When in Rome…be sure to stop by Monitor. Since its opening in October 2003, this gallery has been dedicated to providing an art space for a new generation of both international and Italian-based artists. Representing Alexandre Singh, Ra di Martino, Nico Vascellari, ZimmerFrei, and Francesco Arena, Monitor was one of the first galleries in Italy to draw attention to contemporary and experimental artwork. Monitor is known for their collaborative projects, and each year publishes a special volume dedicated to one of their artists and the artist’s current body of work.
Always drawing attention to their historical roots, the gallery was most recently featured in last month’s Armory Film, curated by Moving Image. Created by Italian-based artist collective ZimmerFrei, the 2004 film, entitled Panorama-Roma is a 360-degree panoramic view of the multifaceted landscapes of the Eternal City, giving insight into the complex relationship between its inhabitants and visitors.
Nico Vascellari, who was featured in Paddle8’s exhibition Immaterial curated by Marina Abramovic, takes inspiration from the eponymous large natural cavity of the Cansiglio plateau nearby his Terviso studio in his work entitled Bus de La Lum. In what could be mistaken as giant manta-rays or hermit crabs, Bus de la Lum includes large-scale bronze sculptures expressing his interest in the nature of the abyss. As described in the artist’s Paddle8 Dossier, Vascellari is interested in the “psychological fall from grace, the uncontrollable aspects of the abyss, the dual nature of pleasure and fear, and the notion of descent.”
Another featured Italian artist is Ra Di Martino. Born in Rome, the artist has lived in both London and New York. The artist is known for her exploration of abandoned film sets. Her photographs come from the southern part of Morocco and present an interesting way of looking at something used and forgotten by Hollywood. As described on the Paddle8 Spotlight post of the artist, the sets have been left on location for so many years that they have, in a sense, become a strange archeological site.
Francesco Arena lives and works in Italy. His work is themed around the concepts of the body conceived as identity and the structure built by mass-media languages. Francesco highlights these themes through photos, videos, and installations. Francesco often uses violent colors such as red to represent the ambiguity of communication, ranging from pornographic to journalistic film.