STAYING AT THE DOLPHIN GUEST HOUSE IN STAMFORD

While setting up my work at Burghley House in Stamford I stayed at the Dolphin Guest House (http://www.thedolphinguesthouse.co.uk/). I would definitely recommend it as I truly enjoyed my cosy  and clean room, the warm welcoming of the landlady and her very friendly and pleasant energy.
I ‘ve also enjoyed my breakfast even if I did not go for the english one I had delicious fresh fruit with yogurt and her very special home made Granola. Also look out for another treat: home baked lemon biscuits.
Plus Stamford is a stunning little town well worth visiting. Another real highlight is Burghley and not just the house but it’s sculpture garden curated by artist Michael Shaw. The exhibition takes place every year from April until November. It’s definitely a great opportunity to see good art surrounded by nature or the other way around: see nature surrounded by art!  (http://www.burghley.co.uk/)

MANY THAKS TO MICHAEL SHAW, CURATOR OF BURGHLEY SCULPTURE GARDENS

I would like to publicly thank artist Mike Shaw (http://www.michaelshaw.org/) who for several years has been curating the yearly Sculpture Garden exhibition at Burghley House in Stamford. Not only has been doing a great job so far as well as making his own amazing art, but he has been a great help hands on in installing my work and welcoming me to site.
While I was assembling my bags he has been digging holes to cement the work, it took almost 2 days to set everything up.

 Unfortunately 4 days later wind and rain worked on bending my trees that soon were all reclining down touching the ground. That made me realize that a 12mm rebar is not strong enough for my bags. I think that we needed 16mm ones to prevent the disaster and another hard day of work for Mike and his assistant Anthony. As much as I am all for change and all my work leaves intentionally and unconsciously plenty of room for disasters to happen, it is difficult to be brave enough to courageously share disaster with an audience. At the moment I still fear that it would be perceived as failure from my part to deliver a proper artwork. Personally I see lots of beauty in the bended trees and feel strangely drawn towards those awquard deformed creatures, that inspire more thoughts than possibly the original intended one could.
So while I am still working at my confidence to resolve the future of my art making, Mike and Anthony will try to resuscitate the work by planting another rebar right next to each tree to strengthen their trunks and reinforce them back up straight.
This is the first time that I have experienced rebar behaving this way. In the past I have been using it quite a bit, although it always was covered by a copper or plastic pipe.
The function of the rebar is not only to hold in place and give shape to bags, but also to be flexible enough so that together with the rest of all the other components of the sculpture will animate the work inducing a natural kinetic action that needs no electricity and no power but is sensitive to the outdoor natural elements instead and inn the end behaves like a real tree would.

‘I WISH I WERE A KITE’, at BURGHLEY SCULPTURE GARDEN

‘I WISH I WERE A KITE’ 
STATEMENT

Rooted into the soil crawling up the sky
I can only reach so far
the wind blowing, pushing, moulding.
Drown in rain engulfed by air
flying high then sinking low at the mercy of the flow.
I wish I were a kite
to trick myself into freedom.
Trees, flowers, grass and a plastic bag
Another link to the chain, tying the air to the ground
I wish I were a kite

just be
part of the relentless stream:
Nature

and surrender to mine

Another obstacle to seize fate.



 

In Stamford at Burghley House Sculpture Garden

A DIRTY DOZEN IS OUT AGAIN! 

This year Burghley Sculpture garden will host 2 of my works, I hope!
The pics you see here are of ‘A dirty Dozen’ an artwork that was on display at Burghley House two years ago. Now the roses like flowers are out there again, only this time in a much more fragile fashion and I explain how: although it’s the same exact work of 2010 that had been stored for 2 years the bags that form the flowers are part of my ealry collection and are much older and well into their decomposition process and about to pulverize into small flakes of white plastic. All the original thorns have already fallen and the corollas are just about keeping their shapes.
To make sure that the plastic dust is not spreading out in the environment I have change the the cellophane wrap, that initially was intended to protect the flowers, with a fresh one that now has acquired a new function: to contain them as well as to shield us from them.
Working with plastic bags for so many years I have become familiar with all their forms of decay but this time it is very exciting to share with the viewers the process of the whole artwork slowly disintegrating before they very eyes and experience the vulnerable fragility of our constructions, at last confirming my predicaments reenforcing my initial artist statement.
Here it is once again:


My work entails the investigation of what I call the “evolution of landscape”, a process started and affected by modern life-styles and consumerism.
These six hundred recycled plastic bags are part of my same collection of many other thousands that I mould over and over into new ephemeral installations. These portray artificial landscapes and mimic the cyclic action of nature in its infinite sculptural forms.
Despite my continuous efforts and great concerns to protect and preserve the original pristine look of the work, this time I have decided to expose it to the transformational agents of time and nature. Could I ever prevent a flower from its wonderful decay?
It is for us to admire all its transitional phases and observe how the “plastic” and natural realms interact with one another.  These six hundred recycled plastic bags are part of my collection of other thousands that I continuously mould into new ephemeral artificial landscapes.
I cannot help but mimic the cyclic action of nature in its infinite sculptural forms to explore the tensions between the contradictions of our neurotic but beautiful world, where the desire for creation and destruction coexist side by side.Despite my great concerns to preserve the work could I ever prevent a flower from its inevitable wonderful decay?

The Opening of the Show Curated by Michael Shaw is on 24th April. The show will run well into the autumn season that will see the landscape and the setting of the art pieces and therefore the artworks themselves change hand in hand with the seasonal flow.
‘A Dirty Dozen’ will not only decay but also quickly be covered up by the all surrounding vegetation.


‘INSIDE’ AT BLANCKSPACE IN MANCHESTER

I’ve just returned from Manchester were I installed my ‘Bed of Breasts’, an installation part of the very exciting group show: ‘Inside’ at Blankspace, another really interesting event organized and curated by Blank Media Collective. I have really enjoyed the whole experience. Working with Blanckspace has been a delight and the opening was packed with lovely people! Do check the space out: BLANKSPACE | 43 Hulme Street | Manchester | M15 6AW | 0161 222 6164.


I would like to warmly thank Mark, Kate, Liz and Jonathan for all they wonderful help and support. 

Friday 30 March – Sunday 29 April 2012, BLANKSPACE, Manchester

INSIDE: 30 March – 29 April 2012

EXHIBITION LAUNCH: Thursday 29 March (6-9pm)

Creative Writing & Visual Arts workshop: Thursday 26 April (2-5pm)

BLANKSPACE, Manchester Free Entry

Participating artists: Claudia Borgna, Philip Cheater, Drop Collective, Gill Greenhough, Rosie Leventon, David Ogle, Emily Rubner, Liz West and Chris Wrigh

Within the insular and atmospheric setting of BLANKSPACE gallery, Inside explores the psychological connections we form with our environment, placing the participant within a collection of works that disturb, envelop, and engage. All the works featured in this exhibition are united by themes of absence, loss, memory, fantasy and nostalgia, sparking the imagination and placing the participant both physically and mentally within the viewing space.

Kate Charlton, Blank Media Collective’s Lead Curator states; “Inside gives us the opportunity to bring together a collection of artworks which are going to encourage the audience to interact with pieces in a new and different way. This is an ambitious exhibition, bringing together an eclectic range of artists helping them to showcase works that may not have otherwise have been realised. Inside will set a precedent to what will be another exciting year for the organisation.”

To accompany the exhibition, there will be a hand-made publication featuring short prose and poetry inspired by the exhibition themes. Collating the work of twelve emerging writers, each of the pieces creates a perfect accompaniment to the exhibition experience.

The work for this show is a further exploration and development of the first ‘Bed of breast’ made at the Los Gatos Art Museum last Autumn.

 Bed of breasts
A found object: a cot
Inside the cot recycled plastic bags.
Everything white.
Like in a dream or a moment frozen in time.
All around rising tall flowers as if guarding the cot.
They are scentless and colourless, waiting for life to touch them.
They are made out of plastic bags.
I move closer and look inside the cot: I see many little airy balls: hollow.
They’re shaped like apples or maybe pears, but also reminding me of pumpkins, but actually no they have nipples: they might be breasts!
I can see them clearly now, through the dim light, their translucent wrinkled skin, gently revealed by a white veil: a patchwork of white plastic bags nestling in a protective blanket manner around them. One, two, hundred of breasts, they are everywhere, around the cot, under it.
In between them I discover a small hand written note and I read: ‘sleepless comforting nights, dreaming of art, of a better world, missing my mum, thinking of Veronica and counting bags’
Lured into this child bedroom by a chorus of twittering birds, I zoom back into the sound and focus on the light that bounces from a video projection into my eyes. I see bucolic rolling hills, hosting a field of white flowers gently rocking in the wind: plastic bags in the landscape.
I cannot see any birds though, I can only hear them.
For an instant I feel cosy and comforted by that environment that reconnects me with my childhood and the child in me.
Then suddenly my hearing picks up again, sensing all the other sounds around. I look to the side: there are empty boxes; someone is in the process of moving in, maybe moving out.
Inside one of the boxes, a feeble light beats: it’s a screen: another dream, another film.
I watch it unfold, and I realized is turning into something grotesque. Fearing for the nightmare to come I read the title: ‘Co-evolutionary extinction: sketch for a fairy tale’
I am about to leave the room and stumble on another box on the floor. It’s not empty either. It contains more images shining away. They spring out at me. This time what I see is uplifting: A playful white plastic bag swirls in the wind framed by a stunning blue landscape, but wait, there are more than just one bag, it’s two now, three, no, oh mine, it’s swarm of birds!
This story links my personal life to my artwork and how they influence one another.
This is the starting point for the viewers to add their own input, informed by their very own experience, in the Duchampian manner when only the viewers can complete the work, which by the way is always in process for me, just as this one.
The aim is to create an intimate space that might be deceivingly comforting and beautiful in order to lure the audience into a scenery that might turn into something else.
A part from all the well known Freudian connotations, of the dream/hope/desire, sexuality/love childhood/adulthood memory/future, illness, birth/death implied by the presence of the bed/cot and of the breasts, I also want to reflect on the relationship between our primordial place of safety with the competitive consumer world we have created for ourselves and for our future generations.
The breasts are organic nurturing symbols for, of course, the female, for motherhood and our connection to nature and mother earth. All these seem to have been objectified and commodified, contaminated by the incessant process, violated and even raped, just like anything else, I say, for the sake of consumption. The latter ruthlessly sucking us in, the very moment we leave that nursing alcove, distorting our values of natural humans beings, leading us to what I believe is a crisis of culture, therefore society and ultimately an existential crisis and angst of the individual.
The 3 videos are the dreams and the fears.
Dreaming is like travelling. Only the imagination can be completely free.
Human beings are not, despite our continuous struggle, I feel constantly suffocated by thousand restrictions that we’ve build for ourselves and for others!
Sometime I think that discarded objects and rubbish seem to have easier access to freely move around the world, than human beings, even despite their negative and criminal effect on the environment they can cross all boundaries and borders and not just the geopolitical ones of our globalized world.
Discarded and found objects also come with their own history DNA, which adds depth to the story and layers of deeper strata.
The boxes represent my life that as much as my art keeps coming out of a box! A packaged nomadic life style!

 The titles of the videos that are part of this installation are:
– ‘Blow me away if you can’
– ‘Co-evolutionary extinction: sketch for a fairy tale’
– ‘Unseasonal migration: travelling plastic bags’