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'You would like that we were not here. But we are too emotionally absorbed by the homesickness of places that we’ll see only from the windows of our Bentleys'

Curated by Michele Gabriele

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She is driving, angry. She is driving, sad. She’s been driving for hours, nowhere in particular – post-fight. Highway, industrial landscape – in transit. By now, together with fading daylight her mind is turning soggy and dropping off, out of focus. Her eyes are on the road, thoughts floating around her; some circling back, again and again.

She’s worn out from the fight, her emotional state and the smothering synthetic smell in her car are stirring up something; the spiralling thoughts are gathering, she’s driving into a vortex.

Barely acknowledging it, she glimpses things she isn’t really sure are there, objects or images she can’t place – superfluous and not part of the landscape. A flash of blue sky, when it’s clearly getting dark. A round pattern, a bit detached and too close – what – doesn’t matter. The bitterness and chafed vibes from before and the stuffiness of the car are closing in on her – leaving little room for anything outside – pickled, probed and gray – ugh, can she even be??

All the fights she’s had in this car! Why do arguments always happen in the car? And then you are stuck in a wildfire in a tin box with no escape – that is just the worst.

With mom it had been long passive-aggressive streaks. Their fights were thick, like expired plasticine or shit, you couldn’t get it off of you, you couldn’t get the smell out. And the level of pettiness was unreal.

Something registered – like – she doesn’t – umm no.

And then, with her – heavy screaming, fights so intense they were physically exhausting. It had obviously not always been like that, but eventually she had grow to resent everything about her, she had grown to hate her hair in particular, sometimes at night she had thought she’s gonna cut her fucking hair off in a clump. Cut and run – just leave it – just –. Heavy beats, gasping for air. Get – get the – fuck – fuck – out – out of – my car. I don’t get mad!

A story so cliché she was embarrassed to admit it. Another unplaceable object faintly flickered in corner of her eye, or in her mind’s eye, or somewhere in-between.

She now knows for sure, this car is a vehicle of fights – she can’t get the exhaust fumes of confrontations out, everything is drenched in it. She needs a new car to vanquish the spirits. Somewhere along the road she has become like all those women laughing alone with salad, quietly gone mad – and she – will go off – blow off – up – and beyond. The neon letters are all fucked up, she can’t read the signs anymore. This one’s gone to the vortex.

– Keiu Krikmann

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Facebook THU 12.01.2017 — 2:14 PM

MG: Hello Matteo, I wanted to ask you if you could come visit me one of these days. There’s something I’d like to show you.

MM: Sounds good! What’s that about? Where do you wanna meet?

MG: Let’s meet at the Seregno’s trains station, early in the morning. Catch the first train you can. And let me know by what time you’ll be there.

MM: I could be there next Wednesday. I’ll catch the train in Turin at 5.50 AM and I’ll be in Seregno by 7.30. How about that?

MG: That’s great Matte!

MM: What is this all about?

MG: I’ve got a few things to show you. Telling you wouldn’t be the same. You must see them yourself.

Seregno WED 7:32 AM

MM: Hello there Michele, it’s so good to see you here, just like the first time we met, when I came for the studio visit.

MG: There you are, of course I remember! Seregno never changes, like all these area actually. It waits for you but it never helps.

MM: By the way, what’s awaiting me in Seregno today?

MG: We’re just leaving, we’re going to Milano. Please, get in the car. It’s not a Bentley, some call it my wheelchair, but it’s still carrying me around.

MM: Why are we going to Milano? Did you change your mind? I’d have waited for you there if you told me. MG: We must go there together. Shall we leave?

MM: Do you mind if I keep this recorder on?

MG: Not at all.

WED 7:48 AM

MG: Look at this tunnel here, it connects Brianza to Milano. I used to get stuck in traffic for hours to get to the city center before this was built. I believe it has had a strong influence on my production, esthetically speaking. Look at the colors. It’s new but it looks like it’s been here forever. It’s one of the longest urban tunnels in Europe. It repeats itself over and over, same doors, same streetlights. This makes it look shorter but it’ll be around two kilometers long.

MM: Wait a minute, what’s that? Did you see it? Just at the entrance of the tunnel. They looked like dreadlocks.

MG: They are dreadlocks, tied up and thrown there. They recall a sitting person, if you’ve got that type of imaginary need. Still it looks like they fell there by chance. Has if someone threw them away, forgotten…

MM: As if someone threw them from a running car. Can we go back to get a better look?

MG: It’s better not to stop here, we must go on. Cars should be going at 90 km/h, but who’s driving that slow?

MM: When we first met you used to have dreadlocks. I remember coming across Rastamen, they were always say hi to you, beating their fist on their chest. It’s interesting how we found those dreadlocks right here in this tunnel, almost as if you left them behind to move faster to the city center…

MG: Yes, I remember my dreadlocks! I didn’t think about that! You know Paul Barsch is keeping them now ? He made an artwork out of them and he exhibited them for the project Cielo Milano curated by him and Tilman Hornig months ago. Come on, let’s get out of here, let’s catch the first exit.

WED 8:11 AM

MM: Wait, slow down, there’s a mouse!

MG: Fuck that’s true!

MM: Don’t squash it!

MG: Yes, I’ll be careful. The Lambro river runs around here, that’s why it’s full of rats.

MM: Ok, it crossed the road. Now it’s under those, ehm, twelve antennas? What are those twelve antennas on the wall for?

MG: In this time of the year and time of the day, the light comes with a particularly white and desaturated shade, and the objects outdoors look white just for a few minutes. Then the sky changes color and so do they.

MM: That’s true, those objects usually keep a strong relationship with the sky, the weather and the light, even if placed like that, at that height, they look like they’re trying to show us a will to be listening and receiving in a place were, perhaps, there’s nothing interesting to listen to.

MG: I don’t know Matteo, surely antennas are usually above us, we all know them but we rarely get to see them close. Assembled with shamanic aesthetics, with bamboo canes and plumes, it look like they are ironically showing us two different clichés.

WED 8:23 AM

MM: The traffic is getting more intense, where are we?

MG: We’re in the northern part of Milano. Let’s see if I can pull over.

MM: Careful, the car in front of us is stopping, there’s something on the road. It looks like… is that salad? Wait, is that the work you made for the Bubble Tea show?

MG: Yes, I better move it today or I’ll get in trouble.

MM: What’s it doing hanging from the traffic divider?

MG: Well, Matte… consider this as a guided tour. This is «You would like that we were not here. But we are too emotionally absorbed by the homesickness of places that we’ll see only from the windows of our Bentleys»: a group show.

MM: You curated a group show setting up the works on the road from Brianza to Milano?

MG: In a certain way, yes. Paul Barsch’s work is in the tunnel that, for me, links my house to Milano. But all the others are in the city.

MM: Your works always have a lot to do with observing what surrounds them, and from that you develop them in a very sincere way, without being even bothered by the fact that the result might be disappointing. This work reminds me of the eating sculpture by Gianni Anselmo, but yours looks faster: the lettuce is not withering, it’s being squeezed by the passing cars. What’s its title?

MG: “Whity-Trashy vol.3 (I stay if you hold me tight)”. Lately, it’s as if I felt a lot more freedom in formally using the elements in my work almost carelessly.

WED 4:12 PM

MM: We’ve been driving during the all afternoon, but we haven’t come across any artwork for quite along time now. Is the show over? It’s almost sunset.

MG: No, it’s not over yet but I thought we should have waited a little to see this one. Look up there! That’s «Clouds» by Andrew Birk.

MM: It may be the time or the way you set it up, or maybe both, but that work looks extremely delicate and melancholy to me, as if it wanted to save an intimate and fleeting moment without telling us about it.

MG: It’s been months now I’ve been observing the relationship between Andrew Birk and his work and I’m entranced by it.

MM: Can you tell me more about it?

MG: It’s the feeling I get, the number of canvases, the different ways of painting them. An erupting volcano. And every time he’s stripping himself down completely. Watch him working is amazing to me.

WED 6:35 PM

MM: Are you sure we can go this way? Isn’t it a private road?

MG: Who cares. I’ve never seen anybody here. It gets you to a subway station. Can you hear the noise?

MM: Yes, I must tell you it makes me shiver. These orange streetlights, they always made me claustrophobic.

MG: Do they make you feel trapped even if we are outdoors?

MM: Yes they do, they make me feel so… wait, there’s something next to that gate. Is it a painting?

MG: Yes, a digitalized painting by Nuno Patricio. Its got a metal structure holding it to the ground.

MM: It reminds me something I probably saw in a movie, but I can’t recall what it is now…

MG: To me as well. Maybe it reminds me of a whole movie genre. When I was young I used to buy the weekly magazine «UFOs and Aliens». Do you remember that? Buying it made me feel better than the others, one step closer to secret knowledge.

MM: I was very fascinated by it as well, but then I remember thinking «if this stuff is that secret, then why can I get it so easily at the news-stand?».

WED 10:36 PM

MG: The heating in my car comes and goes. Sorry about that, Matteo, I know it’s getting cold. Usually, it doesn’t work when it’s cold while it works perfectly when you don’t need it.

MM: That’s what we’re gonna do: pull over as soon as you can, I’ll smoke a cigarette, I’ll be cold so that when we get back in the car it’ll be almost warm.

MG: That sounds just about right.

WED 10:40 PM

MG: Alright, I’ll stop here.

MM: Look, there’s something in the grass. They looks like tiny dolls. Hey, they’re Lucia Leuci’s from the exhibition at Tile Project Space!

MG: I’ve chosen to exhibit some of the works from Lucia Leuci’s latest solo show. «Bad Mothers and Creole Kids». I’ve set them up here, among the grass in the dark. The concept of being creole upon which she’s been reflecting, the way in which she touches things. To me this really was one of last year’s most inspiring art works. Seeing them here, as if they were left behind, forgotten, moves me.

MM: That may be because they’re so delicate. Seeing them here, in such an anonymous lawn, so close to the highway, conveys a strange feeling of danger, as if they were the ones in charge.

MG: Probably, I’ve always felt as if they were the ones in danger, you know?

MM: Maybe it is so. Maybe, because of how they were made, it’s very hard for them to find somewhere where they belong. Maybe they really don’t belong anywhere.

MG:I feel represented.

MM: Be careful, you’re getting too romantic.

MG:Let’s go, there’s just one more work I want to show you. After that I’ll take you back to the station, it’s very late already and you might miss the last train back.

MM: Will we make it or is it too dark already?

MG: Of course we’ll make it. Everybody passing through the highway will see it with us.

WED 11:04 PM

MM: What song is this? I like it, can you turn the volume up?

MG: «Reason» by Spooky Black. I’ve been listening to this kind of music a lot, lately. It’s called «sadboy music», I think. 

MM: It really sounds like that.

WED 11:07PM

MM: Is that up there the artwork? I can’t really read what’s written upon it.

MG: Yes, you have to look at it for a while to understand it. You should get closer.

MM: But now we’ve already moved past it, I couldn’t read it all. It’s a bit like it happens with songs, you get some of the words but you can’t understand it as a whole.

MG: The font it’s written in is an art work by Monia Ben Hamouda, while the text is the verse from a song. «…Searching for wrong, so you can point your stubborn finger at me again, at me again…»

MM: I see why it’s at the end of the show, it’s like the credits.

MG: Yes, the credits.

MM: When it comes to emotions, it’s always hard to keep the focus on who’s feeling them. It’s easier to identify with the emotion itself. And this has been a very emotional trip.

MG: Thanks Matteo.
MM: Thank you.

– Matteo Mottin in conversation with Michele Gabriele

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Paul Barsch — BIOBCI Carrier ‘Lorenzo’ detached (lingering) 2017; human dreadlocks

Pierre Clement — Ultra High Frequencies, 2015; Satellite antennas, bamboo, feathers, vegetal moss, raffia

Michele Gabriele — Whity-Trashy vol.3 (I stay if you hold me tight), 2016; Car door, salad

Andrew Birk — CLOUDS, 2014; Aereosol enamel on canvas

Nuno Patrício — Small Embryo Inside Nostromo, 2016; Oil on canvas, offset print on paper, metallic holder attached to the floor

Lucia Leuci — Mamme cattive, bambini creoli (Bad mothers, creole kids), 2016; Resin, synthetic hair, fabric, metal, embroidery floss, clay

Monia Ben Hamouda — Nur Xyderiv (Searching for wrong, so you can poin your stubborn finger at me again, at me again), 2016; Video projection, 1.14’’, loop

With text contributions by Keiu Krikmann and Matteo Mottin