Interview #61

Jacopo Rinaldi

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

Jacopo Rinaldi (Roma, 1988) studied at Accademia Di Belle Arti (Rome) and Naba (Milan). His work has been exhibited at MACRO and Fondamenta Gallery (Rome), Viafarini and Plasma (Milan), Lastation (Lecce), Villa Brandolini (Treviso), Frankfurt Main Hauptbahnhof (Francoforte), Galleria Bluorg (Bari), Fabbrica Rosa (Locarno).

Could you tell me about the research you’re continuing on the Harald Szeemann’s archive in Ticino?

The research started with a performance in the archive. I had been commissioned to document the exhibition and I decided to do it working on the architecture. I decided to involve the Academy of Architecture of Mendrisio where Szeemann had worked and thanks to the Digital Representation Department, it was possible to realize a relief of the space and of the people who went through it during the few hours of public opening of the archive.

What forms has this activity taken?

I would say it took different forms. Months after I continued to work on that archive, starting from the spatial data that we collected. Basically I’ve been working on an archive in its absence: all materials contained in that space had been acquired by the Getty Institute in Los Angeles and also the solid architecture on which I had worked would have soon undergone some changes. Maybe that’s why I decided to stop some ideas and to write.

Some artists use the archives as a mere raw material to develop narratives; in your work, it returns with the orderliness of a structural approach that considers it conceptually as a place of memory… To what extent can it be considered a pretext for a story and when does it become the subject on which to reason?

I think it became a theme after the meeting with Lara Vinca Masini. The apartment that hosted the archive was so overloaded with books it would have jeopardized the entire structure of the building, forcing Lara to move to a ground floor. I believe that this meeting directed my research to the architecture of the archive and the crisis of its supports.

This is not the first time that your practice is confronted with the archive: can you tell me about the experience in the Pirelli archive?

I started working in that archive as a researcher for Céline Condorelli’s exhibition at Hangar Bicocca. Some aspects of that research continue to affect my work. In this context the archive has nurtured more narrative aspects regarding the colonies, eros and the industrial imagery.

How are these interests formalising?

In very different works. I’m working hard on a certain iconography related to the rubber industry products and on the possession of images. This is why I created some watermarks: watermarks that overlap the photographic images that I’m shooting or collecting. In the last period I have also developed the watermarks in drawing. I’m developing some of these contents in videos and in installations.

We must confront vague ideas with clear images“, a phrase that appears in your work Word Lens (2015), it seems to be a deliberation on a precise political approach to the translation of the chaotic data of the archive into intelligible information, a subject much discussed in recent times for example regarding Wikileaks, the NSA scandal… Have you developed a precise method in your practice, regarding this issue?

Maybe the method with which I have dealt with these themes could be the game. In fact, your thought is very focused but although these aspects are the centre of the work, I don’t think I have the means and the knowledge to face a topic as complex as that of the transparency of information. Maybe that’s why I tried to play with the meaning and disenchantment behind those words. 

What do you mean?

The image is of an app that uses the camera for real time translation. The translated sentence seems to somehow betray the original message. Of course it is a literal translation, but I think something changes: the means we use are never entirely neutral and can convey or open to other interpretations from the same content. I see a certain change in this gap between the original message and its elaboration. Let’s say maybe we live in a time when political claims affect us not only as individuals but also as consumers. I don’t think this makes a claim less legitimate but certainly implies certain constraints and that disenchantment to which I referred.