Beautifully Shopwrecked: A London Oxymoron


Several months ago I was approached by Cristina Ramos and Elisabetta Rabajoli, two young and promising curators attending Nico de Oliveira’s CURATING THE CONTEMPORARY MA porgramme at the London Metropolitan University.

The fact that I had graduated from that same university and that Nico had been my tutor was just a pure coincidence that led to a very exciting but challenging project.

Elisabetta and Cristina’s elaborated a project where not only I had to come up with a definition for a term to describe or predict London’s future, but I also had to complement that word with an artwork of mine which had to frame the definitions of the terms written for the occasion by writers: Daniel F. Herrmann, Oliver Carruthers, Nick Haeffner, Duncan Hay, Mark Hutchinson, Nina Power and Nick Bearman. To top it all up the work had to be installed by the curators themselves.

But that’s not all. I was away from London and could only fly in on one specific day to bring the artwork in and to view the space. BUT, but, my luggage got lost and landed in Munich instead. Only after one whole and stressful week the luggage chase ended, this time at the post office: the last resort for a last attempt to try to get my work to its final destination.

Well, let me tell you, quite an Odyssey all together. Eventually everything did come together and now I am feeling overjoyed to have been able to be part of this experience.

Elisabetta who I was able to briefly meet at the Venice Biennale  and Cristina who unfortunately I’ve never met, have done a great job with my bags and the show is finally opening tonight at Rich Mix in East London. I would like to thank Pauline Desouza and Hannah Garrett from Diversity Art Forum for all their amazing support in making this show happen. Also, I need to mention that this exhibition is a joint collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery which I think is doing a great job supporting young curators and the London Metropolitan University.

I am posting few pics Cristina and Elisabetta have sent me so far. For more info the link to the venue: The show runs until September 21th

By the way the titles of this work is: Beautifully Shopwrecked: A London Oxymoron

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Here is also the term I came up with and its definition:

To be honest with you I had moments I wanted to swap it with the term Cloudy and with another work of mine titled: It always rains on wet! That would have been very appropriate for London and for adventure.I HEART 3D quick update

Beautifully shopwrecked: A London Oxymoron



Definition of shopwreck

noun (plural shopwrecks)

1 [mass noun] the aggregate of people whose sole economic policies are based on

consumption and whose principles of the market have become universal principles of

human sentiment and behaviour.

• the community that can only function through excess consumerism as by the

commodification of nature and therefore of the fundamental values of human beings.

• the society reduced to dependence from a rampant materialistic ideology where the

greater progressive consumption of goods is economically and socially beneficial but in fact

acts to the disadvantage towards all natural orders.

• the civilization that could only survive whilst anchored to a system of reckless

consumption and waste and whose culture is marooned in materialist values of possession.

2 the collapsing of all social and natural domains into single western market logic.

all that reckless shopping heralds shopwreck


by rejecting conscience, they have made a shopwreck of their future


(be shopwrecked)

(of a person or society) suffer a shopwreck: feel shopwrecked: to shopwrecked a place:

The economy has shopwrecked that Country

He felt as he had just shopwrecked his life

(as adjective shopwrecked)

a person so desperate that seemed shopwrecked

Origin: shop + wreck


Middle English: shortening of Old French eschoppe ‘lean-to booth’, of West Germanic

origin; related to German Schopf ‘porch’ and English dialect shippon ‘cattle shed’. The verb

is first recorded (mid 16th century) in the sense ‘imprison’ (from an obsolete slang use of

the noun for ‘prison’).


Middle English (as a legal term denoting wreckage washed ashore): from Anglo-Norman

French wrec, from the base of Old Norse reka ‘to drive’; related to wreak

London Future: The Floating City 13th-21th September

einvite -Floating City.On behalf of Diversity Arts Forum and curators Cristina Ramos and Elisabetta Rabajoli, I would like to invite you to the London Future: The Floating City exhibition taking place at the RichMix Lower Gallery.
The exhibition will explore the concept of London in the future through a collaboration of phrases and collected ideas to form an index. This index will be the frame for a site-specific installation by Claudia Borgna. Borgna has described the intention of her work as building ‘an awareness and make a comment on the way we are living, on our values and how they effect the environment’ which epitomizes the idea of the London Future exhibition. Borgna will also be showcasing this year at the Cologne International Video Festival and at The Jerusalem Fund Gallery, Washington, D.C. USA. Writers of the index include Nick Haffner, Nick Baerman, Mark Hutchinson, Duncan Hay, Nina Power, Oliver Carrutheirs and Danial F. Herrmann.
For more info click on the Catalogue images here below:
I I would like to officially thank Pauline Desouza from Diversity Forum and Hannah Gatter.

And some rough sketches:

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Waiting Room was filmed at Cap Landen, or better at Enrico Landini’s beach, my favourite place when in Italy. I have been going to this beach for years and always finding it very inspirational. Loads of my videos material and footage have been filmed here. Shame that the plastic bags you’ll see in this video I have rescued from the beach.


Still 5WAITING ROOM and the previous two videos  (FOR SALE NOT FOR SALE and TRA ORIZZONTE, INFINITO E PRECIPIZIO C’E’ IL MARE) posted prior to this, are my last works for this season.Still 1

Next week I’ll start a new adventure at OTIS College for Art and Design in Los Angeles. For the next two years I will be a student again attending Suzanne Lacy’s Public Practice MFA programme.

While I am very excited for this amazing opportunity and to the prospect to intensively learn and experiment again I am also holding my breath in trepidation, wondering what will happen next to my art and I. Where will we be going?8

This video WAITING ROOMS was inspired by PAUL KIKUCHI’s music. The piece is from the album OPEN GRAVES: HOLLOW LAKE and titled: WAITING ROOM! Although other circumstances influenced the making of the film I really liked the idea that this time a video work was created to complement a piece of music rather than the other way around.

I am a great fun of Paul’s work and this is not the first time that we ‘collaborate’ or better that he lends his work to me!

I met Paul at the Montalvo Arts Center in 2012 and would love to meet JESSE OLSEN BAY too. Jesse and Paul perform together in this album, check it out: OPEN GRAVES:HOLLOW LAKE PREFERTURE RECORDS© 2009



Claudia Borgna PVSorry it took so long but we had to wait  until the official press release was made public for the sake of correctness.

The reason why the show at Painswick Rococo Garden has been cancelled is that their partners pulled out over a conflict with a reality television programme leaving them no choice but to cancel.

What a shame!

I am now waiting for my bags to be shipped back to me.

The work’s title was going to be: ‘LATE FROST’

I am posting its brief statement and project proposal just to tingle your imagination of what it could have been!


Title: “LATE FROST: An outdoor temporary sculpture”

Large and conspicuous. Glossy. White. Evergreen.

Once considered special: a luxury, now just another commodity.

Grown in the thousands for horticulture and commercial purposes yet rare in its natural range is considered a threatened species mainly due to its habitat destruction.

Acid soil, rich humus and large amounts of water are what it needs to live. Like human beings it doesn’t tolerate drought.

From East Asia all the way to Verdi’s Traviata and Dumas’ lady, from colonization to globalization, this ornamental plant is witness to a great deal of our modern and consumerist history.

Its extended family now includes a new species only to be seen at Art in the Garden.

I am talking about giant white Camellias made out of recycled plastic bags. They’re up to 10 feet tall.

Bare white stems hold onto large reclining corollas. Like umbrellas their diameters reach 5 feet of width. Sparse white leaves sprout up their one-only stalk.

The flower’s structure is beautifully simple. Rebar poles wrapped up in white plastic make the stems, while plastic bags and metal wire are moulded into the corolla’s petals and leaves.

A little colony of nine camellia-like-flowers will grow in the forest just off the path’s edge. Seven of them will be set on one side of the woods’ trail and the remaining two will stand aside on the other (please see photo for exact location).

Although they will be swaying in the air powered by the wind, their roots will be anchored into the ground (possibly in some cement poured inside a black bin bag to make sure they do not to contaminate the soil).

I will need two days approximately to install the camellias.

The rebar poles are to be ordered and delivered to the site. The corollas and leaves I will have made separately and will carry them with me. In loco I will then assemble the different parts.

All together the intention of the artwork is to complement the existing landscape with fairy-like elements that can suggest a story.

The camellias will blend in as well as stand out from their temporary borrowed surroundings creating a fable-like scenery where nature and culture can briefly coexist in a world of art and poetry.

This short-lived marriage is to raise a series of questions on the relationship between nature and us.

While nature is the continuous source of our culture, can we transform our culture into nature?

Further to this, how ethical is my artwork? Is it another selfish act of exploitation in the name of art? Am I just contributing to diminish the value of both nature and art? And in the end will beauty really save the world like Dostoyevsky proclaimed? And if so what kind of beauty is it going to be?

As much as I try to be mindfully conscious and discrete I will inevitably disturb the balance of an ecosystem affecting it with my artwork if not just by digging a hole into the ground.

Ultimately roots can only be replaced with cement and leaves and petals with plastic bags because I cannot substitute nature but only try to complement it in the most respectful way possible.

Nature and plastic bags both overlooked and taken for granted come together in this occasion to stand out again, distinguish themselves and claim back their special uniqueness while also creating a tension of contradictory values and clashing realities.

Camellias: mirrors of our volatile moods and landscapes witnesses of human anxieties. Ever-changing landscapes destroyed and revived into new forms. Landscapes created by the insatiable need for innovation.


A nice review written by Serena Carta on the show at MUDAC about ‘Coup De Sac”

Check it out:

Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d’arte

Trenta artisti e designer di fama internazionale raccontano il sacchetto di plastica attraverso l’arte contemporanea, dando voce agli interrogativi e le sfide attuali sollevati dal suo utilizzo massivo in tutto il mondo

giovedì 11 luglio 2013 17:42

Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d'arte 
clicca sull’immagine per ingrandire

Serena Carta

Ve la ricordate la fiaba di Raperonzolo? C’era un volta una principessa che aveva i capelli così lunghi che ci si poteva arrampicare su per raggiungere la sommità della torre in cui abitava… Ecco, invece dei capelli, immaginate una liana con petali fatta di sacchetti di plastica che risale la tromba delle scale di un palazzo moderno. Il palazzo in questione è ilMuseo di design e arti applicate contemporanee (MUDAC) che ha sede a Losanna, in Svizzera. Qui, fino a ottobre, sarà allestita “Coup de sac!“, una mostra dedicata al sacchetto di plastica. La liana “Raperonzolo” (foto 1) è un’opera realizzata da Claudia Borgna, eclettica artista di origini nostrane che ama dare vita a paesaggi fiabeschi attraverso installazioni tanto monumentali quanto effimere che nascono dal suo interesse per il paesaggio e il nostro pianeta invaso dai rifiuti.

Simbolo per eccellenza della società consumistica, all’interno del MUDAC il sacchetto di plastica viene rappresentato come un supereroe dai poteri stra-ordinari: la resistenza e (quasi) indistruttibilità e la capacità di inquinare al punto da generare la morte.

Fotografato, accartocciato, ricoperto d’oro, gonfiato, ricamato, è considerato nella sua duplice natura di oggetto d’uso comune “da non disperdere nell’ambiente” e opera d’arte.Trenta artisti e designer di fama internazionale lo hanno raccontato attraverso l’arte contemporanea, esprimendone tutti gli interrogativi e le sfide attuali sollevati dal suo utilizzo massivo. L’ecologia e il riciclo, l’effimero e la trasformazione, il design e l’artigianato, la società di consumo e la politica sono alcuni dei temi affrontati dagli artisti.

La mostra gioca sui contrasti e le contraddizioni. E’ il caso ad esempio della collezione deisacchetti distribuiti nelle strade svizzere e tedesche per raccogliere i bisogni del proprio cane. Un paradosso tutto contemporaneo quello di invitare ad imballare un prodotto organico e biodegradabile con del materiale inquinante difficilmente riciclabile. E cosa pensare di un sacchetto griffato Louis Vuitton abbandonato in un angolo come fosse pieno di spazzatura (foto 2); oppure di sacchetti in seta finemente ricamati esposti in una teca, come fossero oggetti preziosissimi (foto 3)?

L’intento della mostra è quello di osservare il sacchetto di plastica con un nuovo sguardo. «Trasformandolo in oggetto di valore gli abbiamo dato una nuova importanza. Ci penseremo due volte prima di gettare il prossimo sacchetto di plastica» hanno dichiarato gli organizzatori. Ed è per questo motivo hanno scelto di esporre un sacchetto ricoperto d’oro 24 carati (foto 4): un oggetto delicato che rivela una grande complessità, allegoria della nostra società consumistica per cui l’oro e il petrolio sono diventati due materiali indispensabili.

Insomma, dopo la contemplazione estetica si finisce necessariamente per riflettere sul significato che il sacchetto di plastica ha assunto nelle nostre vite. Oggetto di culto o rifiuto, adorato o criticato, il sacco di plastica divide gli animi, li polarizza e rivela il nostro comportamento di consumatori. Rafforza il nostro statuto e la nostra identità, indebolisce l’ambiente, è collezionato per amore o per coscienza ambientale, costituisce un tema di attualità in politica come nell’arte. Ed è così che va letta l’opera forse più virulenta di tutta l’esposizione: la croce gigante composta dai sacchetti di Lidl e Aldi, le due catene di supermercati low cost dominanti in Germania, simbolo di una società che ha fatto del consumo una religione (foto 5). La croce fluttua nell’aria, costantemente gonfiata da un piccolo asciugacapelli. Cosa succederebbe se qualcuno staccasse la spina?

  • Claudia Borgna, Raperonzolo Raperonzolo, non buttare giù il tuo codonzolo! (2013), notizia Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d'arte
  • Ruben Verdu, Louis Vuitton Trash Bag (2004), notizia Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d'arte
  • Lauren DiCioccio, Rose Thank You (2010), notizia Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d'arte
  • (foto 4) Baptiste Debombourg e David Marin, Marx (2013), notizia Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d'arte
  • (foto 5) Iskender Yediler, ALDIPLUSLIDL, (1998), notizia Sacchetti di plastica: a Losanna diventano opera d'arte