Paolo Piscitelli presents Unpacking
Last July, Paolo Piscitelli set up, in the vast spaces of the former water reservoir of Prenzlauerberg in Berlin, site of Singuhr, four hitherto unscreened videos belonging to the “Unpacking” cycle, a work conceived and realized for installation just in that particular contest. A little more than three months after the Berlin opening, Piscitelli presents, for the first time in Italy, a new arrangement thought out for the blank space, the same work in a suite with four videos (three of the ones already screened in Singuhr, plus an unscreened one).
The artist wanted to dedicate this project to the topic of memory, which he deals with in its most physical dimension, going against the trend of its increasingly virtual and solely mental fruition. The latter is by now prevailing more and more with the widespread use of electronic means of communication, and the shift to the 'web' - this abstract and elusive super-individual entity - of a responsibility that should maintain its individual and experiential character instead. These concepts are clearly expressed by Piscitelli himself in a recent text: “Over the last couple of years I travelled a great deal and I even moved a few times leaving behind, at friends and relatives, cardboard boxes stuffed with books. Here in Texas, where I now live, I casually started creating a sort of catalogue of these distant bodies. The effort to remember versus the chaos of memories. Last year, I noticed how during my classes, my students would look up books or quotes on the internet with their cell phones or computers. I didn't see the trace of the slightest effort on their faces. On the other hand, at home, I carried on straining my memory, creating kaleidoscopic architectures of recollection by writing titles, notes and free association of thoughts. At a certain point, I decided to film my performances with a camera. At first, the subject of my shots was only the shadow of my hand writing with a felt-tip pen on an overhead projector, then I decided to get other people involved, driven by curiosity and the desire to share with someone else the weight of the immense effort of recollection. Thus, “Unpacking” was born, as a series of performances consisting in the recollection of read, lost and/or loved books, with the subsequent digressions, uncertainties and free associations. The video installation “Unpacking” is made up of videos projected on one or more surfaces consisting of empty cardboard boxes placed one on top of the other, as if to build a wall. “Unpacking” performs the kaleidoscopic architecture of memory by means of writing the titles of read, lost and/or loved books, notes and free associations of thoughts. Each performer, without any time limit, found herself/himself writing with a felt-tip pen on an acetate sheet projected by an overhead projector...” (P. Piscitelli, 2009).
Paolo Piscitelli (Venaria, 1971) did many shows, both solo and group ones, as well as many performances. He worked with private spaces (besides e/static, Galerie Paolo Boselli in Brussels, Studio Tucci Russo in Torre Pollice, Amsterdam’s Paul Andriesse Galerie) as well as in public spaces (Torino‘s GAM, Bologna’s GAM, the FRAC-Bourgogne in Dijon, the MLAC in Roma and Centro Pecci in Prato). In 2003 he was awarded the Maretti Prize by Bologna’s GAM; in 2005 he was included in New York’s Drawing Center Viewing Program; he has been 2006/2007 Artist-in-Residence at Texas A&M University. Since 2006, he lives and works in College Station, Texas.