Split for the first time over two chapters, Fiorucci Art Trust’s yearly festival of contemporary art began earlier on in February 2018, when it was invited to be part of the fourth Dhaka Art Summit: an international, non-commercial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture founded in 2012 by the Samdani Art Foundation.
This was the first time Volcano Extravaganza moved so far away from its native cradle.
Curated as per tradition by Milovan Farronato, the programme sees Runa Islam as the Artistic Leader. The core group of participants is composed by Cecilia Bengolea, Alex Cecchetti, Alec Curtis, Patrizio Di Massimo, Haroon Mirza, Tobias Putrih and Osman Yousefzada. On occasion of the Strombolian chapter, there will be new contributions by Lydia Ourahmane andMalala Andrialavidrazana.
Runa Islam is not new to the island: in 2009 she was the first artist to ever be invited to Stromboli by Nicoletta Fiorucci and Milovan Farronato, when the Trust was yet to be born and the first Aeolian summers were months-long residencies conceived to create a free space of thinking and inspiration. At the time, Islam realised her film This Much Is Uncertain and today she will present the initial outcome of a new work which was shot in Dhaka during the Summit.
Other recurrent figures are Haroon Mirza (Artistic Leader of the 2014 edition of Volcano Extravaganza, Forget Amnesia), and Alec Curtis, who joined as a NTS contributor and gradually became a regular presence.
First-time participants to Stromboli are instead Alex Cecchetti, Patrizio Di Massimo, Cecilia Bengolea, Tobias Putrih and Osman Yousefzada, as well as Lydia Ourahmane and Malala Andrialavidrazana, who will orchestrate site-specific works. Also contributing to the festival for the first time is Dhaka Art Summit’s Chief Curator Diana Campbell Betancourt, who will participate with an introductory speech, together with the Trust’s Curator.
Malala Andrialavidrazana, ECHOES (from Indian Ocean), Courtesy the artists
Runa Islam featuring Tobias Putrih, White Cube Hoxton Square London, 2008
Patrizio Di Massimo, The lion tamer, 2017, Courtesy T293, Photos by Adam Reich
Cecilia Bengolea, To dance to Remember, 2017, courtesy of the artist,
The title Total Anastrophes refers to a figure of speech where part of the sentence is moved and placed differently than usual. E.g. And back we will go, to Stromboli. Hinting at the hidden possibilities achievable when making the constants variables, the programme explores ideas around the emotional body, trans-genetic and collective memories and states of latent dormancy. While in Bangladesh, the festival took over the auditorium of the Shilpakala Academy, metaphorically transforming it into a theatre inside a volcano by creating an echo-chamber, an emotional cradle of the subconscious animated by live performances, screenings and soundscapes.
For its return in Stromboli on the last weekend of July, the theatre-come-volcano will be reactivated, reinforcing the tautology of self-introspection initiated in Dhaka to reverberate both Runa Islam’s and the Trust’s collective remembrances. Physical and psychological leftovers of the leftovers will be re-elaborated, as well as each one’s fragments of memory, residual materials, and all the outtakes, offcuts and scraps of the previous output. There will be still space for improvisation, but within a script which will be followed by everyone in the collaborative spirit of the program.
On July 27, Tobias Putrih will display his new screens-structures, made in arundo donax (a diffused reed which has belonged to the Sicilian agricultural tradition for centuries) on the patio and rocky terrace of La Lunatica: one of the Trust’s venues on the island, overlooking the sea. Inside the venue Patrizio Di Massimo will present a series of paintings: portrayals of the Total Anastrophes participants (and of some of the Fiorucci Art Trust’s characters, at large), engaged in statuesque entanglements, all belonging to a new cycle of research expanding on the theme of the fight. Welcoming the visitors at the entrance, there will be an especially commissioned work by Malala Andrialavidrazana, a geopolitical map creating a bridge between Dhaka and Stromboli. After sunset, when the light will fade and the paintings and sculptures will have disappeared in the night, the theatre will once again be activated for about an hour, through the contributions of all the participants, optimising the outcome of our past experiences. Once again Putrih's architectures will function, thanks to appositely positioned drapes of fabric, as moveable screens for a series of projections—these will also include Runa Islam’s film shot in Stromboli and the film footage of our echo-chamber rehearsals that Islam directed in Dhaka, congenially edited by Anna Franceschini—another historic presence in the Trust’s volcanic enterprises. The moving image will be at times intercut, at others intertwined, with altered sonorities. Transported from Bangladesh, Haroon Mirza’s mixed media device will support Alec Curtis in manipulating our soundscape, so that the audio contributions will be once again distorted and ricocheted in the air.
On July 28, at sunset, Casa Falk in the Piscità district will be courteously open to the public by its owner Martin Hatebur. There, Osman Yousefzada will present a Total Anastrophes—based capsule collection, for which he will create a limited number of garments inspired by plate tectonics theory, matryoshka dolls and the island itself. Instead of a catwalk, the garments will be organically introduced through the designer’s new format of the house party, and will be worn by locally cast models. Presented by The Store X and The Vinyl Factory, Cecilia Bengolea will perform a new choreography, evoking the primordial symbol of the serpent with its mutating qualities. Later on, as per tradition, the night will continue at local Club Megà, an amphitheatric platform carved in the volcanic rocks, where there will be another iteration by Bengolea who will dance again and involve the audience in a collective masterclass rhythmed by the low frequencies of emotional sounds and accompanied by an especially dedicated DJ-set, still courtesy of The Store X and The Vinyl Factory.
On July 29, the conclusive evening will start with a performative intervention by Alex Cecchetti, a reiteration of his piece Tamam Shud. Accompanied by soprano Adonà Mamo the collective walk will take us to the other Fiorucci Art Trust venue, rooted on the slopes of the volcano. (Cecchetti will also present other impromptu interactions over the course of the weekend). There, Runa Islam will screen the first, rough montages from a new work in progress, filmed in Dhaka. Imagery of eyes, steam and tears will be projected, almost like a reenactment, following the 2011 original display of Islam’s film as well as against the murals of underwater creatures left behind by Camille Henrot in 2016. Glimpses of the Dhaka vegetation shot from the roof the Shilpakala Academy will be projected on to the wild, Mediterranean garden surrounding the location.
An Instagram takeover will be run by multidisciplinary artist SAGG Napoli throughout the weekend.
Upon returning on the mainland, Naples-based Residency 80121 and Relais Regina Giovanna in the nearby coastal town of Sorrento, will host Total Anastrophes for a few, final eruptions, in the evening of July 31. While witnessing nightfall through a promenade in nature alongside the pathways of the Relais’ bio-farm, the Trust’s Director Milovan Farronato will be in conversation with some of the participants, sharing with the audience tales from previous days, and creating one last immersive and collective atmosphere of remembrance before the conclusion of this edition.
In the labyrinthine walk across the space, plaster masks and faces appear, intertwined ceramic tongues talk to one another, fragments of texts poured into plaster balls are suspended at eye level. The exhibition unfolds then almost as a declaration of love to existence and to the body beyond the tangible. Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
In the beginning was the wall. Before geo-politics, Pink Floyd or wall-drawing was the structure itself: a divider between us and the rest of the world, it builds on the promise of all civilization, of protection and enclosure, of distinguishing that which we have claimed as ours from that which is not. Gladstone Gallery, New York