The project investigates the relationship between a range of narrative forms (puppetry, street storytellers, flyers and pamphlets) and a series of pre-political acts of revolt staged between Italy and South America. Starting out from Riccardo Giacconi’s interest in tradition as an ‘act of transmission’, The Variational Status evokes a narrative constellation between animation, suggestion, revolt and orality.
The exhibition develops around the espiritado, a Colombian puppet character, presumably inspired by the murder of a policeman during a village celebration. The espiritado is designed around the episode of the soldier Augusto Masetti, who in 1911 in Bologna shot at his commander in an act of insubordination against the Italian colonial war in Libya. The two figures share the total amnesia of their act of revolt, carried out in a trance or a state of somnambulism. While in Masetti’s case this circumstance turned him into a symbol of the anarchist movement around the world, which stepped in to take his defence, in the case of the espiritado, it became a comic element of a puppet character.
Conceived as the deconstruction of a puppet show, the installation titled The Variational Status is made up of an automatized marionette (constructed in collaboration with the historical Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli), a plastic curtain that operates as a storyboard, and a series of posters of the Colombian puppet show El Diablo en el pozo printed using a 19th-century letterpress machine in Cali.
Working on archive documents, oral testimonies and theatre scripts, Riccardo Giacconi intertwines the real and fictitious vicissitudes of the two characters in order to question the status of those documents, which are not based on stable and certified supports, but rather which may exist solely in the form of variations.
The Variational Status was co-commissioned by ar/ge kunst (Bolzano), Centrale Fies (Dro, Trento) and FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), and carried out in collaboration with the sculptor Franco Citterio and the Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli (Milan), Carteles La Linterna Edigraphos (Cali), Herlyng Ferla, Carolina Valencia, and Paola Villani.
Riccardo Giacconi has studied fine arts at the University IUAV of Venezia, at UWE in Bristol and at New York University. His work has been exhibited in various institutions, such as WUK Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (France), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (France), tranzitdisplay (Prague), MAXXI (Rome), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin) and in the “Résonance” section of the Lyon Biennale. He was artist-in-residence at: Centre international d’art et du paysage (Vassivière, France), lugar a dudas (Cali, Colombia), MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome and La Box (Bourges). He presented his films at several festivals, including the New York Film Festival, theInternational Film Festival Rotterdam, the Rome Film Festival, the Torino Film Festival and the FID Marseille International Film Festival, where he won the Grand Prix of the international competition in 2015. He was the recipient of the 2016 ArteVisione award, organized by Careof and Sky Arte. In 2007 he co-founded the collective Blauer Hase, with which he curates the periodical publication ‘Paesaggio’ and the ‘Helicotrema’ festival.
A special thanks to:
Museo Civico Bolzano
With the kind support of:
The Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Department of Culture
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio, Bolzano
City of Bolzano, Department of Culture