Memories and Encounters
Jonathan Baldock (United Kingdom)
nominated by Runa Islam
Shane Campbell (United States)
ACACIA - Associazione Amici Arte Contemporanea scolarship
Julia Staszak (Germany)
nominated by Katharina Grosse
September - November 2009
| Jonathan Baldock
The artist works with sculpture, installation and painting. His pieces, cheerful and flighty, are based on a research of the grotesque, deforming representation and on paradox and exasperation.
His sculptures are characterized by geometric and naturalistic decorations, obtained from the tangle and shocking combination of different materials. Through this figurative approach the artist ends up comparing himself to the ideal history of human figure in the History of Art, investigating it with a hybrid eye that prefers absurdities and perception tricks like in the surrealism tradition.
For his residency project Baldock will start from the analysis of the theatrical aesthetic traces to be found in Milan, linked to the farcical and bizarre artistic expressions where beauty is mixed to horror and grotesque.
The artist is interested in the contraposition of these traditions and in their role in today’s Milan, perceived as a cosmopolitan capital of fashion and design.
The paintings of Shane Campbell are embedded in the expressionist research tradition, conserving the tension to the chipping of language pertaining to the historical movement.
The artist seems inclined to a radical pessimism towards men and society, and expresses her feelings through a linguistic choice that exasperates, deforms and twists expressive tools and subjects, preferring violent and not naturalistic colours, the alteration of spatial structures and the simultaneous simplification and emphasis on the sign. During her residency the Californian artist will start from a study of the fragmented architectonic pattern of Milan, characterized by the juxtaposition of the monument’s historical relevance and the modern temples of business. Shane Campbell wants to dwell on the contrast between traces of the past and the natural inclination toward the future, deepening the dynamism generated by these formal, historical and cultural contrasts.
Julia Staszak education as a painter has then shifted to a combination of painting techniques with those of the conceptual tradition, along with sculpture and installation.
Her installations are apparently inconsistent compositions of materials and techniques with dramatically different histories, that disclose to a careful look a series of analogies and correspondences between the elements that are at stake.
The artist freely flaws between different sources of inspiration, so blending vernacular and profane register with literary quotations, in a continuous and only apparently contradictory flux of appropriations, references, transformations and contrapositions, that the artist understands as empathic relations between dissimilar worlds. Staszak’s works therefore reveals a deep tension to the construction of a shared background for social relations.
During her staying at VIR, the artist, starting from a research on the logics of art commission in Italy and in Milan specifically, will take inspiration from the evolution of the relationship between patrons and artists – from the historical role of Catholic Church to the contemporary art scene and that of industrial design
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