Testo e interviste di Carmen Stolfi 

L’aspetto più intrigante di una residenza d’artista è lavorare immerso temporaneamente nelle specificità del luogo. Zygmunt Bauman definirebbe questo networking con il termine glocalizzazione, e così il vocabolario del marketing d’impresa, più semplice chiamarla interazione e integrazione tra usi, costumi, arti e culture. In questi termini nasce il programma di residenze al MACRO: due artisti italiani e due internazionali con i propri studi, e il loro background ma a contatto e a confronto con conoscenze, tematiche e diversità della scena culturale romana e italiana.

Hilla Ben Ari, Sahej Rahal, Jacopo Miliani e Riccardo Beretta raccontano i ‘cosa, come, e perché’ di una residenza d’artista a Roma, al MACRO. 

Artisti in residenza #4. STUDIO SHOWS

a cura di Maria Alicata / 29 novembre 2013 – 19 gennaio 2014

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Text and interview by Carmen Stolfi

The most intriguing side of the artist-in-residence phenomenon is temporarily living and working deep in the specific context of a place. Zygmunt Bauman would define this sort of networking with the term glocalization, and so marketing does – much easier if we call it interaction and integration between folklore, arts, and cultures. Hence, the residency initiative at MACRO: two Italian and two International artists in their own studios, with their own background but in dialogue and plunged in the knowledge, issues and diversity of the Roman and Italian cultural scene.

Hilla Ben Ari, Sahej Rahal, Jacopo Miliani and Riccardo Beretta report the what, how, and why the choice of an artist-in-residence program in Rome, at MACRO.

? CS MACRO – Studio Shows #4

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Studio di Hilla Ben Ari,   MACRO,   Roma,   2013

Studio di Hilla Ben Ari, MACRO, Roma, 2013

Interview with Hilla Ben Ari

Why did you choose to go to a 4 months residency in Rome? What was appealing to you when you decided to apply for the MACRO A-I-R program?

Hilla Ben Ari: I applied cause I saw it as an extraordinary opportunity to further develop my research. I thought that working on a new project, conception to production, within a museum, would have been an interesting experience and I liked the idea that the studio space would have become at the end the exhibition space, with no gaps in between. I was very curious about it. The city was also appealing to me. I love Rome very much, and I thought the program was a great opportunity to spend here some time, to get new inspirations and to know the city’s art scene.

What do you look for in a residency?

H.B.A.: To work in an unfamiliar place which opens to unexpected and intriguing encounters, knowledge and ideas exchanges. I also always look for professional environments that can support my practice and that allow me to focus intensively on my research. I look for good studio spaces and, of course, locations – I like residencies in big cities.

Would you tell me a bit more about the project you will be showing in the final open studios exhibition?

H.B.A.: My installation composed of two video works and a large industrial-like structure made of rusty-metal-resembling paper. The installation is inspired by the mythological character of Lucretia. Her rape by the Etruscan king’s son and her consequent suicide were the immediate cause of the revolution that overthrew the Monarchy and established the Roman Republic. The videos (that play in a loop) show a female figure maintaining a difficult posture, still. In one of the videos, the female body is posed in sort of a loop, like a self-violence. In the second video there’s a force imposed on the body but it’s invisible and located outside of the frame. In the works I deal with the co-existence of power and vulnerability and the connections between the female body and the political and social aspects. The videos and the structure raise questions about the complex, entwined relationship of support, control, power, violence and resistance.    

How would you say this experience has helped your artistic research?

H.B.A.: This experience allowed me to develop the project as a whole, and I believe this will influence my upcoming projects as well. The Residency’s facilities allowed me to deal with the great challenge in building this large scale structure, and also to research on Roman mythology, to develop a workshop which based on my research and to take part in many interesting meetings. I’m grateful for the support the Museum staff gave me, especially the program coordinator, Rossana Miele, and the interns Fabrizio De Cunto and Francesca Castiglia.

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Studio di Jacopo Miliani,   MACRO,   Roma,   2013 Foto Luis do Rosario

Studio di Jacopo Miliani, MACRO, Roma, 2013 Foto Luis do Rosario

Intervista con Jacopo Miliani

Perché hai scelto di trascorrere una residenza a Roma? Cos’era per te stimolante quando hai deciso di fare richiesta per una residenza d’artista al MACRO?

Jacopo Miliani: Mi interessava l’idea di fare una residenza all’interno di un contesto museale e investigare potenzialità e limiti legati a un’istituzione come quella del MACRO. Avevo inoltre seguito i risultati delle precedenti residenze e mi interessava la possibilità di lavorare a Roma per un periodo di tempo.

Che cosa ti aspetti da una residenza?

J.M.: Durante una residenza, un artista ha spesso l’opportunità di fare esperienza del proprio lavoro attraverso uno sguardo diverso dai suoi percorsi quotidiani. L’esperienza di una residenza può legare l’artista a una processualità diversa da quella del proprio studio o dalle finalità espositive. Infatti durante una residenza si creano una serie di legami e connessioni con il luogo e il contesto che nelle singole mostre non hanno il tempo di emergere in modo cosi approfondito, ovviamente anche a causa della diversa durata tra un progetto espositivo e una residenza. Quello che mi interessa in una residenza sono proprio questi legami e la possibilità di mettersi in discussione.

Puoi raccontarci qualcosa in più del progetto che presenterai alla fine della residenza?

J.M.: L’idea, per me, interessante del progetto di residenze al MACRO è quella di trasformare lo studio in cui ogni artista ha lavorato per quattro mesi, in un vero e proprio progetto espositivo. Ecco che quindi la natura processuale deve concretizzarsi in un’idea rivolta e formalizzata per un pubblico. Durante questi mesi ho continuato la mia ricerca sul corpo, lo spettatore e l’idea di rappresentazione. Ho creato delle sculture/paraventi direttamente connesse alla teatralità del corpo che vengono attivati sia dalla presenza delle palme (riferimento visivo costante nel mio lavoro) sia dagli spettatori, diventando entrambi personaggi di un possibile palcoscenico. Presento inoltre una video installazione che è il risultato spontaneo di un workshop da me condotto con persone non vedenti a cui è stato chiesto di rispondere a monolitiche domande: ‘Cos’è il teatro? Cosa sono le immagini?’ Non avendo mai lavorato con la diversità dei non vedenti, conducendo questo esperimento al limite del fallimento e aprendomi totalmente all’imprevisto mi sono davvero sorpreso del potenziale dell’assenza e della presenza delle immagini non solo visive.

In che modo questa esperienza ha aiutato la tua ricerca artistica?

Sicuramente ho attraversato quella processualità di cui parlavo prima, ma forse è ancora troppo presto per me guardare all’esperienza della residenza con uno sguardo a posteriori.

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Studio di Sahej Rahal,   MACRO,   Roma,   2013 Foto Luis do Rosario

Studio di Sahej Rahal, MACRO, Roma, 2013 Foto Luis do Rosario

Interview with Sahej Rahal

Why did you choose to go on a 4-month residency in Rome? What was appealing to you when you decided to apply for the MACRO A-I-R program?

Sahej Rahal: The Zegnart Foundation in collaboration with the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in India selected me for the artist in residency program at MACRO. It has been a huge honor for me to be part of the residency and work within the context of Rome.

What do you look for in a residency?

S.R.: I feel each residency I’ve been a part of until now has presented new sets of challenges and insights. Having graduated with a BFA in 2011, I consider my time in residence as an extension of my education, where I’m allowed to open up my practice and experiment within different contexts.

Would you tell me a bit more about the project you will be showing in the final open studios exhibition?

S.R.: The sculptures I have been working on at the museum are constructed from objects I have found not only in the museum itself but also in dumpsters around Rome. I see the objects as relics and totems of lost civilizations but also gesturing towards science fiction.

How would you relate your work full of Indian culture (rituals, mythologies, storytelling) to the local cultural context of Rome, and Italy as a whole?

S.R.: I draw upon myth and lore not just from India but from multiple cultures, but at the same time I’m also looking for resonances between residues of those cultures and their resonances in cyberpunk and sci-fi, as well as ways in which these objects recur as motifs within art history.

How would you say this experience has helped your artistic research and practice?

S.R.: From day one I was extremely excited about working within the exhibition space itself, this allowed me to not only work on the sculptures together in situ, but also make decisions within the space on the fly. I felt this gave me a chance to bring the sculptures together in a conversational manner as opposed to working on each one separately.

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Studio di Riccardo Beretta,   MACRO,   Roma,   2013 Foto Luis do Rosario

Studio di Riccardo Beretta, MACRO, Roma, 2013 Foto Luis do Rosario