Giangiacomo Cirla: Art Stays Festival 2019, entitled FUTURE, is coming with a focus on projects that are offering various interpretation of our near future. After the previous editions, when you investigate climate changes, political conflicts, and social and economic differences, you are going to find an answer to the question that everybody is afraid to respond or is not able to. What is waiting for us?…
Art Stays: The new edition of ART STAYS festival entitled FUTURE – a vision of the world will feature over 80 international artists who explore the future and try to answer the question: what future holds?
We are focusing and dealing with three main topics: mind, body and landscape that combined with time, space, dimension, form, colour, reflection, feeling and research reflect how we see and develop our Future.
The human mind is continuously and easily distracted. We don’t really look anymore, read, write or listen. With the intervention and invention of new technologies we got lost in ourselves or simply in the net, in a virtual reality or state and we lose meaningful messages, details, textures, tone of the sound as for example Zulkifle Mahmod remember us with his performance and sound installation Sound Horizon. We are, on the other hand, really fascinated by colour or spatial perceptions of Jeongmoon Choi’s light installation or interactive works of Béatrice Lartique and Snow Yunxue Fu. We can experience liminary spaces, new dimensions, and extensions of reality and human being.
The body, as experienced in the group show Android, is almost the last space or a surface where the humans deal with contemporary times and reshape the physical and material reality. Man, prone to the modification of his appearance, increases thanks to the processes of science; he moves towards the post-human, questioning the identity and searching for a new balance between the impulses of reason and feelings.
The landscape reflects in synthesis our trust and how we see the nature. We cannot find an answer to the most urgent issues of our times and we don’t know if there is a way out. But projects as Anthropocene, Watermark, and Manufactured landscapes the trilogy of Edward Burtynsky in collaboration with Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, Restless landscapes, the photographic exhibition created by Carlo Sala that explore the fragile present and the uncertain future, are all possible answers offered by artists. Regarding the Nature, many messages are offered; and it is confirmed again with the group exhibition Between hell and sky, the solo show of Toru Hamada – Stratifications, the Future studies, PHROOM for the future project. We just cannot ignore an issue big as this.
If we look back to our past and confront it with the present, the title Future is just the continuation of the last year’s projects. Starting with Connect, followed up by Relations, Politics, Natur(all), and Fragile we opened and written a suspended dialogue between the fragility of materials and the fragmentation of man, with the future, that is often unexpected or in sought-after state, in which a time or action change the properties of things, situations, emotions, and relations in contemporary society. And by all this we are socially, historically and culturally developing our own, unique human identity.
GC: What are the biggest news of this edition?
AS: With the new theme of the festival and the curatorial direction, we have created a project that remained open to take personal and also discussed reflections, forms and feelings. So, the different projects, works, exhibitions, conferences etc. cannot be closed or related in a unique, dedicated frame. The reason for that is probably the way we see the future as an open dialogue. Many projects will be created directly for and in the city, during the days of the festival….
We are also proud to announce that we are working hard to create a long- term curatorial board commission in order to develop and continue our collaboration with different international curators, to line-up some different ways and approaches to the field of arts. We are convinced that all artistic and not only, practices, actions, ideas must work together to promote a future Art system that will allow much easier way to share, collaborate and create.
This year we are opening our festival program very much towards Asian art and this probably tells how we are also questioning and reflect our vision of the future…
GC: What are the unmissable projects during this new edition of Art Stays Festival?
AS: You absolutely do not want to miss the opening of the festival on 5th of July when we will present an astonishing project by one of the most seen Singaporean artists Zulkifle Mahmod. He will present Sonic Horizon, Listen but why? a new site specific project created especially for the new edition of Art Stays, in the ancient Dominican Monastery corridors.
We are also hosting the Slovenian premiere of the new film Anthropocene: The Human Epoch by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. Many different openings of solo and group exhibitions will follow. And what is unique in Ptuj, is that almost all the exhibition spaces are located in the old medieval town centre what gives the contemporary projects a special touch. Must see exhibitions are the ones in the Ptuj City Gallery as for example In-between by Jeongmoon Choi and Restless Landscapes curated by Carlo Sala and including authors as Olivio Barbieri. Moving forward we have also a great group exhibition Between Hell and Sky in Miheličeva Gallery with the participation of established artists such as Gal Weinstein or Costantino Ciervo. And there is much, much more.
GC: Since 2005 your intent is to encourage, develop and promote art, especially visual art, through activities and events aimed at developing contemporary art in Ptuj, Slovenia, and abroad. What’s the Slovenian answer?
AS: Slovenian audience is very curious and we have many visitiors from all over Slovenia and of course the citizens of Ptuj. They see the ART STAYS festival as an unique once-a-year opportunity to stay tuned with the international Art world, having a possibility to see, but also to simply sit and speak with some interesting international artists in one of the streets or squares of the oldest city of Slovenia, drinking a glass of good wine or ice cold beer.
Quite often the citizens of Ptuj, that are also very creative people (including many photographers) love to help or simply assist the foreign artists invited in our artist in residency programme, collaborating in different ways with the process of production. And of course, this is one of the goals of the ART STAYS.
Thanks to ART STAYS, Ptuj is fully immersed into visual and contemporary arts. It opens up to discover the artistic and cultural world heritage and host it in its old buildings. We are especially proud that this year, to celebrate the 1950 years of the first written mention of Ptuj, we are dealing and playing between past and present, and connecting it to the Future.
GC: You mentioned the residence program, what are you looking for through that program?
AS: Since the first year, in 2003, ART STAYS has an artist in residency programme. This allows the artists and creative people from all around the world to connect or discover our little Slovenia, its traditions and culture. This is also a nice possibility, not only for well know or established artist to work on a site-specific project, but also for young artists to have a time and space during summer, using an original platform to create something new or experimental.
GC: Regarding to the many different projects you work on, can you tell me more about the exhibitions you organize?
AS: ART STAYS is a contemporary art production society that works and curates different exhibitions and projects in Ptuj and abroad. We work since 2003 and we run two exhibitions spaces through the all year round, hosting around 8 to 10 exhibition per year (Galerija FO.VI, Galerija Art Stays). We also export bigger group exhibitions in public spaces as for example Ptuj City Gallery or Miheličeva Gallery and Dominican Monastery. Our main project is obviously the festival Art Stays when we use all the facilities and always present over 15 exhibitions in more than 10 venues.
GC: What’s the contemporary artistic situation in Slovenia?
AS: The contemporary artistic scene in Slovenia is rich of proposals and interesting ideas that grow each year. There are many artists that are working in the fields of arts starting from traditional forms as photography, painting, sculpture and installation to multimedia projects, videoart, performance, theatre etc. There is a great quality and many very nice public institutions running great shows, but the main problem is that there is almost no real market for art, so it is very hard for the Slovenian artists to expand their work and go abroad.
GC: Since we work with photography and video art and we will come to Art Stays Festival 2019 to show “PHROOM for the future”, an exhibition in the form of a public intervention in the old town center, I want to ask you what role have this artistic practices especially working on current issues as the main theme of this edition…
AS: In the city there is a big community of established and young photographers that each year normally dialogue with the international proposals through ART STAYS developing ideas and new forms of relations. However, in the contemporary society, dominated of still and moving images, photography and video are fundamental to understand the present and question the future. And in the way we will confront the audience with your project (on the streets and squares), is really a direct and immersive way to pass the work and message of your artists.
5-12 July 2019
Ptuj – Slovenia
Facebook: Art Stays Festival
copyright © PHROOM, all rights reserved