Interview #61

Alessandro Di Pietro

* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).

Alessandro Di Pietro (Messina, 1987) studied at Accademia di Brera (Milan). His work has been exhibited at EYE – Film Institute (Amsterdam); MAMbo (Bologna); Hopstreet Gallery (Bruxelles); Platforma Space – MNAC Annex (Bucarest); Fondazione Ratti (Como); Centre National Édition Art Image (Chatou-Parigi); CCC La Strozzina (Firenze); Centre d’Art Bastille (Grenoble); PAC, Marsèlleria Permanent Exhibition and Viafarini in Residence (Milan); OCAT (Shanghai).

What inspires your practice?

My practice is closely linked to the production of monstrosities or rather images which are the result of normalization and de-normalization processes in linguistic and material terms. To ensure that the monster is born, you must fully understand both the context in which you are acting and the common sense of time; this is why in the first instance many of the projects are heavily regulated and constraining, to ensure that the new image is as much as possible the one it should be and not different.. nothing new, but to ensure that an artwork has the status of system fault, be it a monument or a virality, I feel the need to imitate the performative and self-referential action of nature on the anatomy of the real.

In this sense, Das Begleitbuch/The Guidebook you made in occasion of the dOCUMENTA 13, is rather emblematic…

In 2012, during the opening of documenta13, I secretly used a ‘mobile scanner’ as a tool to snatch 40 surfaces of the works installed within the institutional spaces of dOCUMENTA13. The ‘new use’ of the information I collected (at the basis of the concept of profanation), was to reallocate the fragments of the stolen art-works to the artists (according to the scanner’s / my own memory) and to re-lay out everything in an official layout identical to that of Das Begleitbuch/the Guidebook (3/3). The book is numbered ‘4/3’, an editorial surplus compared to the 3 official books published by the Hatje Cantz Verlag. This project remains dysfunctional from an editorial point of view and structurally incomplete, as it is meant to be a comparison tool with institutions that, if they embrace the operation, will complement their libraries and archives with a new book, placing it in relation to others and giving it an official status, considering it a redeemed anomaly.

Some time ago we talked about time cycles, aestheticism and historicization: what is your perception of the contemporary art scene as to these concepts?

Frankly, these are two concepts that I almost never use too much or too positively… Whether the contemporary artistic situation cares about it or not, is not as significant to me as the way in which it is talked about. The two words you ask me about – I never heard anyone pronounce them, if not very good artists who are little superstitious as to the obsolescence of their own research, or who has a crazy fear of ‘them’, may they be words or demons.

In 2015 you took part in Glitch, a joint exhibition curated by Davide Giannella, exposed at the PAC in Milan: by many it was considered a rather significant parenthesis to assess the contemporary Italian situation, even if through the exhibition theme filter. How was your experience in the exhibition?

For me, Glitch was a fantastic opportunity. When Davide invited me I had not yet finished New Void, my first experimental movie, the result of a process of deconstruction of the film Enter The Void (Gaspar Noé, 2009) through a performative act of scanning the screen of a Mac Book Pro 15.4 inch with the film in motion. Thanks to the exhibition I found the right energies to finish it. Glitch was also a test to decide whether New Void would be the last project developable within the film grammar, or if I should continue.

Glitch was also an opportunity to collaborate with Enrico Boccioletti who made the audio of the work you exhibited. How was your collaboration?

New Void is the longest, the most complete and the methodologically most speculative project I have so far achieved and a collaboration site with some artists or authors whose work I love. One is Enrico Boccioletti, the other one Ana Shametaj. It was the first time that Enrico and I have faced a planning process together. Initially I asked him to compose an ad hoc track, subsequently it occurred that his audio project Translationships 2011-2013 had the same raw nature of my scans waiting for a story. Therefore we tried to insert one of the many versions of Translationships as a drone and discovered together that the two video and audio tracks were already loving each other. Currently, I am also working on the discographic project New Void, the audio track is by Enrico Boccioletti (3b) and it will be presented in an audio visual performance format as an action of saturation of the entire design process.

Are there other people or realities in Milan of which you follow the work?

F.B., M.G., S.M., F.T., N.T., N.T. + N, A.M., J.M., J.R., F.B., R.A., G.A.P. etc.. some of these are not present in this volume, others are. M.G. has also made a funeral piece in the event of my untimely death, called Alexander of Bronze … I keep an eye on him.