Marinella Senatore – Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen

Marinella Senatore, Speak Easy, 2009 (video still)
Courtesy: the artist, Peres Project, Berlin, and Mot International, London/Brussels


Collaboration is the most important component of Marinella Senatore’s concept of art. The Italian artist (*1977) involves thousands of people in her elaborate projects as producers, writers and in other roles to create, for example, parades, operas and radio programmes. She is not only concerned with triggering social processes but also with questioning concepts such as community and social responsibility, finding new narrative forms and ultimately in generating a collective memory through joint action. Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen is showing documentary material and the results of several of her projects, for instance in the form of films, and is launching a new particípative venture: Estman Radio.

The exhibition is showing the archive of Speak Easy (2009) – a project which involved around a hundred students from the Computense University of Madrid and more than one thousand residents of a Madrid suburb, including retired carpenters, seamstresses, craftspeople and professional actors. They worked together on a film from the conception of a screenplay to the construction of the film set to costume production. As is generally the case in Senatore’s projects, what is ultimately decisive is not the “end-product” (in this case a video of a musical, set in New York in the 1950s), it is rather the exchange that takes place between the participants during the production process. This process will be shown at the Kunst Halle with drawings, sketches, photographs and other documentary material.

An even larger collective worked on Rosas (2012), an opera in three acts which involved more than 20,000 people in Berlin, Derby and Madrid. Here too the numerous participants encompassed professional dance groups, amateur actors, carpenters, art students and community choirs who were involved in writing the libretto, as actors, singers or working as film crew. They were prepared for the various roles and jobs necessary for the production of the opera at free workshops led by local experts, e.g. in the fields of film music, dramaturgy and editing.Rosas will be presented at the Kunst Halle in a multi-part video installation.

The fact that Marinella Senatore sees her art as social engagement is shown especially clearly by the School of Narrative Dance, which she founded in 2013: a mobile, free school with a system based on emancipation, inclusion and self-training with the aims of literacy, sharing of skills and sustainability. The multi-disciplinary school focuses on narration using a wide spectrum of forms of expression such as dance, film, performance, poetry, oral history, literature and handcraft. In the exhibition the way in which this school works is transferred into an installation.

And finally Marinella Senatore also wants to include the public in St. Gallen with the launch of Estman Radio at the Kunst Halle, a web-based audio project. Everybody is invited to participate by recording and uploading podcasts at the work station provided. The contributions can then be accessed wherever there is an internet connection. A productive community is thus formed and the exhibition used as a platform.

Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen – Davidstrasse 40, CH-9000 St. Gallen
1st February – 13th April 2014

Marinella Senatore, The School of Narrative Dance, 2013 (video still)
Courtesy: Peres Project, Berlin, and Mot International, London/Brussels

Marinella Senatore, Rosas: The Trilogy, 2013 (video still)
Courtesy: the artist and Mot International, London/Brussels