Fascinated by the special view over the stunning architecture of Milano Centrale Railway Station, and amused by a playful beautiful cat, we have been welcomed by Andrea Lissoni, curator at the HangarBicocca and co-founder of Xing network.
DROME: What are the inspirations and the difficulties of your role at HangarBicocca?
ANDREA LISSONI: Considering the size and the structure of its spaces, the HangarBicocca brings about many inspirations as well as difficulties. Over the last few months, we have managed to sort out some operational and load handling problems, thus making everything more consistent and well-planned. An inspirational fact is dealing with a management that is very familiar with the contemporary culture and wants to understand which route can be taken in order to find an intelligent mediation between the research and being open-minded and educational. The centre will has been reopened on April 11th with the presentation of a retrospective exhibition dedicated to two different visual artists that I consider very important, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, alongside the installation Shadowplay by Hans-Peter Feldmann. During all 2012, we will be working on site-specific works in each space. We like considering the Hangar as an open and constantly changing space. Indeed, we have entrusted to the group of Indian architects of Studio Mumbai the task to conceive a sort of pavilion that changes its shape over the course of the year. The Hangar, thanks to its special characteristics, can be viewed as a sort of time capsule as regards time and motion, and it is very interesting to understand what role contemporary art can play in such a place. The aim is to offer not only something visual, but also something capable of generating a reflection. It is a great enterprise.
D: Moreover, you keep on working on the social platform Xing, of which you are a co-founder. The Live Arts Week will soon take place, rekindled from the ashes of Netmage and F.I.S.Co. Why this change? And who is Gianni Peng?
AL: Xing has always been a free project, shared, though rigorous and demanding, a real challenge for me from the intellectual point of view. The choice to disband the two festivals was the consequence of many factors. With Netmage somehow we felt like we almost “scraped the bottom of the barrel” with regard to its contents, we believed we had presented the most important researches and that we had spread some good growth formulas over the territory. Pretty much the same thing happened with F.I.S.Co. Moreover, in such time of crisis, organizing another festival just few months later results to be costly. We want that Gianni Peng / Live Arts Week becomes a real “urban” event and that the audience can go and have in Bologna an exciting stay rich with reflections. As for its name, we thought that the best way to describe this new project was to consider it not as a mixture of disciplines, but as an ever-evolving individual. Gianni Peng, in a way, might be a real person, which will be changing and will have some moments of rebellion or of discovery. Obviously, it is just a metaphor or a suggestion, one amongst the many potential and perhaps not totally reliable, but the most important thing is that this is a project made of people more than of concepts.
D: How would you define your approach to art, more physical or mental?
AL: Honestly, I think it’s more physical. I always think about the way we move into the space, also because personally I deal more with the moving image and with sound. But, at the same time, there’s nothing in the world that urges me to reflect more than art does. For example, I often can’t wait to attend a festival in order to come back home filled up with new ideas and inspirations.
D: Did you recently attend any exhibitions or event that struck you or that you would recommend?
AL: The AV Festival in Newcastle, or Festival in Slow Motion. It has an intriguing point of view: everything that is showcased is extremely slow, from concerts lasting for hours to works by filmmakers obsessed with time and length, like James Benning. It is just a different way to explore the art scene and also a sort of jeer at London Olympic motto 2012: “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. Then, another beautiful exhibition was the one by Jeremy Deller at the Hayward Gallery in London. In Italy, I attended a very interesting gig by Lee Scratch Perry and Mad Professor, a really strong performance halfway between reggae and dub. Another exhibit that I saw was “Animism. Modernity Through the Looking Glass” at the Generali Foundation in Vienna.
D: An artist that you would have loved to meet?
AL: I would have liked to meet the American filmmaker and performer Jack Smith. I think he was a genius, a figure halfway between a magician and a charlatan, totally underground in the purest and most poignant sense of the word. In this respect, a curious episode occurred to me. One day, I happened to find some traces of his passage to Italy and, when the London-based organisation Form Content invited me to take part in an exhibition with a radio project, I thought to ask Chiara Fumai, an artist whose work is partially similar to the imaginative world of Jack Smith, to start out on a mediumistic journey through the radio in order to get to a performance that Smith had in 1981 at La Panteca Volante in Genoa.
D: Your personal recipe to preserve art?
AL: I believe that the most important thing is to keep showing the things we believe in and to ensure that the artists who work hardly and authentically have the chance to make their work public. My recipe, if ever there’s one, is to organise exhibits that reproduce imaginative worlds thus urging people to reflect. The trick is to know well the ingredients used by each artist so that, if mixed together, the tasting experience might change. To try to discover new flavours in order not to live predictable experiences is already a great starting point.
DROME suggests you to not miss:
LIVE ARTS WEEK
Bologna, from April 24 to 29, 2012
NON NON NON (Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi)
SHADOWPLAY (Hans-Peter Feldmann)
Via Eugenio Chiesa, 2
Milan, until June 10, 2012
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