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VASA video series ...

Almost Friends

a selection of Italian artists curated by Carla Della Beffa

November 2017
Third of four installments

Federico Pagliarini
Chiara Pergola
Cesare Pietroiusti

Note: Videos may go full screen.

Federico Pagliarini

Federico Pagliarini, born in 1971, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and worked as an artist until 2001, when he was reborn as a teacher at the B. Munari arts high school in Crema. The school became his testing ground for making art. The teacher reflects his own subject and therefore, in his case, coincides with the artist, who creates what he teaches and with what he teaches. And so the school and its elements, real and metaphorical, enter his photographic and video productions as devices for a meta-linguistic narrative of artistic creation.

The basic material of his work is the school faculty, whose job by definition is to perform, thus transforming the activity of teaching into a permanent exhibition.

Convinced that the profession of teaching needs to be more visible than ever, since 2013 he has continued his "teach" project which consists of affixing illuminated signs with the word "insegna" (teach) in various Italian schools. (This is a play on words in Italian, where the word for “sign” and “teach” are the same: “insegna”).




































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Apre e chiude la lezione (Start and end of class)

Alternanza scuola lavoro
(Work-study program)

Scrutinio spiritico (Grading seance)

Corpo docente (Faculty)

Intervallo (Recess)

La classe non è acqua (Class will out)

Cadendo s'impara (Learning from falling)

Controra (Siesta)

Scolaro (Pupil)


Chiara Pergola

Art is the territorial marking of the human species and the way of tracing it gives shape to our society

Chiara Pergola is an Italian artist working with visual poetry and multimedia installation. The process of knowledge, through which signs and symbols achieve a shared meaning is central to her poetics: hypertext, trace, topology are keywords to understand her work, and she often uses texts and words together with the visual image. Artist’s books and publications represent a specific section which goes under the acronym X/? (per chi). In 2009 she founded Musée de l’OHM, a chest of drawers from the XIX century turned into an museum located permanently at the Medieval Museum of Bologna.

Chapter I:
The Way that can be spoken is not the Eternal Way
2013, video, PAL, 0’54”

Parжour is a practice of investigation of the urban space, carried out through the critical use of the most common mobile devices. Chapters from the Tao Te Ching are meditated, translated and written with syllables found along the way.

The video was recorded in Milan, during a period of residency c/o VIR Via Farini in Residence











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Vol. 1 – 3

2010, video, PAL, 1’33”

To be continued… are a series of aphoristic videos featuring characters cut out form magazines and newspapers and introduced in different situations: almost still, the atmospheric agents and the flickering of the camera, are giving them a new life.

Cesare Pietroiusti

Born in Rome in 1955, lives in Rome. Degree in Medicine with an essay on Psychiatry (1979). Among his accomplishments: "Rivista di Psicologia dell'Arte" (1979-1984), co-founder and editor. "Oreste" projects (1997-2001, Biennale di Venezia, 1999), coordinator.
"Nomads & Residents", New York, (2000), co-founder. Advanced Visual Art Course, Fondazione Ratti, Como (2006-2011), curator. Laboratorio di Arti Visive, IUAV University, Venice, (2004-); MFA Faculty, LUCAD, Lesley University, Boston (2009-), teacher.

Cesare Pietroiusti's art practice focuses on problematic and paradoxical situations hidden in common relationships and in ordinary acts - thoughts that come to mind without a reason, small worries, quasi-obsessions usually considered too insignificant to be a matter of discussion or self-representation.

In 1994 Pietroiusti was available to do 'useful' things for anyone of the audience making a request: he walked dogs, gave shots, cleaned out cellars, etc. In 1997 he published Non Functional Thoughts (ed. Morra, Napoli): approx. 100 useless, parasitic or incongruous ideas to be realised as art projects by anyone. Some of these ideas have been executed (as in the exhibition "Democracy!", London 2000). In recent years Pietroiusti mostly concentrated on the paradoxes that arise in the folds of economic systems and rules.

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Eating Money – An Auction (a project by Cesare Pietroiusti and Paul Griffiths, 2005-2007)

A public auction is held. Participants make offers in amounts of money corresponding to the sum of two bank-notes in euros. The minimum amount is therefore 10 Euros (the sum of the value of two 5 Euro bills) and the maximum is 1.000 Euros (the sum of two 500 Euro bills). The successful bidder gives the two bank-notes to the artists who eat them publicly and promise that, once evacuated, they will be returned to the bidder.

This performance was enacted on four occasions: Galleria Neon, Bologna, 28 January 2005; Viafarini, Milano, 21 June 2005; in the context of the Festival “Mine, Yours, Ours”, Galerija Kortil and HKD, Rijeka, 4 March 2006; Ikon Gallery, 22 May 2007. Videos of he performances have been presented in various exhibitions: among others, “No, Future”, Bloomberg Space, , curated by Sacha Craddock and Graham Gussin, Bloomberg Space, London, September-November 2007, and “L’Argent”, curated by Caroline Bourgeois and Elisabeth Lebovici, Le Plateau, Paris, June- August 2008.


Almost Friends

The conceptual difference between video and film lies not as much in the support, since today many films are somehow digital anyway, as in the language. If I had to define it, I would say that video is usually based on a single idea, visual or other, not on telling a story with a start and an end. It might tell a story, actually, but it will sound and look different from feature films narration: for some authors, the mix of techniques tells the two levels of fact and feeling; for others, a simple image can be exploited for minutes and enter into a never-ending loop; some joke, or hint at emotions, with flashes of very few seconds.

Being invited by VASA project to curate a selection of Italian videos and films, I chose artists I know and appreciate: some of my colleagues and almost friends. Most of the selected videos are by visual artists that work with moving images as well as with other media. One of them produces great videos but defines himself a painter. A few are film- and documentary-makers. Some prefer to express themselves with performances. Others still use drawings and animation.

Techniques and subjects are different, and vary from one artist to another: homages to other artists and intimate, everyday details; works about economy and visions of cities; poetry and technology; performances and interviews.

With my review, I aim to give an overall idea of of what happens in Italy in the field of moving images: not an impossibly complete catalog, but a multi-faceted sampling (in alphabetical order) of good, varied, significant works by people I like.

The series will include four installments: September, October, November and December.
Each installment will be archived. All works remain under the © of the author.

The curator

Carla Della Beffa is a video, photo and relational artist and curator. Formerly art director and creative director in international advertising agencies, she has had experiences (and exhibitions) as a painter and a net-artist. Carla lives in Milan but is actively involved in international residencies, exhibitions and festivals.


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