Premio Selezione – Italian Cultural Institute New York – 2011 Edition Winners: Nicola Pecoraro – Riccardo Previdi


November 4 – November 28, 2011
Opening night: 3 November 2011 – 5.30 pm
Italian Cultural Institute New York, 686 Park Avenue New York

Exhibitions curated by Laura Barreca

NERO is pleased to be part of the first edition of the “Premio Selezione Italian Cultural Institute New York 2011”. The first edition of the Premio will showcase projects by Nicola Pecoraro and Riccardo Previdi. The two awarded artists, among the most promising talents in young Italian art, will exhibit a body of work created specifically for the Premio competition, using multiple languages (video, photography, installations). Two artist books, published by Nero, complement the exhibition. Such books are collections of thoughts, projects, tests and photographs – an image-based itinerary of sorts, which describes the intuitive, process-focused nature of both research projects, from their conception to their implementation. Both publications are meant to be a tool to disseminate the artist’s project beyond the exhibition itself. In this exhibition, the relationship established with the work and ideas behind the work of Robert Smithson (for Pecoraro) and Buckminster Fuller (for Previdi) tell a story of “intellectual familiarity”, which becomes the first true work of art in the exhibit itinerary conceived for the New York exhibition.

The work by Nicola Pecoraro (Roma, 1978) is based on the study and the development of new aesthetic strategies challenging strict genre divisions. Moving between painting, sculpture and installation, his work creates a strong sense of contamination in which the relationships with the audience and with the exhibition space become further opportunities for exchange. The project in this New York exhibit is inspired by the American artist Robert Smithson and hinges on the research and work methods he used. The project for Premio Selezione is a study based on the anti-monumental writings by Robert Smithson, such as A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey, Some Void Thoughts on Museums, Entropy and the New Monuments, The Crystal Land. Such works are the foundation and a fundamental reference point in Pecoraro’s work. Nicola Pecoraro conceived a tour of the areas described by Smithson, which in the most part are located in the New York and New Jersey, with the idea of looking for the elements described by the artist, and documenting the state they are in at present. In A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey for example, Smithson points to the new monuments: a draining fountain, a bridge with wooden platforms, a floating pump, and so on. These elements in the landscape, which were already elements of industrial archeology at the time, should have disappeared already, or at least they should have been made unrecognizable by time and the elements or by any changes of shape caused by man. The artist visits the same places that Smithson visited, imagining them as they must have been at the time when the American artist visited them, to understand if and how their spirit has changed, trying to identify any similarities with some ruins in Lazio. All this work is based on a conjecture, a mental projection based on books and testimony from those places. It is a way of reflecting on entropy, on the narrative possibilities and the mental landscapes it generates. The sculpture Triton is the fountain realized by the artist that will be exhibited at the Italian Culture Institute in New York.

Riccardo Previdi (Milano, 1974) trained as an architect in his native Milan; he drew on that experience for his methodology, the connection to the building of an idea, the ability to reach a formal result with a process that is both intellectual and creative at the same time. At the beginning of the year 2000, he relocated to Berlin; since then, he has focused his research more and more on the relationship between art and architecture, on a reinterpretation of the tradition of Italian design, via a pop language which tends to highlight the image-building process. The concept work performed by Riccardo Previdi is a reflection of the possibilities and the limitations of the technological and scientific progress of modernity, via the exhibition of the object and of it fictitious nature. The project Gigantic Fly’s Visual Memory, conceived for the New York exhibition, is a reflection of Buckmintser-Fuller’s conceptual and architectonic experience, and it focuses on the architecture of Fly’s Eye Dome, the geodesic dome exhibited in 2008 in New York at La Guardia Place, which is now at the Max Protetch Sculpture Park in Beacon.  The project is developed over three stages: the making of the artist’s book, a series of “tests”, digitally processes prints, and the set up of an installation at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York. This series of Tests, which the artist has been working on for several of years, are actual print tests, i.e. diagrams that are used for the color calibration of printers, but also qualitative tests of consumer goods. The images, found on the Internet and then reprinted on A4 paper, are then crumpled up, photographed, and reproduced with a laser plotter on PVC. The image reveals the results of a technical procedure connected to image production, but it is also the demonstration of the failure generated by the fast pace of obsolescence of contemporary technologies.

The First edition of the “Premio Selezione Italian Cultural Institute New York 2011” is a project by the Italian Institute of Culture New York, conceived as an opportunity to present the excellence of young Italian art in New York. The winners, artists selected by an international jury, will hold a personal exhibition at the headquarters of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York.

By establishing this award, the Italian Institute of Culture intends to highlight its commitment to the promotion of contemporary young Italian art, with a careful, rigorous selection process in the service of Italian artists. For its first edition, the Italian Institute of Culture New York has hired the nonprofit association Artegiovane to manage the selection stage.

The two winners have successfully passed three different phases in the selection process, with three different juries led by internationally recognized curators, critics and contemporary art experts. The final jury was composed of Riccardo Viale – President of the Jury, Alvise Chevallard, Laura Barreca, Paolo Colombo, Pepi Marchetti, Beatrice Merz, and Ruben Levi.

Starting from next year, the “Premio Selezione Italian Culture Institute di New York 2011” will be renamed “Gotham Award”, to highlight the award’s connection with the city of New York to an even greater extent. The jury for the 2012 edition will be composed of: Riccardo Viale, Francesco Bonami, Emily Braun, Dennis Elliott, David Freedberg, Massimiliano Gioni, and Laura Barreca.

On 3 November at 5.30 pm, a conference on the state of Italian art and of private contributions to the promotion of young Italian talents abroad will take place. Speakers will include, among others, Riccardo Viale, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York; Francesco Bonami, Artistic Director, Foundation Sandretto Re Rebaudengo,Turin, Massimiliano Gioni, Director of Special Exhibitions, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Pepi Marchetti Franchi, Director, Gagosian Gallery, Rome. Moderator: Laura Barreca

Images above: Triton by Nicola Pecoraro; Wrong Test by Riccardo Previdi (extracts from the books)