February – May 2014 // Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris
September – October 2014 // AlbumArte, Roma
In the present era of mobility and dematerialization, the artist is ever more often required to evoke the presence of the work, even when it is not physically on hand. The narration of a process, the documentation, and in some cases also fictional invention or false representation, have become an increasingly important part of our experience of the artwork. Thus the artist’s studio can also exist outside of any precise physical place, in a dimension that could be defined as portable. It can be located elsewhere, thanks to the artist’s specific skills and the modalities that he or she uses for transmitting images. Duplex, an experimental marathon of visits by artists outside the walls of their own studios, is based upon the awareness of this fundamental fact.
This novel development was carried out for the first time by the curatorial duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, from February to May 2014, during their period of residence in Paris as a part of the Cité Internationale des Arts program, supported by the Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall). In September 2014 the project will continue in Rome, where it will be produced by AlbumArte and co-curated by its Artistic Director Maria Rosa Sossai as a part of the cultural twinning scheme Tandem Paris-Rome 2014, which is promoted by the Institut Français in Rome.
During the period of their residence in Paris earlier this year, the curatorial duo closely investigated the city’s art scene. Various important figures who are particularly active in the context of contemporary art in the city helped them and gave them precious advice in their research. These included: Kathy Alliou – the head of the department of scientific and cultural development of the dell’École Nationale Superieure de Beaux Arts, Marianne Derrien – an independent critic and curator, Elisabeth Lebovici – an art critic and professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Claire Le Restif – the director of the Crédac Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry, Christian Merlhiot – the education director of the Pavillon Neuflize OBC (Palais de Tokyo); Caroline Niémantv- the curator and founder of the magazine Peeping Tom, Chiara Parisi- the director of the cultural programs of the Monnaie de Paris, Jean-François Rettig – the director of the new media festival Les Rencontres Internationales.
These exceptional consultants brought various artists to the attention of the curators-in-residence, so that they could create a wide-ranging cartography uniting some very different kinds of artistic research. This soon led to a sort of marathon of studio visits, in a mental more than in the strictly physical sense, since the meetings were held all in the same place: the temporary bureau of the curators at the Cité Internationale des Arts in the heart of the historic Le Marais district of Paris.
The inversion of the usual practice of the studio visit – which of course does not rule out the more traditional modality – is an attempt to put reciprocity and narration at the centre of the relationship between the artist and the curator, re-establishing it as a kind of therapeutic setting. When they are outside their context of production, artists tend to enter a dimension of storytelling: an essential space in which they can reinvent their ways of representing themselves. The curators in their turn, who are no longer hosts, discover new ways of welcoming, receiving, asking, observing, listening and narrating their own projects and ideas.
During these months, together with this in-depth look at the Parisian artistic panorama, a way forward for both artists and curators, based on deeper affinities, was gradually constructed, and this will be developed into collaborations in the long term.
It is in this spirit that, out of the over 100 artists that the two curators met, one was selected to continue this interesting dialogue by means of a residency, due to take place in the autumn of 2014 in the newly inaugurated headquarters of AlbumArte in Rome. Invited by the president of AlbumArte Cristina Cobianchi and the artistic director Maria Rosa Sossai this artist in residence, with curatorial duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, will be Christine Rebet. Born in Lyon 1971 but a New Yorker by adoption, Rebet will develop the discourse that she began in Paris with the two curators regarding the idea of the “spatialization” of the drawing. In fact this French artist’s work mainly concerns the drawing as a means for reading and interpreting the repressed traumatic forms of history, which are then transformed into installations, sculptures, animations and performances.
The culmination of the process of research and creative exchange will be a final exhibition, which will also constitute the inauguration of the exhibition space of AlbumArte in October, at Via Flaminia 122, Rome.