Correspondencia II at Palazzo Lucarini in Trevi is not the end of a process but rather the starting point to go elsewhere. It is not the resolution of work but rather a platform to begin again. In fact, it is for this reason that I have witnessed the artists from the collective RIDICOLO searching for common ground; because there are always boundaries that an artist is confronted with when attempting to put together a show, but it would seem that one is constantly trying to find a fluid situation.
Or, I should state, this is my idea about how the whole thing is working. After all, this collective isn’t some kind of utopia. The artists disagree about many things including the exhibition format itself. Some are opposed to the idea of the framework of the group exhibition, while others embrace it, or at the very least accept the idea that it is the best option available to them. The artists also have their own individual careers, and for me this fact is where I start to believe my first thought was correct – after all each artist has to make a concerted effort to meet in person, which would appear to indicate that the shared language of art is stronger than the small differences the individual artists have amongst each other. That speaking with people through the visual language of art is, perhaps, the strongest way to combat the social isolation people in the world have so acutely experienced, since the beginning of modernity, and the various industrial and technological revolutions.
Artists in RIDICOLO make works of art. This statement doesn’t mean that they are against technology: in fact all of them make use of technology in some way or another in their daily lives and sometimes also in their works of art. I believe this making of art has something to do with going beyond observation, with bringing in the other senses as a means to obtain a certain kind of sensitivity or quality. And there is discipline in everything they do because there is respect for each other. It’s not an authoritarian discipline but rather one where artists dialogue about the pros and cons related to “how”, “why” and “what” a particular artist is doing. For example a discussion takes place regarding a certain artist’s work in relation to another artist’s theme: this is a purposeful exchanging of ideas but sometimes it becomes difficult for the collective to fully understand what exactly is occurring, because more than two years have passed since Correspondencia I (where the collective showed the works currently in the ‘archive’ section of Corresondencia II); and as a result, a certain amount of clarification through dialogue occurs.
It’s important for me to state, however, that the lack of a clear narrative within RIDICOLO as a whole is to a large extent embraced: both because ideas need space in order become fully realized, and in order to allow the artist room to interpret a given idea on a more personal level. By embracing a shared art making process the collective is effectively breaking with the idea of the artist creating his or her own world for the viewer to experience. Here what the collective has done is build a shared concept map from which they can move both horizontally and vertically; in other words, they can make work that has psychological, philosophical and metaphorical meaning: both for themselves and for the active viewer.
- Opening things up for the collective
- Breaking the traditional structure
- Geography and cultural context
- In which ways are you responsive to the environment
- The dialogue with the people – in the piazza, in the street, in the bar
- The planned dialogue between works of art
- The dialogue between works of art that isn’t forced
- Using points of departure
- An archive of works
- Clara – Rocio —————- Justin
- Rocio – Adriana ————- Nico
- Justin – Nico —————— Rocio
- Nico – Aylin ——————- Juan
- Aylin – Maria —————— Goethe
- Maria – Clara —————— Caco
- Adriana – Goethe ————- Aylin
- Caco – Justin ——————- Clara
- Goethe – Caco —————– Maria
- Caco – Juan ——————— Adriana
The artist Tilman Riemenschneider was born around 1460 and worked for most of his life in Würzburg in present day Germany. During his illustrious career he made a reputation for himself as a first-rate sculptor and artist, and he obtained houses, land and prestige as a result. He became a councilman of Würzburg in 1504 and later in the early 1520s even become the city’s mayor. When the German Peasants War broke out in 1525 the city council formed an alliance with the peasants against the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. The peasants were crushed with thousands dead and Riemenschneider was imprisoned. Supposedly, and directly because of his alliance with the peasants, he had his hands broken by his torturers. He never worked again and died in 1531.
The American painter Barnett Newman ran for Mayor of New York City, as an anarchist, around 1933. He lost.
Other artists like Joseph Beuys have also attempted to get into politics – He ran for the German Bundestag in 1976.
An artists’ collective can be very much about the concept of and: an artist can be both an individual and a part of something that is bigger than their own practice. In my last essay, Keeping it Real for this collective of artists, I spoke of the fact that groups of artists were primarily important in the early 20th century and that it wasn’t at all common in the 21st. The bottom line is that there is no cool factor in the idea of a group today. But whether it is cool or not RIDICOLO grupo or the collective RIDICOLO continues to meet, put on shows and use the internet to communicate via blogs and email.
I believe, however, what matters is still the art – that putting some thing together, as a collective, which is art is crucial. The journey is always going to be the most important aspect to life; but the poetry involved in the art making process can invite one to stop, even if for a moment, and contemplate the importance of the art object made along the way.