+All Evil Things +

A report of Evil Under The Sun, Volcano Extravaganza, a project by Fiorucci Art Trust, Stromboli 2013by Fiammetta De Michele

Stromboli appears on the horizon like a pyramid in the sea. Out of its top, glimpses of fire and ash can be seen every ten-fifteen minutes. One side of the island is worn out and polished by the “Sciara del Fuoco”, a natural slide on whose surface the lava, lapillus and ash drop.On the crumbly declivities the strong, fighting vegetation, typical of the most hostile and arid environment, grows abundantly – obstinate prolific cactuses, wild flowers, and bushes.In the inhabited area fig trees, almond trees, and jasmines seem to engage a battle towards one another. Together, they make up a sensorial map and their perfume guides the passers-by and leads them back to their homes in the deep darkness of the island’s night, the land resting under the stars, with no power.A connective fabric that even the urbanest person, more accustomed to distinguishing the smell of petrol from that of diesel fuel, easily learn to recognise.I have already been here last year, but could not help coming back. The island’s call is like a siren song to me and brings me back to the contemplation of nature.Stromboli selects its guests. Not everyone feels at ease in the wild and primitive beauty of the island. This increases a sentiment of complicity between those who get in touch with the island’s treasures and appreciate them.Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellinifell in love here, during the shooting of Stromboli Terra di Dio. Marina Abramovic, with Italian artist Mimmo Paladino and Arte Povera artist Giovanni Anselmo had and continue to have a house here and made several artworks inspired by this place. Fashion stylistsDolce & Gabbana frequently celebrate the island, and their presence here is constant each summer. Their collections incessantly refer to this place.Other artists also continue their pilgrimages, fascinated by the island’s pantheist magic and motivated by the presence of some of the most important sharers in the Italian art scene, like Lia Rumma. This lady from Naples, who frequently comes here with her sister Cordelia, is one of the most influential gallerists in Italy.Since they were my neighbours this year, I had the privilege and pleasure of dining with them on the terrace of their home.Lia showed me some pictures from New Year’s Eve, which were taken in her Villa in Naples, falling sheer to the sea. The fireworks were so many and so amazing that it looked as if the whole city were on fire.She told us about many exciting artistic collaborations she had in her outstanding career and thrilling life, including one with William Kentridge for the making of a huge mosaic for the Toledo station in Naples. The Toledo subway station was included in the projectStazioni d’Arte and was awarded by the Daily Telegraph as Europe’s most impressive station.Then Lia delighted us with her memories of the island, and showed us her pictures with Anselm Kiefer and William Kentridge, who were her guests in Stromboli. She also had some beautiful snapshots portraying them all with Marina Abramovic.The island’s soul is now enriched by the contemporary art events organised over the past three years by Fiorucci Art Trust, an organisation founded by entrepreneur and collector Nicoletta Fiorucci.Volcano Extravaganza is an outstanding product of the Trust. It is an event conjugating conferences, performances, happenings and art residencies. This year’s programme is entitled after a novel by Agatha Christie, Evil Under the Sun, as an implicit statement pointing out the goal of investigation

I meet Milovan Farronato, the Artistic Director of the Trust, for a chat on this year’s edition of Volcano Extravaganza. He is the one who, every year, chooses a different artist to be the event’s curator.

Milovan Farronato and I meet on the terrace of Nicoletta Fiorucci’s house, silhouetted by a ten meters lava stone promontory facing the sea. He wears a most stylish Raf Simons blue orange and violet suit with a little sun drawn on the breast-pocket. It matches beautifully with the sunset all around us.

Milovan lived in Milan for many years. Now he lives and works between London and Venice.

Just a few questions to Milovan Farronato.

How did your collaboration with Nicoletta start?

It all happened because I teach in the Fashion Design department of the IUAV in Venice. At the time Nicoletta was the President of Alta Roma, an organisation promoting fashion, haute couture and so on. Our first encounter had a good feedback for her private collection. Three years ago Nicoletta decided not only to take over some artworks, but also to acquire experiences. She decided to found a Trust named Fiorucci Art Trust, which does not have a tangible collection; only a collection of intangible and immaterial experiences. I became its director.

I work on Nicoletta’s collection as a curator and I supervise the Trust as its artistic director. Nicoletta and I make decisions in order to support projects and independent institutions, as well as promoting our ideas and perspectives on contemporary art.

Stromboli is not the only, but certainly the most longeval experience the trust invented and produced through exhibitions, publications, and extremely various initiatives all bound by the common reference to this place, this island.

Volcano Extravaganza started three years ago. Why my impression was that it had started long before that?

In fact, it started before that. We started taking people, artists, critics here from the very beginning. But at the time it was more like a cheerful holiday. It was like: do you want to speak to Goshka Macuga? Let’s say, about some artwork you mean to collect. Well, you come here and we talk about it on this reef, which is surely much funnier than going for a studio visit. One thing does not prevent the other from happening, of course. Both can be done. But one can get to do a more thoughtful choice, even by means of this differentiation. So, during the first two years, when the Trust did not yet exist, there were occasions of exchange anyhow. This brought to something. Runa Islam came. We discussed and we decided to make a film. It was shown at the Sao Paolo Biennial, then at her one-person show at the MOMA in NY, and later at the first edition of Volcano Extravaganza, back in Stromboli.

In the beginning things were informal. When the Trust was born there were the premises to do something less informal and more productive, promotional, exhibition-oriented.

How do you select the curators? This year the curator is Lucy McKenzie, an artist. How did you make this decision?

There are several reasons why I tried to involve Lucy McKenzie – and succeeded.

First of all, I have been following the development of her work for years. I attend her shows, see what she does, and so on. I had never worked with her before. I wrote texts on her and it’s been a while since I started hanging around her studio. It has been a slow process of acquaintance. Apart from knowing her personally, I have always liked her work and I have always wanted to collaborate with her in one way or another. I figured out several possible ways to do it and then, with Nicoletta, we thought this one could probably be the most significant. Lucy has been here with us last summer, and the summer before, when the options were different. She knew the dynamics, the place, the kind of people attending the events. Eventually, I felt it was almost spontaneous to invite her to do this. The invitation was seriously taken into account, and later Evil Under The Sun came to life. Last year there was another artist and curator, Nick Mauss, a co-curator who is basically an artist. This year things are different: Lucy decided to link this edition to various creativity possibilities – there are films, design, poetry, readings, the book she wrote with Alan Michael, and the perfume Nicoletta Fiorucci created by Lucy’s specific request. It is an edition made up of many different elements she brought to life. I gave carte blanche to Lucy McKenzie this year for I immediately realised that she wanted to bring along her whole world. This included her father, a fabulous scholar who did a wonderful talk, which will probably be his last one, for he is now retired and has thus ended his career – both practically and symbolically – by devoting his farewell talk to a minor 1800 Scottish poet and to his monumen. Lucy’s wold also included her gallerist and poet, who did another talk and presented a film. Lucile Desamory was there too. Lucy interpreted a role in her latest film “Abracadabra” and painted all the sceneries for the film. Beca Lipscombe did a projection a couple of nights ago and presented, together with Lucy, a collection inspired on the volcano, on Stromboli and on Summer, for the EB Atelier brand, which they founded together. There is a whole universe of collaborations, which is precisely what I was intrigued by. In order to make it happen, I avoided to introduce any element that was stranger to this family Lucy built around her  through the years. Markus Seng also collaborated with Lucy. He was in Warsavia ten years ago, when Lucy and Paulina Olowska did Nova Popularna , entirely decorating a bar with their drawings. He was one of the most moving people in that week of art, creativity and entertainment. So here in Stromboli we have that aspect of Lucy’s activity.

Milovan tells me goodbye without revealing any advance information about next year’s event. The sun has almost disappeared and I am curious to see the new performances. Volcano extravaganza is definitely not to be missed.

Fiammetta De Michele

Read previous post:
Villa Lena