1 ALEK O.
2 SELECTED WORKS SELECTED WORKS
3 Edward Higgins White, I, 2010, embroidery on canvas, 40,5 x 70 cm During a residency in Helsinki, I collected several lost gloves on the streets. Following the order of finding, I unravelled and embroidered their threads on to canvas. The result is a composition of rows that follow the chronological order of the discoveries. Edward Higgins White was the first American astronaut to walk in space, during this event he lost one of his thermal gloves.
4 Edward Higgins White, II - V, , embroidery on canvas, 40,5 x 70 cm
5 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, 2011, framed embroidery, 110 x 184 cm A woollen bedspread that belonged to my family is unravelled of its original pattern and restitched to form a geometrical landscape. The pattern is governed by the order of the original knit. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer in the 1500 s who spent many years with the Aboriginal Americans. The frame is made from a Robinia wood, a non-native tree that flourishes in Italy.
6 Ayrton Senna, 2010, embroidery on canvas, 62 x 115 cm In 1994, during the qualifications to the Grand Prix, the Austrian formula one racing driver Roland Ratzenberger dies in a crash. The day after, acclaimed Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna dies in a second accident on the very same Imola circuit. After his death an Austrian flag is found in his car. Most likely Senna intention was to wave it as a victory flag at his arrival in honour of his friend. The embroidery is an unravelled sweater re-stitched in the order of unravelling. The resulting composition recalls the Austrian flag.
7 Lost, 2010, embroidery on canvas, 48 x 88 cm This embroidery is the result of a simple transformation of a sweater of me. The garment has been unravelled and re-embroidered into a geometrical landscape. The order of stitching is governed by the original pattern of the knit.
8 Brigitte Bardot, 2009, embroidery on canvas, 63 x 116 cm This embroidery is the result of a simple transformation of a sweater of me. The garment has been unravelled and re-embroidered into a geometrical landscape. The order of stitching is governed by the original pattern of the knit.
9 Untitled (umbrellas), 2011, 21 umbrellas, 315 x 475 cm During 2011 I collected the umbrellas found broken on the streets and I assembled them in the same order I found them. The result is a colourful composition guided by time and chance.
10 Tangram 1, 2011, stretched cotton fabric, 233 x 128 cm Tangram 2, 2011, stretched cotton fabric, 192 x 220 cm Two damaged parasols that I found on the beach has been unstitched of their original stitches and stretched over eight separate frames. Tangram 1 is here installed on the wall as a sitting cat, and Tangram 2 as a flying bird. As in the game, the pieces can be put together to form different shapes.
11 Corkscrew, 2010, brass, 8,5 x 6,1 x 0,5 cm A brass corkcrew that once belonged to my great grandfather, my grandfather, my parents and finally passed down to me, has been fused into a single brass plate.
12 Il conico, 2010, steel, 15,0 x 11,6 x 0,5 cm A kettle designed by Aldo Rossi and received some years ago as a present has been fused to become a metal plate.
13 Keys, 2010, iron, brass traces, 10 x 7 x 0,5 cm I collected all the useless keys I own, some belonged to an apartment I now no longer live in, to stolen bikes and others I have forgot their provenance. They have all been fused together into a single metallic plate.
14 Desk, 2009, wood, glue, canvas, iron and plastic, 110 x 80 cm A secretary s table I used for many years as a desk is taken to pieces. The wood is chopped and glued together to become a single board. The iron legs are fused together to become a metal plate. The plastic elements are also amalgamated. The canvas is the only material that has not been altered in anyway. The different materials are treated in order to produce a group of twodimensional elements. Note that the dust on the floor is part of Nina Beier and Marie Lund s Autobiography (If these walls could speak).
15 Closet, 2010, wood, glue, glass, iron and brass, 60 x 80 x 60 cm A closet that belonged to me is taken to pieces. The wood is chopped and glued together to create two plinths of wood and glue. The fixings of it are fused together to produce two metal plates of brass and iron. The glass panels of the closet are the only elements that remain in their previous existence.
16 Table, 2011, wood, glue, formica and iron, 71 x 78.5 x 16 cm A table inherited from my partner s grandfather is chopped down and fused together. The wood is chipped down and glued into three blocks and the metal legs are fused to form one plate.
17 Roberto, 2010, framed cotton fabric, 153 x 114 cm An individual shirt has been unstitched of its original threads and sewed back together so to form a simpler shape. The result is a portrait of the former shirt s owner.
18 Alessandro, 2010, framed linen fabric, 108 x 103 cm An individual shirt has been unstitched of its original threads and sewed back together so to form a simpler shape. The result is a portrait of the former shirt s owner.
19 A Similar Collection (Achille Castiglioni), 2011, 6 pouding moulds and table, 89 x 60 x 81 cm Italian designer Achille Castiglioni had a collection of 6 pudding moulds, today kept at the house museum dedicated to him. Inspired by these moulds, he designed a hat out of them. I put together a similar collection trying to guess each time I m getting one, which Castiglioni would have chosen.
20 The Doors (London, 17 March 2012), 2012, diptych, print and acrylic on glass, 100 x 80 cm In an ordinary day I recorded all the doors I passed through and then reproduced them on paper or glass. The result is a grid of doors that the viewer can read from left to right and from top to bottom, decoding my displacements of that day. The Doors (London, 27 November 2011), 2012, silkscreen on paper, 100 x 70 cm
21 Three Is A Magic Number, 2010, 10 mixed tapes A selection of collected personal home made mix tapes are broadcasted on the space. Each cassette tape has a colour which gives them a loose order to be played.
22 La tempesta, 1996, acrylic on linen paper, 36 x 25 cm Installation view at Casa museo Giorgio de Chirico with preparatory drawing for La tempesta, 1996, graphite on paper, 34 x 22 cm In La tempesta I reconsider as artwork two metaphysic resembling pictures that I made as a teenager under the influence of my then recent discovery of Magritte, de Chirico and Ernst. The works were presented at the house museum of Giorgio de Chirico, in Rome in 2012.
23 If there is a last summer morning, 2009, silver shells and chain, length 60 cm Every summer when I used to go at the seaside with my family, my mother would collect one or two shells and hang them around her neck. At the season s end, she would leave them somewhere before taking the way back home. She never kept them after the end of the holidays, she never wore them in the city, not even for one day.
24 Three Kites, 2011, platic kite, paper kite and cotton kite, dimensions variable When I was a child, I built a kite with my sister and father. I do not remember how it looked like except that it never flew. I have since asked them and my mother to describe this kite and I then rebuilt each different version.
25 Flavio and Renzo s Kite, 2011, paper kite, 65 x 65 cm During the days of producing Three kites, I had a vivid dream: two friends were worrying of a red circle that was falling off a paper kite. When I woke up I drew the kite just dreamt and later, I built it.
26 Self-Portrait With Long Hair, 2010, b&w framed print on baryta paper, 62 x 52 cm A black and white photographic self-portrait (holding a lock of long hair).
27 Self-portrait Without Glasses, 2007, c-print, 47 x 38 cm Portraits usually represent people s image, qualities and personality. The face is usually the focus point and is lit up. There is a peculiar early self-portrait of Rembrandt that doesn t respect this tacit convention. Light comes from the artist s back leaving his face in shadows, which makes this painting much more interesting and odd. In a similar way I did a photographic selfportrait working mainly on the strength of just one element, the title. As I don t wear glasses, I decided to title it Self-portrait Without Glasses.
28 Los Angeles, , 2007, video loop, 2 min 22 sec An American crime serial from the Seventies (Columbo), whose stories are constructed mainly by the characters, through their presence on stage. They are inside every frame, or almost. There are few little seconds of figure absence where the set becomes the protagonist. I kept such fragments and constructed something like a story without characters nor real actions. See:
29 Who killed Cock Robin?, 1935, 2008, video paused at 1 min 26 sec Who killed Cock Robin?, 1935 is an old Disney cartoon paused at a specific frame. There no longer is a story, but an image, the fragment of something wider that you no more see.
30 Rien que les heures, 2009, color photograph, 11,5 x 9 cm I found this photograph in an album. I wondered who shot it, whose house it was, and who was the diver into the swimming pool. But the memories of that day were by then lost. It s the image of a moment, the last and only fragment of that summer afternoon.
31 Javier With Guanaco, 2010, photograph Michael With Crocodile, 2010, photograph Two photographs of people portrayed with animals have been flipped, so that the image is hidden from the viewer. The title and the eventual original written on the back are the only indications of what the image is about.
32 Untitled, 2008, bricks and tiles, 165 x 225 x 15 cm A real wall, made of bricks and mortar and covered with bright white kitchen tiles, is set in a lonely place, the backyard of a camping in a peripheral area of Venice. The wall stands under a tree, on the bank of a watercourse. After the exhibition the wall stays as a permanent installation until somebody, or time, will destroy it. There are no references in the place indicating its origin: with time people will probably forget how and why this construction ended up in that corner, and (maybe) some day it will look like it has always been there.
33 Untitled, 2007, super 8 mm, 1 min 1 sec A quiet and deep lake surrounded by trees and nature. Its surface gets suddenly smashed by a bathtub. See:
34 Be Calm, 2007, engraved on wall, 20 x 150 cm An engraving on the wall of the galley with the imperative sentence Be Calm.
35 Untitled, 2007, photocopies, 300 x 500 cm In Untitled I imagined an empty space behind the wall of the gallery. Through photocopies part of the quality as color and details are lost. Contrarily to the trompe d oeil, where the image is quickly consumed, I strove for low-quality to grant seduction power to the image: you can see the space but not immediately, you must discover what you almost see.
36 Untitled, 2007, 80 slides loop (40 images) I created a circuit using the same serial as in Los Angeles, A car, from different episodes, runs around the city and the country side. The night follows the day and the day follows the night, endlessly.
37 So Long, April 16 th, 2007; installation view, Isola Art Center, Milan An abandoned carpenter workshop, within a former Siemens factory closed down in the Eighties and squatted, through the years, by artisans and artists as well as decay. A space shortly to be tore down to replace it with new buildings. The intervention involved piling the remaining materials (boards, timbers ) against the windows, so as to obscure them completely, leaving but a thin beam of light filtering in a few hours a day. On April 17th the Stecca degli Artigiani was shut down, on the 25th its demolition began.
38 SPECIAL PROJECTS SPECIAL PROJECTS
39 Matteo Rubbi, Untitled, 2007, performance, wooden wall, 400 x 260 x 10 cm A certain ratio Alek O., Matteo Rubbi, Santomatteo, Mauro Vignando October 24th - November 25 th, 2007 Room Galleria, Milan A Certain Ratio is a question of milligrams, minimal displacements, suppositions. Balance is a matter of oscillating relations, people, things. The artists have shared both places and times, so as to allow images and ideas to spontaneously blend and look for substantiation or disproves, engendering more than one hypothetical show. Four artists and five works: a bathtub, a flat plant, a person leaning on a wall, a watercolour and a déjà vu. Everything seems very familiar, almost cozy, without anything that could trouble one s imagination; a further examination, from an investigative rather than aesthetical perspective, reveals that the bathtub is connected to the calm surface of a lake, that the ficus benjamin struggles more than usually to find its normal condition, that the man leaning on the wall slowly turns into an unjustifiably suffering character, that the watercolour is a compilation of every liquid one might find at home; the déjà vu, although the street it is set in casts no suspicion, systematically reminds of somewhere else, somewhen else. Mauro Vignando, H3_DueCi - nutrimento gerani e piante fiorite - 5 flaconi da 32 ml, 2007, watercolor, xerox, 43 x 30,3 x 2,1 cm
40 As you enter the exhibition, you consider this a group show by an artist you don t know by the name of Mr. Rossi Produced and supported by Art At Work April 18th - 24 th, 2009 Ex-fabbrica Minerva, Milan As you enter the exhibition, you consider this a group show by an artist you don t know by the name of Mr. Rossi is an unusual exhibition project. It is the experience of over a year of research by artists and writers, translated into a show to be held at the ex-minerva factory. The imaginary starting point of the artists work are the writings of Edwin Abbott Abbott, nineteenth-century pedagogue and theologian whose present fame is owed to his novel Flatland A romance of many dimensions. Flatland narrates the discovery of depth in a world of twodimensional figures, suggesting viable methods to discover or imagine further dimensions. Each work in the exhibition is somehow the reminiscence of a dimensional voyage, guided by the instructions of those who already made or imagined the trip. Among them: Thomas Jefferson, Jules Verne, Raymond Queneau and Mr. Rossi. In Italy, Mr. Rossi bears everyman s family name, but he s also been the main character in a Sixties cartoon show. As a single artist, Mr. Rossi is the disguise of an artistic practice where ideas are collectively proposed and assessed. The elaboration process doesn t follow the logic of relevance to a theme, but considers the idea s development, its manifold deviations from a common track, as the work s object itself. For this show, over some time Mr. Rossi has invented surfaces, passages, panoramas and simple or complex permutations: rules holding in other dimensions, and paths to reach them. The core hypothesis of this unknown artist s work is that the mere idea that all this could exist is, after all, inconceivable. Maybe this is why as you enter the exhibition, you ll consider this a group show by an artist you don t know by the name of Mr. Rossi.
41 L INDIANO IN GIARDINO Project by Alek O. and Santo Tolone With Pedro Barateiro, Dafne Boggeri, Marco Colombaioni, Camilla Candida Donzella, Alessandro Di Giampietro, Lucie Fontaine, Francesco Fossati, Matteo Rubbi, Manuel Scano, Mauro Vignando and Zhou Tao October 29th November 1 st, 2009 Various seats, Isola, Milan A redskin indian is in a black-lined limousine. He s naked, and the touch of leather on his body makes him shiver; a cloud of breath rising from his mouth mists the car windows. The indian pops out of the sun-roof and escapes. He next appears in a small courtyard clogged with abandoned neon signs. The indian slowly turns around, looks up and a geometric patch of sky shines over his head. He climbs the narrow walls around him, clinging with his hands and pushing with his feet, and goes away. Idly descending the stairs of a mezzanine workshop the indian appears once again: he s blocking the entrance to the adjacent room. He smiles, his arms crossed: he s forcing bystanders to coexist in a very small space, a single flight of stairs. At the crack of dawn, in a square surrounded by silent buildings, a bar with a bunch of red tables scattered on the sidewalk becomes the playroom we fell short of not having. The indian awaits, sitting, skimming the game s wooden tokens. He leans on the wall his plume-clad nape and looks straight in the eyes of his playmate. Then, shaking his head, he rubs his legs to get rid of the cold. He gets up and runs away, stopping only in front of the window of a luxury car dealer, full of stretched-out silhouettes. Its gates are open, and reveal a whole carpet of cars, tightly cramped side by side. A redskin indian is in a black-lined limousine. The indian is the subject of an innocent yet reckless fantasy abruptly entering our everyday; the spaces he appears in are anything but random. The places disposition, however, appears unforeseeable: they could well be the displaced rooms of a blown-up museum. They concentrate around a bunch of streets, scattered in the Isola neighborhood, which the show s two promoters alongside other artists, some involved in this project have already worked with. The explosion of a hypothetical museum could also be the best metaphor to describe the new approach chosen for L indiano in giardino. After disposing of the curator s role, all that s left is the organizational strength and the works of the eleven artists involved, some of which have never before worked together.
42 TWO TIMES ONCE AN EXHIBITION BY Mr. Rossi Project by Ryan Gander, Vincenzo Latronico, Alek O., Matteo Rubbi, Santo Tolone and Mauro Vignando June 9th July 16 th, 2011 Limoncello, London No two things can be exactly identical, wrote German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, otherwise they would be, strictly speaking, only one thing. This was less than a century before the development of industrial production techniques, but Leibniz had a point: two given things can be similar, or identical, in some respects (colour, shape, weight, etc.) but clearly not in all of them: their position, for instance, will always be different. A curious consequence of this principle is that any two things can be considered identical provided one only selects some relevant respects under which such identity must be assessed. An apple and an orange are both fruits (hence are identical if we restrict our appreciation of their characteristics to is/is not a fruit ). An apple and a car are both physical objects larger than a walnut and smaller than a hot air balloon. An apple and Alexander the Great are both deceased carbon-based life forms whose names start with an A. A later philosopher, American metaphysicist David Kellogg Lewis, once told of an objection he had heard of against the theory that human language was born out of a convention. The objection is that, of course, you already need language to convene on anything. To this he had tentatively answered that perhaps a convention can emerge spontaneously. His advisor s reply was that two people spontaneously deciding to create the same representation for the same thing (which is basically what language is about) was as likely as throwing together an aircraft s components in the hope they d fall into place on their own. This, clearly, also applies to two artists creating the same work. Combining the positions of Leibniz and Lewis would lead us to admit the unlikeliness of two artists ever creating a single artwork (since two identical artworks would be but one, in the end). But identical under what respect? Even more: Leibniz s criteria of identity applies to people as well as artworks. In this case, we might reasonably consider that those two (or three, or five) artists who cannot logically create a single artwork could be considered but one, provided we select the right set of respects under which such identity holds. A possible name for this artist would be Mr. Rossi. * The only thing I cannot refute, David Lewis also wrote, is an incredulous stare. Mr. Rossi is a project that started in 2007 with Italian artists, Vincenzo Latronico (1984, Rome, Italy); Alek O.; (1981, Buenos Aires, Argentina); Matteo Rubbi, (1980, Bergamo, Italy); Santo Tolone (1979, Como, Italy); Mauro Vignando, (1969, Pordenone, Italy); and British artist Ryan Gander, (1976, Chester, UK).
43 forum degli artisti From February The Forum Degli Artisti is an Italian web forum founded in 2011 where artists and art workers can participate to receive and give information and reciprocal advice on the base of the personal and professional experience they maturate within the art world.
44 CURRICULUM CURRICULUM
45 ALEK O. BORN IN BUENOS AIRES (1981) LIVES AND WORKS BETWEEN COMO AND LONDON EDUCATION Degree in Industrial Design, Politecnico di Milano, Milan Baccalaureate in Sciences, Lycée Franco-Argentin Jean Mermoz, Buenos Aires SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2013 Uprisings: Alek O., Mostyn, Llandudno (UK) 2010 The Thing, Gallery Vela, London 2009 Rien que les heures, 317 association pour l art contemporain, Nice 2007 Be Calm, Galleria Federico Bianchi, Gorgonzola Je t aime, Moi non plus, Salzinsel, Luxembourg SPECIAL PROJECTS Forum degli Artisti, forum for the artists: Two Times Once - an exhibition by Mr. Rossi, Limoncello, London Night School, performance as Mr. Rossi, ICA, London Festivela, Gallery Vela, London Colazione con Mr. Rossi, performance as Mr. Rossi, Artissima Lido, Turin 2009 L indiano in giardino, various seats, Milan As you enter the exhibition, you consider this a group show by an artist you don t know by the name of Mr. Rossi, ex-fabbrica Minerva, Milan 2007 A Certain Ratio, Room arte contemporanea, Milan SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2013 Premio Moroso, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice 2012 Detective, Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna Without (Jonathan Monk), Meessen De Clercq, Brussels Everything old was once new, National Trust and Arts Council Collection, Worcester An Incomplete History of Incomplete Works of Art, Francesca Minini, Milan Als Morandi mit der Kinematographie liebäugelte, Supportico Lopez, Berlin D après Giorgio, Fondazione Casa Giorgio De Chirico, Rome Differenza e ripetizione, Galleria Lia Rumma, Naples 2011 Ariane De Rothschild Prize, Palazzo Reale, Milan Premio Illy Present Future, Artissima 18, Turin To see an object, to see the light, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, Guarene Domesticity, Prague Biennale 5, Prague Quiet Like a Lake, Unosunove, Rome Like rowing a boat; facing the way you came, Gallery Vela, London V Bienal de Jafre, various seats, Jafre (Spain) 2010 Exhibition, Exhibition, Castello di Rivoli, Turin Saturday, Sunday Fair, Berlin Certo sentimento, Cripta 747, Turin Olivia Flecha, Alek O., Helen Marten, Gallery Vela, London Gallery, Galerie, Galleria, Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin 2009 Lisson Presents 6, A Troubling Metamorphosis of Loose Ideas into Cast Forms, Lisson Gallery, London Italian Open, Annet Gelink, Amsterdam Territoria 4, The Great Leap, Centro per l arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato Playlist, Neon>campobase, Bologna 2008 Seek Refuge, Venezia Village, Venice Onufri Prize 2008, National Gallery, Tirana Don t disappear, Expotrastiendas, Buenos Aires 2007 La legge è relativa per tutti, Fondazione Re Rebaudengo, Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, Guarene th Shenzhen International Ink Painting Biennal, The Black Theater, E-6, Shen Zhen La necessità di un isola, Isola Art Center, Milan 2005 J en rêve, Fondation Cartier pour l art contemporain, Paris Isola in-video, Isola Art Center, Milan 2004 Mappae mundi, Viafarini, Milan RESIDENCIES and WORKSHOPS 2010 Flux Factory Inc., Long Island City, New York HIAP, Helsinki International Artist-in-residence Programme, Helsinki 2006 Wherever we go, with Adrian Paci, Viafarini, Milan Making Of, Casino Luxembourg, Forum d art contemporain, Luxembourg 2004 Real Presence 4, Museum 25th May, Belgrad 2003 Advanced Course in Visual Arts, visiting professor Richard Nonas, Fondazione A. Ratti, Como SELECTED REVIEWS and TEXTS Chris Fitzpatrick, «A Few Recombinant Layers», catalogue Artissima 18, 2011 Vincenzo Latronico, «Alek O., Questo ricordo di te», Flash Art n.293, May 2011, Milano Francesco Manacorda, «Alek O.», catalogue Ariane De Rothschild Prize, 2011 Adam Carr, «Lives and works - Alek O.», Spike Quarterly n.26, 2010, Wien Laura McLean-Ferris, «Alek O.: The Thing», Art Review on-line, November 2010 Marco Tagliafierro, «Esotico quotidiano, Fenomenologia dell alterità», Flash Art n.276, June - July 2009, Milano Roberta Tenconi, «Permission To Stay. Essere un artista straniero a Milano», Flash Art n.268, February - March 2008, Milano Roberta Tenconi, «A Certain Ratio, spostamenti minimi», Flash Art n.267, December - January 2008, Milano Claire Barthelemy, «Jenseits der Blumenwiese», Woxx magazine n.9, February 2007, Luxembourg «Mi Gre», La lettre du défi fantastique, Le Centre Culturel Français de Milan, September July 2006, Milano SELECTED PUBLICATIONS To see an object, to see the light, Mousse Publishing, Milano 2011 Artissima Lido, catalogue of the project, 2011 Ariane De Rothschild Prize 2011, catalogue of the exhibition, 2011 Exhibition, Exhibition, Skira, Milano 2010 Ange Leccia et le Pavillion, Musée Bourdelle, Paris e Ceramiche per il Paradiso, Mariogros edizioni, Torino 2008 Oh, Charlotte, artist book, Salzinsel, Luxembourg 2007 J en rêve, catalogue of the exhibition, Actes Sud, Arles 2005 Design at Work, Stefania Palmieri, Edizioni Polidesign, Milano 2004 Richard Nonas, Quaderni del Corso Superiore di Arte Visiva, Charta, Milano 2004 CONTACT web: