STOP AND GO
The Art of Animated Gifs
14 June – 19 August 2018
MGLC – International Centre for Graphic Art, Ljubljana
Valentina Tanni, Saverio Verini
Bill Domonkos, Zack Dougherty, Roberto Fassone, Carla Gannis, Nika Ham, Lorna Mills, Okkult Motion Pictures, Chiara Passa and James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger).
Light, attractive and hypnotic, animated GIFs are a genuine phenomenon of our time. The acronym GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format, a file format invented in 1987 that makes it possible to create and visualize a short sequence of moving images within a web browser. Very popular in the nineties, GIFs were then replaced by other graphic formats and by video, but continued to be used for artistic purposes because of their lightness, accessibility, flexibility and their close connection with the worlds of photography and cinema. In recent years, the emergence and growth of social networks have also resulted in a massive increase in the use of this medium.
The group exhibition STOP AND GO explores the artistic use of animated GIFs, presenting a broad and diversified panorama of the various approaches currently adopted by the international community. The show includes works by nine artists who are some of the most famous exponents of the genre: Bill Domonkos, Zack Dougherty, Roberto Fassone, Carla Gannis, Nika Ham, Lorna Mills, Okkult Motion Pictures, Chiara Passa and James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger).
Bill Domonkos uses archival images: old photographs animated by “special effects” that provide these vintage GIFs with an alienating kind of elegance and a disturbing poetic quality. Zack Dougherty, with his customized frames, brings a handcrafted artisanal dimension to the digital support; his works – photographic “vanitas” in motion – evoke a sense of death and decadence that conflicts with the vitality typical of the format. In a floating self-portrait, Roberto Fassone ironically presents himself as a homemade superhero, while Carla Gannis reinterprets The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, enriching it with emojis and turning the painting into a kaleidoscopic universe of different signs, shapes and colors. In Lorna Mills’ work, dominated by a convulsive and hybrid imagination, the most pervasive images circulating online are assembled into frenetic and looping low-resolution collages. With their Giphoscopes, Okkult Motion Pictures reflects on the relationship between analogue and digital, stressing the connections between today’s web culture and early cinema. Chiara Passa presents a “sculpted” abstract GIF projected onto an uneven and bumpy surface, which gives the animation a three-dimensional spatial extension. James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger) draws on Flemish and Northern European Renaissance paintings, generating episodic micro-stories in which the characters – mostly religious figures – perform actions that are absolutely profane and grotesque. Finally, Nika Ham takes advantage of museum surveillance cameras to perform and record a series of small and repetitive actions. Her performances are then edited and converted in short videos and animated GIFs that spread on social networks like memes.
Valentina Tanni (1976, Rome, Italy) is a contemporary art critic and curator. Her research is focused on the relationship between art and new technologies, with a particular focus on Internet culture. In 2002, she graduated in Art History from La Sapienza University in Rome with a master’s thesis on net art (Net Art.1994–2001), and in the following years she published a number of articles, reviews and essays for Italian and international magazines. She is the founder of Random Magazine and co-founder of Exibart and Artribune, two important Italian art magazines. She also directed the online version of FMR magazine. Since 2001 she has curated several solo and group exhibitions, including Maps and Legends. When Photography Met the Web (Rome, 2010), Datascapes (Rome, 2011), Hit the Crowd. Photography in the Age of Crowdsourcing (Rome, 2012), Nothing to See Here (Milan, 2013), Eternal September (Ljubljana, 2014) and Stop and Go. The Art of Animated Gifs (Rome, 2016). From 2010 to 2012 she was a guest curator of the FotoGrafia International Photography Festival in Rome. She currently teaches “Digital Art” at Politecnico University in Milan.
Saverio Verini was born in Città di Castello, Italy, in 1985. He graduated in Contemporary Art History at Sapienza University. From 2011 to 2012 he was a member of the staff of the MACRO Museum of Rome. From 2013 to 2015 he was an assistant curator at the Ermanno Casoli Foundation and since 2017 he has been the exhibition manager at the Fondazione Memmo in Rome. He has collaborated with cultural institutions such as the Academy of France in Rome – Villa Medici, Polish Institute of Rome, Center for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci, American Academy in Rome, FOTOGRAFIA – International Festival of Rome, Pastificio Cerere Foundation and Granpalazzo. From 2011 to 2016 he was the curator of the visual arts section of the Kilowatt Festival in Sansepolcro. He is one of the founders of the curators’ collective Sguardo Contemporaneo and of the Il Fondino cultural association, with which he has organized several cultural events characterized by a strong participatory attitude. He collaborates with Artribune magazine and regularly writes critical texts for personal and group exhibitions in private galleries and other spaces.
Curators: Valentina Tanni and Saverio Verini
Authors: Bill Domonkos, Zack Dougherty, Roberto Fassone, Carla Gannis, Nika Ham, Lorna Mills, Okkult Motion Pictures, Chiara Passa and James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger)
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2018
MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts
Realized in collaboration with:
smART – polo per l’arte, Rome, Italy
Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana
Aksioma’s programme is additionally supported by the Ministry of Public Administration as part of the public call for co-financing projects for the development and professionalisation of NGOs and volunteerism as well as by JSKD