Monday, November 18, 2013

Il Mondo Del Calcio: A Conversation with Artist Pierre Poggi













MC: How many years ago did you begin using soccer as the main theme in your work?
PP:In the late eighties, early nineties.

MC: Some people think you should change directions with your art, because it is difficult to promote it here (Poggi is often critical of the soccer system and that is dangerous territory since it is near and dear to many peoples' hearts and bank accounts). 

PP: Sometimes my concepts break away from the world of soccer, but I usually go back because it is a huge resource for ideas.

MC: Your most recent work evokes a strong sense of design. Is this on purpose, because the Italian art market is in trouble and you want to find another means of marketing your work?

An example, the idea that the pieces extracted from your sculpture can be manufactured as a line of cutlery...did that come after you made them, or was it planned?

PP: It came afterwards. Perhaps on an unconscious level I look to Italian design products because of their beauty, audacity, and originality but my idea happened by accident. For the piece "La Nazionale"(The Italian National Soccer Games) I had something in mind. The deciding moment came when I picked up one of the plastic men as if it were a normal object, removing it from its context (foosball table) and holding it in may hand. It was then that I realized it could become an object used for an act of violence.












MC: Something used for an act of violence. Soccer violence is an underlying thread in your work.

PP: I think about it every day.

MC: Explain this  (referring to a piece hanging on studio wall) piece to Americans since not alot of people there follow European/Italian soccer.

PP: This sentence was written by a fan on a cemetery wall in Naples in 1987 (also made famous in a thesis–author's last name is Ferrari, but Poggi can't remember her first name–  on the anthropological and sociological connotations of soccer)  'Ca va vita persa-in Neopolitan dialect translated into Italian (translated into English) means, "Look what you missed, " because they had missed Naples win the '87 Italian Cup games. This was when Maradonna played on the team. The joke is that the person who wrote this was writing, referring to all of the people in the cemetery.I think it is brilliant, in the sarcasm and in the black humor that's typical of Neapolitan culture.

















MC: The materials you used (cement, paint, styrofoam) look heavy, but this piece is light, also could be a reference to the Neapolitan tragic-comic humor.

PP: Yes-all of this is also self referential, and possibly the title of a future exhibition.
Since I am an under-recognized artist I will call it " Look what you missed".

MC: (Trying to make light in a serious moment, because it is true how little recognition this dedicated artist has received up until now) You're like Clint Eastwood. When they asked him how he handled fame, he replied that he was always preparing for it....

PP: I don't think about it. I want to be humorous, I mean, what can you do, right?

MC: You mentioned that you have enough work here in your studio to have a show in a museum, like the PAC in Milan. It wouldn't be a bad idea.

PP: I know, but it's not up to me.

MC: Let's stay on track. Let's look at "La Cage".

PP: Sure. "La Cage" is my most recent work of my three works: La Cage, La Nazionale, e Misura e Contra Misura.


PP: "La Cage" seems at first glance like a cage, where the interior structure is that of a soccer field ( recurring motif in Poggi' s work centered around soccer), and these lines establish the rules of the game.
Ideally, in order to accentuate the claustrophobic quality of this piece you could put two canaries inside; one white, one black. On a formal level this is an architectural structure based on the grid. Because of the wire grid depending on the viewer's perspective the form is abstracted. On a more conceptual level it evokes an implosive, closed and self-referential game. I feel that a work of art doesn't make true statements, but brings about debate and discussion. I don't tell truths, but make suggestions, with the cage. It is something that we all can recognize. Formally it is something sculptural, an object, forms, but it implies a structure that closes in on itself.

MC: The grid...
PP: Yes, it's interesting because if you multiply it and use wire with smaller squares visually elements become abstracted.
MC: Almost like pixels.
PP: Yes
MC: The ironic thing is that you avoid technology, yet in your work you always make reference to it.
PP: Sometimes if there is something I need done and technically I don't know how I'll have someone else make it. I have no qualms about that. It's usually a question of having funding. Frequently my ideas cost a lot to make. But most of the time I like to use my manual skills, because it's something I like that's fun.

Then we turn to look at the next piece "La Nazionale"


PP: This is a prototype. I got the idea, like I said previously, after taking apart a foos ball table, and holding one of the plastic men in my hand, like this; Poggi demonstrates how he grabbed the man in his hand like a knife handle. I realized I could give it more strength turning it into a sharp, cutting object, like a knife or a screwdriver.This is the piece that could be made in an edition. It has handles on the sides that move, but do not have a function. This was a labor-intensive piece. The most difficult part was attaching the men/handles to the knife-blades and screw drivers.





Pierre Poggi has an upcoming exhibition of site-specific work at the Castello Borromeo the month of December, 2013. 


  







  
      







Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bre-Be-Mi

For the past couple of years near my town there has been highway construction. Right now it is referred to as the Bre-Be-Mi, because it will connect Brescia and Bergamo to Milano. The construction is literally right out of our back door. Needless to say that everyone in the vicinity has been saddened by the destruction of the surrounding countryside. But, observation of the day to day work has fueled my painting practice.
This one of the first of my Bre-Be-Mi series.


Bre-Be-Mi II-oil on canvas, 20x25cm 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update

Hello everyone.  This post is a rundown about a recent trip I took to London. Every year in June the Royal Academy puts on it's annual Summer Show. 2013 is the RA Summer Show's 245th year. Anybody can enter. I decided to give it a try, which meant sticking my two 15x20cm paintings in my backpack/carry-on luggage  and hand delivering them. The work has to be consigned  without any packaging, so you either need to get a friend who lives in London or an art handler to deliver the work. I used this as an excuse to make a trip to London to look at art and see friends.
There are always thousands of people who enter paintings, photos, prints, and sculpture and handing in day–different days for different categories– is exciting. There were over 12,000 entries this year. 

As soon as you get to the RA handing-in area you have to dispose of any and all packaging. The next step is they a scan an adhesive bar code that comes with the application that you stick to the back of your piece/pieces and swiftly take your work into the depths of the Royal Academy. The cost of entering one work is a steep 25£, might I add.  The mere idea that there's a minute possibility of having work inside of the venerable building and hung near art by the likes of  Phyllida Barlow or Anish Kapoor or Paula Rego makes it all worth the gamble. The man who swiftly took my paintings from the woman who was doing the scanning looked like Moby in a fedora. Who was he? Most likely an artist,  historian, poet, magician, or musician, doing this as his day job.

 So, what to do next. I strolled through the posh Burlington Gardens walkway past the elegant, pricy, over the top shops for rich tourists, to the other side of the building, thinking it would be a good idea to see the Manet exhibit. The queue wrapped around the block and there was an hour wait. There was an option– the George Bellows show going on simultaneously with absolutely no wait. This proved to be an excellent choice, a must-see exhibit, and not too many people so it was easy take in the work. There were some cold, gray landscapes of New York that could have been done yesterday. No photographs were allowed, so that's why there are no images posted here.

Next stop the spacious Hauser & Wirth space on nearby Piccadilly Street.



 On show were Selected Works by Phillippe Vandenberg. The Belgian artist  worked in the Neo-Expressionist style until the mid 1990's, when his work became visceral and tormented, according to the press release. The show was a blast from the past for yours truly, and I had an oh no, not again feeling until I realized Vandenberg was the real thing. Compelling, interesting, lively work. He used anything he could lay his hands on to paint. The bold smaller pieces were strongest. On a few he applied tiny squares of surgical tape that resembled mosaics. Sadly Vandenberg passed away in 2009 at the age of 57. 



Some titles were: To love is to flagellate, The enemy within, The hunger of the donkey the end of the soul
He was wrestling with some demons. Painting intensely can easily push anyone over the edge. Recently there was a program on tv about chess genius Bobby Fisher. Someone discussed how chess requires much abstract thinking and this is what led Fisher to totally lose it by the end of his life. Could this be what happens to painters who become overly obsessed with their work? Maybe it doesn't occur as often to sculptors since there is the concrete aspect to sculpture, no pun intended.  

Down the street there is a newer Hauser &Wirth space with Sterling Ruby's exhibition EXHM.
Press release states,"Ruby's works act as formally charged markers and allegories for the burdens that plague existence". EXHM is an abbreviation for exhumation. (Ruby apparently used junk from his studio to make this work, thus the title). The ceramics were intriguing as was the room of the epiglottis-like soft sculptures. 





 Victoria Miro, another gorgeous space off of Wharf Road shows lots of painting, and represents Alice Neel , Grayson Perry, Chantal Joffe, and Francesca Woodman.








This is work by Vern Dawson. I was not familiar with this North Carolinian painter, who resides part-time in NYC. Dawson's heroic landscapes are semi-abstract/ figurative. This artist knows what he is doing. It is always a breath of fresh air to see strong contemporary painting.  



   

Sunday, January 27, 2013

NYC Jan 2013

green tea ice cream -to die for
Morgan O'hara 

view from Morgan's studio on W39th Street

Lisa Hoke on top of the New Museum, where we saw Rosemary Trockel exhibit. 

Gray near her Times Square office.


same view form 37th floor

Gray and I are on the lower left of the giant Times Square screen.  It felt like getting a tan standing in front of so much light. 

Franz West

Genuflecting while taking this picture....Boite en Valise

Warhol's Rorschach painting-remind me to steal this idea. Amazing piece.

Marcel Broodthaers at MOMA. 

Shirt that looks like paint on paper saw in a Park Ave shop window.

Morgan's studio (4 meter table she brought with her during the move from Corneliano Bertario).



Jack Youngerman painting MOMA.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December work

Perforated        oil on canvas 130x100cm 


Hideaway      oil on canvas 100x130cm

   Plasmatic Megalopolis  oil on canvas 100x130cm 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ink,pastel on paper

ink and pastel on paper on board, ten 7x5inch panels, overall dimensions 14x25inches