Appendice d’artista (Artist’s appendix) is a series of relational projects developed by Andrea d’Amore for the vernissage of exhibitions produced by Villa Romana in Florence. Each project is inspired by the works shown, and develops around a table during a meal: the table supports the installation, food is the material used for building the work, the banquet is the opportunity for the public to relate. Each work is commissioned just a few days before the inauguration of the exhibition; working on such short notice throws d’Amore into a state full of alien things to dialogue with and find unexpected meaning in.
VERSO LA FORMA PURA
30.09. – 04.11.2011 Monolith/ life. Aglaia Konrad, Willem Oorebeek
23.03. – 11.05.2012 Supplica per un’appendice. Ketty La Rocca
STILL LIFE VS NATURA MORTA
06.11 – 09.11.2012 Muertes. Martino Chiti
03.07. – 29.08.2014 Children of Unquiet. Mikhail Karikis
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE CONCRETLY FOR YOUR FREEDOM?
10.10. – 07.11.2014 WORD+MOIST PRESS. Juan Pablo Macías
MADRE CORAGGIO DEGLI INNOCENTI
29.04. – 12.06.2015 Swaddling the Baby. Gülsün Karamustafa
13.05. – 30.06.2016 La Fable du Jardin. Yann Monel
13.10.2017 Encounters: Handling placing and looking at photographs in relation to migration
VERSO LA FORMA PURA (TOWARDS THE PURE FORM)
In the exhibition Monolith by Aglaia Konrad and Willem Oerebeek, viewers see a marble quarry and the Tower of Babel. By drawing a shape from nature – the quarry – and positioning it in another space – architecture – an interior emptiness is filled, in a process of transfiguration that creates forms from subtraction and addition. In d’Amore’s project, the monolith creates an edible landscape in a plate, composed of three elements: the potato/natural mountain, the marbled egg/quarry mountain, the gorgonzola/block of marble and cultural paradigm.
APPENDICE D’ARTISTA (ARTIST’S APPENDIX)
The menu offered for the vernissage Supplica per un appendice (Plea for an appendix) consists of two dishes: Risotto you and L’anima del gesto (Soul of gesture). Risotto you is served with a square mirror placed on the edges of the dish, with the reflecting part facing downwards. The mirror was previously prepared by steaming it, then writing the word YOU with one’s finger on its surface. In order to eat the risotto, you must lift the mirror. The steaming rice fogs the mirror and makes the word YOU appear. Looking in the mirror, the guest can read the word and watch it slowly disappear as the steam dries. As the word YOU disappears, the guest’s face emerges. Ketty La Rocca’s desperate search for YOU finds no solution in Risotto you where, instead, the immanence of the self is revealed in the other.
L’anima del gesto is a dish made up of forms of polenta, which are sculpted using the gestural vocabulary developed by Ketty La Rocca with her own hands.
STILL LIFE VS. NATURA MORTA
(In collaboration with Martino Chiti and Matteo Politi)
In Still life vs natura morta, the event underway is a recorded broadcast that is simultaneously delayed on the visual and auditory levels. A continuous transmigration between experience and document. Two parallel worlds in the same space that reciprocally influence each other, just like in the videos of Muertes by Martino Chiti, where at the same time you see subjects caught in the act of taking a photograph and the photograph they took the moment they were being filmed.
In the space in Villa Romana where d’Amore’s intervention is located, a stationary video camera records the entire environment, and guests are given infrared video cameras. An audio recorder, speakers and a projector complete the technical equipment. A rectangular table full of food and drink is found at the centre of the room; a smoked herring wrapped in flowers and herbs is hung from the ceiling.
Video recordings of the dinner are edited live and played back in the room after a few seconds’ delay. The banquet opens with a toast to the burial of the smoked herring’s body, which takes place as the tablemates swallow small pieces of fish. The entire ritual – along with the delayed video and whirling audio editing – is accompanied by spices and herbs that are skilfully chosen and burned to aid an altered state of consciousness. During the days after the performance, the table is left with decomposing food and the looped video of the performance.
PAESAGGIO GEOTERMICO (GEOTHERMAL LANDSCAPE)
A cracked clay table, a landscape of boric acid fumaroles, a sulphurous and underground dish. The tureens contain boiling broth, and when uncovered, release columns of steam: overcooking the eggs releases a sulphurous smell, while tubers and roots flavour the dish. This edible landscape dialogues with the project Children of Unquiet by Mikhail Karikis, and strongly recalls the visual landscape captured by the artist in Larderello. If, with Children of Unquiet, Karikis pushes beyond the visual through sound, Paesaggio Geotermico by d’Amore permeates the visual through smell and taste.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE CONCRETLY FOR YOUR FREEDOM?
This project involved food ordered from Shenarya Food Center, a Sri Lankan delicatessen in Via del Moro, Florence. In the days before the intervention, as requested by Andrea d’Amore, the deli’s workers asked their clients to answer the question, What have you done concretely for your freedom? Clients wrote their answers on the paper lids the deli uses to close the take-away containers. During the vernissage of the exhibition Word+moist press by Juan Pablo Macías, the containers were installed on a table in the garden in Villa Romana. Guests chose a story and ate the meal found in the container. New lids and pens were provided, giving participants their own possibility to answer the question, What have you done concretely for your freedom? The following day, the answers gathered in Villa Romana were given to the Shenarya deli, which then distributed them to its clients by using them to close its take-away containers. The primary element in both What have you done concretely for your freedom? and Word+moist press by Macías is writing. Anarchic thought acts with the direct responsibility of every individual, which is unique to the freedom that Macías promotes and that d’Amore attempts to reflect by comparing the answers of the two social groups to the same question.
MADRE CORAGGIO DEGLI INNOCENTI (MOTHER COURAGE OF THE INNOCENTS)
Madre coraggio degli innocenti is a grim installation, where all the essential elements of a banquet (dishes, silverware, tables and benches) are wrapped in white paper and masking tape. On the wall, there is a projection of two still images: the outline of a child in swaddling clothes by Andrea Della Robbia and the Massacre of the Innocents by Domenico Ghirlandaio. This intervention is found alongside the project Swaddling the Baby by Gülsün Karamustafa which, inspired by the stories of the Hospital of the Innocents in Florence, deals with the fragile essence of orphan children, torn from family idyll by violence, with great sensitivity and care. The Hospital of the Innocents was an orphanage for children who were illegitimate, abandoned or at risk of being abandoned. The current museum tells its story and collects numerous pendants, mostly coins, that were broken in two by mothers in order to tie half to the abandon child’s body. The pendant is the hope that one day, in better times, the mother could recognise and reunite with her child. These objects strongly evoke the maternal psychological drama. In Madre coraggio degli innocenti, the wrapping of the elements recalls the swaddling clothes of Della Robbia’s newborns, and the tearing that participants are forced to do in order to eat is a gesture that resounds with Ghirlandaio’s painting. Both are impulses d’Amore uses to trigger the experience of a critical and rebellious tension. The guests of Villa Romana are served a simple dish: pea soup with fresh ricotta and some bread with coloured stripes, to remember the children of the Hospital of the Innocents depicted by Della Robbia.
The photography exhibition La Fable du Jardin by Yann Monel at Villa Romana is an occasion for d’Amore to reflect on the dialogue between man and nature. Having overcome, in the idea of the third landscape, his fascination with the not easily identifiable passage from the landscape of neglect to naturality, d’Amore expresses an inclination towards dialogue with nature: an anthropocentric idea of a garden implies an emptiness of nature, an illusory instant that generates a perpetual conflicted relationship with form, the other, god and ourselves. Instead, thinking of the garden as emptiness permeated by nature cultivates harmony, the absence of conflict. This intervention revolves around a table created by placing a plane of glass over three large terracotta vases. These elements were found unused in the garden in Villa Romana and reclaimed from neglect. The three empty vases were invaded by buds of bay leaves, as was most of the garden, following the pruning of the hedges that had helped the seeds to spread a few days before. The dish offered to the public in Villa Romana was conceived as a humus, to be completed with some pigments – herbs and spices – provided on the table.
13. 10. 2017
ENCOUNTERS: HANDLING PLACING AND LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS IN RELATION TO MIGRATION
A project of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz in collaboration with Villa Romana Florenz
L’ANIMA DELL’UMANITA’ (THE SOUL OF HUMANITY)
The project L’anima dell’umanità is inspired by the objects migrants left on board the boats confiscated from the smugglers, which were collected and exhibited by Massimo Ricciardo at the Kunsthistorisches Institut of Florence. d’Amore’s intervention was conceived as a perilous sea voyage. It takes place inside the pavilion in the garden in Villa Romana. Guests are welcomed at the entrance with a gift, some food wrapped in household paper and frugally sealed with masking tape. The package contains an algae frittata between two pieces of carasau bread. This typical bread eaten by Sardinian shepherds is very thin and dry, thus suitable for their travels because it is long-life and takes up little space. This bread is fragile and crumbles easily, and the idea is that when guests eat the sandwich, the self-assurance drawn from their good manners is destabilised. The paper the sandwich is wrapped in is kept by diners in memory of their journey, and will be used as a napkin for the entire dinner. “The depth of the sea” is the name of the cocktail made with champagne and algae that is served during the aperitif: the taste and smell of sea and port increase the claustrophobic sensation of the journey. The kitchen is the helm of the boat. Its hood is an isothermal blanket, the kind generally used for first aid, and condenses the evaporation from the cooking food. The blanket meets the ground like an upside down pyramid, directing the condensation that slides along its surface toward the apex, dripping into a glass container. Here, the essence of humanity is gathered, its soul; a soul extracted from food cooked with spices and vegetables that represent migrant routes. Guests choose to sit at one of two tables. The tablecloths are isothermal blankets; the gold side shows on one table, and the silver side on the other. At the end of the experience, d’Amore tells guests that choosing either the gold or the silver table corresponds to the unconscious decision (a provocation) to welcome or refuse, based on the technical use of the isothermal blanket, which absorbs heat on one side and fends it off on the other.
Villa Romana Firenze
The Villa Romana is a place of contemporary artistic production and of international exchange. Only ten minutes away from the city centre of Florence it combines the peacefulness of a neoclassical villa within a large garden property with the urban reality of a Renaissance city.
The core function of the Villa Romana since 1905 has been the Villa Romana Prize. Each year the Villa hosts the Villa Romana Fellows and beyond that organises various exhibitions and a wide range of events. The Villa Romana strives to interact with artists and the public, expand its international network and promoting communication with the cultures of the Mediterranean area.
International guest artists broaden the spectrum of conditions for artistic production and enrich internal and external discourse. Competencies, cultural differences and personal backgrounds are integrated in cooperation with the local environment (museums, art academies, universities and partners in other disciplines).
The Villa Romana is a convivial, interdisciplinary and communicative house that is frequented by numerous international artists, curators, critics and visitors throughout the year. It has over 40 rooms and a 1.5 hectare garden.
With its rich art-historical and intellectual stock as well as its current status as an international campus and destination for mass tourism and migration, the city of Florence constitutes the local matrix for the Villa Romana’s activities. It positions itself as a forum of contemporary art that initiates dialogue with the local audience and international partners.
Via Senese, 68, 50124 Florence FI, Italy http://www.villaromana.org