The Artists


Studio Azzurro

In Milan the different experiences of Fabio Cirifino (Milan 1949) with photography, Paolo Rosa (Rimini 1949) for visual arts and direction, and Leonardo Sangiorgi (Parma 1949) for graphics and animation came together to form the group Studio Azzurro in 1982.

Straightaway, a priority was given to the social context in which their work is realised, as can be seen in the first environment-video in the 1980s. Over time this transformed into a veritable centrality of the viewer, who is called to play an active role in the work, becoming its protagonist, animating the interactive and at the same time contributing with his/her own emotional baggage. In this context, from 1995 onwards, we see the sensitive environments, interactive installations that react to external input such as touch, tread, emission of sounds and movement. Reflection on the visual arts and technology touches on the fields of experimental theatre, between music, dance and video-projections – think of the show Camera Astratta in 1987 presented at Documenta 8 and winner of the Premio Ubu, or of The Cenci in London in 1997 – and cinema: Il Mnemonista in 2000, which was one of their most famous creations, centred on the interaction between life and memory, reality and vision.


Josef Koudelka

From an early age the Czech photographer Koudelka had a gift of entering different worlds and a unique skill in creating divergent visions, which he employed working in theatres and with local gypsy communities in his country. His intense artistic journey began in the 1950s when he took his first amateur photographs. On completion of his engineering degree at the University of Prague he had his first photographic show in 1961. It was in those same years that he began to photograph gypsies in the area of Slovakia and popular religious festivals, and also create backdrops for the theatres of Prague. His first exhibition with the theme of gypsies, Cikáni 1961-1966 was shown in Prague in 1966, and the following year he abandoned his engineering activities to dedicate himself exclusively to photography. 1968 was a crucial year for Koudelka: he was in Prague to cover the occupation by Soviet troops. His most famous shots captured an empty St Wenceslas Square, with tanks hiding behind trees waiting for the demonstrators. His photographs of those days slipped out of the country and under anonymity appeared in the press around the world. A few years later, Koudelka left his country for England and in 1984 London’s Hayward Gallery organised his first big European show. In the meantime he transferred to France where he carried out a territorial recognition campaign for the DATAR Mission, and continued to travel throughout Europe. In 1988 he published Exiles, a photographic book dedicated to the years of the travels far from his homeland. In 1990 he returned to Czechoslovakia, and finally his photography of 1968 was exhibited in Prague. At this time he dedicated himself to the mining region of the “black triangle” of Bohemia, Silesia and Saxony, one of the geographic areas most devastated by man. In 1991 he photographed the centre of Beirut disfigured by war, while during that decade he dedicated himself to the panoramic photography in Wales and new enquiries into the relation between man and territory. In Italy, a great solo exhibition was held in Rome in 1999, organized by Palazzo delle Esposizioni, presenting the extraordinary panoramic format series Caos. In 2003 he exhibited in Rome the results of project Teatro del tempo, centred on the capital. Over the last decade, a series of works appeared focusing attention on the Mediterranean and the Near East, some of which were presented at the exhibition Vestiges 1991-2012 in Marseille.


Lawrence Carroll

Born in Melbourne to a family of diverse origins, aged four his family moved to the United States of America, to California, first to Santa Monica where the Carrolls lived a simple life, and then to Los Angeles, where he frequented the Art Center College and earned his living teaching and illustrating. During this time he created his first autonomous works with recovered material, which were often overlaid with used canvases of other students and repainted, elements which will contribute to form the hallmark of his works. In 1984 he abandoned the West Coast to transfer to New York; here he entered into contact with the local artistic circle and with the art galleries, even managing to have his first personal work in 1988. His works become internationally known at the end of the 1980s when Harald Szeeman chose him together with eight other young American artists as representatives of the new generation in the famous Hamburg “Einleuchten” show, while in 1992 he was invited to participate in “Documenta IX”. Today he lives and works in the US and Italy, where he teaches at the IUAV in Venice. Carroll’s starting points are easel painting and environment art, and the experiences of artists such as Rauschenberg, Rothko, Johns and Beuys, but also the chromatic selection and essentiality of Morandi, to which Carroll adds a thoughtful interpretation of the processes and materials of Arte Povera.

This re-elaboration gives rise to a strong poetry of recovery, led within the terms of a discourse that is far from any sort of magniloquence or theatricality. That objects can have a second life – pieces of wood of various sizes, rags of material, shoes, paper, newspaper cuttings, natural vegetables or dust that gathers on the ground – all these are put back into play and form part of the new creations. These works need a long period of gestation, that are often documented by photographs or sketches, in which the work grows and takes form slowly on itself, layer by layer building up like a painting or object programme, drawing into itself as a magnet, a power of attraction towards external elements. The artist intervenes many times on every part of the work, with a carefulness that is a discrete nurturing, discipline rather than meticulous, and where the factors of growth, slowness, and happy solitary meditation play a fundamental role.

For this occasion he also wrote the following poem:

We need to build bridges 

Not just the catholic church but all churches, this pavilion is a bridge. 

Bridges connect 

Bridges bring hope 

Bridges allow us to connect to others

Bridges allow conversation

And questions and dialog 

And bridges bring compassion.

We cannot live on islands

Isolated , and spend our lives building walls , we must look around ourselves 

And look outside the comforts of our own lives and beliefs.

We must open the doors for conversation, 

We must unfold to each other

Share our differences

Erase cynicism and allow into our lives differences ! 

This is what my paintings are about. An awareness of a profoundly human vulnerability and The need for bridges. 

A desire for hope, and that everything has a life and this life can unfold into the hands of another, in another way another time and another place.

Lawrence Carroll. 

Rome 2013