COMING SOON AT PALAZZO BOTTIGELLA IN PAVIA

fotoSome of you might still remember the beautiful Renaissance Palazzo in Pavia: Palazzo Bottigella also called il Gandini.

Last spring my bags passed through that historic city landmark and for few months took over its courtyard and the upper loggia.

Well, this time the Curator Marinagela Calisti invited more artists to invade that space with contemporary art and to open its door to the city life with the show entitled THE ROOMS.

Each artist will interact with one of the Palazzo’s rooms. The exhibitions opens on 27th September.

In the meantime Marinagela Calisti is working hard to create a meeting point for contemporary culture that can embrace the town’s history and its artistic activities and that can also regularly function as a landmark of exchange.

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THE REASON WHY ART IN THE GARDEN HAS BEEN CANCELLED

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!

ART IN THE GARDEN PROJECT PROPOSAL & STATEMENT CLAUDIA BORGNA

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.

ECO DELLE CITTA’

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

Check it out: http://ecodallecitta.it/notizie.php?id=375607

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

PALAZZO BOTTIGELLA: THE VIDEO

Here it finally comes! Now it’s more of a reminder of ‘PASSING THROUGH’ Palazzo Bottigella in Pavia last winter.

The video is longer than usual but this time I really wanted to express the hard work that gets invested into making artworks. Often is tedious and  physical work but a necessary and vital phase to materialize the vision of an idea.

Some people might just like to see the final artwork as in a magic wound pop up gesture. Personally I think that the real magic lies in the process of chasing up an idea until it becomes true. The magic is the  force behind the discipline invested and the commitment to pursuing a creation: a work of art.

In the past year in few but heartbreaking occasions my bags have been thrown away after they had finished serving their function as art.

To me it was unbelievable how a museum and couple of other places took the decision to dispose of my work even if in tatty and decaying conditions, that was actually the point from the very beginning.

These incidents made a very poignant point  that I find relevant to the concept of my work. It is interesting to once again notice how most people view plastic bags as the usual disposable, worthless and cumbersome object that we are impatiently waiting to get rid of.

Well, here it is, this long tedious video partly shows how much time and hardship goes into making the artwork.

What the video doesn’t portray is all the other more hidden phases: collection, storage, deinstalling, dissembling, drying, recycling, packing, documenting, shipping thousand of plastic bags.

Of course it is much easier to get rid of them in the rubbish bin, but that is exactly the point!

Fortunately I was able to reclaim all the bags used for PASSING THROUGH, not even one got wasted! Thank you Mariangela Calisti!

In fact I was also able to recycled plastic pipes and metal wire. Some of the bags here in the videos have been repurposed evolved into a new life and meaning at the  Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains in Lausanne.

Long Live my bags, I say!

RAPUNZEL DON’T LET DOWN YOUR HAIR! A plastic bag fairy tale from MUDAC in Lausanne

image-1000-cropI’ve just got back from Lausanne. The MUDAC experience has been another beautiful Swiss one. Plastic bags of all sorts and kinds, in all forms and shapes have invaded the museum and will inhabit it until October.

It was lovely to meet a new museum crew and to reunite with Wintethur’s Gewerbemuseum once again. Exactly a year later the show ‘OH! PLASTIC SACK’ has travelled to Lausanne to become ‘COUP DE SAC!’,  the second art show fully dedicated solely to plastic bags! Isn’t it great? And certainly about time too!

The artworks presented last year at the Gewerbemuseum have flourished at MUDAC with some great new entries! The plastic bags exhibition is now growing while creating an ideal scenario of loving reunions and exciting new acquaintances.

The initial event’s inspiration was sparked by Ida Marie Corell’s ‘A L L T A G S O B J E KT P L A S T I K T Ü T E’, a book all about plastic bags, a selection of which featured ‘bagsworks’ materialized last year at the Gewerbemuseum under the curatorial-ship of Susanna Kumschick. The show keeps living and evolving thanks to a collaborative effort with MUDAC and its curatorial team led by Susanne Hilpert Stuber.

And by the way before I get too carried away I would like to officially thank the wonderful technicians: Daniel, David, Benjamin, and Dominique and all the rest of the staff like Francoise, Caroline and many other wonderful people.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT ‘COUP DE SAC’ AT MUDAC go to: http://www.mudac.ch/

Also check out some of the artists who are part of the show and I had the pleasure to spend time with:

Nils Voelker: http://www.nilsvoelker.com/

Ida Marie Corell: http://alltagsobjektplastiktuete.wordpress.com

Lea Ricorday: http://www.cooperativedesign.fr/tag/lea-ricorday/

Marie Claire Baldenweg: http://www.baldenweg.com/

Also don’t miss the next shows at the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur. I know it is going to be amazing, all about tattoos and skin and once again curated by Susanna Kumschick: http://gewerbemuseum.ch/en/

mudac

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In the meantime I am posting a selection of picks of my work which, as you know, is site-specific and therefore very different from the one created last year for the Gewerbemuseum.

This time I was offered to interact with two different areas: one indoor and one outdoors. This was an opportunity to dwell in an obvious inside-outside exchange. But then again I am a big fan of the obvious and the banal!

The main inspirations for the work were the museum’s ancient Egyptian collection on display in the basement, the permanent modern glass collection on the top floor and the architecture of the museum’s historic building that boasts typical Swiss features including a tower like structure. Not to mention the all-surrounding white Alps. Each of these ingredients seem to lend itself to a perfect western fairy tale.

‘RAPERONZOLO RAPERONZOLO, NON BUTTARE GIU’ IL TUO CODONZOLO!’ is the title of the work. The title is in Italian (translated from Rapunzel Rapunzel, don’t let down your hair!) and stems from the Brothers’s Grimm Rapunzel tale.

Fairy tales and stories, transitions and transformations, time and vertical spaces are some of the elements with which my bags are playing with.

Plastic bags like hair, an extension of our bodies? Bags an appendix of nature?

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For this occasion the bags constitute a hairy foliage cascading like Rapunzel’s braids inside the museum whilst climbing upwards akin to rampions to form a luscious magic garden of plastic bags connecting present to past, but especially wondering about the future.

Down, from the Egyptian grotto stocked with ancient craft you are elevated up to the loft: nest to a sublime glass collection. The journey is via a modern see-through glossy lift; white plastic bags will accompany you through the transition, from earth to air and from air to earth.

Like in an aquarium or a greenhouse the bags floral or coral formation can be viewed from behind the glass. They are ephemeral vessels that contain our contemporary consumerist life-style. The lift is the vertical mechanism that climbs up and falls down defeating gravity with lightness whilst accentuating the circularity of the cycles all around through a dialogue with its immediate surroundings if not just with the concept of my work.

Plastic bags, the banal invaders of everyday life and of nature, are now crawling inside museums only anticipating their archaeological destiny.

It all started just a few floors below, there, in the Egyptian cave. Continuity, innovation and evolution are the motto of the soon to be archaeological plastic remnants.  And while we are desperate to get rid of them, one day we will fret to preserve them.

But right now everything is disposable. Our most precious resources: nature, off it goes, thrown out of the window. It’s easy, especially driven by an insatiable force: the search for unachievable happiness.

A simple gist, a sudden action an automatic gesture: to throw.

To throw away: both a transitive and intransitive verb very popular in our contemporary vocabulary. A necessary word whose significance is closely tied to western opulent abundance as much as it is an intrinsic part of the dictionary of the plenty. But throwing inevitably forecasts precipitation.

In my vertical enchanted garden, plastic bags are simply moulded, just slightly, only to suggest something possibly appealing but already uncontrollably transforming, falling into the imminent next.

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In this case the appeasing static foliage of white bags transits from the inside to the lively outside of the museum, straight into kinetic whimsical shapes that will morph and rotten at the whims of climate changes and time. A vertical gravitational metamorphosis process that is unstoppable despite all human attempts. Once again aesthetics are only a hybrid tool, a mean and not the end of the work.

Will beauty save the world? Will the prince save the princess from the tower? Will the princess save the prince from the outside world? Just like in Grimm’s fairy tale will we fall in brambles, have our hair cut off and be blinded by another illusion hopelessly waiting for a magical drop of water: a tear?

What do plastic bags represent? An impossible dream of lightness? A profound superficiality? A playful illusion?

Maybe we’ve cultivated plastic bags to create a fabulous garden that even nature can envy.

But will there be a happy ending?

From the top of tower Rapunzel is shouting for help!