It is no coincidence that the split-screen that, amongst the countless linguistic techniques he so knowledgeably uses, might have constituted until now a creation trope in the framework of the double emphasis centred along the border between things and conditions, has been discarded in his most recent innovative work, as if the boundary separating conditions and cultural contradictions had been disregarded.
Is that the case?
Before this current work, I/O IO È UN ALTRO, the crystallisation of a lengthy and challenging project/ process taken through verifications, César Meneghetti had given the dignity of language to splinters, traces, fragments, narrations, sudden parallelisms between distant and opposing worlds: Italy/Brazil, Europe/America, Africa and European science. And using all the devices now available to art – photography, editing, installation, sculpture, film directing and/or screen writing –, he established an antithesis in distance, bringing to light specific issues, making them universal and narrating them, intercepting them thanks to the nomadic or migrant condition he shares with the artists and men of this globalised world.Simonetta Lux (IT)
Meneghetti’s works (using different procedures and contemporary devices) share with them the basic pair of words and images. The artist has changed the nature of his Gallery of heroes and heroines and considerably expanded the presence of the “Other”: not famous personages but persons. Persons habitually viewed as incapable and marginal who, put in a position to exercise their freedom of expression, succeed in achieving a level of parity with normal or distinguished individuals.
It is almost the opposite of a canonical gallery, because the way in which they present themselves is anti-heroic just as their beauty is anti-canonical: they are beautiful because they are authentic. In full contrast with conformist self-sufficiency models, they give the impression of being wholly disarmed and disarming.
The process actuated by Meneghetti and the structured system of video images documenting it, starting from the fringes and exploring the boundaries of “normality”, involve a patient and complex journey of discovery of all that is submerged. By taking into account objective and subjective communication difficulties, the process succeeds in enabling persons rejected by society to express themselves. The result is extraordinarily effective. It calls upon us to break down the barriers of prejudice that separate us from others who are “different”, encouraging us not to avoid them, as we normally do, but rather to listen and establish a dialogue with them.
By presenting this anti-heroic eloquence of the marginalised that communicates with Humanism from a distance, on the whole Meneghetti is exhorting us to reflect upon and act within the perspective of a “global Humanism”.
Alessandro Zuccari (IT)
The work of César Meneghetti is since the end of the nighties characterized by a profound interest on social issues and a constant enquire on forms of language. Usually, he works on long-term projects, his previous works were based on artistic “mapping of the places“ and the people who were living in. He observes correspondences and creates a new time-and-space connection. His work is in between video art, film, documentary and photography. He is concentrated to the idea of identity and memory, later he started to be focused also on different kinds diversity. He observed various particular societies, from Brazilian motor-bike couriers, Italians during religious rituals, a group of South-American football players in Italy, African peasants fighting against the advance of the Sahara or mental disabled people working with art.
Lydia Pribišová (SK)
All of the works by Italo-Brazilian artist César Meneghetti have developed around creating opportunities for an analysis of the relationship between contemporary man and the visual arts, across the countless contradictions of civilisation, using the icons of cultural, political and moral devotion.
His studies in the fields of audio-visuals and photography refer to important concepts in this particular sector, such as the truth and reality. The foundations of film grammar are merged with the metaphors of our imagination generating subversion in the order by which reality works.
Merging geographical areas of the North and the South, his method aims to do justice to ordinary people, the oppressed and the unaware, and it calls upon us to analyse our own political and social experience avoiding formalities and generating a shift in thought and language, either explicitly or implicitly.
His tactics involve a subversive use of the media, underlining modern control strategies and the new forms of nomadism within the contemporary world. Real images, superimpositions and rarefactions are taken to extremes where they are transformed into a pure flow, placing on a single axis both the visual angle and the object observed, impression and reality, remembrance and the present, the planet’s North and South, absolute simultaneity in space in the shape of time, a kind of mirror of globalisation.
His study on the perception of landscape is also important: he re-writes it, dissolving the notion of time/space.
He who observes may create, from Meneghetti’s works, a new reality to his own taste, a virtual and anthropogeograpichal reality, thus realising the artist’s effort to turn visual art into a medium for dialogue between different cultures.
Antonio Arévalo (CL)
_solange farkas _br
On the one hand the landless human being sailing offshore, belonging to nobody; on the other the non-place, the land that disinherits his progeny and abandons it to his fate. The non-belonging as the inevitable human condition and the social injustice that we need to expose, to make explicit, to show, to attack.
Of a different nature and concurrent effects, these two modes of perception of the world are the very essence of César Meneghetti’s work. Political in what motivates and moves it, research into the aesthetic dimension of the themes it addresses is his particular method of in depth study, as much as the impeccable composition of visual and rhythmic storytelling is his poetry.
We can trace an exemplary cutting of motivations, foundations and interests that support Meneghetti’s research starting from his participations in Videobrasil, a Festival that, according to the artist, marks the symbolic “comeback” to his country of origin – which he left very early to live in Italy and attend film school there – now committed to a personal artistic project.
Sem terra (Landless), selected for the 13th Festival in 2001 and performed in cooperation with Elisabetta Pandimiglio, is the first of these participations. The obsessive editing, whose possibilities multiply in the passing of cinema to the electronic medium, appears as the distinguishing mark of the artist. Not addressed to (rather lost in) himself, but in the service of a storytelling composition that is at the same time thin and dense: the story of a man that is born at sea and spends his life in search of a land and a woman to which to belong. The ship, a mobile and precarious place, gives body to the pressing sensation of shifting.
The fast and furious life of the motoboys from São Paulo is the subject of Cachorro Louco (Crazy Dog, 2003) that was displayed at the following Festival. If within the work the word finds a place that it is not bound to lose anymore, the power to articulate a flow ever more striking with sounds and images – in view of creating a representation that lives up to a no less violent social reality – reaffirms itself.
On a pulsating painting, an intense rhythm divides and reorder itself, impasto, lights, voices and hummings are orchestrated in a substantial and afflicted reflection about a life always lived to its limits. In the 16th Festival, Meneghetti showed a part of the series Montage (1999-2007), four series’ made of four videos, where each one experiments with the intention of erecting, through some audio-visual language and its memories, a virtual place where different geographical and existential realities mix together: North and South, first and third world, technological and primitive.
Presented as a video-installation, the series links the moment in which the poetics of superimposed images, glued and liquefied within the same musical storytelling, expands and gains a space beyond painting.
In ltdn – Les Terra’s di Nadie (2007-2010), part of the work I made as the curator of the 16th Biennial of Cerveira, Portugal (2011) and the 10th Sharjah Biennial, Arab Emirates (2011) and the artist progresses in exploring the tri-dimensional but without ever losing his political purpose. The two-channel installation opposes the visual representations of the military Coups d’état that caused the Chilean and Brazilian dictatorships, respectively in 1973 and 1964.
The verses of the poems that give the title to the work of the Chilean Antonio Arévalo, translated in five languages, envelope the images which flow upon the painting’s surface with the purpose of reminding and repudiating the vehemence of brutally wielded power.
Venice (requiem) _ 2005-2012
The images on the water veil multiply and subdivide in search of a narrative order for a drama. The steamer, the Palladian church and the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore are fragments of the landscape registered by an eye that is about to plunge.
On the surface, slow waves and swift foams split into horizontal stripes, running at different paces.
Metallic sounds evoke waves, engines, reminding us of bronze bells. But they are just fragments, noises. Our gaze sinks into waters that surround everything: a liquid territory that unites, keeps at a distance, wraps, feeds and threatens to devour the dream of a town built on water. Requiem is a prayer for eternal rest. It is the first word of the Christian liturgy for the peace of the dead. Requiem aeternam. The end of life.
Irma Arestizábal passed away suddenly, less than one month before the inauguration of the Venice Biennale. With her, the sense of the project she had asked César Meneghetti to fulfil also got lost: a personal interpretation of the Latin-American Pavilion under his curatorship; an exhibit she never saw completed. The Argentine curator had also planned other initiatives involving the Brazilian artist – so Italian in terms of education and experience – used to the heterogeneity of languages; a militant in the transposition of cultural barriers.
On the surface of a squared, graph screen it seems like César wants to organize his ideas, compose an irremediably lost image that will never again be possible to recompose. The ancient resource of subdivision retains the memory of sinoples, the basis for frescoes since the Roman art, an immanent reference for an artist who makes cinema and video, working with so-called mixed media but who started with painting.
With quick impressions, César registers hundreds of fragments, photograms, splashes of colour, has recourse to a pointillism made of pixels, fractals and uncertain geometries which follow one another in a zigzag line of time, of arts passing by; an eternal return to the history of the lagoon town, the mother of all biennial exhibitions.
The reflections of light, the liquid outlines, it is not clear if they are projections or apparitions that are about to disappear in the water. The human faces cannot take shape. The images recorded by the camcorder are altered by the artist who tries to turn them into an eloquent sign, capable of indicating something transcendent; be it just a brief vision created by the movement of water around the ropes that sink in the channels: the promise of something that is not visible.
the political discourse becomes art
_bruno di marino _it
The creative use of video as a medium is, in many cases, the best tool to narrate tragedy poetically, a poetry of images but also – as is in the case of Meneghetti’s work – of words, following a strongly graphic mix that generates a formidable plot of signs. Les terra’s di nadie, based on repertoire images (found-footage) introduces a very powerful visual as well as conceptual layout. Very successful is the splitting of the shot in two portions in various moments of the movie, at times a bichromatic partition that traces a line on the screen, a sharp border. This is probably a metaphor of the limit between democracy and dictatorship, between good and evil, between a normal life and an existence violated, deprived of any rights. The black-and-white images, either TV movies or newsreel clips, despite their content showing soldiers, arms, scenes of repression and violence, in Meneghetti’s experimental aesthetics, become a mere texture, generated by continuous intermittences and interferences; a texture that maintains figurative elements but is anyway an abstract background on which the artist inserts a text, some words, sentences, thoughts, fragments of emotions.
Les terra’s di nadie is a political poem, prayer, warning, confession, testimony and denunciation. It is the tale of all possible dictatorships, both of the past and the present, and unfortunately of the future. A bewildering, syncretic and synchronic narration whose strength lies in the pulsating power of the image that becomes a sign. From the insertion of stroboscopic effects, where shadows of bodies describe a blinding and endless hell, to the epilogue in which we only see a military aircraft circling over the town buildings, fast and elusive, like the violence of power. Almost invisible, like the victims of a coup that vanish into thin air. Brazil, Chile, Argentina are the dictatorships that are geographically closest to the artist, but the language mix that, apart from Portuguese and Spanish, extends to Italian and French, makes this creative video a universal allegory. In Les terra’s di nadie the political discourse becomes art, because art is nearly always the only way to express a political vision and, above all, the only tool able to stage horror, in other words, the unperformable.
_tomorrow is another today transforms itself
_lucrezia cippitelli _it/be
Romevideo is a two-channel audio-visual installation, which César Meneghetti, in cooperation with Elisabetta Pandimiglio commissioned by the Brussels Recyclart Art’s Centre. Two screens of parallel images run side by side, without ever dialoguing in a direct and linear way, generating the perception of a fragmented, complex, immense town, seen through the eyes of an outside observer. A gaze that perceives, focuses and tries to understand. The two videos running continuously, proposing an uninterrupted visual flaneurie and return to a Rome that appears extraneous, nearly absent-minded.
Everything flows: the asphalt at night, wet because of rain (November rain, something that only a true Roman knows), strings of street lamps that follow one another in big tree-lined, marginal, poorly lit streets in a town that has little to do with the postcards sold to tourists.
Images sometimes synthetized and modified, accompanied by the original soundtrack composed by Meneghetti, recall a Rome that is at times unrecognizable but every now and then reveals suddenly its distinguishing signs: the Altar of the Fatherland, the Coliseum, the statues of the angels of Sant’Angelo Bridge, the almost golden skies at twilight, the Aurelian Walls, St. Paul’s Gate. Images of a historical past, images of a picture-postcard view Rome that seems immutable, silent, as if it were watching its own history unrolling: just like the houses and the unauthorized buildings that will stay in the future as an eternal reminder. “Present time projects the future as a repetition of itself”. “Tomorrow is another today”. While these sentences follow one another on one of the screen in all languages, the spectator realizes that Rome is exactly this: the mirror of an unchangeable attitude over the centuries, an eye that observes (like the one that appears in the two videos) and that remains immutably an observer, while history will take its course as if it were independent from those who live the present.
But then sequences of demonstrations join the images of skies at twilight, the random passers-by, the landscapes of a town violated by the “palazzinari”, the property speculators. It is the year 2003 and even the capital city of the Pope and the Coliseum holds huge demonstrations, simultaneously with the rest of the world, to contest a technocratic war fought for the interests of few people against the civilian population in Iraq. In this second part of the video, the images of the crowds, the conflict, the masses, the police assaults and the protests become the icons of a town of the present time, a town that is real, protests, asks for change and which will influence history.
And Rome seems suddenly less immovable, less like a picture. And the history stigmatized by immovable monuments becomes history built by the present, by the people who build it today. And tomorrow, which is another today, transforms itself: it is no longer the memory from a past to be observed but a present to be acted.
_towards a re-generation of the vision
_francesca gallo _it
The work of César Meneghetti looks like a constellation, focused around the central theme of borders, defined as the separation and transition from one condition to another, and which the split-screen turns to trope. The line – which divides the colour and black and white screen area, for example, or divides the realistic shots from their digital elaboration, and even the chromatic inserts applied, simulates a collage – it is permeable, so that images pass freely from one half to the other. More like a frontier that no one front, one might say, with perhaps an image dear to the Italic-Brazilian artist and filmmaker who moves to ease between techniques, languages and different professional roles, that in his search for the film, video and photography seems to pass its testimony. The stylistic solution reiterated by Meneghetti becomes a metaphor for the dichotomy that permeates his work including the abandonment of naturalism and the attraction of the immediate force of reality. The author captures it in stills or in moving images, which are used to explore the social environment or to live memories with the same “distracted attention” that allows him to absorb the atmosphere of places, to go beyond mistrust, to get in touch with people in search of what lies beneath surface tensions and paradoxes, oxymoron and analogies, the wrecks of a world reduced to silence by historical, social or cultural factors. Despite the distinctions of gender, in fact, a common concern across both his films and documentaries, or his artistic pieces. East and west, two inspirations that became the same side of the same coin. The first stay in the Far East of Meneghetti is the origin of THIS_ORIENT (2010), a series of four videos produced specifically for this solo exhibition, where the urban or natural landscape, faces, sounds are transformed into abstract digital elements – overlaps, slowdowns, sunburns, induced noise or random pixilation – that propel the original scenarios beyond the limits of detectability, to feel abstract. The moving image of wires against the sky are transformed here into the bars of a cage, folded tents or a forest of film strips blown by the wind of electrons: the eye veil, barrier beyond this shelter, a network communication between the mesh. However, time slips away. The slow rhythms, and enveloping sounds (soundscapes by Matthew Mountford and Messias), conveying a meditative aspect to this altarpiece mail that, in different forms of repetition, hypnotic touches come to reality: an invitation to send in depth, therefore, and to avoid the fascination of exploring extensively. Meneghetti, this time seems to have been captured by an interior melody, like a vortex that transports him to a regeneration of vision, toward pure images.
_césar meneghetti – The poetics of montage and sharing – psych-cultural crossings in times of global dissolution.
_simonetta lux _it
Track composition is the way César Meneghetti offers us his art, bringing his nomadic subject and us into the game, establishing a work of art in which the subjects involved (the author and the other, the audience) interfere with reality, interpreting and recreating it in a highly imaginative way.
Thanks to the excellence of the artifice (direction, screenplay, photography, video editing, arrangement of material or immaterial tracks recodified in sculpture or multimedia installations), being the one-of-a-kind artist that he is, Meneghetti is capable of letting fragments and remainders of those experiences – turned into language research and anyhow bound to contain ineffaceable ties with his docu-film tales – reflow into his works, both videos and films.
Actually, before being the complex and complete painter and multimedia artist that he is today, Meneghetti was a film director. In the movies of César Meneghetti, a Brazilian who settled in Rome for the sake of love, a cultural choice and his origins, there is always a double register: a theme that ranges from his faraway roots – his birth and studies in Brazil – to a universalization of the questions that emerge insofar they as are intercepted, so to say, by the nomadic or immigrant condition that he shares with most people in this globalized world.
In his art, Meneghetti challenges the condition, the affective relations and the problems that he intercepts on his journey around the world, from Brazil to Italy, Asia, Africa. He finds fresh transnational interconnections and turns them into a language, a work of art: a unique way of communicating and sharing that only art can reveal.
For this reason César Meneghetti has obtained international recognition. He is a hypercontemporary subject/man/artist – a definition of an ethical and cultural condition in which I introduced (2007: Arte ipercontemporanea. Un certo loro sguardo… Ulteriori protocolli) the extraordinary art of certain artists who, during the last two decades, have acted on the feeling that it was possible to reconsider their own role as artists and the role of art itself, in terms of a critical action on a globalized world, so coming out of the ephemeral postmodernist poetics.
In this sense, K_Lab, interacting on a reality interface is an exemplary work (2008, MLAC, Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporanea, Sapienza University of Rome, curated by Simonetta Lux and Domenico Scudero). César was the director and editor of this complex multimedia installation. The project came to life within the framework of an operation carried out by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs aiming at blocking desertification in Keita (Niger, Africa) in view of allowing – by means of a sustainable development – the rebirth of a social nucleus in that vast Nigerian area. The scientific project was extraordinary, with unexpected results. Nonetheless, at a certain point, the Ministry – following the request to install a monitoring station, broke off cooperation: the continuity operation was too long. It was necessary to spread the excellent results with big dossiers and technical-scientific reports in order to document the high quality of the operation. And actually desertification, which afflicted the country since 1984, was stopped by planting 25 millions trees and implementing irrigation with the help of local labour and technical competencies – despite their being out-dated (a small independent society was created that was able to extend the project by building new roads, schools and wells). Artist César Meneghetti’s duty is to convey, through his art, the idea of such an action, materializing the immaterial and complex sense of the cooperative process, through a language not just made of words or the exhibition of tons of statistics and technical-scientific formulas: images, videos, interviews, sculptures, tracks found during his journey. The inhabitants were directed by Italian technicians resident in Niger. They were joined by César Meneghetti, the author of the artistic project, together with photographer and producer Enrico Blasi and video reporter Sam Cole (plus sound designer Matthew Mountford who joined the team later on to soundproof the final exhibition and the videos).
Meneghetti wrote the interview drafts for some people representing the multiethnicity that marks that country, Enrico Blasi took pictures of the faces of the inhabitants of that arid valley, fixing them as if they were statues at work, “indefatigable presences – as Eleonora Carbone wrote – supporting each other”.
Video reporter Sam Cole took a documentary approach (he is not an artist), shooting the everyday life of the inhabitants engaged in farming. Meneghetti’s conception embarked then on the double aim of art and document (something that has always distinguished his original art). Two genres, art/ document: Meneghetti engages in the most complex work, involving arranging these genres into an indissoluble semantic unity, into a single art and a single expository experience.
The exhibition that Meneghetti organizes as a complex artistic unity is per se an artwork in its articulated structure and – at the same time – the projections, sculptures, audio/video installations and video booths which compose it, are individual artworks as well.
The video booth (videocabina, work K_01), in this context, is one of Meneghetti’s inventions or original procedures: it is both material (a black cube in which he puts, abstracting him or her from their own place of origin, the subject, the person interviewed, who is asked to “talk to us”) and immaterial: the interviews are projected, 10 black panels on the wall from which some Nigeriens talk about their vision of god, love, life, future, money: giving back to us and universalizing the life and conceptions of that distant place. A sincere, simple linear edit with an obvious truth: reality liberated from space and time and thus shareable. In short, a sort of a social investigation that reveals itself in different art languages, from video art to abstraction. A sculpture, a wooden cube turned upside down like a container, is placed on the floor next to a plasma display showing a looping video (title of the work K_06 – 010010011).
Inside the container, as if they had fallen or had been thrown at random, are some rectangular notes that the audience can pick up and have a look at, on which some geographical, economic and social information about Niger are written.
A knowledge that activates intermittently, in flashes, ephemeral, like our present knowledge coming from an international network but bringing with it a physical gesture of picking and reading, hence sensually entering the process of knowledge and denotation.
The video that we see next to us is an abstract video which brings to light colours and atmospheres of that warm and distant place, “at a fast pace, with red and orange that alternate in this vivid picture on the move” (E. Carbone). But what allowed me to discover this artist’s complex grandness was his other procedure: the MONTAGE series, whose title literally means film editing but is also the assembly of tracks, the abstraction of reality in bright frames of videos already shot but still able to determine an awakening and the association with our sensible perception; and it is also an assembly of objects, a unique installation. In short, a process of technique reinvention in view of revealing sensual events as well as the unconscious of ourselves and of “ourselves others” who are involved in the process.
Among the tracks that the artist actually found for his project while travelling across Niger, there is one that is real but also belongs to his cultural unconscious, since he goes along that very road in Niger where his great French ‘master’ and director Jean Rouch, who inspired the Nouvelle Vogue and who was a myth in César’s formation as film director, died in a car accident.
In this work, named K_03 (le dernière clapper) and K_04 (ZM on JR), Meneghetti creates a place of extended projection where the projection of the last shooting of Jean Rouch in Niger and César’s shooting during his journey on that same road intertwine.
Our full immersion in the double projection of César Meneghetti’s K_07 work with its complex system of signs, is completed by the musical choice (agreed upon with César) of the English sound designer and DJ Matthew Mountford, who re-elaborated five Nigerien popular sounds, Hausa, Djerma-songhai, Tuareg, Gulu and Kountougi towards a modern and repetitive electronic mix that evokes faraway – but yet made topical and contextualized for the present – tribal rhythms, between Europe and Africa, between different lives (that are) now intertwined.
Meneghetti, a hypercontemporary author, includes five cardinal points in his assertion of a new art poetics, beyond modernism: 1) he puts in play his self and his cultural autobiography; 2) thematizing by choosing his intervention into reality with a critical act; 3) putting the other, the general and absolute audience into play by bringing into action their direct and sensible perception; 4) reinventing and renaming art techniques and procedures as well as other infinite media – including photographic, videographic and cinematographic media – today made available to the artist, which, even though liberated in the globalized communication and information processes are nonetheless freed by Meneghetti from their current most common ephemeral and cosmetic use; 5) offering and recreating in an artwork built and installed, in every part of it, all those “context” elements, i.e. everything that is known to the creator of the message and is part of his communicative intention: offering them in order to share them.
With this last cardinal point of art, the artwork of a hypercontemporary artist such as Meneghetti – makes itself infinitely, together with the ‘other ’who does not assist passively but lives reality, the most true reality of art, which is reality in so far as it is communicated.
-the documentation of the ability to express one’s self _Mike Watson_uk
‘I is an other’ is Brazilian-Italian artist César Meneghetti’s response to the difficulties always presented to the artist who seeks to work with the wider community. Since March 2010 Meneghetti has worked with the Community of Santo Egidio in Rome, as part of an ongoing programme in which artists work with physically and mentally disabled people. Aside from the enormous benefits one can obviously imagine coming out of such interactions, there are of course a number of questions raised regarding the appropriateness of art projects carried out with and amongst disadvantaged people, whether they be disabled, homeless, mentally ill, prisoners, immigrants, or from any other of minority population you could care to imagine. The problem is it can all too easily appear that the artist – in general – exploits the community they work with, making of it a subject for their own gain.
This perception is perhaps the inevitable outcome of a democratizing process that has its roots in the work of Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), who argued respectively that anything can potentially be art and that ‘we are all artists’. One outcome of this is naturally that the tools of the artist, which enable self-exploration and empowerment, are made available to all. However, the problem remains one over who is designating and channeling the artistic experience. The problem with Beuys’s proclamation that ‘we are all artists’ was Beuys’s seeming need to always be the particular artist making that same proclamation: Whereas if we were truly all artists anyone would be able to declare this truth. Two problems arise here, firstly many people simply do not want or are not able – due to lack of education – to be involved in artistic discourse. Secondly, if we humans are indeed all artists, there would be no art to speak of, or at least, being an artist would be no more novel than being a human, and the statement ‘we are all artists’ would therefore become banal. The solution to these problems arguably resides in a dis-empowerment of the artist and a total democratization of the term ‘art’, to the extent that the term itself would be secondary to self-exploration. In this way artistic discourse whilst by necessity being initiated by the artist, would be open to interpretation by all, to such an extent that the privileged role of the artist as such would be effaced.
Naturally such a process involves inherent contradictions that cannot be easily overcome. For one, it would require a degree of knowledge of contemporary artistic discourse on the part of participants. For now there is no choice but to let the artist take control, so that this discourse can be transmitted. Yet the degree to which the artist subverts their control of artistic discourse and lets non-specialist participants lead can vary greatly. When dealing with marginalized communities, particularly where speech, physical movement and thought can be impaired (as with the disabled community) giving artistic control over to others becomes a complex issue, but an essential component in understanding how the artist may better deal with the wider community in general. For in working with people who may not grasp the contemporary art discourse in the same way that contemporary art practitioners do, and who may not be able to easily communicate their feelings about that discourse, the artist is forced to follow his new collaborators. It is in this sense that César Meneghetti says “I is an other”, for we are all radically different to the other that we perceive. We are all the “other”.
Central to the project ‘I is an other’ has been the filming of each individual participant, invited to say what they want, but also what they can. For a range of disabilities can impair speech, even for the apparently ‘able’, non-disabled population. Speech, writing, creative activity are all-vital forms of communication which make us human, and which arguably make us ‘artists’. Yet these forms must constantly be learned, tried out and overcome. But it is ultimately how we all communicate differently which is of importance, how we are all, above everything, individuals within a shared space. Throughout the video works (videocabina #3, photographic colaboration by Beatriz Franco and editing by Yael Leibel, “kalòs>aghatòs”, “ex-sistentia”, “assai mi duole ancora”, 2011, “luvstory” (audio instalation), “reperti” (documentation), “IO”, photographic serie with Gli Amici (2012), the new series (sette, in- visibilità e passaggi 2012, movement direction by Cristina Elias) and the documentary film (notes on I/O_ EU É UM OUTRO, 2010-2012 directed by Altera Studio), which follow the creative process during ‘I is an other’ one sees individuals gain the confidence to communicate. This is not the documentation of the disability of a group of people by an able artist. It is the documentation of an ability: the ability to express one’s self.
_meneghetti freedom, intemperance, unruliness
_elisabetta pandimiglio _it
A painter, filmaker, composer, artist, in perpetual movement and evolution, always in step with the times, keeping a watchful eye over recent events and nevertheless never being moved by easy success, conventions, market logic, fashion.
The research and experimentation that have been going through Meneghetti’s more than twenty-year’s of work give body and shape to an inner restless, at times expressed with a generous impudence, resorting to anything capable of overcoming the narrow limits of rationality.
What strikes one when looking at such works, so different and various in kind and form, is the extraordinary recognisability of a visionary look. The big figurative and non-figurative paintings, through the arrangement of the bodies, the reinvention of space and a refined use of colour, tell us about complex interpersonal relations, much more than any detailed caption or elaborate narrative structure.
Hypnotic photograms run through experimental videos, resolutely scratching lightly your gaze without allowing for the time for an interpretation that would bridle the profound truth of emotional suggestion.
In his documentary movies, the relation between the characters and the author becomes the meeting point of souls that live a similar existential condition.
Serial works like MONTAGE (1992-2006) take shape out of unusual combinations of realities belonging to distant spheres, which harmonically aggregate and consolidate themselves by rearranging into as many fresh realities.
César Meneghetti’s work moves between uniqueness and multiplicity and implies a subliminal dialogue among works.
In THIS_PLACEMENTS (2011 – FUNARTE award for contemporary art) four different realities, four pieces of research, four previous works realised in different spaces and times, sum up the creation a fifth dimension, a fifth continent, a hypothetical point of the arrival of a perennial becoming.
A work that does not make use of expedients and artifices but rather emerges from the inmost depths, from the profound need of expressing an emotional and cultural nomadism maybe spurred, if not originated, by a biographical and mental sweeping between the Southern and Northern hemispheres, without ever deciding where to settle and to belong.
An art as research, transfiguration, invention but also as commitment, presence, militancy.
An art which, dense with life experience embodies itself recklessly in new hybrid forms, complying with an interiority that is hardly able to give itself any rules, especially if they are imposed from the outside.