New York based artist Melissa McGill will launch her new Sculptural Sound Project THE CAMPI in Venice May 8 – May 14, coinciding with the opening week of La Biennale di Venezia – 57th International Art Exhibition. We met Melissa in Chelsea, New York last week and we ask her few questions about her new work.
Diego Paccagnella: we met in New York because of our relation with Venice and a special friend we have in common: Jonsara Ruth, Design Director at Parsons School who took part with some students in the workshop we organized for redesigning Casa Flora in Venice. What’s your relation with Jonsara and did you know about Casa Flora?
Melissa McGill: Jonsara is one of my dearest friends—we were at Rhode Island School of Design together for undergraduate school. She mentioned Casa Flora and the project with the students to me and when she found out that I was bringing my project, titled The Campi, to Venice, she immediately connected us.
DP: One of the things you told me on our first coffee is that you’re probably the only american who have married in Malamocco (a little village along the Lido Island in Venice). What’s your relation with Venice and why did you begin with this project (The Campi)?
MMG: I first arrived in Venice in 1991, a week or so after graduating from art school. I wanted to see the art that I had only experienced through art history lectures and books, so I just got on the plane. This was my first time in Europe and I was by myself. I took it all in- the sounds, the light, the smells, the colors, the reflections…I lived in Venice for almost 2 years and made a bunch of Venetian friends, learned to speak Italian. Even after I returned to NY, I returned frequently. Yes, I got married in Malamocco, and we had our reception at Le Garzette!
Over the years, I have witnessed the city’s rapid transformation due to mass tourism. Unesco recently expressed “extreme concern” about Venice’s current conditions, which threaten its authenticity and integrity. The Campi experience is especially poignant, considering these rare and extraordinary public spaces are in real danger of disappearing.
DP: After our coffee in NY it came natural to organize a preview presentation at Casa Flora (in the garden of the Hotel Flora considering the good season..) on May 9th. With Casa Flora we aim to show contemporary Venice in different forms. Can you tell us what you will do in Venice and where people can see your project?
MMG: I am so happy to be presenting a preview of The Campi in the beautiful secluded garden at Hotel Flora on May 9, during the opening week of La Biennale di Venezia.
On view in Venice, May 8 – May 14, The Campi is a sculptural sound project that invokes Venetian squares (called fields/campi in italian), the historic hearts of Venetian neighborhoods, capturing the architectural footprints and the subtle nuances of daily life. Translating the experience into three dimensions, The Campi is made up of five unique sculptural sound works (based on recorded ambient sounds in Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Campo Santa Maria Nova, Campo San Polo, Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio and Campo del Ghetto Nuovo).
The works will be on view at three locations throughout Venice, including Casa/Studio Scatturin, the privately owned masterpiece by the great Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, being opened to the public exclusively to exhibit The Campi, as Carlo Scarpa’s work has influenced me deeply. He was a master of creating a modern thoughtful conversation with history, sense of place and the guiding our experience his spaces.
Casa/Studio Scatturin, Calle degli Avvocati 3907
Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art, San Marco 3126
10am-1pm and 3pm-7pm daily
Ca’ Tron – IUAV, University of Venice, Santa Croce 1957
For more information about The Campi Project, Exhibition Details and Map, visit thecampi.eu