FLAVIO FAVELLI Grape Juice
Conceived by Cristina Cobianchi and curated by Vittorio Urbani
On Friday, May 16th at 6.30 pm, the Italian artist Flavio Favelli (born in Florence, 1967) will inaugurate his first solo exhibition to be held in Istanbul. It is entitled Grape Juice and is curated by Vittorio Urbani. It will be held until June 14th in the Main Hall of the Galata Rum Okulu, the neo-classical nineteenth century Galata Greek School, which has now been transformed into a fully equipped exhibition space. This was one of the main venues of last year’s Biennial of Contemporary Art held in Istanbul.
The exhibition Grape Juice is the direct result of Favelli’s recent period as artist-in-residence at Palazzo Venezia, the residence in Istanbul of the Ambassador of Italy to Turkey, Gianpaolo Scarante. This period of study and work was conducted as part of the third edition of the annual international Anteprima project, which is organized by AlbumArte, a cultural association based in Rome. The president of AlbumArte is Cristina Cobianchi and its director is Maria Rosa Sossai.
Favelli’s idea for this exhibition started from an image on the label of an old can of grape juice. The product, called Hi-C, is still manufactured in America by the Minute Maid division of the Coca Cola Company. The white star and the “C” of the label reminded Favelli of the Turkish flag and this emblematic advertising logo inspired him to create a work called Grape Juice, which then gave the exhibition its title.
The exhibition Grape Juice consists of four separate projects. At the entrance of the main hall, on the glass screen that separates this space from the entrance area, the artist has placed a large panoramic view of the skyline of Istanbul in the twilight of sunset or possibly sunrise. Favelli chose to display this “picture postcard” image because it represents a classic, eternal and rather stereotyped romantic and melancholic conception of the exotic East.
At the centre of the main hall there is a construction made of recycled iron plates, which looks like a kind of industrial storage or freight container. The artist was assisted in his search for these materials in the suburbs and industrial areas of the city thanks to the valuable collaboration of the architect Murat Özelmas, who also assisted the Nobel Prize winning author Ferit Orhan Pamuk in setting up the “Museum of Innocence” in Istanbul, inaugurated in April 2012.
The white wall at the far end of the main hall has been fitted with four large panels painted with enamel. They which show some details of Turkish banknotes from the 1970s, with their elegant and decorative watermarks carefully reproduced, together with some typical symbols of the country.
A table stands in a niche-like theatre area, where the artist has displayed an object which he describes as heart-rending or haunting. This is a Coca-Cola bottle that was specially manufactured for sale in Turkey, and which Favelli actually found in Italy before coming to Istanbul. This simple and seemingly mundane object contains multiple meanings with some rather subtle associations.
The programme of Anteprima#3 also includes a number of opportunities for attending study groups and public meetings between Flavio Favelli and the people of the city, thanks to agreements with other institutions in Istanbul that have been established specifically for the artist’s term of residency. These include a collaboration with the Bilgi University, which has organized a talk in the context of its MA Management course entitled Istanbul according to Flavio Favelli – An artist in residency. This is due to be held at Studio-X in Istanbul on Thursday May 8th at 7.00 pm and it will be followed by a meeting entitled Conversation with the artist arranged by the Italian Cultural Institute of Istanbul (Casa d’Italia). This will take place in the theatre of the Institute on Saturday, May 17th at 5.00 pm, with the participation of the Director of MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Anna Mattirolo, art critics Cristiana Perrella and Paola Ugolini, and it will be chaired by Vittorio Urbani. The collaboration with the Italian Cultural Association Visioni Future has also led to the publication of a catalogue-book examining Favelli’s time of residency in Istanbul and commenting on the exhibition Grape Juice, with essays by Cristina Cobianchi, Flavio Favelli, Cristiana Perrella and Vittorio Urbani. This volume will soon be distributed in Italy and abroad.
Flavio Favelli, Grape Juice
A project by Cristina Cobianchi, AlbumArte – Rome
Curated by Vittorio Urbani
Assistant to the project: Murat Özelmas
Inauguration of the exhibition: Friday May 16th at 6.30pm
Official preview for the press: Friday, May 16th at 4.00 pm
Galata Rum Okulu Kemeraltı Cad. No: 25 34425 Galata BEYOĞLU / İstanbul
Opening hours for the public and duration of the exhibition:
from Tuesday to Saturday 11.00 am – 7.00 pm
from May 17th to June 14th, 2014
An event realized by the Italian Embassy in Turkey, the Italian Cultural Institute in Istanbul, Yapı Kredi Cultural Activities Arts and Publishing, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Turkey and AlbumArte.
The catalogue of the exhibition Grape Juice, written by Cristina Cobianchi, Cristiana Perrella and Vittorio Urbani, will be produced by Visione Future. AlbumArte thanks the Studio SALES gallery of Norberto Ruggeri, in Rome.
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