Matera Città Aperta
Korean artist Soyoung Chung's installation is part of a outdoor performance in Matera, Italy – the European Capital of Culture 2019.
Matera Città Aperta interrogates and experiments with the idea of limits, which can be understood as a physical and material separation but also as a non-visible separation. Limits are linked to issues such as diversity, division, the construction of barriers, the exercise of power, but also accessibility, inclusion, participation, breaking down and overcoming boundaries.
In the city's main square, a line is drawn which divides the Matera into two parts. In the following days, the separation becomes material, growing gradually until it becomes an insurmountable limit, a wall that illustrates the contradictions in which we live: on the one hand a hyper-connected dimension, which connects distant places and people, on the other hand a social reality in which we face increasing separations and inequalities.
2019 will be the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the year in which England officially leaves the European Union, and the year in which new walls are erected to defend old borders, from the humanitarian corridor in the Balkans, to the new wall between Mexico and the U.S.A. We celebrate these events by involving the city in a dystopian provocation, with the intention of building, over time, new utopian visions.
Matera Città Aperta is a collaborative piece produced by organizations from Italy, England and Tunisia, and welcomes ideas from groups of citizens during open its open phases of creation.
Ramdom and Default 19
Ramdom, an independent organisation focused on arts and culture based in Gagliano del Capo, Southern Italy, has partnered with NAE for the fifth edition of their residency project, DEFAULT 19. The residency was first conceived to reflect upon the role that public art plays in the politics surrounding urban regeneration, the appropriation and usage of abandoned spaces, and their interaction with public spaces. After two editions held in Lecce (2011 and 2013) that specifically addressed these themes, DEFAULT 15 shifted its focus to investigate the notion of Extreme Lands. Approaching the theme of "extremity" as a state of mind allows for confrontation within a contemporary world where national identities are fluid and boundaries are no longer static.
The short-residency is not focused on the production of an artistic project, but on providing a platform for participants to nurture and share ideas and experiences related to the theme via workshops and seminar sessions. The main output of the residency will take the form of a publication, edited by Ramdom, with contributions from all participants.
This year, Ramdom and NAE have selected Sarah Maple, Charnjeev Kang and Julie Hill to participate in their residency programme, and will ask what can we learn about being situated in a remote location like Gagliano del Capo? What can it teach us about the contemporary global condition, including sociological, anthropological, political or scientific positions?
Sarah Maple is an award winning visual artist known for her bold, brave, mischievous and occasionally controversial artworks that challenge notions of identity, religion and the status quo. Much of Maple's inspiration originates from her mixed religious and cultural upbringing. Sarah's artwork, film and performances have been exhibited internationally at galleries and institutions including Tate Britain, Golden Thread Gallery and Tallin Art Hall. Her recent commissions include The Baltic, New Art Exchange and Sky Arts. (Have attached images for use, pick whichever you like!)
Julie F Hill is a British artist, living and working in London, who employs an expanded approach to photography and image-making, creating sculptural installations that explore conceptions of deep-space and cosmological time. The astronomical image is shaped into formations that resemble uncanny meteorological or geological phenomena, creating immensities that we can walk amongst, and enter into. Enigmatic and illusory materials such as smoke or mirror act as conduits or portals, inviting us to cross a threshold to experience the unknowable. Through such environments she questions scientific images and the technologies used to construct them. She studied at Central Saint Martins (BA, 2004) and the Royal College of Art (MA, 2006), and is currently a Fellow in digital print at the Royal Academy Schools (2017–). Her solo and duo exhibitions include The Space Out of Time, Terminal Creek Contemporary/Capture Photography Festival, Vancouver, CA (2019); Of Stars and Chasms, ArthousSE1, London (2019); Deserts on the moons of other planets, Passen-gers, London, UK (2017) as well as group shows at In Search of Darkness, Grizedale Sculpture (2018); LCN/SPACE Art & Technology, London (2018); Pokey Hat, VERBureau at Glasgow International Festival, Glasgow, UK (2016); and Single-Shot, Tate Britain, London, UK (2007). She has been awarded funding for her artistic and curatorial projects including Through Machine & Darkness (Arts Council, DYCP, 2019), which is looking at use of AI in examining astronomical datasets.
Charnjeev Kang is a London based filmmaker, architectural designer, inventor andpoet. Born in Hounslow atop a video rental store and son of a seamstress of Indian garments, he was inevitably guided towards a life in the arts, these experiences being explored whilst completing his studies in Architecture at Central Saint Martins. His architectural and film work is driven by the autobiographical, the subjective and the idiosyncratic, as a part of living, which reminds us that we ourselves are ultimately difficult wholes, sensuous and confused but very real. The influences of the works of Arvo Pärt, Pina Bausch and Guru Dutt have allowed him to explore the nature of the human condition in relation to the psyche, obsession, time, transience and absence.
His interdisciplinary approach enables one field of work to inform another, complimenting and co-constructing each other throughout the process of creation. Recent commissions and collaborative works include 'Temporal Architecture – alternative models for mobility' with Dvarp & Kosmos architects (Montenegro 2018) and 'Performing Architecture – investigating the relationship of Body, Movement, and Space' a film commissioned by University of the Arts London (Lon 2019).
The Architecture of Shame
Born in Matera and devised alongside the city's successful application to be named as European Capital of Culture 2019, Architecture of Shame is the product of a European research group dedicated to exploring the turbulent relationship between architecture and shame.
The driving ambition of Architecture of Shame is to build a "collective psychoanalytic session for European architecture" by seeking a critical way to talk about European identities and contemporary culture through the special relationship between the feeling of shame and architectural forms. Architecture of Shame will be executed in three phases: research, dialogues and actions. In collaboration with national and international experts and institutions, Matera will partner with Hyson Green in Nottingham, UK, and Favara, Sicily, as key locations to explore a prism of creative spaces and architecture.
Architecture of Shame aims to establish Matera a cultural research centre, and place Matera and its unstable socio-political and economic history as a positive example of a society transcending and reimagining what we consider and perceive as "shame". Architecture of Shame forms a leading part of the cultural programme of Matera 2019.
African Art in Venice Forum 2019
The African Art in Venice Forum (AAVF) is a public and free discursive event presented every other year in Venice, Italy during the opening week of the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte di Venezia and is part of the Here There Everywhere international programme funded by Arts Council England, Ambition for Excellence.
AVVF advocates for a broader spectrum of creative practices and cultural dialogues, and for a more diverse, inclusive, and balanced art ecosystem that nourishes the ability to address individual, societal and global issues of our time.
Presented in collaboration with New Art Exchange, The Africa State of Mind discussion considers how recent photographic practice from Africa is exploring themes of history, politics, race and gender, as well as interrogating ideas of 'Africanness' through subjective renderings of culture and identity on the continent. With, artist Shiraz Bayjoo, independent curator Paul Goodwin, and artist Kiluanji Kia Henda in conversation with Ekow Eshun, independent curator.
Presented in partnership with New Art Exchange, the Biennials' Ecologies in Contemporary African Art discussion will be held with curator Sara Alonso Gómez, curator Sandrine Colard-De Bock, director Elvira Dyangani Ose and curator Christine Eyene. Moderated by Skinder Hundal, Director, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK.
Image: The Uprising of the Oranges by Raffaele Pentasuglia