Why should a contemporary artist come to Rome today? Why have you left New York to live and work here?
Well artists have always visited Rome and they continue to come here but usually only for a short time. I was living in New York before and I kept looking around at my other artist friends that were working in these post industrial spaces in Brooklyn and I just couldn’t see my work coming out of that kind of space. I was looking for something else, somewhere where I could be around the materials and the spatial conditions that my work comes from, is made of. That is what brought me here. Rome seemed like the right place to make my work right now.
You are taking a part of the exhibition “Conversation piece/ part 1” at Scuderie di Palazzo Ruspoli, what is on the back stage of your work and the message?
It’s interesting you call it a “back stage”. I’m really interested in the history of theatrical space and Rome seems to me to be a kind of essay on that history. I think my piece at Fondazione Memmo is really about this history and how it manifests today. Of course in Rome you can’t avoid thinking about the past, we’re constantly surrounded by it. My work tries to look at contemporary space – contemporary architectural space and digital space – and connect it with it’s past through the forms and materials that existed then and are still being used today.
What is you favourite place for enjoying Rome and inspires you?
My favourite places in Rome tend to be the quiet places. Down by the Tiber, next to the Isola Tiburtina (on the Trastevere side), where you are in the centre of the city but below it all and away from the noise of the traffic; and you’re at the level where the city began. I also like to go to the gardens: the Giardino Zoologico, the Orto Botanico, the garden fresco from the Villa Livia which is now installed in the Palazzo Massimo, the Parco Del Colle Oppio that must have the best view of the Colosseum, the Verano cemetery, the Appia Antica. Also the Terme di Caracalla and it’s neighbour Euro Garden, a garden centre where I spend a lot of time thinking and getting the materials I use to make my work.
During this month you will have performances in the ZOO of Rome at Villa Borghese, what is all about?
It’s the first performance I’ve ever done and in a way I could say it has grown out of thinking about the tours that happen around Rome. The zoo is an interesting place for me. It’s a place where I can explore the things that my work is interested in. In particular, a way to explore the materials and the visual structures I talked about before, but in a different kind of place in Rome, a place people wouldn’t first think of. The zoo for me contains all the theatrical spaces and surfaces that exit elsewhere in Rome in the more obvious places; but in the zoo I have a kind of fixed perimeter where I can talk about it in a more concentrated way which might help people to think about the ideas abstractly.
What would be a perfect postcard/view of the Eternal City for you?
I was flying from London the other day; it was perfectly clear sky, and we flew directly over Rome, which I hadn’t ever done before. I had this amazing view looking out over all of Rome at once. I guess that for me, this bird’s view of the city is the best picture postcard because it’s a kind of invitation to touch down and explore it closer.
CONVERSATION PIECE | PART 1
TILL 4 JUNE 2015
Scuderie Palazzo Ruspoli
Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 56