Text: review by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
Those people who are thinking Naples would be just a nice place based on an exciting long history, has to learn the city has also an ugly industrial side and Casoria represents such an ugly suburb, which is out of function as industrial site, and in this way it represents also a place of social conflicts. In fact, the only nice thing is the view on volcano Vesuv from distance, if it is visble. December is also not really a nice time for travelling in Italy, but visiting Casoria when the weather is just cold and grey, belongs rather to the most unattractive things one can imagine. Normally a visitor finds his way to Casoria only if there is a necessity to do so, but there is no infrastructure and no tourist would ever get the idea to turn from the vivid and magnificent city center of Naples to this former industrial suburb where the garbage is lying meters high along the streets.
Pier Giorgio de Pinto @ CAM
From this point of view it is certainly honorable, that Antonio Manfredi, himself a visual artist and director of this museum, initiated at Casoria a place and space for contemporary art, the museum of contemporary art, where ://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem – a show for Peace was supposed to be exhibited.
If Szczecin in Poland can be seen as a symbol for Peace due to its World War II history, one can call Casoria another type of symbol due to its industrial history and its social focus nowadays.
While looking for the museum on location, the visitor however is surprised to find this museum not located at a former industrial site, but at the underground down of the building which looks much more like a museum than a secondary school, whereby the entrance has to be explored first before it can be found at the backside of the secondary school.
The museum is very young of age, actually once a private initiative is currently obviously acting under the umbrella of the Cultural Department of the municpality of Casoria.
The visitor who wants to enter has to climb the stairs down to the underground first, before then a huge and most impressive space opens which is hosting the permanent museum collection.
The paintings, drawings and installations exhibited there are from their kind and quality not different than in any other museum of contempotrary art, but the artworks were not made by famous artists as they can be found in any other art museum around the globe, but artists from the Naples region and international artists, basically friends of the director. All these smaller and bigger works are nothing else than donations, and this is really impressive again, that the entire huge collection is consisting exclusively of donations, and this seems to be also a main conceptual aspect.
There is also a section for temporary exhibitions, and this represented also the space were the selfportrait exhibition was supposed to be installed. But this space offered for the exhibition did not fit to my idea for a media art exhibition, and a new much bigger space had to be found.
Installing the show was a challenge in so far, as the phyiscal components, i.e. the digital prints were planned to be prepared on location in Naples, as they were supposed to be donated to the museum. This was really not such a fortunate agreement.
Producing prints of museum quality was under the given local conditions anything else than easy, and when they were finalized one day before the exhibition should take place, the director expressed special ideas for the installation, as he wanted each print to be extended through a kind of metal frame on the back for a special hanging with a certain distance from the wall.
All this took so much time during all the night, that only on the very day when the opening was supposed to take place on 16 December, all the more than 50 prints could be hanged on the walls. Also the computers were ready also only a few hours before the opening and from the two projectors which were supposed to run the two programs of videos, one was defect, and the video monitors were not available, at all.
Who had expected an opening ceremory which would be appropriate to the status and aims of the exhibition, where the director was speaking and the curator of the show would have spoken an introduction how to deal with media art in general and in partcular in the case of this exhibition, who had expected a ceremony where the exhibition was given as a donation to the museum as an offical act, this person, in first place it was me, was extraordinary disappointed, because Antonio Manfredi had not planned such a ceremony and I was not informed about this course of events.
Even if the installation was the best what was possible under the given circumstances, in fact the final result was acceptable and I liked it (see also the images), however, the way how the museum and its director were dealing with this exhibition and its donation to the museum, does not belong to what I would have wanted for the show, the artists and finally also the audience.
Especially the fact that the exhibition is based on communicating technology, the lack of communicating stood in contrary to what could be expected.
This was really a strange opening of an exhibition at a strange place somewhere on an alien planet.
The images (see further ahead) give more an objective view on the exhibition than I am able to express myself in words.
From the beginning of the plannings, I warned the participating artists in the exhibition, that the realisation of this show in general, but also at Casoria would belong rather to the category “experiment”, it really did, but retrospectively seen, I am not sure whether this experiment was successful.
While I am not happy as the curator and creator the show, the participating artists have certainly no reason to complain, as from an aesthetic point of view the show was finally well installed, and that’s also what the visitors could perceive. Further I was informed that the incomplete video equipment was immediately after the opening properly and completely installed, and this represents the most important finally.
I received some good feedback from the show, and I also think it represents certainly a good thing to bring new ideas of contemporary art to such a cultural desert as Casoria represents.
Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
CAM_Casoria Contemporary Art Museum was born in 2005 with the aim to become a cultural pole, an experimental laboratory but, above all, as a point of reference for universal contemporary art with an open context.
Founded and directed by Antonio Manfredi, starts from the general consideration that a public collection of art is mirror of the times art and culture. Therefore the attention of the museum team is focused on a fundamental aim: the Museum to be a cultural reference point, stimulating for everybody and not at all a static place. The Museum means therefore to be a place of meeting and exchange, with wide and several cultural programs addressed to the visitors.
This operation is meant to create a village of shapes, a kind of ideal city, where the present works live together in an harmonious way, allowing them to express their differences.
CAM_Casoria Contemporary Art Museum was not born as mere cultural exhibition machine, not even as museum containing simulacra, but it is close to how we would like a museum to be today: a place where culture and research is produced, where didactics is carried, stimulating an hermeneutic experience of the contemporary, where creativity is visualized, where the current aesthetic complexity is known and practiced.
The collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Casoria is open to an international growth; worldwide artists are in there with no prejudices on regards of any country nor ethnicity.
The main objective is to bring closer and involve all of those interested to contemporary art and sensible to the fast revolution of expressive forms all over the world. Through periodical workshops – where artists are invited and involved – the interaction between artists exposing and visitors is carried so as to make contemporary art clear and comprehensible to all those people willing to open up their own horizons.
It extends on an area of 3.500 sm ca out of which 3.000 sm are permanent exhibition.
It permanently exposes and has acquired in its collection 1000 works ca of contemporary art of painting, sculpture, photography, video and installations by important worldwide artists.
Its multimedia and far east art collection is among the biggest and its collection of contemporary Neapolitan artists (from the second post-war period till today) is among the most complete in Italy.
Among its activities is the promotion, exhibition, cataloguing, collection of works and books on contemporary art.
Travelling exhibitions and events are also carried in cooperation with important overseas Museums of Contemporary Art. Guided tours through its spaces for teachers, pupils and students are also arranged.
On 16 December 2006,
Casoria Contemporary Art Museum Naples/Italy
is inaugurating the media art exhibition
://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem – a show for Peace.
The show is running until 16 January 2007.
About - self//portrait - a Show For Bethlehem - a show for Peace
://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem
is the second media art exhibition project in Bethlehem/Palestine – initiated and curated by Agricola de Cologne, independent curator and director of
The New Museum of Networked Art.
This media art exhibition was initiated and organised on occasion and in the framework of 10th anniversary of the twincityship of the municipalities of Cologne/Germany & Bethlehem/Palestine to be shown first in Bethlehem at Al Kahf Gallery at Bethlehem International Center – 06-30 July 2006.
artvideoKOELN is proud to collaborate afterwards with Casoria Contemporary Art Museum Naples/Italy and the show to be inaugurated on 16 December 2006 as a message of peace to the world on occasion of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, whereby the clone to be exhibitited wil become a part of the permanent museum collection.
Through its relevance in three world religions, Bethlehem was during more than 2000 years a symbol for peace also beyond, but since some time Bethlehem and the entire Holy Land on the Westbank
is vanishing behind a huge wall as the result of a conflict in Middle East which is threatening world peace since many years.
By being present personally in Palestine after 2005 for the second time in 2006, Agriccola de Cologne and the incorporated artists are showing face through their selfportraits, via the show they artists overcome symbolically this wall which is separating Israel and Palestine, and become messengers of peace this way.
The show does not only transport the message of solidarity, but also the idea of a free and independent culture without borders, the use of New Media technology represents further a symbol for a new era for solving conflicts via communication. So, the exhibition becomes a contribution to peace on earth, there are conflicts in many parts on the globe, there virtual and physical walls everywhere to be overcome. Living in peace is a human right forming the basis for othzer human rights.
://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem
incorporates about 350 artists and following aspects of New Media presented in physical space – digital prints to be installed in space or on walls, digital video via projections and installations, multi-media based on different technologies and sonic art via display on computer installation, and not to be forgotten, the artists statements via projection and display on monitors which give an idea about the visions of contemporary artists.
Project development & design, concept & organisation
copyright © 2006. All rights reserved
All artists works – copyright © by the artists or owners.
Selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem – show for Peace is a travelling exhibition cured by Agricola de Cologne and Antonio Manfredi in collaboration with the New Media Art Project Network in Cologne – Germany, of the Kahf Gallery Bethlehem_International Center/Palestina, of the MAC_Museo Arte Contemporaneo Santa Fe/Argentina, of the MACRO_Museo Arte Contemporaneo Rosario/Argentina, of the Officyna Art Space Szczecin/Poland and of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum/Naples, Italy.
360 artists, 260 multimedia, audio and video works, 100 texts of creative writing and visual poetry with one aim: using a common language of peace. The first day of the exhibition is December 16th, 2006 at the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, the museum that will receive all the works of the exhibition, thus enriching its already large permanent international collection. All of the works are a metaphor of an universal code which expresses itself by means of contemporary media, such as photography, video and computers. The pictures exhibited here are the self-portraits of the artists, are the affirmation of a life aimed to the abolition of any cultural differences. Strong images and classic poses and a topic where no generalisation is allowed. The daily observation of the current situation in Middle East (or of any other country where war is part of the everyday life) through mass media has led people to be less sensitive to the topic, to be used to it also visually speaking. The images of the exhibition want to put a break to this situation and offer strong emotions. The tortures perpetuated during wars, the symbolic expression of a different culture, the words and sounds of a different language are the subjects of the works of this exhibition. The attitude of these artists is often to refuse or protest against the injustice of a war “sponsored” by a few powerful men. Sometimes it is just the vision of a different routine, related to a new perception of living/surviving. The voice that wants to be listened to, that wants to claim peace through art, is the voice of the artists whose everyday life and expression of their own artistic way is denied. In a “non-place” where there is just war, art still exists and affirms its own identity.
in cooperation with
VideoChannel – http://videochannel.newmediafest.org
SoundLAB – http://soundlab.newmediafest.org
Bethlehem International Center/Palestine
Casoria Contemporary art Museum Naples/Italy
Officyna Art Space Szczecin/Poland
MAC – Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Fe/Argentina
MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art Rosario/Argentina
The exhibition was initiated in the framework of the twincityship
Cologne-Bethlehem in cooperation with the municipalities of
Cologne & Bethlehem, and the
Society TwinCityship Cologne/Bethlehem
Currently about 360 artists from 30 countries are participating. Please find below the artists names linked with their biography. For viewing the artworks please use the link
digital print (51)
digtal video (42)
powered by SoundLAB
Curatorial contribution from Chile by Rainer Krause (Santiago de Chile)
Featuring these Chilenian artists,
Luis Barrie, Claudio Fernandez Sini, Foro de Escritores (FDE), Ensamble Majamama, Radio Ruido, Mario Soro, Andres Torres, Pintor Z
Artists curated by Melody Parker-Carter
Martin Aaserud (Norway) N.B Aldrich,. & Zach Poff, (USA) Martin Stig Andersen, (Denmark) Andreja Andric (Serbia/Italy), Isabel Arevalo (Spain) Mauro Arrighi (Italy) audio_z (Tautvydas Bajarkevicius) (Lithuania) Sara Ayers (USA), Back Ted N-Ted aka Ryan Breen (USA) Jim Barrett aka NaDa BaBa (Sweden) Leandro Barzabal (Argentina) Becoming Animal, Michael Beijer (Netherlands) Kari Besharse (USA) Rich Bitting (USA) Chris Bors (USA) Donald Bousted (UK), BrailleBones (A.Desjardins) (France) Jackie Bruce (Germany) Mira Burt-Wintonick (Canada) Bibi Calderaro (USA), Callanan, Martin John (UK) Chelsea Cargill (UK) Bronwen Casson (Ireland) Gregory Chatonsky (France), David Chesworth / Sonja Leber (USA) Kyong Mee Choi (S.Korea) Catherine Clover (UK) William Fowler Collins (USA), Herve Constant (UK) Luis Coronado (Guatemala) Jessica Curry (USA) Audhild Dahlstrom (Denmark), Markus Decker (Austria) Paul Devens (Belgium) Linda Rae Dornan (USA) Matt Dotson (USA) Dorsey Dunn USA), Jared Dunne /Meloday (USA) Aniruddha Dutta (India) ELICHEINFUNZIONE – Davide Fabbri (Italy) Heloisa Escudero (Brazil/USA), Fernandez Fernand – Michalak Thomas (UK/France) Flow Ir In (USA) Jason Freeman (USA) Federico Fronterrè (Italy), Satoshi FUKUSHIMA (Japan) Lukas Fütterer (Germany) Gintas K (Lithuania) Matthew Giraudeau (UK), Unclejim – Goard, David & Robinson, Rob (UK) Josh Goldman (USA) Suguru Goto (Japan) Scott F.Hall (USA), Dawn Salvia (USA) Francis Heery USA) Volker Hennes (Germany) PAULO HENRIQUE (Brazil) Ronald J.Herrema (UK), Alex Hetherington (UK) Jeremy Hight (USA) John Maxwell Hobbs (USA) Olaf Hochherz (Germany), G.H.Hovagimyan, & Peter Sinclair (USA) hp stonji (Hans Platzgumer &Jens Döring) (Austria) Le Tuan Hung (Vietnam), Yuicho Ito (Japan) Margaret Jameson aka tinydiva (USA) Paul Jamrozy- Satellitic USA) Neil Kaczor (UK) Mikhail Karikis (UK), Juan Kasari aka 80juan80 (Finland ) David Kasdorf (USA) Kazuo Kawasumi (Japan) James Kelly (USA), Alexander Kharkovsky (Russia) Meri von KleinSmid (USA) Panayiotis A. KOKORAS (Greece) Phivos-Angelos Kollias (Greece), Savvy Krajcek (USA) Caroline de Lannoy (UK) Al Larsen (USA) Gregory Lasserre, & Anais met den Ancxt (France), Dario Lazzaretto (Italy) Le Lavatrici Rosse (Italy) Alan Lechusza aka ARCANUM (USA) Sara Lenzi (Italy), Les Riches Douaniers (France) Tsui-Lun Liu (Taiwan) Stephanie Loveless (USA) Emily Lutzker (USA) Raphael Lyon (USA), Matthew MacKisack, USA) Luigi Mastandrea (Italy) Mike McFerron (USA) Mental Youth aka Robert Kroos (USA), Wolfgang Peter Menzel (Sweden) Jenni Meredith (UK) Jeff Morris (USA) Rie Nakajima (Japan) Ailis Ni Riain (Ireland), Sean O’Neill (USA) Mattyo Ostrowski (USA) Stefano Pasquini (Italy) Stefanos Pavlakis (UK) Debra Petrovich (Australia), Michael Pounds (USA) Peter Prautzsch (Germany) Puccini Marco (OTO) + virgilio VJ (Italy) RijN – Walter van Rijn (Netherlands), Neil Rose (USA) Paula Roush (UK) Rovar17 (Hungary) Robert Rudolf (Slowakia) Grit Ruhland (Germany), Khaled Sabsabi (Australia) Luz María Sánchez (Mexico) Janek Schaefer (UK) Debashis Sinha (Canada) Kenji Siratori (Japan), SonicTrain (Koji Kawai, Rui Ogawa, and Kenya Kawaguchi) (Japan) Malte Steiner (Germany) Peter V.Swendsen (USA), tarofonika aka Rick Foot (USA) Jouni Tauriainen (Finland) Jacqueline Then (Singapore) JEFF THOMPSON (USA), Eldad Tsabary (USA) Tetsuya Umeda (Japan) Peter Wadham/ Susannah Brown (USA) Shirley Wegner (USA) Simon Whetham (UK) Duncan Whitley (USA) Jake Whittaker (UK) Shane Wilson aka Deciduous (USA)
My Mission – 100 artists’ statements
Daniel Young (USA)
Mr. Robert Montini (USA)
Robin Miller (USA)
Richard Ellis (USA)
David Crawford (USA)
Kristin Calabrese (USA)
Michael Crane (USA)
Lisa Ndejuru (USA)
Doren Garcia (USA)
Seth Thomson (USA)
Alan Sondheim (USA)
C.D. Beltran (USA)
Lynne Taetzsch (USA)
John Kannenberg (USA)
Scott Becker (USA)
Lois Klassen (USA)
Nathan James (USA)
Jubal Brown (USA)
Natasha Radell (USA)
Jeremy Newman (USA)
Sarah Browne (USA)
Pace F . Parado (USA)
Mark Wolfe (USA)
Carole Loefler (USA)
Dr. Hugo (Belgium)
Rene Joseph (Belgium)
Eric van Hove (Belgium)
Eva Lewarne (Canada)
Gita Hashemi (Iran/Canada)
Barry Smilie (Canada)
Wendy Lu (Canada)
Graham Thompson (Canada)
Julie Andreyev (Canada)
Ijosé Benin (Canada)
Cyril Duneau (Canada)
Garnet Abrahams (Canada)
Blair Butterfield (UK)
Caterine Daly (UK)
Richard Osborn (UK)
Brian Routh (UK)
Veronica C. Wilkinson UK)
Davon Hlongwane UK)
Luna Nera (UK)
Nigel Petherick (UK)
Maggie Montgomery (UK)
Corina Pia (UK)
Shaukat Khan (UK)
Ann Tracy (UK)
Heather J. Tait (UK)
X Rokeby (UK)
Michael Branthwaite (UK)
Luigia Cardarelli (Italy)
Carla Della Beffa (Italy)
Pino Boresta (Italy)
Alberto Frigo (Italy)
Boel Olsson (Sweden)
Michael Haskett (Sweden)
Peter Svedberg (Sweden)
Eric B. Petersen (Sweden)
Ksenija Kovcevic (Serbia)
Zon Sakai (Serbia)
Cecilia Lueza (Italy)
Domenico Olivero (Italy)
Ida Dominici (Italy)
Roberto Echen (Argentina)
Leandro Katz (Argentina)
Anahi Caceres (Argentina)
Francisco Vidal (Argentina)
Stella Maris Angel Villegas (Argentina)
Cendres Lavy (France)
Xavier Malbreil (France)
Yavier Pehuet (France)
Aikaterini Gregisian (France)
Antonio Alvarado (Spain)
Alvaro Ardévol (Spain)
Klaus W. Eisenlohr (Germany)
Marcello Mercado (Germany)
Sandra Becker (Germany)
Volker Behrend Peters (Germany)
Joern Ebner (UK/Germany)
Jd.Vd’Aragon Aranita (Hong Kong)
Lee Welch (Ireland)
Harriet Jamesson Pellizari (Austria)
Teo Spiller (Slovenia)
Fabian Giles (Mexico)
Anthony Leland (New Zealand)
gintas K (Lithuania)
Sergeij Jakovlev (Russia)
Igor Ulanosvsky (Israel)
Cezar Lazarescu (Romania)
Clemente Padin (Uruguay)
Andres Yepes (Venezuela)
Miss C. Johnson (South Africa)
Nitin Shroff (Seychelles)
Solveig Kjok (Norway)
Ricardo Mirada Zuniga (Nicaragua/USA)
Digital prints @ CAM