Mika Rottenberg Cosmic Generator, 2017 Installazione video a canale singolo con sonoro Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg Cosmic Generator, 2017 Installazione video a canale singolo con sonoro Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

La mostra di Mika Rottenberg al MAMbo di Bologna (fino al 19 maggio – a cura di Lorenzo Balbi), la prima in un’istituzione italiana, esplora il sistema iper-capitalista del ventunesimo secolo mettendone in luce i collegamenti nascosti e le sue contraddizioni. Le undici opere esposte, tra le più recenti realizzate, esplorano le condizioni dell’umanità nella società contemporanea attraverso racconti visivi che si nutrono di realtà e finzione.
L’artista di origini argentine, cresciuta in Israele e oggi di base a New York, racconta nell’intervista che segue il suo rapporto con la tradizione cinematografica e con il corpo umano. 

Guendalina Piselli: You graduated in painting. What led you to videos?

Mika Rottenberg: I think I wanted more movement and sound like it wasn’t enough for me to have an object that doesn’t move or make sounds. I was interested in working with time as a medium

GP: Do you use storyboard? Because I was looking at the finger and the ponytail as a piece of a not drawing storyboard…

MK: I do drawing storyboard but it is not so much litteral it is more like to have an overview, it is more like a blueprint of the space, like a written idea. A lot of them are also more like a documentary so they are not really like a storyboard.

GP: In your videos time and space seem to collapse creating a complete story; sneezes, halls and tunnels appear as space-time portals and the characters perform hilarious and repetitive tasks…like in a Bunuel’s film but more colorfully.

MR: Yeah, I like that. I like this idea that time and space get kind of confused. Also, as I was saying before, I use cinema as a sculpture tool so if usually classic cinema develops in time and I like to make these movies develop in space so in the “meanwhile”.
You just see the space through this ability of cinema rather than “this hour happened and after this happened and that happened”. So everything kind of happens in the space together, in same space. Like how it really is. We live in space not in time. I actually sometimes tries to remember myself it is so much better to live in space and in time because time is such a fictional thing but space it is a little easier.

Mika Rottenberg Ponytail (Orange), 2018 Capelli, sistema meccanico Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy Collezione Scott e Margot Ziegler Opera prodotta con il sostegno di: Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, Londra; Kunsthaus Bregenz; MAMbo – Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna

Mika Rottenberg Ponytail (Orange), 2018 Capelli, sistema meccanico Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy Collezione Scott e Margot Ziegler Opera prodotta con il sostegno di: Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, Londra; Kunsthaus Bregenz; MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna

Mika Rottenberg Sneeze, 2012 Video a canale singolo 3’ 2” Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy Collezione Antoine de Galbert, Parigi

Mika Rottenberg Sneeze, 2012 Video a canale singolo 3’ 2” Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy Collezione Antoine de Galbert, Parigi

GP: I read in a few interviews that you choose your actors through the Web so they are not professionals. It reminds me the Italian Neorealism…

MR: Yeah! Pasolini!

GP: How do you select them?

MR: Well, I don’t select them. I will never do an audiction. In the more recent works like the people in the market in China are people that were there and I would asked if they wanted to be in the movie. So I will never switch those women in the market, I will never say like “this person can go there”. They have something about who they are that helps with the develop of the idea.

GP: In all your works the body and the role of women are crucial, what about the men? Which is their role in the videos and in the society?

MR: Good question! I don’t know! A lot of work try to understand the position and the condition of being human in 21st century and being human could be man or woman or in between. So because I am woman, I define myself as a woman, than most of the protagonists are women but I don’t want to make it into this nero agendo where women are the topic because I think this is about the globalisation, consumption and this relationship between the body and the interior space and exterior space. So it is not a women issue, in these works there is not sexuality so much, it is not about the body as a sexual thing, it is more about the body as mechanism of production

GP: One of your recent exhibition, the last one if I am not wrong, was at the new Goldsmit h CCA in London, a building originally commissioned to improve social conditions among the poor working class. The MAMbo building, where’s you’re now exhibiting, was created to carry out the difficult supplies in the city during the First World War: there seems to be something in common.

MR: I didn’t know the history of this building, I knew the Goldsmith was a bathhouse which is interesting for me because especially with this piece the dripping of the ceiling (Untitled Ceiling Projection (video still), 2018, ndr) I saw a connection, I like the site. And this, I heard it was a bread factory, and that really connected to my work

GP: Your art criticizes the hyper-capitalism society but also the observer/consumer who normalized its dynamics and preconceptions. Do you think art can be a solution as well?

MR: No. It is hard to criticize something and also be so much part of it. I am not pointing fingers it is more about also how I am part of it or how the viewer in a way becomes part of it because he/her completes the work. Maybe, in an ideal world, people can make more culture production that is not so much realable to a lot of material. So maybe yes, if people made art instead of other thing it could. But I don’t know because art has an interesting relation to that because it so dependent on capitalist market.

Mika Rottenberg NoNoseKnows, 2015 Video e installazione scultorea 21’ 58” Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg NoNoseKnows, 2015 Video e installazione scultorea 21’ 58” Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 -  Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna

Mika Rottenberg Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 – Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna

Mika Rottenberg, AC and Plant, 2018 Aria condizionata, pianta, vaso, acqua Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg, AC and Plant, 2018 Aria condizionata, pianta, vaso, acqua Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg NoNoseKnows, 2015 Video e installazione scultorea 21’ 58” Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth

Mika Rottenberg NoNoseKnows, 2015 Video e installazione scultorea 21’ 58” Dimensioni variabili Veduta di allestimento presso MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2019 Photo credit: Giorgio Bianchi | Comune di Bologna Courtesy l’artista e Hauser & Wirth