For the Armory Show 2016 Laveronica arte contemporanea is pleased to present “The New York Community”, a solo show by Italian artist Marinella Senatore. The project anticipates the performance and major solo exhibition that the museum in Queens, New York, will devote to her in April 2017, a month after the fair.
Senatore is internationally renowned for her participatory projects, which over the years have involved various communities in different places around the world and thousands of people the artist transforms into the leading players of her works.
New York, one of the planet’s most multi-ethnic communities, and its energy stimulated a series of projects the artist created in cities in recent years. The works on display from these experiences testify to some of the different moments that are part of Marinella Senatore’s artistic practice: workshop, storytelling, improvisation, documentation, fiction.
Jammin’ Drama Project
Freely inspired by John Cassavetes’s film Love Streams (1984), commenced by the artist in 2011, it was developed and completed in 2014.
The film has been made in Harlem that united various resident communities, associations of Afro-Americans, Hispanics, groups of poets, rappers, students and ordinary citizens: over 500 people worked side by side to create a scenario that was then recited by two professional actors (not from these communities) in the authors’ presence. The two actors “jammed”, creating ever-new expectations and leaving room for the changeable interpretations of the film.
A small troupe composed of technical/non-professional citizens did the filming in the climate of a permanent workshop, a dynamic teaching environment based on the concept of Bildung, self-education.
A large installation is on display, with films projected on monitors and two display cases that hold a series of documents from the production of the film: photos, sketches, posters and drawings.
How Do You Kill the Chemist?
In Harlem, New York, Senatore was interested in countless stories, past and present, that residents told her. The title refers to a true story that happened in New York in the Fifties and was told to the artist by a group of rappers. Centred around an absurd set of coincidences, the story involves the accidental discovery of a murderer, who by chance was caught by the police when the young man was the millionth driver to cross the Hudson Bridge. Because of the highway company’s plans, the “lucky” motorist was to be welcomed on the bridge by the police and fireworks. Senatore initially executed the project during a residency in New York, at Art Omi International with a fellowship from the Dena Foundation, Paris.
A small group of drawings and paintings is on display, with which the artist uses a series of flashbacks to examine – in retrospect – the time she spent in Harlem, and the professional and above all human relationships she established while working on the project.
Set in the New Museum and the outlying area, Variations (Variazioni) relied on the collaboration of over 200 residents of New York’s Lower East Side. Proposing a project conceived as a film about local residents, with Variations Senatore’s contagious energy brought into the museum a heterogeneous ensemble of people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, including many who had never entered the institution, despite living around the corner. According to Senatore, “the outcome of the collaboration becomes a mirror for how people live together, maintaining their identity, but also forming a specific social body”. The video examines the entire casting process, offering clips of the numerous auditions that were held. Highlighting the creative potential that the artist’s method brings out in each individual, the process of Variations included a true workshop of scriptwriting.
On display there is a series of photographs of the urban space of project participants, with the artist’s support. Images of young people on skateboards testify to one of the fictional parts of the work.