Photo credit: Christoph Ziegler
Carlotta Sennato’s holistic installation “SUBVERSIVE GAMES” at
Π Artworks_ Syntagma_Athens initiated this season’s “One Artist A Week” programme. The programme hosts international artists who wish to live like locals, work like locals, discover Athens like locals and exhibit their work in Athens addressing the local and the global community.
For more information, visit: http://www.favelab-athens.com
We asked Carlotta to tell us of her experience with the turbulent, though highly energizing, city of Athens and explain what “Subversion” means to her.
Carlotta, a visual artist from Napoli/Italy, based in Berlin/Germany, talks about her work, her family jewellery background and which changes she would like to see happening in the art scene of Italy. Enjoy the interview!
“Subversive Games” by Carlotta Sennato was shown from Friday 9 to Tuesday 12 June 2018 at Π Artworks in down town Athens. US artist Quin de la Mer was next to show her frescos titled “Beauty Bleeding Through” at the same place a week later. The next show takes place in September featuring work by Swiss artist Kathrin Stalder.
What’s your impression from Athens?
Athens is quite an urban jungle. There are no simple words for it. It’s complex and controversial. As you walk around and you get lost where you’re not supposed to, you stumble upon places full of energy, free space, and an enormous artistic potential.
It would be nice to turn some of its potential into reality. Despite being dusty, dirty, at times unbreathable, Athens is for me an extremely exciting work in progress city.
Subversive games the title makes us think of recent European polities in co-relation to some sort of fun in undertaking dangerous approaches…why did you choose this title?
You can of course take “subvert” as a politically charged word. Especially here in Athens, where the results of the economic crisis of the last decade and more caused by European politics have scarred the city very clearly.
However, this word has accompanied me in even more personal journeys. Within the context of Lacanian therapy sessions, the idea of subverting – internal and external – circumstances has turned into a statement. My work since has tried to learn the ropes of the art of subverting. For this particular experience my intention was to chase the effects of the subversion of space.
In a way, I entered an old print shop and subverted it into the bolstering crossroad of traditions and innovations it always thought it could be.
What do you find challenging in Panourgias artwork as a space of presenting your work?
Every work I approach as a site specific project is for me a thrilling challenge. The opportunity to work outside of traditional art exhibition spaces is something I cherish greatly. And for a long time I have been looking for a place like Panourgias space to subvert and observe in the long term. As soon as I stepped into the project I was not only given access to the space but also to some craftsman tools. I could then start developing a story, including what the past had left over, what the present passing-by crowds bring about, and most importantly what the space could be. Despite being totally new to this particular environment and its diverse encounters, I felt entirely free to develop a site-specific approach with very little restrictions and a lot of support from my host.
You come from a family of goldsmiths. What was their influence on your art?
It is true that when I was a child I spent a lot of time inside the family-owned jewels factory. I was allowed to play with some stuff and I could watch what the goldsmiths were doing. One day a man showed me a magic trick. From a solid chunk of gold, he pulled a perfect ring with a shiny stone mounted on top. Since then shiny colours and golden bling bling are part of my palette, but more importantly I try to repeat the magic trick and transform chunks of life, namely translate them, metaphorically or not, into another form.
Tell a few words about the art scene in Italy. What would you wish to change or make better?
When it comes to the art scene in Italy, it really depends what you are talking about. There is the institutional art scene that its about power as everywhere else.
It has the power to reward you as much as to repress you.
Institutionalism is everywhere an insidious process. You can get used to its laws and idiosyncrasies, but every artist knows the price tag attached to it.
Then, somehow mysteriously missed by the spotlight, an artistic scene lingers. There you can find a lot of experimentation and fun, pretty brilliant ideas and daring concepts.
Italy as a country, with all its beauty, culture, and history, is missing nothing. What I would like to see promoted more and more are strong fresh eyes, the courage to open spaces to artistic interventions, the vision to change drab repetitive meaningless approaches and thereby show what it could be.