We are speaking of new narrative forms at the dawn of the new millennium, evoking in their lines a Colaiacomo of the previous millennium. It deals with hybrid, social and globalized forms using all kind of mass media in order to convey a new more fashionable style, somewhat icy and minimal. A style that is Italian for its creativity, universal for its normality. An interview with Samantha Stella and Sergio Frazzingaro, the creators of the project “Corpinudi”, to know more about their work, symbol, in the last years, of the real Italian style as regards the new international art research.
This exclusive interview is the result of a respectful and genuine friendship between the undersigned and Samantha, having a positive effect on the Digicult’s project. I want to thank Samantha from now on for her professionalism and willingness to cooperate, what I consider essential characteristics for a real artist of an uncommon great-heartedness.
Massimo Schiavoni: Samantha, taking into consideration the achievements obtained with Sergio Frazzingaro , how much important was for your artistic life “starting” from Genoa and having in your background both choral dances, in your personal development, and artistic and musical skills, owned by Mr. Frazzingaro?
Samantha Stella: The project “Corpicrudi” derives from the convergence of our singular and personal pieces of experience, both mine and Sergio’s. these latter allowed us, in a very spontaneous way, to elaborate a transversal language of our style which I consider as characterised and easily recognizable. Starting from Genoa was not the main thing, it is like starting from a not particularly lively artistic context. I would say it hadn’t a great impact on us, apart from giving us the opportunity to have little spaces and windows, at the beginning of our common path, where we could cooperate with some of the city artists. By the way, it deals with contacts and meetings which could happen perfectly also in other places. As in any communication path, our works were publicized far beyond the city, where however we are still living. The videos of our works travelled quite easily all around the world thanks to festivals and international exhibitions. We presented installations, performances, pictures in art galleries and fairs, museums, hotels, clubs, institutions and private collections, doing it personally in many cities in Italy and abroad. The place, as well as the used media, is an instrument. Our transversal style let us free to think new solutions, each time different. My past studies have at first aroused our interest in theatre/performance stages. But immediately our language was hybridized by a common love for videos and cinema, as well as for music and fashion, allowing at first the development of a video dimension and then of a picture’s one. Music (Sergio, an architect, is also dj and electro-music producer for the project MastaFaktor www.myspace.com/mastafaktor ) was always the core element of every work we presented. It was used to create something like “silent” scenarios or scores for “remark actions” on a soundtrack, as recently pointed out by a young curator.
I’d define them video-performances and you can recognize a major difference with the classical performance. These video-performances are written, directed and performed by ourselves together with other bodies, belonging to models or performers. We pay the greatest attention to a nearly unnatural pose, to the minimal gesture, to the harmonic composition. And then actions are made sparkling by pictures and their coldness is highlighted by a precise detail and colour control. It’s an effort focussed towards an idea of beauty able to cut off and freeze the public by a constant search for the highest harmony. “Corpicrudi”, raw bodies. Cold bodies. Minimal gestures. False actions taking place in an artificial setting, in a constant research for a timeless harmony. Bodies as still life, sometimes upsetting and striking because of their artificial inexpressiveness. Their “imploding” control as feature of our contemporary language.
Massimo Schiavoni: You spoke of your style as transversal, hybridized and inexpressive. Don’t you think that your artistic language was born almost naturally, I mean as if consequence of the bombing of our society’s exaggerated means and “shaped” then in our likeness, no matter if distorted or not?
Samantha Stella: I agree. “Corpicrudi” are spontaneous catalysts, readers and interpreters of some aspects of the today’s contemporary society of the West world. The transversal and hybridized features belong to contemporary aspect. On the contrary inexpressiveness is a choice. Codification of imploding actions and “fixed” pictures (representing bodies in movement or standing still) make the audience read it on the opposite as something dramatic, underling a necessary detachment from reality for the benefit of harmony. The language provided by our society in which we grew up becomes the means we use to “speak” to our projects’ users. We choose in a precise and controlled way the words creating a recognizable style. These words are necessary for the composition of our idea of beauty. The imagines are not misleadingly distorted, but explicitly settled and clearly offered.
Massimo Schiavoni: So, “Corpicrudi”, conveying an explicit image and as a consequence an event, as f.i. in the case of the several works entitled “Study for stella last ciak”, makes the users double wrong-footed: firstly for the aesthetic-physical aspect, secondly for the psychological- perceptional order (or disorder) and besides, the perception is in a constant change. However, I find it a gaze revolution, or, saying it with Debray’s words, simulation abolishes the simulacrum and so it gets rid of the immemorial curse linking image and imitation. Are we in front of truth operators or illusion-makers? Can I consider your work as the image performance?
Samantha Stella: “Corpicrudi” shows actions in movement or still, meaningless in appearance and without text in most of the cases, in a serial role interchanges which cause a crisis the point of reference. The words are taken from the contemporary language but they look like creating, in our construction, different sentences with a common denominator in constant repetition. I wouldn’t speak, for our case, of a mathematic image abolishing the real one. Although we use digital systems, the words proposed do not hide nor are distorted by pc digital tools. They are taken from reality in an objective way and then modelled in a “fake” appearance implying something more. And the gaze revolution is maybe here, in the perception “forced” by an artificial aesthetic order. I wouldn’t speak neither of reality or illusion. They are the same thing. Illusion is not misleading, but necessary. Art portrays Life as part of its raw material, it creates and models it in new forms, it is not interested in the real fact, on the contrary it invents, images, dreams about, and keeps between itself and reality the inaccessible barrier of a beautiful style ” (from “the decay of lying”, Oscar Wilde). The performance allows improvisation so I’d rather speak of image film.
Massimo Schiavoni: Improvisation is inside happening and so performances can also be well created and modelled. I’d say to put more attention in your work to this side that we can call the film side, as you perfectly say, because it’s important to understand how art needs a pre-established fiction in order to get rid of this label. “Corpicrudi” understood that and offers systematically this double gaze, taking its elements in a transversal way from different medial languages, from music to photography to fashion. Indeed, you have been working recently in the vogue world, with services presented in the major global magazines. Photography therefore comes back to be the most effective mean for diffusion-operation, taking the place of video in a kind of reversal of roles?
Samantha Stella: Several print magazines and international web sites dealing with fashion, art and music showed interest in our artistic production, above all lately thanks to our actual project BEAUTIFUL UNTRUE PEOPLE, developed in collaboration with the online community of Myspace. Musicians and djs, fashion designers and stylists, photographers e international video-makers sharing with us a vision affinity. We asked them to interpret a concept of “corpicrudi” (the “last ciak”, that is a last action, openly false and we use here the film language- and for this reason actually never said for the last time and every time new) through pictures, videos and music. Beautiful untrue people is a tribute to a famous sentence of Oscar Wilde (“lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of art” from “the decay of lying”) and was presented for the global preview in Rome at the contemporary art gallery Lipanjepuntin from 17 May to 30 June 2007 where there is a section “Corpicrudi” and the preview of our video “The last ciak trilogy” (soundtracks by Client, My Park and Mass_prod) and some pictures of the relating photo series belonging to Corpicrudi. In addition a section dedicated to the artists who interpreted our concept. For the same occasion there will be there a side-exhibition of Corpicrudi by Filippo Fettucciari Art in Perugia (the main city in the Umbrian region), from 19 May to 30 June. Beautiful untrue people directly refers to different medial languages from them we always took our elements, offering our concept of pre-established fiction as raw material to model in a potential infinite play of interpretation and fruition. Reversal of roles without any overtaking.
Massimo Schiavoni: Concerning BEAUTIFUL UNTRUE PEOPLE, the project that will be presented in Rome from 17 May, I find interesting the myriad of projects owing your same style and coming from every side of the world, sanctioning your work as the international magnet in the new creative concept. This is important so I’d like to know how important is for you the online community, in this case of Myspace. The choice not to “run” after the routine of contemporary art with its inescapable stages was intended or inevitable? In almost 2 years you were able to rocket, let’s say in the round, from Genoa to Los Angeles . How much is possible to share, renew and export the Italian art?
Samantha Stella: Myspace is an excellent communication mean. It offered us a double opportunity: immediate contact with realities potentially similar and a contemporaneous window in self-updating. I’d say a media that, because of its nature, rich in images, videos and music, is near to the transversal feature of our language. Corpicrudi created its own page in Myspace’s site last August at the suggestion of a call from a dear journalist and friend in Paris . Beautiful untrue people was born here in a spontaneous way, as soon as the potentiality of the means had been easily understood. As every life path, Corpicrudi derives from a mix, lucky or not, of precise choices and casual correspondences. Its typology derives from its hybridized nature coming from our contemporary artistic research with a recognizable distinctive feature (a West feature, rather than Italian, if we want to define it geographically,)and a strong-willed determination. The immediate sharing is determined here more by the most obvious revolution of our era, the web, definitively giving art a geographic universal character, here, as in Los Angeles and all around the world.
Sharing and universality of art. Over10 years ago all that was just impossible. Don’t you think that the real revolution was the entry of art in the private life rather then the art of the private museum? Your “art scene” takes place in aseptic rooms, cold and designer, geometric and chic interiors, a proper “crime scene” where everything is calculated and systematically polished. The public imagination unveiled by art. Can we say that the user became customer and the art system a mean? With the digital/web revolution we are facing an enlarged market of users and potential artists. In this case art enters in private life. As regards the public imagination, yes, we can say that in a certain way we unveil an era absorbing some recognizable social characteristics belonging to a cliché of actual harmony. These characteristics are then modelled by a different effort towards an idea of beauty, often implying a dramatic consciousness. In the art market the users is the customer, and the art system a mean. I don’t think we transfigured reality. In art the user is the person who can appreciate harmony without paying attention to the means.
Massimo Schiavoni: idea of beauty, harmony and elite. Which features do you choose for your future?
Samantha Stella: Harmony and the sublime.