Gea Casolaro – Still Here
The Gallery Apart is pleased to announce the opening of the 2013-14 season with the inaugural exhibition Still Here by Gea Casolaro, a work developed by the artist during her artist-in-residence programme at the atelier of the Incontri Internazionali d’Arte at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
Still here is a project so deeply related to the life of Gea Casolaro that she has chosen the Transalpine capital as her hometown, in a sort of voluntary exile due to her inability to adapt to the Italian socio-political context of the last twenty years. Being a foreigner in a city she knew only as a tourist, as well as the condition of uprootedness in a new country urged Casolaro from the very beginning to deal with the absence of real experiences and therefore with the lack of a memory that made her feel related to the new places she chose to live in.
Compared to any other city in the world, Paris has been the set of so many movies, it is the city where cinema and photography have taken the first steps, thus it is also the city of light, not only of the Age of enlightenment, the Ville lumière where the early motion pictures by the Lumière Brothers got screened for the very first time.
After watching hundreds movies shot in the French capital, and strolling the length and breadth of Paris boroughs, Casolaro has created her own memory of those places, providing herself with memories she personally never got to live but which she somehow has made their own through the stories of the characters of the movies, through the vision of their creators, a memory that got her closer to the several views of the city, even the most secret places, witnessing their transformation through time and therefore getting to know the city as if she had lived there for many years.
Still here is a path of both personal and collective memory, made possible by a physical as well as a historical journey through the city, by resorting to movies covering over one hundred years of cinema, a journey that renews that typically Parisian prerogative of the flânerie, introduced by Baudelaire, critically analysed by Benjamin and then redefined by Debord as related to the concept of “dérive”. Hence Still here is first of all a work on the total union between art and life: on how it is possible to settle in a place where we do not have a personal historical experience, transforming the hostility of an unknown city into familiarity, into social relationships, into personal memory. Casolaro exploits the cinema as a form of art that includes all the others, in order to describe how culture is a necessary tool of anchorage to reality, how art is a powerful means of knowledge which is necessary to go beyond one’s limits.
Casolaro has dedicated to the project Still here over three years, not only for the bulk of movies to introject and of places to be discovered, but also because the personal memory and the knowledge of the world are consistently fuelled thanks to the experiences lived by others, by the characters of the movies followed step by step through the Parisian streets, to those of the real people that the artist got to know and who also recommended their favorite movies to be included in the project. Like in other works by Gea Casolaro, the idea of life as a puzzle also emerges in Still Here, as an ongoing encounter and exchange between existences, along with the idea of the photography as a means to depict the world in a plural and multifaceted way.
The exhibited works, arranged on the two gallery’s exhibition floors, are a selection of the over one hundred pictures that compose Still Here. In the hall is a partial reproduction of the artist’s Parisian studio in order to highlight the relevance of this place of decantation, where the big physical and mental map of Paris featuring those images collected over the nine months of the artist-in-residence programme and of her days spent in the city, started to overlap in an absolute work of fusion between reality and imaginaries, life and dreams, territory and memories.
The Gallery Apart – Via Francesco Negri 43, Roma
September 30 – November 16, 2013