B#SIDE 6

The limes and the invasions

The limes and the invasions

Friuli Venezia Giulia has always held the role of “crossborder territory” because of its geographical position and has served as a meeting point (as well as clashing point) between the East and the West of the world. This has inevitably led to a widespread phenomenon of invasions, starting from the Roman settlement until the XX century: throughout history the territory was occupied by Huns, Goths, Langobards, Franks and even Turks and Cossacks, culturally different people who have all left permanent traces of their passage. Even though some foreign rulers had guaranteed peaceful and prosperous times, we can’t ignore the fact that the continuous dominations gave rise to conditions of deterioration and poverty, which, together with the political instability, have for long prevented this region from thriving to its full potential. This north-east area has been considered as a European protective barrier from the Eastern threat until some decades ago, to the point that during the Berlin Wall years it was even militarized beforehand.

However, the Cold War period was the last time Friuli Venezia Giulia functioned as a defensive position: the outbreak of Yugoslav Wars started a new age in which this region became a haven and a welcoming land for fugitives. Even though today the region’s identity is mainly grounded in the cultural contamination and in the cohabitation of different ethnic groups, it is not possible to erase the invasions and the derived feeling of danger, which have characterized its society for many centuries.

B#Side War has always been attentive to the traces of armed conflicts left on the territory and with this exhibition it aims at underlining the historical aspect of Friuli Venezia Giulia as limes, especially through the comparison with other countries who have suffered the same condition of cross-border land. In the exhibit it is therefore possible to see some site-specific artworks created by four artists during a residency on the territory, but also other works from previous exhibitions curated by IoDeposito, through which the theme can be analyzed from different historical and geographical points of view. Although these experiences might seem outdated in the eyes of new generations, there actually are many people who still find themselves living in similar conditions, therefore it’s up to the arts and culture world to help all these communities, both from the past and living in the present, by making sure that their situation won’t be forgotten.

Works on display

threat from the east

Alice Mestriner

Italia

Ahead Moslemi

Iran

TELEFONO VERDE “Green Telephone”

installazione

Alice Mestriner and Ahad Moslemi are a duo of artists who have been collaborating since 2016, using cultural complementarity as their strong point.

As the title itself suggests, Invasion examines the theme of identity and invasion nowadays, starting from some observations on the islamic society that aim however at encouraging a wider debate on global culture. The artistic installation recreates the environment of a house interior provided with all the classic everyday life objects, which are although covered with a peculiar green textile. This colour, called “islamic green”, is used to contextualise the artwork in the islamic culture and particularly in Iran, native land of Ahad Moslemi.
Through this artwork, which has a highly symbolic value, the two artists materialize the subtle process through which the national culture enters in the individual’s private sphere while also trying to understand its dynamics, that are sometimes difficult to identify: the green fabric tightly stitched around the objects indicates the impossibility of having a personal space completely free from society’s cultural impositions. Mestriner and Moslemi surely highlighted one of the most controversial problems in nowadays world, which is increasingly generating conflicts between mass culture and those individuals who do not identify themselves with the values promoted by it.

Max Boschini

Italy

SPIONI E SPIATI “Spies and spied”

photograph

Max Boschini is a curator and multidisciplinary artist who uses photography, video and artistic installations to express themes which include both an autobiographical point of view and European contemporary history.

Spioni e spiati (Spies and Spied) is a project organized in three dyptchics of photos which examine the difficulties of private life in the DDR, the Democratic German Republic, best known as East Germany. Each photo is divided into two sections, a vertical one on the left portraying the interior of a low-income house and a horizontal one on the right which shows the spaces of the Stasi buildings, the ministry for state security. The latter was the emblem of a minute and invasive control in the private sphere of the citizens, who were forced to live in an atmosphere of terror and oppression.
The belief that every family could hide a potential spy justified the subtle governmental practices of surveillance, which, in Boschini’s artwork appear in the form of the telephone tapping. In the series of photos we can see different placements equipped with telephones, harmless and lifeless objects which in this context convey an ideology rooted in the past, but still permeating our everyday life more than we are willing to admit.

Works in the exhibition

From the residences

Barbara Mydlak

Poland

GATES

Installation site specific

Barbara Mydlak developed the land artwork Gates during her residency in the area of Collio and the border of Gorizia, which has represented a metaphorical door between the east and the west of Europe for many centuries.
The installation came to life exactly from this strong historical and geographical connotation of the territory, which Mydlak decided to materialize: the artist realized a gate at Oslavia, close to the military memorial monument, by using organic materials such as branches of various shapes and dimensions picked up around the place. This impressive gate perfectly melts with the surrounding natural environment, as if it had always been there, watching over all the people who have crossed that border during centuries.
Barbara Mydlak’s artwork is the perfect example of territorial enhancement through land art, which has the power to make all the historical and cultural substratum living in the community’s memory visible and tangible.

Carmela Cosco

Italy

LUCE AL KYTA

Performance

The artwork “Luce al Kita” is the result of a residency that the artist experienced between May and June 2020 in the Isonzo area, where she could come in contact with the local folklore by interviewing historians and activists. Her attention was caught especially by the mythological figure of the Krivapete, independent and free women who lived in contact with nature and were believed to have supernatural powers.

The artwork was inspired by the painting Critica a Krivapete, located at Sottovernassino (San Pietro al Natisone), depicting an ancestral and liberating dance in which the protagonists move around a fireplace close to a cave. In particular, the artist decided to replicate the actions of one of these women, who was focused on braiding a traditional flower garland, the Kita, which symbolized the arrival of spring and the end of winter.

Cosco’s performance consists precisely of the creation of a kita, realized using some characteristic plant species of Natisone valleys picked up by the artist itself during the residency: this action is meant as a symbol of peace and hope after the wars and the invasions that the population of Friuli Venezia Giulia has suffered.

Alice Mestriner

Italy

Ahead Moslemi

Iran

ALBERO A GOMITI

installation

Alice Mestriner and Ahad Moslemi’s artistic residency took place in the area of Canal del Ferro – Val Canale between December 2019 and February 2020. During this time they took the chance to research thoroughly the community and the history of this area, which they later extensively documented in an artistic ethnography. Thanks to this experience, they have created the artistic installation called “Albero a Gomiti”, a kinetic artwork named after a peculiar kind of machine the two artists discovered and admired during their research on the territory.

The artwork consists of a moving platform which ceaselessly mixes some earth personally picked up by the artists in Austria, Italy and Slovenia: this process symbolically recalls the movement of the people who travelled in between those areas for centuries, creating the cultural mixture that characterises Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The linguistic and cultural mixture originated from the mobility of the various social groups has been Mestriner and Moslemi’s main focus in this installation: the two artists have preferred to highlight the dynamics of the encounter rather than concentrating on the conflicts originating from the limes condition, in order to share a message of peaceful coexistence between peoples.

Nantia Skordopoulou

Greece

THE WINDOW/EVE AND ADAM

Installation

The artwork The Window / Eve and Adam was created after Nantia Scordioupoulou’s residency in the area between Palmanova and Cervignano, where she had the chance to analyse the impact of the invasions on the local community’s identity.

After her ethnographic research, the artist decided to create a public land art installation consisting in three reflecting vertical panels, placed in a specific area of the Europa Unita park in Cervignano. The title on one hand gives the idea of the mirror as a window to consider the historical landscape from a different perspective, but on the other hand, due to its format, it connects the artwork to the traditional diptych depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. With this installation the artist aims at establishing a new relationship between the park and the visitors, who are invited to actively take part in the artwork by positioning themselves in front of the mirrors and creating a kind of personal painting.

This kind of participatory art has been transmitted by Nantia Scordioupoulou also to teens and children living in the area through some workshops patronized by Comfort Zone Atelier.

far from fvg

Lang Ea

New Zeland

LISTEN

Installation / concrete

Lang Ea is a contemporary artist who mainly creates sculptures and artistic installations. Through these she aims at facing political and social themes.

Her family history, which involved traumatic experiences related to the downfall of the cambogian regime, enabled the artist to develop a peculiar sensibility for the issues relating to wars and uprooting. However her peculiarity lies in her ability of counterbalancing the intense themes of her art with a certain elegance and formal lightness, characteristics that you can find in this artwork.
Listen is made up of twenty human heads molds of concrete lacking ears and with closed eyes, which recall the depersonalization and the anonymity suffered by the victims of all wars, who can find in this artwork the recognition they have been denied for years. Its power not only lies in the message, but also in the sensibility by which the artist has conveyed it: thanks to the meditative expressions of the faces and to its whiteness, Lang Ea managed to create an artwork with a strong visual impact that can emotionally engage the spectator without resorting to the gory or explicit formal solutions often used for war themes. Even if one of Listen’s objectives is that of denouncing, it actually aims at directing a message of hope in order to wish the victims of past and present injustices to be able to receive justice at last and to rest in peace.

addendum

Methodology

B#Side War, in association with IoDeposito ngo, has examined this theme through the work of both italian and international artists, who have been involved in the project with the tried and tested method of residencies. This way, each participant had the chance to get in contact with the realities of different regional areas by studying their cultural heritage and by immersing themselves in its communities. During their stay, the artists conducted a research project on the territory, by collecting the people’s memories with the aim of involving them in a collective rethinking of the past.

The residency process ended with the creation of artworks which were later exhibited to the public and discussed during meetings with artists and experts: these are great debating opportunities that enrich the community’s culture and raise awareness of the shared historical heritage. As usual, the youngest members of the community haven’t been left out, they were involved in creative workshops with the artists organized by Comfort Zone Atelier.

In the current exhibition, in addition to the artworks created in the residence it is possible to see other art pieces coming from the international net of artists who collaborate with IoDeposito, in order to build a dialogue between chronologically and geographically distant realities but joined by the same past.

addendum

Workshop

Carmela Cosco

Alice Mestriner e Ahad Moslemi

Barbara Mydlak

Nantia Skordopoulou

biographies

Nantia Skordopoulou

Nantia Skordoupoulou is a Greek multidisciplinary artist, who goes easily from painting to photography to installation in her works.
She specialised in painting and scenography in Athens, and today she’s and independent artist with two personal expositions in Greece and many collective expositions in Europe and in the USA to her credit. With her works she aims at making the spectator think about gender definitions and the relationship between human beings and their environment.

Alice Mestriner
Ahad Moslemi

Ahad Moslemi (1983) is an Iranian artist, who personally experienced the consequences of the Islamic Revolution. He studied visual arts between Teheran and Quebec and in 2016 he participated as a lecturer to the Venice Biennale. Since then he lives in Italy, where he collaborates with Alice Mestriner
Alice Mestriner (1994) is an Italian artist, who studied Visual Arts and Multimedia in Venice. In 2016 she participated to the Venice Biennale as a workshop curator, and since that year she collaborates with Ahad Moslemi.
This duo, constituted by two artists coming from different cultures and generations, transforms diversity in complementarity, allowing them to have a bifocal vision on topics such as time, language and identity.

Carmela Cosco

Carmela Cosco is an artist from Calabria, with an education in monumental painting and sculputure. She started participating in national and international expositions before ending her studies and today she also has some personals to her credit.
She mixes performative art and installation, with a preference for the use of organic materials. Her works study the relationship between identity and society, underlining the importance of preserving memories by creating personal and intimate spaces.

Lang Ea

Lang Ea is an artist from New Zeland, although she was born in Thailad. Graduated in architecture and design, she started showing her first works in New Zeland, while today she has a solid career made of international expositions and artistic residencies.
Lang Ea is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the theme of war and its effect on the individuals, which is connected to her personal experience. She creates installations with everyday life materials, such as cement, ceramic, wool and resin.

Barbara Mydlak

Barbara Mydlak is a polish artist who studied Visual Arts. She exposed her artworks both in collective and personal shows, and undertook many international artistic residencies.
Her practice is based on using organic materials which connect with the historical identity, in order to create site-specific land art works. Her poetics revolves around the topics of time and its passing, and the way this affects both human beings and their environment.

Max Boschini

Max Boschini is a multidisciplinary artist from Mantua, city where he lives and works. He participated in many national and international exhibitions, with a preference for festivals and biennials. In this works he uses photography, video, web and installation in order to face topics which study our contemporary history and reality, putting them in relation with autobiographic issues.

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