From this week, thanks to the National Park Service, two environmental installations by Gian Maria Tosatti will become permanent on Governors Island. Developed in 2011, during a residency program at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, these works, as part of a larger project called “I’ve already been here," give a possible lecture of the contemporary identity of New York City and its complex community. “Apt #102” and “Headache," which occupy two buildings on the island, are focused on the theme of loneliness inside a metropolis in which the majority of people are foreign and on the contradictions of the American Dream. These two works have been made in deep connection with the city, and their permanent presence in the body of New York makes them two monuments attesting to the city's current identity.
Monumentalizing the identity of a city and of a community, making a work which, as a mirror, reflects what takes shape and exists in a precise space-time, is the practice on which Tosatti’s work is based. The body of his work has passed through many different cities and circumstances, making environmental installations as synthetic spaces which allow viewers to perceive the precise essence of the present.
The reopening of the two environmental installations is marked by a panel discussion with curators and artists who are familiar with Tosatti’s work and whose own achievements over the last few years have attempted to deepen the relation between city and monument, community and place. The discussion will open with Alessandro Facente, an independent curator, who has collaborated with Tosatti in some of his most complex and large-scale works, from “Devozioni” (2005-2011) a cycle of installations based on the city of Rome, to “Tetralogia della polvere” (2012), which has rendered to the city of Novara (Italy) one of its architectural and historical symbols long since forgotten.
Also participating is No Longer Empty founder Manon Slome. No Longer Empty has since 2008, focused its projects on the many different territorial identities in the city of New York and in 2011 proposed an open conversation on the web about the topic of what public art is now. City and identity are also two of the main guidelines of the activity of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, which, under the direction of Eva Franch i Gilabert, has hosted a large number of discussions which can be seen as a permanent observatory on the present. Andrea Galvani, a New York-based Italian artist, has developed, over the last several years, research-based visual documentation on the monumentality of gestures and elementary forms in nature.
The aforementioned are all part of the panel for the discussion about “Monumentalizing the Identity of a City," which will commence upon the topic of discussion via the installation work made by Tosatti, in and about New York City, introduced and moderated by the critic and art writer Katy Diamond Hamer.
The panel will be held at the Andrew Freedman Home as part of This Side of Paradise.
Panel in alphabetic order:
Alessandro Facente - Independent Curator
Eva Franch i Gilabert - Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture Andrea Galvani - Artist
Manon Slome - Director of No Longer Empty
Gian Maria Tosatti - Artist
Katy Diamond Hamer - Moderator