MEMORIES ALTER, NEW MEMORIES ARE SUPERIMPOSED ON OLD ONES
Stefan Milosavljević, born in Serbia
Three works speak of identity construction as stretching the truth and of the relationship between play and violence, of a bestial conduct that superimposes itself, of necessity, on human conduct. Conduct where the law of the fittest becomes an action code for betterment and survival. Three works by Stefan Milosavljević illustrate this theme through a formal coherence that enables him to develop the same argument starting from personal and autobiographical references to reach a universal statement independent of its origins in the artist’s own story. The installation Butterfly On Fire dialogues with Massimo Kaufmann’s permanent work on the walls of the ground floor room of Casa Testori. It recalls children’s games, coloured enclosures in which toddlers love to immerse themselves while the adults are busy in commercial centres. Butterfly On Fire is a chronological and conceptual genealogical tree, the title of which refers to the well-known butterfly effect, an expression used in the theory of chaos to describe how small changes in initial conditions determine large long-term variations. The drawing tells a personal and collective story constellated by violence, a tale to be discovered among the fragments of coloured sponge that occupy the room and prevent us from having an overall view, and from knowing all the stages of the narration. An itinerary that imposes choices, proposes alternatives, but always leads to the same result.
Caterina Erica Shanta, born in Germany
Caterina Erica Shanta’s installation consists of a film and a book, mirroring elements in which the artist implants the micro-history, in Carlo Ginzburg’s definition, of her family in History, from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the Second Gulf War, starting from photos in her private archive. The photos undermine our capacity to distinguish between reality and fiction, between belonging and uprooting, between an image and a memory. it’s too close to get it in focus is an autobiographical documentary telling the artist’s life through the camera lenses of her father and her stepfather, both soldiers who served in Italy and on foreign missions. In the sequence of images, accompanied by the artist’s voice commentino and placing them in context, the works of the two photographers snow the possible coexistence and interference between the public and private dimension, between exterior and interior. Originating from the same material, the same archive, is And other similar stories. Here, though, it is the lack of references that poses questions. The book, in fact, gathers all the images of which Caterina Erica Shanta was unable to identify the paternity or the context, the subject portrayed or the author, even though they were conserved in her family’s album. They are orphan images, without objective or external references for the cataloguer, photos that resist cataloguing, suggesting memories and new stories.
Iva Lulashi, born in Albania
Iva Lulashi’s memories of her country of origin, Albania, are filtered. Firstly, through the stories of her parents, chats with her mother, some paintings by her father, a few photographs. Indirect information, from undoubtedly plausible sources. Then from period films, posted online by unknown people and now seen by the artist on YouTube. Films that relate a collective story conditioned by censure, by the limits imposed by the dictatorship, by state control. A story that Iva Lulashi tells solely through the images, eliminating the audio, in order to silence in some way the rhetoric of the propaganda. The artist translates these narrations into the language she knows, that of painting. This makes the boundaries uncertain, the identities unfocussed. Blurring becomes a conceptual choice, not a stylistic one. She paints on canvas, or she superimposes her appropriation of a nation’s memory on other people’s recollections: on small objects, saucers, wooden trays. Her leitmotif is the political removal of a nation’s eroticism, which she underlines, not with the details or realism of pornography, but with the carnality and sensuality of allusion.
Natalia Trejbalova, born in Slovakia
On her first visit to Casa Testori, Natalia Trejbalova was struck by the niches, by the movements of the walls in the rooms. Her attention focused on one of these cavities, one of the fireplaces that immediately reveal a space as a dwelling. A fireplace that had been out of use for years and which, for this very reason, reminded her of that of her native home, which housed, not a fire, but their pet animals. A loss of function that created a new intended use, a different destiny. A fireplace that, though rooted in an internal room, in reality represents an invisible connection with the exterior, with elsewhere; an entry point and an escape route in fairy tales and novels. It becomes a miniature theatre, the set for an alternative landscape, it becomes a means of transport through which to see another landscape. In construction and in deconstruction, composed of plants and artificial flowers, it the souvenir of an unstable reality that – in reality – does not exist.