Ottonella Mocellin e Nicola Pellegrini

“Rather than traumatic stories, we are interested in narrating the minor daily violence that occurs inside most homes.”

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Ecco il guaio delle famiglie. Come odiosi dottori sapevano esattamente dove faceva male, 2014
Site-specific installation: furniture, sound tracks, wallpaper
Produced by CCC Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze
Courtesy the artists and Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano-Napoli
photo: Martino Margheri

Conflicts, emotionality, dialogue, and communication within the context of human relationships are all dominant themes in the artistic work of the Italian artist duo. In the exhibition spaces of the CCC Strozzina, Mocellin and Pellegrini create an installation comprising furniture and objects, either real, modified or only drawn, alluding to the interiors of a house. This spatial dimension is coupled with an acoustic one. Three speakers broadcast fragments of thoughts and personal stories on the subject of family read by the two artists, drawn from their interviews of the personnel working within the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. During the course of the exhibition, occasionally a telephone in the room will ring and the public will be able to answer it and listen to the voices of the artists who read these texts.
The artists explore the theme of communication in the family context, the place in which we learn to relate with others, but also the place in which, due the complexity of the relationships, it often becomes difficult to speak in a direct manner. In addition to quoting the novel, The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, the title of the installation becomes an interpretative key to the work. “They knew just where it hurt:” the subtle sadism brings to mind the awareness that each individual has some unspoken issues and resentments in the relationships with his or her own family, but also the awareness of knowing the weak points, the raw nerves, and the ways to hurt when communicating with others.
The installation develops a complex web of narratives, made up of autobiographical episodes, reflections and moments. The objects and furniture utilized carry traces of experiences and personal histories, like the designs used as wallpaper which are references to fragments of the past of the two artists, like a drawing of Ottonella Mocellin’s mother. All of these elements are no longer traceable to a particular story, instead creating a space with dense layers of meaning that are not unequivocally decipherable. Mocellin and Pellegrini create an environment in which the visitor experiences a sensation of both intimacy and estrangement, a space that offers the possibility of a moment of introspective isolation within a public and shared experience.

Ottonella Mocellin and Nicola Pellegrini (born 1966, Italy; and 1962, Italy, respectively; both live and work in Berlin) studied in London between 1984 and 1993, and specialised in public art and architecture at the Chelsea College of Art, and at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. During this period, they were active in the ARC Group and focused their interests on creating site-specifi c installations. Back in Italy, they widen their artistic horizon by experimenting, both together and individually, with other visual mediums such as photography, video, and performance, where also the written and oral word acquired significant importance. Between 2001 and 2002, they represented Italy in the PS1 International Studio Program in New York. Under the auspices of the Galleria Lia Rumma in Milan and Naples, they exhibited in many other art galleries and museums in Italy and abroad. From 2009 they teach performative arts at the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo. Among their solo exhibitions are: in 2001 Il Gioco della verità, Fondazione Adriano Olivetti, Rome; nel 2002 Happy together, Galleria Lia Rumma, Naples; nel 2003, In the mood for love, MUAR, Moscow; in 2004 Così lontano così vicino, Museo Nazionale dei Trasporti, La Spezia; in 2005 togetherforever, Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan; Le cose non sono quelle che sembrano, La Marrana Arteambientale, Monte Marcello (SP); Aspettando che l’eco della voce svanisse, Scuderie di Palazzo Moroni, Padua; in 2006 Together forever, Galerie du Tableau, Marseille; in 2007 Up to date, special project for Teatro Out Off, Milan; We sit and Watch the sunset. What does it know of waiting, anticipation and disappointment – a million times in one day?, Exodus Festival, CAMeC, La Spezia; in 2008 With the occasoional rainbow visiting Galleria Lia Rumma, Naples; La città negata, La Marrana arteambientale, Monte Marcello (SP); in 2009 An incongruous beam of beauty over the gaza strip, Participant Ink, New York; forse potremmo anche fare una mappa per perdersi, public installation, “Twister”, Lissone (MB); in 2010 Messico famigliare, Fondazione Merz, Turin; in 2011 Gita al faro, CAMeC, La Spezia; in 2013 CRASH, Hotel Locarno, Rome. Among their most recent collective exhibitions are: in 2009 A Personal Shout, White Columns, New York; Love Letters: ampliamento e allestimento della nuova collezione del MACRO, MACRO, Rome; (Dopo la Sicilia) A Milano, Credito Valtellinese, Palazzo delle Stelline, Milan; The Group Show, Galleria Civica D’arte Moderna, Gallarate (VA); Mini art textil 2009, Chiesa di San Francesco, Como; Acqua, Rifl essi, Memorie, Spazio Acqua, Milan; Playlist-I am he as you are he asyou are me and we are all together. neon>campobase, Bologna; FestaGrande! Naba, Milano; in 2010 Au Pair, Fondazione Malvina Menegaz, Castelbasso (TE); Nove artisti Per Napoli Milionaria, Palazzo Ducale, Martina Franca (TA); Amore A-Meno, Museo Torinelli, Ameno (NO); Verrà la primavera?, Galleria Milano, Milan; in 2012 Natività e nascite laiche. Appunti di dialogo tra iconografi a laica e visioni contemporanee, Museo Torinelli, Ameno (NO); Da zero a cento, le nuove età della vita. Palazzo Re Enzo, Bologna; Triennale, Milan, project by Fondazione Golinelli; Clin d’Oeil. Sperimentazioni fotografi che e fotografi a concettuale da Man Ray al contemporaneo, Galleria Martano, Turin; in 2013 Relazioni Reciproche, Porta Sant’Agostino, Bergamo; Autoritratti, MAMbo, Bologna; Off-site/not in Place #2, MAC Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Lissone (MB).

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