have now in the Vleeshal now is related to the idea of sound. This multiplication of rings in the space is an almost acoustic idea. There is a very important link between architecture and sound. It is fantastic to see a perfect resonance. Friedman’s architecture is made out of an idea, not out of an image. The Vleeshal which is a gothic architecture of many centuries ago is still functioning as a perfect exhibition space. It offers a completely new perspective; it’s the idea underlying the architecture permitting it. An artist can always have a dialogue, not only with contemporary situations , but also with history. That’s why you can create a perfect exhibition space in a space built centuries ago. Artists are always able to make an interpretation, to recreate, to reconstruct a space, not only a physical one, but also the concept of time related to it. The Vleeshal is at the same time very old and very new. And we have to consider that at the time it was constructed it was a revolutionary architecture, a very strong one, still alive today. You can have a dialogue, very open one. The space for contemporary art is not necessarily the white cube.
I think that many architects or city planners relate to artists or consider relations to art when culture is involved. All these things are meaningful, but you have to see if they are so necessary. It depends on the project, it depends on the questions. I think we have to elaborate all this. There might be an element which comes into industry, into certain industries where this impact can help. That is something we have to look at. Than the next step, if there is an acceptance of it on both sides and there is a drive on the artist’s side to cooperate, the first thing we have to do is understand each other’s world. There is a lot of lack to be honest. This is what we have to work on first. Sure we can take the benefits from both sides. But I am not so sure that in the full field of architecture there is this relationship between art and architecture. The cultural effects in the different areas of the world have a big impact on our work. When for instance you look at the U.S.A you will see that business has a very big impact. Architects are following mainly what their clients want to have.
There is no rule for this kind of cooperation. There is always a matter of sending and receiving and this is a matter of fact. Everybody has his own field and you think inside your field, you work inside your field and you get connected for some reasons, attracted for some reasons. And that resolves a new thing. In fact this is the only rule and maybe there is a need for this new thing but it is not necessary. It can also be pure luxury for the sake of its own quality.
We received an invitation for a very special housing project in London – some of the most expensive apartments of the world – and we were asked to elaborate what they called ‘the privacy screen of very luxury apartments’ using very special luxury materials, pearls, to be treated in a chemical way. Our client wanted an artist from the U.K. to do this treatment and this person had to do the work in our factory in Holland. We didn’t particularly like the proposal because we were afraid of what somebody like working in our factory would mean. He probably would influence our program and I thought that it would be a danger. I called Piet because I knew that he was capable to do this too and we convinced our client that we would bring in our own capacity in that field in the person of Piet Dieleman. Our client accepted and with Piet we felt our-selves a lot more comfortable, because we were talking to somebody we knew and we trusted because we had to respect our program. Piet was not only the one who was making the piece of art in terms of how the pearls had to look like after the treatment but he also was defending us, protecting us by saying this can be done or not be done within the boundaries of our contract. And this was a very good cooperation.
The London project was a patination of some parts of the façade. Patination means coloring metal. You start a oxidation process with a certain color, so you give oxidation a certain direction. I WAS asked to change the look of the brash. I am an artist work with colors, but normally I do with paint. Here I did a whole different way of coloring.
So you protected the boundaries
Yes, because everybody can say something about colors, its’ quite a subjective thing. You are an artist, so you are seen as a a specialist. You have a certain opinion and this opinion is respected. From that point of view you can make a deal with somebody. And when I said it was all right I had my limits and those limits were the final thing. With the architects these limits were very important because they were connected to the building permits and when you make problems with that than you get really lost and you really get a problem.
Benefits are very pragmatic. In fact sometimes you have to solve a problem which can’t be solved in normal ways. And that is most of the time an attitude of an artist. Let’s say, the attitude of art is not normal, is not regular, it doesn’t produce conventional solutions. For example here in Druckerej a regular architect couldn’t fix a new façade for the building because it stays in a protected city area and there couldn’t be done anything with the front. It couldn’t look like a shop. The owner asked me once: what do you think of the shop. I said, well it’s a beautiful shop, only you can’t see it’s a shop. When I went home I already had a message of his on my answering machine. He wanted to know what I meant. What I meant was that all the architects would have made a proposal for the façade. What I said was that we have to do not something on the front but before the front. I discussed this idea with Bert and then shortly we came to the conclusion of making a big glass panel for the building, so it would be visible and not visible, like the cloth of the Emperor which is very beautiful, but it’s not there. Then we started a very complicated process because the family of the architect was against our solution, they didn’t want it because they considered it an attack to the architect.
Well, this happened a long time ago, but I do remember because it was an exciting experience. What did we add? We always have to be humble when we are in front of an artist or an architect because they come with the ideas and they tell us what they think and what should be done. And as technicians in the back of our mind we immediately start thinking that this is not possible, that they are crazy etc. etc. There are a lot of things that have to be reviewed, in terms of whether things could be done, if they were strong enough, if they were allowed in the city from an esthetical point of view. There are many things which come than on the table, which have to be solved. But at the end of the day it’s our task always to respect the original idea of the architect. I haven’t worked so much with the artists, actually Piet is the only one. We work with architects all over the world, but they have a quite similar attitude. And you have to make, to work it out. And you have to discuss problems one by one and see what is possible and what is not. We bring in our technical knowledge, we bring it on a drawing and discuss it again and finally we come to a point where we say it’s makeable, it’s not exactly what you wanted but it’s respecting your artistic expectations and, at the same time, it can be approved by the local Authorities. And then you go and do it.
You talk with very much respect about the power of artists. I wonder if Piet as an artist has also an influence on you as a manager of the Company with his ideas or is this a little bit too much honor for Piet?
Well he always has influence on me. When I read the invitation of this event I almost drove in. But I am not in a position to say something about art and about the relation between art and architecture in a professional way. When I read the invitation the question was: can artists be involved in an industrial process or in the manufactory process just because they are creative. Well, as a Company we work with the great architects and there we need creativity, maybe not the creativity in terms of art, but we need creative designers who are not just people making a step in their careers for a couple of years. Our designers have to be motivated, they have to have a drive to do and probably what they do, they do it for the rest of their life. But in our case they have to design with an eye to costs, to architectural expectation, according to the exigencies of our programs and to specific requirements. Maybe it is not always creative, but at the end of the day this is what counts. Often we have a discussion about what should be the profile of our top designers. We believe that a top designer is a designer by passion and not because it is something in his career as a technician. And I think what you automatically expect and demand comes very closed to the definition of an artist.
How was the reaction on Piet’s project in the Company?
I think the people found it very exciting that we had a project like that which had to be done in another way since an artist had been involved. I think this has been received with very much enthusiasm. Of course it’s nice to say that, but what does it mean at the end of a day when you say that you want to change. I have been thinking about, but I don’t really have the answer. The only thing I can say is that we have to continue to try. Between Piet Dieleman and my-self it was a coincidence, it was not a planned working process, it just happened. It was a very good experience and a wonderful project. But what does it mean for my own Company? The idea of art is a very difficult one for us. We always work for a client who has his own demands. There is a possibility for art in specific situations, in projects where it fits. The question is if creativity must always lead to a piece of art o architecture. Can it also lead to a very efficient solution which is even not visible? But if that is a competence architects or artists have and if this competence can be translated in a industrial process which goes over the imagination of our own people, it can have a very strong effect.
A lot has been said at the various DAC meetings on the theme of production, in particular industrial production, but the important thing is to bring this together with cultural production and at times the courses these take are parallel. Even Michelangelo Pistoletto‘s Cittadellarte Foundation participates in cultural production and this creates the basis of all the work that it continuously produces.
Throughout my career I have aimed to bring artists into business so as to violently clash with businessmen and with their companies, and it has been very interesting to see not only how the artist has gained an empathy with the matter itself within the various businesses, but also to see how the businessman – not exactly in tune with the world of contemporary art – has been moved by this relationship. This shows that art, in turn, has a problem in terms of production, of technology, of research that is common to industrial production. This architecture, of which I consider myself a champion, has a strong responsibility which is that of being the cohesive element that holds the different disciplines together with the aim of giving a harmonic, productive result.
The fundamental theme is that of sharing, and working for years alongside artists and businesses, we have ascertained that there is symmetry between the reasoning that moves the artist and that which moves the business and this is due to a temporary “deviation” in horizon.
The challenge of this pavilion has been that of saying that a relationship, “a common ground”, is created between culture and business which is not to the advantage of just the latter but also to society. This Italian Pavilion was born from an attempt to understand what is happening within the territory and we have seen that what is Italian is invaded by a myriad of small and medium-sized businesses with products of excellence that have challenged the international markets but that have however a not always positive impact on the land. These businesses are indeed distributed and situated in small centres and have certain “communitarian” dimensions, then after having reached a certain consistence, today they have the “commercial need for architecture” in that they have understood that there was the necessity to have quality in terms of structure.
I have a research project called Arte e Industria (Art and Industry) with which I have tried, and in some cases I have succeeded, in making the two entities work together. We have come here with Michelangelo Pistoletto, through RAM radioartemobile that has brought this figure of Italian and International art to the Biennale. The piece concludes the course taken by the Italian Pavilion, curated by the architect Zevi, that not by coincidence this year began his own speech by talking about the figure of Adriano Olivetti. The “great entrepreneur” in his time identified the problem of ”human resources”; man as a fundamental element of industrial production.
Small and medium-sized businesses, territorial capitalism and architectural necessity remind us of something and Olivetti, who was the first in chronological order, was born in this way. This is way we wish to operate. Together with the architect Robino we planned over the last three months an Olivettian convention called Making the Maximum Profit from Art, with the aim of showing that all the investments that Olivetti put into architecture, culture and art are all investments that contributed greatly to scientific and artistic research and this way of acting over the years has been and still is now an example for many businesses born later. If you want to make money, culture is indispensable. Money has come out, destroying the territory, but if we want to make it now we must repair it and it is for this reason that there must be a strong relationship with culture and with certain “needs” dictated by society.
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work, as attested in Giardino delle Vergini (Garden of the Virgins) overlooking the Pavilion, like a work of strong social value, a work that does not exist solely in itself but that wishes to be, for the entire duration of the event, a meeting point in which this is the first. This piece is therefore a meeting place where one can speak of production, art, architecture, human resources with the idea of making a sort of “ground zero” on the current theme of architectural and industrial production.
Production is the fundamental theme of cinema, in the sense that the industry is based on the need to bring together many things and to find a means with which to do so, yet when one thinks of producing a film this does not happen and at this time, even in Italy, it is impossible to be able to make a film. A film is the sharing of work produced by artisans that only in particular cases manage to “hit the target” and to “find the balance that can give the idea of something special”. On the theme of beauty, I agree with Alviani when he says that we need to continue searching for it around us and that we must “eliminate the rubbish that appears before our eyes”. Recently I have not made films in that I have decided to not work in conditions in which I could not have “control”. I have worked with certain producers with whom I did not get along at all and the producer is an important figure in cinema, and from that point I have chosen to become my own producer with the consequence that now I have total control of what I do, even of the people I choose to collaborate with. Film making means putting together many things: the actors, the shots, the colours, the images, the costumes and all this the public sees distractedly. From this I have understood that it is better to “not make” and wait to “have absolute control” of things.
It is a coincidence for us “humble artisans” to be here around a work of art with real artists. Our work, in my opinion, is very far from what I consider that of the “absolute” artists such as Getulio, Pistoletto or others. Our contribution as producers, and in my case as a costume designer, is in “making a film by”, or rather in having an “obligated” contact with the clothing but our work leads us to having contact with businesses and producers. There is something called, in fact, sponsoring, which I find horrible because it sounds like an exchange of goods, that allows me to create characters within a film and to have a series of clothes available thanks to the collaboration with certain fashion houses etc.
There are different ways of having a relationship in terms of this so-called sponsoring and I have always tried to take advantage of it for my part, which is the film. Yesterday we were talking precisely about this, how there has been a drift when speaking only of sponsoring the product, forgetting what is the real product – the film – which can also be the telling of a tale and which therefore has certain “communication needs”. Moreover, it was very interesting to see how the discussion leaned to the side of the producers, in this case Ferdinando, who in some way differently or similarly to an artist attempt to tell tales using and letting themselves use the business. I find that this is a very interesting form of communication which does not mean compromising purity or liberty, even that of a story, but which has to exist seen as what it is – realities exchanging information. Often the obtained results are very interesting and in my opinion indispensable in contemporary storytelling.
The last thing I want to say is that every time it happens to me I try to dig in, in my case into the fabric of contemporary art. Together with Ferdinando we will shoot a movie at the M’ART in Rovereto and I proposed creating costumes inspired by futurist art, therefore by the atmosphere of where we are shooting, but also by the contemporary atmosphere, that of Botta and current architects.
From the moment Ferdinando came and spoke to us about his film we were immediately convinced by the wonderful work he has done and we participated also because we wanted to give the Museum the idea of a place of “participation”, of “beauty”, of “education” that in a way have been the themes of this encounter. The Museum is being activated to use the word education not only towards the public but also for the business community of Trento. Ten years since the opening of the Museum I have understood that it should become a place to better myself and for this we have begun to collaborate with Ferdinando, in the sense that we have been of help to them by setting up encounters, visits with the aim of making people see art with new eyes, and he and his team have seen in the Museum the possibility of transforming themselves. This for us has been the triumph. From this came the project Arte e Industria (Art and Industry) to make the Museum a meeting point for businesses who see art as a force, an energy, a positivity, a will to transform oneself and to grow. The Museum is not only a place of conservation, exhibition and evaluation of works of art but it is also a place of participation, strength and ability.
How can we make the language of the businessman and that of the artist interact with the aim of reaching a common objective? The project born at Cittadellarte in 2005 called Forme in movimento – Ambasciata per il territorio italiano (Forms in Movement – Embassy for the Italian Territory) has precisely the objective of taking the Italian companies with “savoir-faire” into the world. This project was initiated locally, at Biella and some of the businesses from the area came to Cittadellarte to ask us how they could take their products, their excellences around the world, so first the Foundation then I personally continued what we set in motion and then we thought up the Cubi in movimento (Cubes in Movement). I invited artists from all over the world from the University of ideas and I told each one of them to create a small-sized cube and to have it made by high-quality artisan companies with various materials, for example wood, ceramic, glass, iron. Each artist had to create this cube in order to present one of the products of these companies, mainly gastronomic products but not only. We started with an exhibition of eight cubes, which then became sixteen and finally the twenty-two we have now, and these cubes represent the embassy of the Piedmont territory. It was wonderful to see how the artist saw and understood the logistics of the business and then tried to transmit their values in creating the cube so that the public could understand, from an artistic point of view, their Italian product. This project is understood by all, even by those that know nothing about art, because through the cube – which was created by an artist – we can get to know the business and its surrounding land.
The Cittadellarte Pistoletto Foundation has activated many connecting trajectories and collaborations with the textile sector and clearly that has been easier to do when the businessman has adopted a long-term vision and a familiar style of management. The project I want to speak about has the aim of forming a consortium between the businesses of the area, leading them as such to acquire the concept of “sharing”, specifically that of a trademark, of a destiny, of a problem and of a possible solution to it. This is not easy since both businessman and artist are profoundly conscious of their own role and of their own personality. It is necessary to bring together different industrial realities from a historical point of view and only then can the concept of “sharing” and of “system” be activated. We have gathered around forty businesses on a platform, a bit like this round table that meets around the Italia Riciclata (Recycled Italy), under the ambitious “marketing oriented” name of Best as an acronym of Bioethicalsustainabletrend, therefore a trend or rather a propensity towards what is ethical, sustainable and bio or linked to the “living”. These companies do not have the immediate “urgency” of arriving at the final consumer since this is not to whom this is aimed and at this point the symmetry between artist and businessman comes into play. If we work like artists we are not able to resolve their immediate problem nor can we put together a publicity campaign that sells more collections, but they can give their ideas or suggestions on the best course to take that the businessman will then have to turn from “direct current” to “alternate current”. If we as the mediating organisation “hide” this asymmetry in an attempt to immediately make a profit for our business, we harm the system of generating energy and using it because the energy that we create will be for the immediate period. This is a most complex operation and it is for this reason that the heart of Cittadellarte is a place of thought, of exchanging ideas, of practice, of school.
I had my last pleasure a few years ago when a man showed me a needle that could no longer be used. The top of the needle was opened, the thread inserted, closed up and then you could start sewing. Well, that was a pleasure while today it’s not that I live with “displeasures” but worse. Today I feel different compared to the years when “the project” was everything because absolute innovative situations were created. Consumerism only wants mistakes. Today we must try to avoid mistakes because the period we are going through leads us only to make mistakes, which I would deign to say are unthinkable. The current avant-garde situation is that of trying to not do anything because everything that surrounds us is amazing and sustained by thousands of words and so-called projects. In reality the concept itself of project contains within it something more serious, see for example the “invention of the telephone” project. I am astonished by all these words because I never hear them said as I live alone, far from everything, trying exclusively to avoid mistakes. Mistakes today are everywhere. For example, here we have certain constructions that were made when bricks, marble and stone were important. Today on the other hand we should create absolutely innovative situations “made out of pneumatic spaces”, that can be dismounted, that can take us to other places, in short “true” innovative situations, not just talk. In order to create “true” situations however we must have enormous ideas. Idea is a strong word, and how can we think of having the idea of something when one’s day is made up of, for instance, watching the television or gossiping? It is necessary to avoid everything, to do as I do, that is to live alone with no television or anything.
We architects are however “condemned” to optimism.
In order to understand cultures, we have to look at everyday behaviour, behavioural style. Evidently there are various forms of everyday behaviour. I always say that life is normal, the whole world is normal, yet we have lost our sense of the everyday. I find it hard to understand the notion of culture, it frightens me, but this cannot be said, it is severely prohibited to say it. What is important in architecture is not the building but the organization of space.
For many years I have a constellation in my head that I call Europa Metropolis. It is the largest city in the world with 40 million inhabitants. Its suburbs are called London, Paris and Berlin. It is an immense city connected by a metro, two hours from one urban area to another. Once I proposed Europa Metropolis to the UN, but nobody understood my project, it was too soon. Now we have the means to make it a reality. It is no longer a utopia. Europa Metropolis has a reasonable price, there is no need to build new cities, people can stay where they are, in their old neighbourhoods. There are no objective obstacles to my project, the problem is exclusively political. To still speak of a “centre” in cities like London, Paris or Brussels is no more than property speculation.
In the current exhibition at my museum, specifically at the Kabinetten van de Vleeshal , one part is dedicated to the Soundartmuseum which is essentially a large archive of sound art. It is interesting to have a museum that does not need a building.
The spectator becomes the producer of something and as such the work becomes a mirror. There is no longer a consumption of the work or art, but instead a link is created between what is exhibited and the visitor viewing it. This is also a way of entering the dimension of time of the construction of the work of art.
We are looking to develop together some reflections on ecology and think of some solutions for the environment. The passage is above all mental. It regards individuals, ethics, our way of seeing the world. Before thinking of solutions to environmental problems we should try to renew our imagination, finding a way to think that is eco-friendly. We should make eco-friendliness our own within what we do, how we think as well as our daily lives. The environment begins in our heads. Everyday we imagine our habitat, we decorate it with many gestures, with many things with which we surround ourselves. We create a relationship with the space around us, with others, a relationship of sharing. All that appears to be a faraway horizon can be a challenge to imagine a different context. We are referring to an idea of ecology that is rather intimate, mental. It is a case of rethinking oneself in relation to the world.
Baruchello, for his project La scorta (The Escort), started off from the idea of recycling, which is something that is far more important than the invention of new objects. Things that would appear finished, exhausted, no longer functional are – with the help too of technique – recuperated and brought back to life under new perspectives. A bicycle that is re-thought by an artist can also have an element of irony. Imagining a politician or an office worker leaving the Ministry and, rather rather than getting into his blue car, getting onto a blue bicycle and cycling away can be funny, but at the same time it brings ecology and power together. The bicycle like any other object can become something else, it can make a suggestion or, as in this example, it can upset the world of institutions of which we are a part.
Art is a way of seeing, a point of view, a tool for recuperating and appropriating something in order to then be able to turn its usual function upside down. Art creates diversity and of this diversity we are all in need: business, art, the disciplines in charge of energy and engineering. There are certain centres that are now very evolved, but what is missing is the sharing of these experiences. The strength of art is that of upturning habitual situations, convictions and of freeing us from stereotypes.
I would like to hand over the floor to the local entrepreneurs who have been very actively involved in these two bicycle projects. They have participated in this proposal with great spontaneity. There has been a true long-distance collaboration on Baruchello’s project for the creation and installation of La Scorta (Ecologia e Potere) (The Escort (Ecology and Power)) for the Museion in Bolzano. The same goes for I wanna be Chinese by Rainer Ganahl, already made for Bologna and re-proposed Bolzano.
In producing something together, in being a technical sponsor that makes the material available to the artist, there is a true exchange both in terms of ideas that will influence the final result and in terms of the relationships, even personal ones, that are created thanks to this common enterprise.
These projects that are born around the bicycle are projects for the future, projects that wish to make us think differently, projects that serve to push experience and the use of resources a little.
New platforms are being created and this is very important, above all today in this moment of grave crisis.
How can we combine industry and art? Especially in our case bringing together industry and art permitted us to be able to face a problem of resistance against our production linked to nuclear waste. With the help of an artist we worked on the external aspect of our building and were able to create an identification of the people with the building. We lessened the gap between the technocratic world of production and the society. Only art can bridge this kind of gap. We need the creativity and emotional power of artists.
D/A/C, common artistic denomination is a brand with a precise underlying idea, that of bringing the world of art very concretely into dialogue with the world of business. This could seem to be a format that has already been used, but D/A/C aims to change the balance. Tables are created between artists and producers who are brought into confrontation on the same level in order to reach a common goal.
In some way it is the artist who becomes the sponsor, a sponsor of ideas, of stimuli. In the dialogue, new cues can arise that will go on to influence not only the products but also the internal communication of the companies.
Back to the matter of D/A/C, during these round tables a theme is launched, that of ecology and eco-sustainability.
Very simply, why don’t we form a club? A club in which we all take part and in which payment is not made with money but with ideas. Where we pleasantly discuss as we have this evening. Let’s draft a statute and then meet again.
Of course the fundamental condition of the club is that which you today represent. This connects with what was said by Jacorossi, that when art enters a business inevitably at the centre must be the man, the woman and this immediately expands the aim, the vision of the club.
We have to reconsider the processes of doing things. It is very good to be surrounded by different ways of understanding and different kinds of imagination.
Today’s society should become a common sharing of ideas in relation to representation, a common sharing of language. We have to create platforms based on concrete topics. Artists are precious because they keep a distance to the problem of productivity, they have an inner freedom.
In the eighties I didn’t have a lot of capital and I needed to produce works and in order to do this I had to approach businesses. Very quickly I realised that beyond sponsoring there were other possibilities. In 1989, while working on a large piece involving 22 tonnes of Marseille soap, I had my first experience of collaboration. I discovered that it was possible to create a partnership with companies, a multiple exchange: raw materials and savoir faire in exchange for thought, but also an exchange of communication favouring the company as well as its internal and social communication. Going back to Marseille soap: nowadays it is well known, but in those days within businesses it was not valued at all. Yet in the moment that it had been “touched” by an artist, things changed and even the factory workers felt that their work had become more important.
Following that, I wanted to intensify this activity by creating partnerships with various companies. In 1994 I personally created a company named U.R that has done many projects with artists and I formed a network, Woulways, with Zerynthia, with the Pistoletto foundation and other European partners, a network for producers of works of art that existed until 2005.
Now I have the opportunity of developing all this in a school for art directors, a structure that trains youngsters both to realise works for artists and to create flowing internal communication within businesses. A new profession.
There is a golden rule that must be observed and that is the client. The client of the business created by my father is a child, therefore a subject, a living being. This small character accepts as his toy only something animated that moves, makes noise and is colourful. The child wants to be able to discover his toy, to touch it be it soft, repugnant or fun. Producing plastic objects is very demanding. It is a high-precision process based on injection moulding that requires notable investment. It is a true school of precision and, given the required “gross” investment, the businessman tends to get stuck in serial industrial production without trying to develop it. I believe that the artist, the creator can be useful to “move” things. We must remember that a project is created for man, for a living being and that it has to attract his attention, seduce him creatively, even if to do this means having to change pistons and machines.
Contemporary art is a reflection on society. The artist can give the businessman a view outside with an active and creative gaze. And businessmen need this. In the dialogue with the artist and his ideas they must bring their technical competencies. In this way other forms of savoir faire can be born.
Art is part of our cultural and family heritage. I have always said that wine is part of our DNA, but art too is a part.
Our project, strongly wanted by my father, is that of a link to our territory, with the landscape. Instead of building a monumental building, we decided the landscape of Chianti Classico itself should be the façade of our winery. The winery is entirely buried, with two breaks in the hillside for light. From afar they look like two roads, we are talking about 43000 m2 underground, a project that was not easy to execute, but simple in concept. The project by the architect Casamonti is a modern one, but it does not obscure the traditional elements. I insist heavily on the contemporary and I believe that the person who is most suitable to the adaptation of tradition to the needs of innovation is the artist. It is he who can have a visionary viewpoint.
Ten years ago I constructed a business on a vision, the vision that there are too many cars on the streets, where an unbearable level of pollution has been created. I wanted to be the “actor of change”. I proposed car sharing. Changing behaviour takes a long time.
I think that lasting development is a guide for businesses, as it indicates the direction to go in, so that the initial be supported. Time is precious to the entrepreneur. A business has a long term and a short term. There is an initial, “existential” phase dedicated to the choice of a project. This phase is favourable to an encounter with artists. Visions can be shared, reflections can be made together. In the operative phase there is no more time – one is overtaken by the needs of employing staff, searching for funds and the development of the production. With sixteen-hour days.
In big companies things are different, there are several parallel projects, various products, varied technology and various markets. In big business permanent research is needed.
The word that creates great ambiguity is the word “collecting” which is a false friend because the proposal and the true opportunity is not the collecting by the companies that tend to buy corpses in that they are buying previously-made pieces for celebrative reasons. I am not going on hearsay, I am one of the founders of the Impresa e Cultura Award. I have seen nine hundred project in five years. I have also carried out a cultural project within our law firm. Initially I too let works of art in, but later the next step was to go for this so-called “lateral thinking”. Artists would come and do conferences, to talk about their work and to interact with us. This was the true stimulus, it gave us the tools to be able to interpret everything, including the works that were hanging from the walls. I can see with great interest the experience of the resident artist, of the artist who comes not with a project as such but rather with a vision of the world. Later we will see what will come from this. It could be a work of art, a change in behaviour or even nothing. The most beautiful projects are those that change mentalities, the very mental structure.
I think that collecting is propaedeutic. That nowadays an artist goes to a company and wants to enter into its production system is a wonderful thing, a revolution. As such, I don’t exclude the possibility that the company can breathe an air of contemporary art, quite the contrary; there is no limit to this. The multinationals are becoming Frankensteins that man will no longer be able to manage. The financial world has abused the economic world and is ceaselessly suffocating it. This moment requires strong interceptions because the economic crisis is dramatic. This is war.
Through contemporary art businesses have the possibility of entering the cultural system. But great humility is needed. Public and private are not two horses that have to show who finishes first. We businessmen have the duty of respecting the public because it is there that we are recognised. However we must also be careful lead the institutional world forward, otherwise there is stagnation. In fact I ask myself where the great Italian entrepreneurs were: the Barillis, the Agnellis, where were they? And the unions, where were they?
We are not against the system of art. The system of art as it functions today is fine. The point is that it is insufficient. Firstly it is insufficient for the artists, but above all it is insufficient for what is happening outside. Today there is no longer anyone from outside who can be called because we find ourselves in a global problem.
We must understand many things from the entrepreneurs and not only from them, but also from the workers. We must understand what is happening within their walls. They are thousands, hundreds of thousands and a visibility must be given to these faces.
The problem is finding a common language. All too often the artist is unable to make himself understood by the businessman. Likewise, all too often the businessman when communicating with the artist uses a language and interests that are too different. In this sense there is much work to be done and new ideas can come that are of reciprocal benefit. For the artist there is also the advantage of being able to open up an extraordinary market of alternative art to the system.
At Cittadellarte the heart or the brain, if its ideas we are talking about, is the school: the University of Ideas. Obviously this is no “normal” school with a teacher and learners, but it is a space, a meeting place where for four months twenty artists flow together from all over the world bringing different cultures and problems, only to discover that the problems are in fact the same, that is those that ecological thought makes us face. They are problems bound to the need for biodiversity.
The concept of sustainability includes both the problem of environmental impact and the possibility of being able to maintain a qualifying level of life and then extending this level of life to populations that still cannot enjoy it. At the same time it is necessary to keep the planet alive. Energy is everything: it gives us the possibility of cultivating a field, of living in healthier places etc. Energy is linked to life. It is a means with which to be able to keep alive. Within this discussion, art is placed as a meeting point between energy and the media used to produce energy. I insist that art should not have a marginal role, quite the contrary.
Both from a technical point of view and from that of sustainability we have reached the point where for the first time “ethical business” can be done, a type of business linked to recycling. In other words we don’t recycle only to save the world, but to make “earnings”. Recycling and so-called “ethical business” go hand in hand, and whoever of the entrepreneurs is able to unite these two factors will make a notable step forwards, and it is important that art becomes ambassador of this new way of thinking and acting.
Since the beginning of the nineties I started asking myself what the industry needs in order to grow internally and to be well represented. I have never had faith in media “gurus”. I think that the industry contains extraordinary resources, especially in our Country that can reap the rewards of centuries of experience.
I have understood that the missing link in my projects was the confrontation with art, or rather with the artist. I put together a project, Art and Industry, with the idea of bringing the two figures together, businessman and artist, to see what effect this combination could have and if it was able to upset certain things.
For the moment I am interesting in seeing how the artist consolidates his work using not only the materials of the industry, but having at his disposal a team of assistants an experts. It is incredible how one immediately empathises with the industrial material, falls in love with it, makes it his own, uses it as a tool of creativity and of debate. The work of art becomes a meeting point, it gives life to new projects.
What remains of a work if not experience? It is like a voyage that teaches us new things. Whoever undertakes such a voyage is forced to face a series of themes such as communication, the structure of the company, the budget, industrial materials.
It is precisely putting together work experiences of various people that can have unexpected results. I have come to realise that architecture serves to bring together people, things and space. Architecture is also a tool for communication between a company and its employees.
In order to enjoy the real benefits of work, economic wealth must be accompanied by intellectual enrichment.
I want to tell you about a very particular, very pleasant experience. It is the month of May 1984. A German artist, Joseph Beuys, while passing through Abruzzo with some friends, sees a bottle of my wine in a restaurant and asks: “Do you know this Mr. Zaccagnini who produces this wine?” Among those present was Baron Bubi Durini who answered: “Of course. He is a very dear friend of mine”. Beuys wanted to meet me and he proposed a performance in my winery. This was my first experience of art.
I have always considered contemporary art a tool for creative suggestion for the company. When I started working due to my father’s premature death I was very young, I was 16. It took me twelve years to get my degree and in this time I had two obsessions: one was business and one was contemporary art. One cannot have two obsessions simultaneously and so, very speculatively, I took contemporary art and brought it into my business. This discussion you are now having makes me feel very emotional because I have experienced the opposite. Through a collection that I took to the company I began letting the employees and the clients breathe a creative atmosphere. I do wish however to make one thing clear: you cannot take contemporary art into a business if the company does not then put the man at the centre of the economic system, if it doesn’t put the person at the centre of the business. My collaborators felt that they belonged to a company that ennobled them. This fact acted not only on a managerial level, at the top, but also with all our collaborators it became a phenomenon of democratic and popular art, outside the system of art. Simple people always have great freedom, they have the ability to change their mind, mutate their opinion after months, after years. The allure of contemporary art is in its not being elitist as one often thinks. It can speak to anyone.
Doing the work I do, that is choosing to train artists is a very demanding job and so that it can have a sense it is necessary to find a new way of training them. Young artists need to learn to be autonomous, they need to find a sense of freedom. This is not a problem solely within the school but also outside. There is an overlap.
It is case of reinventing a sense of space for the businessman and the business in the current society. Contrary to the past, today’s society is more demanding. What was once exceptional has become normal. The public sector and the laws connected with it are in need of change. But this is very difficult to do without being artificial, superficial. What I find interesting is a totally new view of things.
You start with the principle that there are people with different competencies, from different contexts and with different specific work practices, who on the basis of reciprocal exchange spontaneously talk together, new, unexpected ways of doing can be reached.
What is a producer? Someone who through his activity puts economics into play. My production may well be somehow linked, but it is not money that is determining in the realisation of a project. When Gianfranco Baruchello speaks of exchange values, for me it is indisputable that this exchange value is not money. The exchange value of a group project obviously requires money, but the exchange value is the value of thought.
The artist is not an economic sponsor, but rather a sponsor in terms of ideas, in terms of exchange of points of view and of participation. The exchange value comes from the collaboration that is not conditioned by a specific economic result.
What we must focus on is that, substantially, the artist is a runner whose aim is not to finish first but to surpass himself. The artist is an entity in movement, someone who has his “feet firmly planted on the clouds”. But this doesn’t mean that his head is in the clouds. Contrary to the businessman who has his feet firmly on the ground, the higher the artist is able to reach with his thoughts the closer he comes to the role of the businessman despite not being interested in economics. Between artist and businessman there must be a sort of “parification” of roles that leads not to compromises, but to conciliating the characteristics of both. To date this has yet to be done. It may have appeared incomprehensible. We know however that it can lead to a new vision of the world.
At the beginning the artists never has the answer to what he is thinking. He is an explorer, a researcher carrying forth a project not knowing where it will lead him. Until he has finished it. The businessman on the other hand faces each situation with the determination of seeing his initial projects realised.
The entrepreneur can have an artistic side, the artist an entrepreneurial side. Then each chooses his or her road. There are entrepreneurs who think only of profit, operating on shortwave. He who moves on long wave knows that he must be able to think with a different logic and look beyond. It is wonderful talking to an artist because it opens your mind. The result can also be the transformation of the objects you produce.
In these difficult times he who survives is he at the centre of the business who has reflected philosophically in order to allow him to see beyond things. This characteristic of seeing beyond is typical of the artist because he reasons with a universal logic. The survival of businesses in Europe is surely linked to the ability of moving away from old models. There is a need for people who feel very strongly towards the business and who have the will to take the situation in hand. A concrete exchange of information and situations can create a very strong synergy. We Italians can be very good at “recuperating the existing” and this is something of which we can reap the rewards.
It is normal that each professional field maintains its own interests. We for example are not interested only the fact of selling in itself, but that the consumer “has a complete experience”, trying the product and then visiting the place in which it was made. This is the best way of spreading the brand so that it doesn’t become a simple advertisement, a label, but so that it can represent the result of a corporate experience.
The problem is that in Italy things are done but then they are not followed up. Alongside creativity perseverance is needed. Mr. De Concini is a good example. He is a pioneer of electric mobility. I think that he must have taken many roads and I too could write a fair few chapters. It is necessary to show that it can be done and have passion. Following only the Money God won’t get you far. Our road may well be winding, it is not downhill, but he who perseveres will prevail.
As a business we are convinced that innovation is not the fruit of a calculation of accounting, but rather that it is born from visions. The common denominator that unites people is the project that is truly believed in and that allows the construction of something important. Talking with artists often means finding new solutions, reaching innovations. European contributions are not enough to renew a territory.
We need to also consider the audience. Our customers have to survive. Without customers we don’t exist.
Artists have this ability to make a synthesis to of what is going on and of what should be done. They have the ability to translate a specific context and to find common interests. The beginning of cooperation is a common understanding, the common structure arrives after. The process of course goes up and down. Everybody has also his own problems of survival.
Creativity and the power of changing the world is the guarantee that the world still exists. It is ridiculous to assume that the world 10 years or 100 years from now should be exactly the same as today. It is not possible for human beings to stand still , but in order to get it moving you need creativity.
The way producers and artists operate at the end may be quite similar . Their cooperation makes better both the work of companies and the work of artists better.
In order to produce a new work of art a new behaviour is needed. I think that we are in a phase in which behaviours are extremely diversified. The world is full of different phenomena, art too.
I perceive a seed in our interventions. It seems to me that you businessmen also have the desire of assuming a creative stance, free not so much from the obsession of cost and profit, free in the sense of being able to put into doubt certain acquired mental equilibriums. We offer you our language, we don’t want to offer you our objects. This language of ours is born from a procedure of spontaneity in the lands of the possible. The lands of the possible are lands, obviously, that there is uncertainty and in uncertainty lies the future of the company as well as that of the artist. Uncertainty means possibility, while certainty means impossibility. If I head butt the wall, the wall remains but my head breaks. I would rather dream, think, imagine, propose – as I am doing right now – energetic relations, absurd canons. We are within energy, there are passing neutrons everywhere. We can offer you who are in the economic system a system that doesn’t allows jokes, that doesn’t allow a way out of its confines, the possibility of letting you participate in our little system that is separate from the economic system. We would like that, alongside your intelligence, you admit the presence of a parallel intelligence. To do this would mean to have understood art.
In the world of painting there is an allure that is not discrete: it is a dangerous allure that derives from this untested parallel intelligence. Only nature is mathematically certain, implacable. There is death, matter, energy. But there is something that cannot be understood. Philosophers speak of the propensity of reality on one hand and of unreality on the other. This propensity can be interpreted only through art. We offer thins unperceivable thing, a sort of dust, and we make ourselves available to your magnets.
These meetings presuppose, along with our goodwill and good humour and irony, the will to create a bridge between ourselves and a world that is parallel to ours, the world of production and of risk, which is just as important. We produce things that risk nothing apart from the possibility that people might not understand them. On the other hand you produce things that require immediate return in terms of approval of quality and social fairness. We are happy to exchange ideas. Naturally we discuss the world and the most unbridled of utopias. We appear to people out of touch with reality. But it’s not like that because our work is very specific and it can build the foundation for running new risks. We affirm indeed an inversion of perspective of the word sponsor, in that it will be us who offer our sponsorship to people with great responsibility, wealth and power in the world of business. We ask for nothing if not sympathy, the will to collaborate, an exchange of ideas, patience and a sense of humour.
Artist do artist things, but at times they also do things that go beyond into other territories, set up a Foundation aimed at the younger generations. In all these years this Foundation has held important events, round tables, encounters and works of art. What does this have to do with anything? It is fitting because my whole life I have done things that contain the question: What does it have to do with anything?
Initially I was a stockbroker and I continued doing this for a while, but there was something that gradually began to disturb me. Naturally, it is important there be a market structure, but I personally began to prefer the idea of counterbalance which presumes a different way for things to function. Counterbalance a priori is based on reciprocal exchange that creates new expectations between people who decide to work together. I think that I abandoned my work as a stockbroker for various reasons, but the most important one was without doubt the fact that I had this sort of utopia or certainty regarding the principle of exchange and counterbalance based on reciprocal encounter.
We are meeting here for the first time and for very differing reasons, but I believe that there is something very specific that unites us and that is the fact that we all commit our lives to this.
I truly believe that there are works of art that can spark a collaboration between us. I feel the need for this enrichment.
I think not only our business but every business all around the world is inspired by the ideas of artists. Even if they say that they don’t understand art. The ideas of artists influence what you are doing with your working space, the change what you are doing, the way you present yourself . Companies always use the ideas of artists. Maybe they also buy art which can be helpful to the survival of artists, but this is not the point . The point is that they translate the artist’s into their business, the ideas they hear and see . It’s something you do not in a conscious way, but you do it all the time, it works. The ideas of artists keep you moving, I could never do without.
The fact of using something that is not originally meant for artistic activity can offer interesting potential. With the use of a space that is very particular the space can explode in terms of perception. An element of the bicycle has an electric automatism; it can be subversive in terms of perception, that is it can create a new space. Something which is very important is the idea that in the field of artistic activity anything is possible. Above all, it is not that a media is being used, but that the media becomes a carrier of signified and signifier. It is interesting when the media blends into the space. It is no longer the media of before and no longer the space of before. It becomes something that has yet to be thought up. When this happens, a new perceptive space has been created. This means that it works.
I believe in this little project and our challenge is to see how long it will be go on. I started Edicola Notte almost 23 years ago. My aim was and is to give to my collogues an opportunity to create a master piece in Rome, far from economics, just to offer something to the town. The program is becoming stronger and stronger.
The relationship between producers and artists normally is very delicate. Producers don’t want so much to go to exhibitions because they feel obliged to buy. This DAC project is different. Here first of all we want to exchange ideas, cultures and try to accept each other. Edicola Notte and DAC have a quite similar character.
My work is based on friendship and on traveling. I am a messenger, I like to keep alive all the relations I have. Sometimes I use a little camera to document what happens in one place and then bring and show it in another place. I do it worldwide. In this period signed by crisis it is very important to exchange information . We don’t understand in an immediate way what crisis means.
I think about the things one creates in a dynamic way. You start to talk, you have an idea or something that you didn’t foresee which creates something in your mind…
I always remember Mario and Dora saying: the gallery is not just about objects, it’s first of all a place of exchange. The most primary exchange is sound. Then, there is this mix between things and talking about things.
An artist is an agent of imagination and we need imagination to overcome the gaps. We all know that we are living in a critical moment and that we have to do something not to disappear from the planet.
Architectural relations are changing a lot, there are big changes in the way we are living, in the distribution of power, in the impact of the future. Architecture is much more complex than just a building. It’s a combination of many things. Today in architecture you need a dynamic way of thinking. You need to translate new ideas into architecture.
In my opinion, before even making works of art, artists are producers of immaterial goods, they are “producers of visions”. They give reality a new aspect because they look at it with new eyes. Boetti said that Caravaggio had invented the photocopy. The “caravaggists” do not copy the paintings of the Master, they photocopy his vision of space. In history there have been other great artists or artistic currents that have modified the vision of the cultural, social and political world such as Cubism and Futurism.
The nineteenth century was the century of separation from things, from disciplines; everything was separated. Everyday life fell to pieces. In the twentieth century, in particular in the second half, the conclusion was reached that all things are connected. Nothing is isolated, separate. When we talk of globalisation solely tied to economy it is just a figure of speech. Today all thought is connected. It is impossible that the artist does not know physics and does not know economics. All projects move in this direction.
Common Artistic Denomination is a registered trademark. DAC highlights the added value that creativity can give to a business, seen under the profile of sharing. The artist becomes a sponsor of ideas. DAC intends to create a network and draw up a manifesto to which anyone who shares our ideas can ad here.
The artist can create added value for the business. Art can make us see the world in another way. It is an exercise of vision, an exercise of thought. It invents new points of view, not conditioned by the world of consumption, of markets, of success. Art moves us to one side to make us see things differently.
Here we have a round table with very different situations that can appear to be opposite: on one side the visionary artist who thinks of impossible things, on the other the concrete world of production that makes useful things, things that are needed. But even to run a business, to make products, concrete things, you need invention.
We live in difficult times, of crisis at all levels. There is an economic crisis, but also an existential crisis, a crisis of ideas, a crisis of imagination. The crisis is never solely economic. It crosses the contemporary individual at all levels.
A fundamental linchpin of this event is the bicycle. We have here certain figures who are involved in the field. They are active supporters and producers of bicycles, in its most evolved, most eco-friendly, most avant-garde form. The bicycle has also become a bit of a challenge for artists.
Here we wish to ask ourselves how two such distant worlds as that of art and that of business can bring together their experiences and their projects.
In making business, that the world of economics and production be touched by art is very important, especially in these times. In Italy we are at an advantage because we have some great artists. Paying attention to the dialogue between producers and artists means demonstrating an openness to finding solutions together not only to the practical problems of reality but to all aspects of life. Art is life.
The artist gathers the substantial point of every situation and art is an open resource that serves to construct and to reconstruct. The artist works on intuition, on fantasy, on creativity and makes something which is beyond all professions in that it anticipates things and situations. Even if at times it seems that there are no solutions, the artist can give his answer.
It is now clear that the added value is the value of the other’s thought and of what unexpected things produce in coming together and in the structure of events.
What we want to propose is that world be seen differently, from another point of view, but we have to find the means of showing it in a different way.
We artists always want to make art. The problem is how to produce it For many years, with Woulways and with D/A/C and now with the project of the school for art directors that I am setting up in Nantes, I have chosen to give an answer to these needs. This encounter today was thought up firstly in order for us to relate among ourselves and to relate our projects.
“Common interests” must be introduced into the notion of the immaterial process. Profit is transformed, it is no longer a material profit, it is of another nature that can include too the notion of experience, of loss and of belief.
We find ourselves today in a deeply accelerated world; everything is in continual change, a change, because of the overlapping of things, that is out of control. So this reflection on “reinventing” seems even more urgent in order to allow everyone to continue to participate in the life of society, to continue to confront it with other rival societies.
In the relationship between the two fields, art and production, there is a shifting of energy. This is a very interesting phenomena, the dividing line between the different structures (with different potentials) has to be established again and again.
What is the relation with time and identity? The functionality of art is to try to survive, keeping elements of humanity in time. Our society is always absorbing. Some older processes of communication are disappearing. New ones are coming out. Now we are totally immerged in the digital……
What I like in art is complexity and I know that survival is based on complexity. Once complexity is gone – and economical laws are simplifying the world – the world is in danger. Artists have this power of provoking complexity.
The distance between artists, producers and consumers is smaller than it used to be. Today we are more open, we are coming closer together and we find new solutions for our projects.
These meetings aim at creating a network between art and production.
Some questions to start : What will be common aims for artists and companies? What benefits could both have from cooperation? Which role can artists play in achieving those common aims, especially towards the aims of companies? Which conditions are necessary for cooperation? How does the process start? What can we do to stimulate those processes?
To be ready to change in terms of culture is the real problem of our time. As soon as something is new it creates a psychological impact. We have to get used to things that are new. Also in today’s economical framework we have to face this psychological impact. We are facing he way people can get used to innovation.
What does this idea of the artist as sponsor represent for you – the artist who no longer wants to be an isolated artist but one who communicates for an enterprise, for example? What do you think of the possibility that this project could lead to a common enterprise? For what reason did you choose to unite two such important, unique passions, that of being the head of a big company, of being great characters of action and reflection and that of art with the attempt of uniting passion for art with business? What is art for you within your everyday life?