On display at Foothold in Polignano a Mare, Bari, until 10th April, Difference and Repetition is a group show curated by the nomadic curatorial collective Like A Little Disaster exploring themes of identity, difference and representation.
Titled after Gilles Deleuze’s critical essay of 1968, in which the French philosopher provides a critique of representation and lays the foundations for what we may call a metaphysics of difference, the exhibition brings together eleven international artists – Lia Cecchin, Kitty Clark, Andrew Gillespie, Zeinab Haji, Emily Jones, Isamit Morales, Imran Perretta, Francesco Sollazzo, Rashid Uri, Simone Zaccagnini, and our friend and collaborator Caterina Rossato – working in a range of different media. Through artistic appropriation and alteration, and by abstracting and separating the art-object from its context and conceptual background, Difference and Repetition affirms the transformative character of reality while reasserting – following Deleuze – the primacy of difference over sameness.
1883 caught up with Giuseppe Pinto from Like A Little Disaster to find out more about the show.
Hello Giuseppe; I would like to begin by asking you about Like A Little Disaster, the curatorial collective you are part of. Can you tell us how the collective came to be and what its ethos, if you like, is?
Like A Little Disaster is an itenerate collective – rejecting being confined to only one setting but, rather, using an array of locations made available to us to explore and essay our vision. Our ethos with regard to creating artistic substance is that this is achieved by engaging the cultural and historical elements of the spaces in which we undertake our work; so much so that rather than these merely being a "setting" in which things take place – the spaces and their story serve as an integral feature, as the very basis for what emerges itself.
LALD are committed to realising projects with potential to suggest meaningful alternatives to the economic, political and social issues – as well as day to day lifestyle conditions – prevalent in the places in which our projects develop. Essentially, the intent is to provide a new means through which artists can, using their craft, formulate ways to create dynamic interpersonal connections with the individuals that comprise the audience – so that the ideas and practices they envision and express visually spread from those same individuals privy to them into the world at large. We’re about providing the platform and community for artists to re-imagine and establish ways for what it could mean to live in the world – ways audiences can be stimulated, inspired and ultimately motivated by.
Out of curiosity, why Like A Little Disaster? Where does the name come from?
"Like a little danger" is a sentence taken from part of a discussion between the characters Thomas and Jane in Michelangelo Antonioni’s cult 1966 art film Blow-Up. For us, the core essence behind choosing this for our name was the idea that there’s "nothing like a little disaster" to get things put to rights again. It’s the very notion that brought our collective into existence; in an effort to fix things, sometimes the efforts made are disastrous themselves and we’re keenly aware that what we’re trying to do could, like any venture, be susceptible to failure. However failure is not a daunting prospect for us if it means doing it through this process, with the effort and dynamism of this community. All of our projects at LALD may prove to be failures, but we think Contemporary Art itself is comprised of a long history of distorted conveyances and visual failings based on novel, grand scale ideas and movements. This should be celebrated regardless, and indeed by reason of its "rhizomatic" implications.
Your latest curatorial project is Difference and Repetition; the exhibition addresses a subject critical to artistic practice, that of representation and its mechanics. Can you expand on this a bit?
The exhibition explores the sheer range of diverse meaning and inferences that emerge in the process of many artists creating from the same source. It looks at how the same threads run between all these works and yet many come to imbue a unique standpoint, sentiment and way in which these are expressed. In this way difference is brought about with repetition in the form of creative emancipation, a release from the confines of the original starting point.
The title of the show recalls one of Gilles Deleuze’s most relevant essay; was the French philosopher inspirational to you in any way?
Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition still today remains an iconic essay in the art world, that argues both qualities combined are a catalyst for reinvention – ingredients that together work as an "active force" in producing new results. This thesis is evidenced in all the works on display – our artists shared Deleuze’s perspective that these two qualities are often incorrectly seen as incompatible, as ultimately cancelling each other out. Rather, they are the cycle of genisis in which new material and ideas come about: without an element of repetition these can not be refined. The essay draws strong parallels between Contemporary Art and Philosophy, which is a way of thinking we strive to implement in all our projects.
Difference and Repetition is housed in a new project space, Foothold, in Polignano a Mare, Bari; how did your collaboration with Foothold come about?
Foothold is a small project space located in Polignano a Mare, a small town on the rocky coastline overlooking the Adriatic. Here the community is largely comprised of a younger generation of Italian and international artists, with the goal of using a non-urban, almost anonymous space as a temporary vessel for collaborative thought and creation on a limitless scale. It’s our aim to enrich this place with a wealth of new value and meaning through the content our coming together produced in the time spent here.
As a last question, what does the future hold for you and Like a Little Disaster? What other projects have you got lined up?
The Difference and Repetition exhibition is the first touchstone in essaying our vision - for us as well as the artists involved in this journey. In the coming months we’ll be looking at continually pushing new frontiers, developing/honing our collective’s vision at various sites with the same team. Look out too for the exhibition by the Italian-Argentine artist Antonio Trotta we’ll be curating; including the display of two new works, amongst his wider catalogue, in the historic 1968 Venice Biennale.
Difference and Repetition will be running until 10th April at Foothold, Via Cavour 68, Polignano a Mare (Bari), Italy.
By appointment only – email@example.com – +39 328 762 1111 – +39 338 957 7276
Words by Jacopo Nuvolari @jacopo982