The Anacapri A-rena is an adventure which was born in Paris, at the Espace d’art contemporain HEC, when Mario and Dora Pieroni from RAM radioartemobile, together with Anne-Valérie Delval, brought together artists, critics and businessmen around a table to reflect on the possibilities of dialogue between art and business. For years the D/A/C (Shared Artistic Denomination) meetings have proposed the idea that it is necessary to construct a network of relations, to find alternative ways to open up to the world of business, something that often means being surprised by the dynamics of production, by the logic of the market, by the risk of associations.
Today, after that meeting, six artists exhibit in a communal space with works born from commissions within the world of industry. These are works attempting to “slip” away from current practices, in order to bypass an ever more monolithic artistic model, a system of contemporary art that tends towards conforming modalities of production and reception. The meeting with industries is, as such, not only “useful” but “essential” – for artists and businessmen alike – as it offers a miraculously free space for research, a place in which to lose the distinction between subject and product and to rethink art as a mere relationship, system, game.
It is this inclination that runs through the works on show. First, Fabrice Hyber, who with his POFs (Prototypes d’Objets en Fonctionnement) reinvents the forms and functions of everyday objects. Hyber even set up an association, UR (Unlimited Responsibility), to produce his pieces and those of other artists, but above all to bring art into the universe of consumption, demystifying it with the power of his irony: “POFs are openings,” he explains, “possibilities”. This is the responsibility that the artist takes on, allowing him to have a vital function in society.
In this direction, Donatella Spaziani sees industrial and artisanal production as an aesthetic space, a process in which to graft her own intervention, not to “adorn” or “embellish” it, but to modify the finality and results of the fabrication, marking an existential presence living inside the produced object: as such the body becomes a measurement, a template that appears in a domestic space, on the walls, on the tiles and, at the same time, that constitutes the form moulding the seats and mattresses projected. Athina Ioannou, on the other hand, considers the artist himself as a business, the pictorial work of whom begins with the design of an element – in this case a table – that then spreads over and polarises the space, investing it with a rhythm of light and colour modules. Antonello Curcio uses industrial techniques to create pictorial quotations transferred onto Toile de Jouy tablecloths, while Florent Lamouroux is concerned with the symbols of fabrication: his works are a “supplementary production of industry”, where the gestures, uniforms and objects become icons with which the artists measures himself. Lastly, Benjamin Sabatier creates predefined systems inviting the public to produce artwork by following the given rules. His research quotes experiences that have marked the relationships between industry and artists and that today can be reread with full awareness.
What does Capri have to do with all this? A lot, when one thinks of its role as a “free port”, as an international showcase that for thousands of years has been the stage for the extravagances of power. In Capri these objects, far from the factories and museums, find verification amid the neoclassical echoes of the garden of Federico Guiscardo, a small arena in which to measure the irony of the swings and fountains, masks, tables and pavings, in one of the most playful places ever.