The Warp and the Weft
The Stuffed Shirt
4 October – 10 November, 2012
Opening Wednesday, 3 October 2012, 6.30 PM
Danilo Correale uses a broad range of techniques and expressive instruments such as photography, video and collaborative processes that draw on the collective imagination, popular culture and the contemporary media landscape to open up new interpretative paths through which one can approach the production modes of today’s subjectivity. His work revolves around a critique of the institutions that govern our society, from cultural ones to those directly tied to the economic system. Financial capitalism and the mechanisms of power that regulate its balances are central to the research of this artist, who has recently concentrated on the corporate aesthetic and the way in which it is reflected on society.
The project conceived for Peep-Hole is part of this research and consists of a representation of global economic relations through the use of industrial fabrics as the metaphor for “warp and weft” on which the flows of the financial system are based. The Warp and the Weft consists of the production of five different tartan fabrics presented through a single large installation that dominates the first room of the exhibition space.
Each of the tartans designed by the artist is composed of a series of colours chosen strictly based on the corporate colours of the logos of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. The five tartans distinguish various “clans” in a visible interweaving ready for a new transformation and introduction on the market. The five fabrics represent codes that refer directly to different geographical areas where the institutions are present with more influential economic assets: North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
The colour code, of which tartan plaids are a tangible representation, denote the elaborate interweaving of direct and indirect relationships that regulate the world economy, proposing a reflection on colour theory and its application in the realm of corporate identity. For example, the colours chiefly used by the most influential institutes are blue and red, which correspond to two broadly shared approaches. The former conveys trust, stability, credibility and clarity; the latter transmits energy, power, determination, passion and desire. Textiles also represent consumer goods that have historically been the basis for consolidating the routes of world trade and they are a metaphor for “apparent solidity”. In fact, weaving is solid in its completeness, but extremely fragile in its composition, as the smallest defect or wilful alteration will inevitably ruin its design.
The choice of tartan plaid is also tied to the nature and history of this fabric, which has always identified appurtenance to a restricted group of individuals, be it on a family, athletic or corporate level. Typical of Scottish clans, who adopted the characteristic colours of their geographical possessions to define their own exclusive fabric, tartan was historically used on the battlefield to distinguish the individual clans. Even today many families and companies have one that distinguishes them like a unique and original signature. This fabric is closely connected with golf, an elite sport that, more than any other, represents a status, and whose informal context is increasingly tied to political and economic dynamics.
The Warp and the Weft is part of the cycle commenced in 2010 with the video The Surface of My Eye is Deeper than the Ocean (Pareto Optimality, Supportico Lopez, Berlin, 2011), followed by the exhibition We Have a Business Proposal … (Raucci/Santamaria, Naples, 2012), devoted to investigating the relationship between linguistics and economics, an embryonic study based on the method of verifying and translating gestures tied to the instruments with which contemporary subjectivity is established. The common thread linking these projects is the study of the most symbolic aspect through which the diseases of the capitalistic system become tangible in various areas of our society and the identification of codes that tend to open a new dialogue with the typical inaccessibility of power, a dialogue through which we can launch a process to regain possession of language, symbols and words.
Danilo Correale (b. Naples, 1982; lives and works in London) earned a degree in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies in 2006 at the NABA Fine Arts Academy of Milan. He has participated in numerous collective exhibitions, including the Moscow International Biennial for Young Art, Moscow (2012); Sotto la strada la spiaggia, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, (2012); Enacting Populism, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2012); Manifesta 8: The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Murcia (2010); Sindrome Italiana, Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, Grenoble (2010); Emerging Talents, Fondazione Strozzina, Florence (2008). Solo shows include We Have a Business Proposal of …, Raucci/Santamaria, Naples (2012); Pareto Optimality, Supportico Lopez, Berlin (2011); We Are Making History, Entrée, Bergen (2011); How much art can you take?, Spazio Chan, Genoa (2009). Correale has held several residencies: International Fellowship, VIII Festival de Performance de Cali – Helena Producciones, Colombia (2012); Mazama Art Residence, Seattle (2011); Corso Superiore di Arti Visive Fondazione Ratti, Como (2010); Fondazione Spinola Banna (2010); Night School Program, Seminarium with Raqs Media Collective, New Museum, New York (2009).
Anna Franceschini uses film as a symbolic and evocative device through which she defines a crystalline language of moving images. Her research moves towards “pure cinema” and relies on the structures and languages of art as a tribute to both early and experimental cinema in its main expressive and theoretical orientations: the art of image, abstract and conceptual visual writing, freedom from narrative constraints. In her works the artist almost entirely excludes the human figure to concentrate on places and objects that become the terrain for investigating the enigma of existence.
For her solo show at Peep-Hole, Franceschini has made a new film, The Stuffed Shirt. The work alludes to an idiomatic expression that is no longer used much and it stars a “dressman”, an automatic ironing system used by industrial laundries to eliminate creases from shirts and trousers. The “dressman” fills the shirts with life, almost making them explode; it pushes them to the limit, to a sort of cardiac arrest that makes the garment collapse.
The artist uses the camera as a resuscitator, a sort of heart-lung device of the moving image. Through a machine – the 16mm camera – for short repeated seconds Franceschini gives a fleeting humanized image to another machine: the press.
The installation probes the dual nature of the “dressman”. An inert and inoffensive mechanical aid, almost pitiful because of its incomplete and slightly oversized body, the iron manikin then swells up suddenly, looming over people to become a monster that, escaping human control, can cause catastrophes. The non-human creatures of gothic and fantasy literature, but also of traditional and folk narrations, instantly come to mind. But it is above all cinema – the quintessential golem machine – that has paid tribute to them from the very beginning, with the likes of Frankenstein, zombies and robots, and on to Robocop and the affable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who in Ghostbusters panics the population with his immense white body as he goes around New York City.
The work is composed of filmed segments that are then digitalized, in which the audio – field recordings, to which the synthetic glissando of a harp has been added – works through superimposition to saturate the space hazily.
“If we try to conceive of the exhibition as a film idea that has been fragmented, scattered and then concentrated again, it is easy to see that the story never begins: the three projections can be viewed as reifications of three tragic acts and the monitor in the mezzanine as an angelic, interminable ‘The End’. The machines, celibate and a little innocent, enter the scene, from darkness into light, voilà. Curtains, footlights. They attempt to act, they play a part. Their movements are stiff, never relaxed, as if this were the first rehearsal of a piece. ‘The acting is so machine-like, mes chers amis!’ Never has a director’s complaint been more literal. The soundtrack is on a par: four notes of a theme we will never hear, the melodious sound of a harp, imitated by a computer, blends in with pistons and metallic clinking and clanging. It is the eternal Hitchcockian incipit, the mechanism of suspense thwarted by its continuous reprisal, always the same, for ever. It is an entrance – action! – that never changes, that has no end or purpose but to move about and move yet again, only to stop.” (A.F.)
Intending her artistic practice as animated – or re-animated – film, Anna Franceschini simply repeats what cinematography has considered its priority from the very beginning. The example of Edison, who considered the ensemble of his films as a sort of “animated photo album”, is enlightening. After a series of works devoted to automata and even a period spent revitalizing stuffed animals through film, in The Stuffed Shirt the artist – ever in search of the perfect non-human actor – takes on the task of directing a mechanical chorus at its debut.
Anna Franceschini (b. Pavia 1979; lives and works in Brussels) earned a master’s degree in Television, Cinema and Multimedia Production in 2006 from IULM University in Milan and was then awarded a postgraduate research fellowship in History and Criticism of Italian Cinema. Her videos and films have been selected by numerous film festivals such as the 60th Locarno Film Festival (2008) and the TFF/Torino Film Festival (2008). She has participated in various collective shows, including The Flying Carpets, Villa Medici, Rome (2012); A Text is a Thing, Vistamare/Benedetta Spalletti, Pescara (2011); The Eleventh Hour, Futura, Prague (2011); Videoreport Italia 2008-09, GC.AC., Monfalcone (2010). Solo and duo shows include Halation, Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2012); Subjective projektionen: Anna Franceschini, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefelder (2012); Thea Ddjordjatze: Quite Speech in Wide Circulation / Screening room: Anna Franceschini, Kiosk Gallery, Ghent (2011). In 2011 she received honourable mention at the Ariane de Rothschild Art Prize, Milan, and in 2012 she won the Fondazione Ermanno Casoli Prize, Fabriano, and the New York Prize. Franceschini has had residencies at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2009–10) and VIR / Viafarini In Residence, Milan (2011). Her work is part of important public collections such as that of the Museé National d’Art Moderne / Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Museo MACRO, Rome.
We are grateful to Giovanna Braga and the staff of Pony SpA in Inzago, Italy.