Prato-Sarajevo ART INVASION – a contemporary art collaboration in Italy

Prato-Sarajevo ART INVASION is an artist-in-residence project for artists under the age of 35 to strengthen the cultural surge from the Italian and Bosnian cities. The museum of Contemporary Art of Sarajevo, ARS AEVI, encouraged young artists to address issues of our time within their artworks while continuing research in relation to their own artistic interests. This collaboration also creates a space for young artists addressing pressing issues in a social, political, and historical climate. Prato-Sarajevo ART INVASION has integrated itself into the context of Toscanaincontemporanea 2013.

On Thursday, June 12, Mia and I traveled to Prato to take part in a planned, city-wide itinerary from 5-11pm to see the works and experience the contemporary art scene in Prato, only a short train ride from our home, Florence. To take in this night full of installation, art, sound, and culture showed us that these distinctly weathered cities have the ability to be very contemporary and coincide with its grand Renaissance past simultaneously. Prato-Sarajevo proves that countries defined by their past can move forward and add to the contemporary art dialogue.

Prato-Sarajevo ART INVASION Map

There are ten artists altogether that have collaborated to form Prato-Sarajevo ART INVASION. Each one has made a work that integrates itself into the city and speaks of contemporary issues concerning space, history, the future, or simply the difference between perception and reality. The art, installation, and documentations will be displayed until June 21, 2014.

Gaetano Cunsolo – Laboratorio di autocostruzione per un refugio

Gaetano Cunsolo – Laboratorio di autocostruzione per un refugio – Photo by Melissa Kreider

Cunsolo’s installation within Prato was built to sharply contrast the immobile structure of today’s Prato, as the refuge built is kinetic and its materials are an anomaly in the context of Prato. The artist finds it to be advantageous to focus on the tension between the refuge as a place of survival and despair, or playing and getting lost and building a place of protection.

Emma Grosbois – Camera Obscura

Emma Grosbois – Camera Obscura

Grosbois build a camera obscura to place the viewer inside of it rather than outside, addressing rendering vs. reality and being immersed in that in-between space.

Francesca Banchelli – Fetching Bridges (Endlessly)

Francesca Banchelli – Fetching Bridges (Endlessly) – Photo by Melissa Kreider

This performance is based on a 1981 film by Jacque Rivette called Le pont du Nord. This work offers a dual experience for those witnessing the performance in real life and those watching via live stream online. This dichotomy between reality and film is highlighted as the protagonists enter and exit this context without a clear start or finish.

Bojan Stojčić – La storia appartiene alla pietra, il futuro al vento

Bojan Stojcic – La storia appartiene alla pietra, il future al vento

Stojčić’s work is called “History Belongs to the Stone, the Future to the Wind” and is on a large balloon attached to one of Prato’s monuments. The balloon tethered to the historical monument symbolizes the concreteness of the past (alla pietra) and the uncertainty of the future (al vento). The work speaks of a city that lives in its past and is still unsure of its future, as evidenced by the fragility of the balloon (which, coincidentally, flew away in a storm prior to ART INVASION).

Valentina Lapolla – Sarajevo Walking Tours

Valentina Lapolla – Sarajevo Walking Tours – Photo by Melissa Kreider

The artist has constructed 3 walking tours of Sarajevo that, when placed over a map of Prato, create 3 routes that trace roads through Prato but talk about and show Sarajevo. The work creates a link between the two cities and a feeling of universality.

Olga Pavlenko – Quello che forse non c’era

Pavlenko spoke to young people from Prato ages 14-20 (also bearers of new ideas) and asked them to associate a word with each letter of the alphabet that describes Prato. The artist then created a new spelling book the describe the new words and possible worlds that Prato could be, then displayed them on a city bus tom communicate a collective dream that travels the very streets of Prato.

Virginia Zanetti – Vissi d’Arte

Virginia Zanetti – Vissi d’Arte

Zanetti’s performance includes two opera tracks and two corresponding installations which contrast with the environment in which they are sung or displayed. While the soprano unexpectedly begins to sing, the viewer is forced to recognize the lack of beauty around them. There are also photography and audio-visual installations that accompany the work inside and outside of Cinema Borsi.

Lana Čmajčanin – Made in Italy – Made out China

Lana Čmajčanin – Made in Italy – Made out China

Prato being a main hotspot for Chinese immigrants (being the largest Chinese community in Europe) due to the textile industry, the blending of Italian and Chinese culture results in a confusion of identity. The artist shows how the designated culture of a city attempts to hide in an adopted one.

Giacomo Laser e Giulia del Piero – El Cosmografó

The artists are composing a work of some art using Prato as a musical score. After the means of transport have been recorded, the artists will compose a part most tailored to each course and distribute it while in motion.

Lori Lako – Oro/a

Lori Lako – Ora/o – Photo by Melissa Kreider

The artist’s work springs from the so-called roses of Sarajevo, which are cracks in the roads of Sarajevo caused by the destruction of the civil war and are filled with red paint, alluding to blood spilled to keep the memory of the war alive. In Prato, she intervenes in areas of intersection between the city center and the immigrant’s areas, by filling those road cracks with gold paint to harken back to a Japanese method of repairing things with gold, called Kitsungi. This method highlights the value of a broken object instead of devaluing it.

All in all, the collection of work and art are incredible to witness both in the context of Prato and individually when discussing contemporary works. I recommend making an effort to see the works before June 21, 2014.

-Melissa Kreider

Prato-Sarajevo ART INVASION is a project for young artists who work in Tuscany and Bosnia within the context of Toscanaincontemporanea 2013 supported by the Regione Tocana, Provinvia di Prato in collaboration with the Comune di Prato, Comune di Carmingnano and Spazio d’Arte Alberto Moretti in connection with ARS AEVI – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Sarajevo.

Elisabetta Mori and Francesca Benchelli – Photo by Melissa Kreider

The project has been curated by and organized by the Centro per d’arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci di Prato with Dryphoto arte contemporanea and Kinaleri. Technical sponsors: Cap autolinee, Monash Univeristy. Reportage and photo shooting: Florence University of the Arts and two separate international schools.

Prato-Srajevo ART INVASION – Progetto di residenza per giovani artisti attivi in Toscana e Bosnia. Prato | aprile-giugno 2014

All photographs by Andrea Abati unless stated otherwise.

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Posted in Art