Palinsesti contemporary art festival. Interview with Davide Bevilacqua

Palinsesti is a contemporary art festival organized in San Vito al Tagliamento (near Pordenone), Italy, a small town that for 25 years has proposed – and shown – exhibitions and performances to its 15000 inhabitants, and to visitors coming from the whole region. There is an art collection, Punto Fermo, which was put together over the years thanks to the festival; and Premio in Sesto, an international award for sculpture in the public space, that at every edition allows the realization of an artwork, installed in the city center of San Vito. In 2016, Palinsesti produced a total of five exhibitions, among solo and group shows, some of them with international artists. We asked Davide Bevilacqua, young Italian artist and curator based in Austria, to tell us a a bit more about Palinsesti 2016.


Michele Spanghero, Palinsesti 2016, Davide Bevilacqua

Michele Spanghero, Natura Morta, installation view, 2016.
Courtesy of the artist


DAVIDE BEVILACQUA: I first collaborated with Palinsesti two years ago, when I was invited as an artist for a performance. Last year, I joined the curatorial team and I curated a solo show of an international artist. In this edition, I curated two exhibitions: Mind the Map installed in the old castle of San Vito; and then Natura Morta (Still Life), a sound installation by Michele Spanghero, shown at Fondazione Furlan, Pordenone. The two projects are very different, because of the themes they deal with – one political and social, the other formalist and related to sound – and also how their production and realization phases developed.


Time's Up, Palinsesti 2016, Davide Bevilacqua

Time’s Up, Mind the Map, newspaper clippings, 2016.
Image by Davide Bevilacqua


D. B.: Mind the Map is a project by the Austrian collective Time’s Up – which was born roughly five years ago – which was first realized in 2015 for the contemporary art center Le lieu unique in Nantes, France. It is a narrative ambient that unfolds – through interactive objects, videos and a diary – the fictional story of an Austrian citizen who, on a pleasure trip on her sailing boat, encounters and saves migrants in need, only to end up being accused of being a human trafficker. The audience discovers this complex story by interacting with the installations, by reading written materials – such as the diary of the main character, and newspaper clippings – and then by watching different video materials. In order to be shown in San Vito, the structures needed to be adapted for the new space, and the narrative materials had to be translated into Italian. In this case, my role was more “classical”. The artists had quite clear ideas on how to re-shape their project, so I was mediating between their plans and the resources we had. I then presented the story and their project in guided tours and in a catalog essay, and I helped them throughout the setup phase. The latter is usually the most enriching moment of the production process for me, when I can discover all the conceptual and technical details (and the secrets) of all the works.


Time's Up, Palinsesti 2016, Davide Bevilacqua

Time’s Up, Mind the Map, installation view, 2016.
Image by Davide Bevilacqua


D. B.: Natura Morta (Still Life) by the Italian sound artist Michele Spanghero was also an already existing artwork, but in this case the exhibition project started from it and developed as a creative collaboration between the artist and the artist/curator. Spanghero won the previous edition of the Premio in Sesto award with his work Pebbles, now installed near the Castle of San Vito. This year’s solo show was planned to present that installation and a deepening of his practice. In a first phase of negotiation, we selected his work Natura Morta: Orange (2013) as the one which would give us more space to interact with one another. Natura Morta was originally made up of a sculptural element with a loudspeaker inside that would reproduce a composition of sounds recorded by connecting electrodes to an orange. The orange was then exhibited, positioned on the sound object. Since my previous works were based on a very similar principle, that of connecting synthesizer circuits to organic material, we decided to use those circuits to generate, modify and diffuse sound in real time, thus creating a large installation that visualizes the process on a bigger scale, with two new sculptural elements and a matrix of fruits, connected with copper, that deteriorate and mold, changing the different sounds over the weeks. The exhibition shows the first version of Natura Morta, a video about Pebbles, and this larger piece.


Time's Up, Palinsesti 2016, Davide Bevilacqua

Time’s Up, Mind the Map, tv news, 2016.
Image by Davide Bevilacqua


D. B.: A few days before the beginning of the setup, I was telling a friend the plans for this edition of Palinsesti. At a certain point, she asked if I feel more like an artist or a curator, and when I will take a decision between the two roles. I don’t remember exactly what I answered, but it was for sure about the fact that both practices – which sometimes I cannot really separate – are very intriguing to me, especially in the area where they collide and merge. When I observe my own artistic projects with the eyes of a curator, I sometimes don’t find them very strong, and neither as an artist I am completely satisfied with them. That’s probably the reason that pushes me to organize and curate projects for other artists, in the search for a method that would combine the two practices together. We talked about something else for the rest of the trip, but the question kept following me throughout the next days, while I was physically and mentally going back and forth between two installations that were taking radically different directions. After the opening, I still didn’t find an answer for my friend’s difficult question. And being honest, I am always looking to find new ways of not answering to this very same question.

Time’s Up: Mind the Map, curated by Davide Bevilacqua
Michele Spanghero: Natura Morta (Still Life), curated by Davide Bevilacqua
Premio in Sesto: Ida Blažičko – Jacopo Mazzonelli – Kristian Sturi
@ Palinsesti contemporary art festival 2016, San Vito al Tagliamento and Pordenone, through January 8, 2017

Discussion Un commento

  1. January 22, 2017 at 7:46 am

    […] An interview with Davide Bevilacqua who was one of the curators of the festival and being the one inviting us over can be found here. […]

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by Vincenzo Estremo
in Focus on Europe

Wed Development by Digital Art Factory