Press Release

Fuori schema . 1966 - 2002 film e video

Franco Vaccari’s important film and video productions have recently resurfaced. Franco Vaccari is one of the leading Italian video artists, present some four times at the Venice Biennial with his one-man shows dedicated to his famous "Esposizioni in tempo reale" (“Real-time exhibitions”). The event, “Franco Vaccari. Film e video 1966-2002”, curated by Claudia Zanfi, is produced by the cultural workshop aMAZE in collaboration with the video library CareOF of Milan.

Among the works which draw on a wide-ranging contamination of the cinematographic language, and of both 1970’s conceptual research and various shooting techniques, the following films will be on show: Nei sotterranei (1966/67, 16 mm, 7 minutes) tells of the world of graffiti seen as a form of anonymous poetry, the poetry of the wall, of the street.

In La placenta azzurra (colore, 8mm, 7 minutes) which dates back to 1968, in the absence of a video recorder, the artist films the television. The title refers to the videosphere which envelops us all like an enormous placenta. This is a film on the means in which its editing plays a fundamental role. Film and video are extremely malleable materials through which one can create a vast range of things. In La placenta azzurra we are shown the various states of the world which starts with an initial state of chaos before taking on a form which is only to disintegrate at the same rate at which it was created.

Ventoscopio (16 mm) shows the visualisation of the wind, a sort of make-shift monument to time passing made with chewing-gum and a piece of paper. A person who has passed through time next to a monument which has resisted the passage of time, unchanged.

In 1972 he made Feed-back, in which he makes use of two different media: video and polaroid. The concept is avant-garde – no one else had started to examine the notion of “feed-back”, while Vaccari had already done so for a number of years with his “Esposizioni in tempo reale”.

The year before he made I cani lenti (8 mm, black & white and colour, 12 minutes, 1971): an essential and synthetic work of great simplicity in which the protagonists are some street dogs seen in slo-mo, a trick Vaccari often adopts, as if needing time to better understand the images. The soundtrack is by Pink Floyd, making for a highly poetic final result.

His 1974 work Piloro is a long video which Vaccari has recently re-edited. The video shows a number of scenes from open-air markets early in the morning: fruit, vegetables, animals etc. The shots are highly coloured and appear somewhat reminiscent of a kind of Emilian mannerist painting of the sixteenth or seventeenth century, like the works of Bartolomeo Passerotti for example. At the end of the film, a woman eats a grape. Starting from her mouth, Vaccari follows the path of the grape through her innards, making use of films of medical origin.

By the mid-seventies, the destiny of video has become clear, and Vaccari moves ever further away from it in his work only to return some 20 years later during his curious experiment with an interactive CD-ROM entitled Atelier d’artista in which he re-elaborates the works of other artists.

Thus La via Emilia è un aereoporto (2000) is a work of rare poetry concerning the main road running through the outskirts of Modena. This work gives rise to subtle, delicate sentiments which seem to stand in clear contradiction to the constant noise we are used to. The last and as of yet unseen video work by Franco Vaccari is L’album di Debora (2002), is once more a delicate and highly intelligent tale dealing with identity and people’s false appearances.

As always, Vaccari goes against the mainstream. His is a highly refined research, both delicate and strong at the same time; it is one which can get to grips with the underlying issues of existence itself. His research also provides key material for an examination of the last 40 years of Italian art.

At the video projection, along with entirely restored works like the early "La placenta azzurra" from 1966, and the more recent "La via Emilia è un aeroporto" from 2000, right up to “L’album di Debora”, specially created for this occasion, a book on the theme will also be presented. The volume Fuori Schema, published by Artshow Edizioni, brings together texts both in Italian and English with contributions by Daniela Palazzoli, Nicoletta Leonardi, Angela Madesani, Roberto Signorini, Elena Volpato, Claudia Zanfi and Gabi Scardi. There is also a detailed filmography published in full here for the first time, bibliographical notes edited by Carla Barbieri, not to mention the artist’s own writings.

Franco Vaccari was born in Modena in 1936. he studied sciences and graduated in physics. His career as an artist started with visual poetry. Right from the end of the ‘60s, he set out on a conceptual path, on one hand developing his reflections on the new artistic media, photography in particular, while on the other he experimented with the setting off of processes in which he would play more the role of the director than that of the artist. The environment in which these actions took place became a genuine “relation space”.

From this time on, Vaccari started a series of real-life interventions which he called "Esposizioni in tempo reale", in which he used video and photography in order to document various kinds of happenings as they took place, often provoked by Vaccari himself. During the Venice Biennial of 1972, he displayed the invitation to the public to stick a photo of themselves on the wall with his "Lascia su queste pareti una traccia fotografica del tuo passaggio" (“Leave a photographic trace of your passing on these walls”). This was the fourth of his "Esposizioni in tempo reale", and the artist’s first appearance at the Venice Biennial (though he was to return in 1980, 1993 and 1995). He work appears to tie in very closely with a number of the more recent fields of artistic research.

Vaccari has always coupled his artistic activity with theoretical reflections, publishing books such as "Duchamp e l'occultamento del lavoro" (1978) and "Fotografia e inconscio tecnologico" (1979), works which to this day constitute an important contribution to the theoretical debate on photography.

A special web-project about Franco Vaccari: WWW.VIRTUALGALLERY.FOTOMODO.COM (Homepage/Artists Directory).