GAMeC confirms and continues its participation in the Artists’ Film International, the prestigious video-art network that since 2008 has involved some of the most important international contemporary art institutions, along with artists from all around the world. 

While museums and institutions must remain closed in compliance with the Government Regulations adopted to contrast the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the websites and social network pages of the over twenty partner organisations joining  this initiative are hosting an online international exhibition presenting this year’s video works:  a message of solidarity and international collaboration against a historical background imposing social distancing on us all.

For the twelfth edition of the event whose theme is “language”, curators Sara Fumagalli and Valentina Gervasoni selected a work by artist Francesco Pedraglio (Como, 1981).
Scripting anticlockwise (6 constellations) will be visible on the website for the duration of the review; on a weekly basis, the GAMeC site will host the video works proposed by the other participating institutions.

14  – 20 JULY 2020
Yao Qingmei
Sanzu Ding and Its Patterns: 1. A major archeological discovery, 2013 – present
Special edition for AFI, 2020
Courtesy of the artist and Magician Space, Beijing
Selected by Para Site, Hong Kong

Professor Yao has been extensively researching on the archaeological subject of “’Sanzu Ding and its Patterns” over a yearlong period. The “Sanzu Ding”, more commonly used as a ritual pottery vessel, was unearthed by archaeologists in 2013 and bears a mysterious symbol uncannily similar to the hammer and sickle of modern communism. Carbon-14 dating showed it had been made around 3000 BC during the Neolithic period. Professor Yao, a specialist in ancient Chinese ideograms, presents six hypotheses on the origins and evolution of this symbol based on her extensive research in archaeology, semiology, and psychoanalysis.

“Professor Yao” is a fictional character played by the artist. Some of the works cited in the research are files forged and mined from research artifacts.

The formation of the fictional character “Professor Yao” has unfolded through a series of performances. The work stemmed from an initial series of performative lectures held in universities and art centres across China, France, and Germany. Embodying the authoritative role of an invited academic, Professor Yao unveiled her research to an audience of unsuspecting students. In later stages within an exhibition context, the research has expanded and grown into a constellation of media and records comprising photographs, lightboxes, ceramic objects, printed text, and video installation, displayed in the manner of a museum collection.

Yao Qingmei (born in 1982, Wenzhou, China) currently lives and works in Wenzhou, China and in Paris, France. She received her DNSEP with honours from Villa Arson, Nice, France in 2013, and was the winner of Prix spécial du jury at the 59th Salon de Montrouge in 2014, the Young Chinese Artist of the Year Prize in 2017, and the Prix Jeune Création of Paris in 2018. 

Yao’s practice traverses the boundary between performance and its site, frequently enacting interventions in public spaces to perturb the parameters of their reality and surroundings. Her artistic practice is deeply rooted in a critical reflection into the formulation of political and social discourses, exploring how symbolic gestures gain or lose power through forms of appropriation and displacement. Humour, which is constantly employed to expose absurdity, plays an important role in her work. Offering different methods of resistance, her theatrical performances and interventions are realised in the overlapping burlesque traditions of satire and parody, combined with framing devices influenced by theatre sets and costume, pedagogical lectures, the dialectic between image and text, and choreography inspired by modern dance.  ___________________________________________

Francesco Pedraglio
Racconto antiorario (6 costellazioni) / Scripting anticlockwise (6 constellations), 2017
HD video, 10’04’’
Selected by GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo

Racconto antiorario (6 costellazioni) / Scripting anticlockwise (6 constellations) from Francesco Pedraglio on Vimeo.

Developed from a live performance, Scripting anticlockwise (6 constellations) (2017),is a film adopting an abstract narrative, imagining six possible constellations taking shape in that space created between the narrator, the actors, the props and the dark of the night. 

At the centre of a dark space, the camera’s anticlockwise rotation around a column marks the rhythmic succession of a series of abstract images. Like lines connecting dots spread around a sheet of paper, trajectories, colours, shapes and volumes seem to materialise fragments of an unknown alphabet, a silent and symbolic language. Meanwhile, in what seems to be a divinatory process, a voice-over uses these very same fragments to propose starting points for futures stories.

He looks at how the process of narrating and staging – oneself, or a situation – influences the relationship between teller and listener, making visible the fantasies and fictions that constitute our reality.

For Pedraglio, language is a mechanism that organises the visible: it moulds reality because it defines it in each of its parts, so that the different sensory levels (visual and auditive) and conceptual dimensions related to theatre, cinema and narrative end up being indissolubly connected. Language names things – a man, a car, a spider monkey…–, subdividing the world in units endowed with an (ostensible) meaning – the constellations – and prepares reality to be captured by thought, the narration per se.

Filmic reality takes shape through words: a visual imagery created by the eloquent use of words and the construction of verses, but also via the development of a plot, that sequence of actions that the artist/director evokes to give a retinal form to images.  

In language, the image of what surrounds us is a linguistic image, and this allows the artist-audience interaction; the video reminds us that language is a powerful tool mediating between us and the surrounding reality

Francesco Pedraglio was born in Como (IT) in 1981. He lives in Mexico City. Pedraglio is interested in storytelling as a tool to decode intimate encounters with both mundane and historically complex situations. The starting point of Pedraglio’s practice, encompassing performance, sculpture, installations, prints, and film, is writing. A curious detail, an overheard rumour, a banal incident, anything could spark a narration. And it’s in the shift from written text to live action, from live action to staged installation or film that the exploration of language, fiction and reality-making occurs.

His work has been showcased at Norma Mangione Gallery (2019); Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2018); Museo Leonora Carrington, San Luis Potosí (2018); P///AKT, Amsterdam (2017); Kunstverein Munich (2017); CRAC Alsace (2017); Sheffield Fringe (2016); Parallel, Oaxaca (2015); The Physics Room, Christchurch (2015); Kunsthalle Wien (2015); ICA, London (2015). A collection of poems titled 99 Battle and 1 War (an extract) was published by Piano Nobile (CH) in October 2016. His first novel A man in a room spray painting a fly was published by Book Works in summer 2014. Together with artist Tania Pérez Córdova, Pedraglio runs the publishing project Juan de la Cosa / John of the Thing.