Alis/Filliol and Invernomuto: The Ifth of Oofth
A conversation between Alis/Filliol, Invernomuto and pinksummer:
Pinksummer: What could be the title of Alis/Filliol and Invernomuto double solo show at Pinksummer Goes to Rome, if shall it have of one? Recalling the eponimous tale written by Walter Tevis in 1957, “The Ifth of Oofth” seems appropriate to us because of the hyper-volume of a diadic exhibition. Double solo show, double couple of artists, not to mention pinksummer duplicated venue, we feel like quoting Asimov ” distorted two-dimensional projection of three-dimensional projection distorted by the quadrimentional tesseract” or hypercube, meaning also cube’s shadow. Also we do not forget how both Alis/Filliol and Invernomuto tend to expand restricted volumes, no matter if those of small towns and History or those of sculpture and third dimension, and through such sort of augmented reality they set formless figures of demons and dystopiae free, as if the present time was made Platonic by the geometric projection of a conjectural although credible shadow, considering that the oath of office of Donald Trump in USA looked like an episode of The Simpsons. Kant used to call identical and incongruous double the relationship between right and the left hand and also claimed that space and time are not features inherent things, but just simple forms of the intuition of the sensible. We could paradoxically deduce that if, within the Euclidean geometry, Alis/Filliol and Invernomuto appear “incongruous”, both in relational and absolute terms, they might seem identical because of the connections they establish between ordinary reality and unknown dimensions. Is the elusive aspect of the real what you have in common? What title would you give to your exhibition?
Alis/Filliol: We would start with some instinctive and general notes on Invernomuto’s work by considering, as done by Antonella and Francesca, the two most immediate factors connecting theirs to our work: the choice of working in couple and the push towards a language that comes from another dimension. To our opinion your work is structured first of all as a steady system of props, clearly coming from cinema and music, that to us seems to be intentionally displayed, almost as if you liked to remark its fictional nature. The mysterious, grotesque and pop taste are looking for a subtle sense of harmony. It looks like a scenery corresponding to a narrative that develops in fragments. Those fragments are enigmatic objects, first of all able to converse among each other and generate an immanent sense in the experience of the viewer, secondly able to communicate an invisible narrative. Such a “secondary narrative” is some sort of superior connection that transcends objects and people and projects them into a fantastic world. Although this world is constituted by historical references, it already contains in itself the amalgam of real and “super-real” that is just an imaginary dimension. It is like if the flow of your imagery crashed against your bodies and got scattered in pieces and the fascination arisen by the process was more in the echo of that impact than in each single piece. The construction of a pervasive environment includes the body in the same way in which the environment is included in superior narrative.
What artists are interesting to you?
Anybody you really venerate? (In any field of knowledge).
Any powerful and inspiring film, book or album?
Big final question:
Does still make sense to speak about aura for an individual object?
And what is that for you?
These are our first considerations on the spur of the moment… waiting for your answer.
Then there is the problem of the title. The one suggested by Antonella and Francesca does not sound bad, but we do not know the tale.
Well, that’s it for now.
Invernomuto: Let’s start from the title: THE IFTH OF OOFTH. Have you seen the cover of the Urania series book containing that short tale by Walter Trevis? To your question: What artists are interesting to you? Anybody you really venerate? (In any field of knowledge), we would answer simply: Harry Smith. It is interesting how your question on aura is formulated. Perhaps it is easier to find it in a constellation of objects rather than in a single element. It could make sense to speak about a space that is build, scenerely, architecturally. Did anybody ever speak about sound aura? Or space aura? Does aura exist on the Moon? Some time ago we had an exhibition together in Milan, where you presented two heads made from grease. A material that never dries, therefore that is ever changing by its own definition. Why grease was interesting to you? Yesterday in our studio we were speaking about the term “simulacrum”. I, Simone, am very attached to this term, but Simone has told me that is “such a Nineties” term. When I think at Sculpture I always think at the concept of simulacrum. And you? Mattia instead, ours assistant, often tells us about one of his friends and to protect his work he says: “He is a sculptor”. Almost as if this his choice kept him apart from any, let’s say, more political discussion of the work of art. Would you define yourself sculptors? I, Simone, am a great supporter of the French term “plasticien”.
A/F: In the exhibition we had together you showed two works. One in particular was very interesting. It was, if we remember correctly, a large sculpture displayed in pieces. Instead of bringing it back to its initial shape you decided to arrange some parts in the venue and let its internal polystyrene core become visible too. By turning away from the impact of the single large size piece with its presumed integrity and autonomy, you favored a sense of fluidity of sign and the intention of infecting the place. Would you define your mark hypertrophic? Our work Brothers is made from industrial grease, indeed an unstable material that takes a very long time to dry. What counts the most for us is the real object one can come across inside the exhibition, with its plastic qualities, its texture, its color and image in respect of the concept of instability of form. Two faces facing each other, staring at each other, bound tight. That’s the point, gaze is very important, because even though simulated, we are prone to perceive it as it was existing, alive, nearly annoying. We are all a little obsesses by gazes, fixed gazes that by crossing it threaten the air and steal our space. We think that the fact of coming across a static presence is a very strong idea, unknown and impossible to translate; a still frame stuck in daily reality, that imposes itself as a flow, a motion virtually taken for granted. Here is maybe part of the answer to the question on simulacrum. One issue between the possible ones: it affects those rare images that have little to do with the understanding, explanation, communication; and have instead something to do with complicity.
IM: We are interested in a simulacrum whenever it becomes more real than real, like in a role play game, or a multiverse. “It has never been so real!” It is totally true that we are all obsessed by gazes. Wax, Relax – you remember it correctly – has never been presented like that before, but it was assembled instead, in order to make up a copy of a copy of a copy (simulacra again) of a cave in Lourdes. On that occasion we scattered it all over that enormous space in Lambrate in order to create a landscape. Those masses of wax and polystyrene (and dirt collected across the exhibition) created some little possible viewing spot on the rest of the show (the obsession gaze again).
PS: Do you know that the space on via del Vantaggio 17/A in Rome was a gallery where the “Scuola di via Cavour” artists Antonietta Raphael, Mario Mafai, Scipione had their shows? We tend to underestimate that, also speaking about aura. We have just been to the Triennale in Milan for the opening of the exhibition “Giuseppe Iannaccone: Italia 1920-1945”, where, beside “Chiaristi Lombardi”, the “Sei di Torino”, the artists of Corrente, there was the Scuola Romana too. We thought immediately at the supranational exhibition “Les Réalismes entre révolution et réaction 1919-1939” curated by Jean Clair in 1980 at Centre Pompidou. The exhibition demonstrated how, after the overexcitement of “isms” in the period between the two World Wars, the need for a comeback of figurative art was felt all over Europe and in USA too (American precisionist painters Demuth and Sheeler were included in the exhibition as well), some sort of call to order in favor of tradition. A sensibility that recurred beyond any ideological position, even though it included them in the specific unmistakable national peculiarities. Nothing wrong with a collector born in 1955 who started from buying Mafai and Birolli, which happened often, but it looks eccentric how he, while keeping on collecting, chose to represent himself in 2017 with a body of 200 works of those artists. In order to leave the successfully overcrowded exhibition “Italy 1920-1945”, one had to cross “Elegantia”, the exhibition of the Belgian artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys curated by Francesco Garutti, that felt like some sort of return to the future. It was indeed an alienating experience! What did the non-writing Simone of Invernomuto mean, when he claimed that the word simulacrum “is so Nineties”: postmodernist to its maximum, mannerist? Don’t you believe that categories such as baroque and mannerist, modernist and postmodernist, are applicable to any historical course and recourse? What Alis/Filliol mean when they speak about aura, is it an ethereal body or simply a set up strategy able to confer a metaphysical appeal that most of the time life tends to dismantle immediately? In its Italian translation Walter Tevis tale was titled “La seezza della quasità” (The Itselfity of Almostity). What will you present at Pinksummer Goes to Rome?
IM: We are just out from a series of meetings and workshops held at ERG in Brussels. This morning Paul Gilroy – a British scholar who is one of the most influential voices in the field of post-colonial studies – spoke about the concept of `melancholia’; referring in particular to major wars and his studies on what is left, in pathological terms too, after some historical trauma occur. He was speaking about lumps, memory conglomerates and their way of acting on present time when arising back again. Obviously, he was not speaking about nostalgia though. That is the way we read the lumps and the trends you mentioned, your passing through Triennale rooms. And that way we like to think at the two layers of carpet we present at Pinksummer Goes to Rome. The intervention we propose is a site-specific work: two large white carpets printed in one color, showing two technical drawings concerning the last Haile Selassié visit in Italy, in 1970. The first one shows Ciampino airport, the position of the private airplane of His Majesty and the position of State Appointees. The second one, the deposition of the lauryl wreath at the Milite Ignoto memorial in Rome. Two iconic places, extremely encumbered with a load of lumps, historical and contemporary. Haile Selassié goes to Rome. And we invite Roman audience to walk across those lumps, stepping on them respectfully, perceiving the difference of their surface. The intervention is also meant as a potential workshop, always open, hosting the works by Alis/Filliol.
A/F: One of our reflection on aura is about some objects’ ability of exercising an attractive power, nearly hypnotic, as if the object itself was able to glance back at the viewer.
For this exhibition we have thought at creating a dialogue between works that we are carrying out separately, following our individual preferences. Our attempt aims to explore the dialogic mechanics of working in couple and to see it in a new light by making up a two-dimension panorama, that will eventually dialogue with Invernomuto’s work as well. In the venue there will be a polyurethane haut-relief, a negative imprint of a mountain chain of the Valle di Susa on which our studio overlooks, carried out as a scale model. A photograph printed on paper portraying a blurred human figure (a sculpture actually) who is staring at the spectator. Two or three small sculptures of different color depicting semi-human forms made from Cernit polymer clay. Each of those sculptures is supported by three thin steel bars and suspended at various heights starting from about a meter from the ground. Last we will present a sculpture and some paintings, a staging of characters bent over their gestures, isolated in an undecided, suspended space, got peeked in their own most personal balance.