Marco Nereo Rotelli

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  • Kaplan Institute for the HumanitiesNorthwestern University

    S. Hollis Clayson Director, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Professor of Art History and History; Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities

    Tom BurkeProgram Manager

    Megan Skord CampbellProgram Assistant

    Beverly Zeldin-PalmerDepartment Assistant

    LANGUAGES OF THE WORLDExhibit curated by S. Hollis Clayson

    WORDSInstallation curated by Thomas Haskell SimpsonPoetry curated by Arica HiltonMusical performances curated by Alessandra Visconti

    General CoordinatorsThomas Haskell SimpsonElena Lombardi Art Project

    Catalogue Curated by Claire DillonDesigned by Stephanie ZuckerTranslated by Thomas Haskell SimpsonPhotography by Sunny Kang

    ServiceAV Chicago

    Thank You Massimo Fusillo Licheng Richard Gu Phyllis Horn Liparini Michael K. Meyers Patricia Ellen Nichols Marie-Therese Pent Daniela Pozzi Pavan Francesca Tataranni Judith Wilks Noriko Taira Yasohama

    Italian Cultural Institute The poets The students The musicians

    Marco Nereo Rotellis residence is co-sponsored by the Global Languages Initiative, Residential Colleges, and the Northwestern Library.

    This event is sponsored by

  • Just as the palette of the winter itself in the Great Lakes UHJLRQLVRIWHQUHVWULFWHGWRWKHEOXHJUD\VRIWKHVN\LQHFWHGby Lake Michigans hues and tones, set off against the whites of an often snow-covered world, Marco has worked during his residency on a suite of 30 canvases that respond to the VSHFLFLW\RIWKHVN\RYHU(YDQVWRQLWV8QLYHUVLW\FDPSXVDQGits Lake Michigan. But, as with all of his work, there is a good deal more than straightforward depiction going on both in his artwork and in his thinking. He is always also interested in the archaic (diverse cultures and their linguistic/pictographic systems and scripts), the multi-media (from paint to light and beyond), the intermedial (the performative blended with the pictorial, for example), the still as well as the moving, and the poetic (especially the poetic) at the same time. For Rotelli, poetry is the language, in his words, of the innermost depths RIWKHKXPDQKHDUW8QVXUSULVLQJO\PDQ\RIKLVZRUNVaround the globe in recent years have engaged the words of poetry both as literary expressions and as signs and visual forms. He is also interested in the speaking of poets as well as WKHYLVXDODSSHDUDQFHRIWKHLUZRUGV$QGKHLVSHUKDSVUVWand foremost an artist of light.

    Hollis Clayson, Director, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Art History, March 5, 2013


  • LANGUAGES OF THE WORLDCurated by Hollis Clayson

    Alice Kaplan Institute for the HumanitiesWinter 2013 Artist in Residence Marco Rotelli

    Marco Nereo Rotelli will present the artwork he has completed during his term as Artist-in-Residence at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Northwestern 8QLYHUVLW\:RUNVZLOOLQFOXGHWKH9LGHRODQJXDJHVHULHVin which the chromatic-spatial dimension interacts with the poetic word in compositions that recall videogame screens, and Diary, a pictorial diary dedicated to the light off Lake Michigan, which the artist photographed daily and transferred to small, 20 x 20 cm canvases that appear to be windows RSHQLQJRQWRLQQLW\$WODVWWKHDUWZRUNV(QLJPDZLOObe exhibited: a series of papers drawn to design the light installation planned at the Field Museum in Chicago. During the opening there will be a performance by Michael K. Meyers and Marco Nereo Rotelli.


    Art, Music, Poetry

    Light installation by Marco Nereo RotelliCurated by Thomas Haskell Simpson

    Poetic readings byAna Castillo, Reginald Gibbons, Arica Hilton, Parneshia Jones, Elise Paschen, Ed Roberson, Jennifer Scapettone, Rachel WebsterCurated by Arica Hilton

    Musical and vocal performances byAnthony Bellino trumpet, Sheridan Brown oboe, Veronique Filloux soprano, Michael Milazzo trombone, -DPHV7KRPDV5HHVHWHQRUDQGFRQGXFWRU6RDTroncoso sopranoCurated by Alessandra Visconti

    Latin ChorusFrancesca Tataranni, Pam Kathleen Keller, Blake Alexander Mandell, Linda Pei, Joshua Harry Perry, Holliday Langford Shuler, Brian James Earl, Maria V Kovalchuk, Michael Lowry Lamble, Arpan Patel, Emily Pauline Davidson, Sarah Rebecca Robinson, Katie Elizabeth Hartsock


  • Tom Simpson: What is your medium?Marco Nereo Rotelli: The question makes me think of something the poet Edoardo Sanguineti said about himself: My style is to have no style. I use whichever medium will serve the project I am working on, ranging from new technologies - as in my laser works - to ancient ones, such as sculpture, painting, watercolor, but also installations and even happenings. Everything to its proper use, and no given place for anything.TS::LWKWKLVNLQGRIXLGLW\DQGZLWKRXWD[HGPHGLXPZKHUHZRXOGyou say the artwork takes place?MNR: Probably in my head. I know of course that McLuhan said the medium is the message, but I dont think in terms of media: I try to make the medium a vehicle of the meanings that interest me. But there is a common denominator to my work: that poetry is the language of the intimo umano - that is, of the innermost depths of the human heart.TS: Is this intimo umano a shared or a private space?MNR: It is always intimate and individual, but the hearts depths can be a shared space, because poetry is composed of human breath. The intimo umano can include an entire people. Poetry is breath that becomes Word. What distinguishes humans as humans is the capacity for language. In fact, the use of words can itself be a work of art. For WKH)HVWLYDORI7ZR:RUOGVLQ6SROHWRWHQRUIWHHQ\HDUVDJR,VLPSO\laid down a white carpet and invited poets to stand on the carpet and speak poetry. The medium in this case was breath even more than it was the body. As an artist, its true that I do need material, whether that material be written, sculpted, inscribed by laser, or painted. It is always a question of rendering the word material. Alchemically, the raw PDWHULDORIWKHZRUGLVUHVSLUDWLRQWKHEUHDWK7KHUVWSRHWU\ZDVRUDOas in the Homeric tradition, the ancient Greeks who recited their epic

    by Tom SimpsonFebruary 27, 2013 | Kaplan Artist-in-Residence Studio



  • tales aloud. Speaking takes what may have originated in the mind or hand of the poet and extends it into a new dimension; it brings it into the world and makes something new of it. Once spoken, the word occupies a temporal space. I do not wish to create art as a provocation, as some do, but as an evocation of the human. I want to VXPPRQSHRSOHWRUHHFWLRQ,ZDQWWRsummon a particular kind of attitude toward life.TS: We traditionally tend to think of DUWDV[LQJVRPHWKLQJLQDSHUPDQHQWform, but it sounds as though you are trying to evoke something that is always evanescent.MNR: I cannot be anything but myself. These small canvases here in the studio: thirty works in thirty days. Each day Elena takes a photo of the color of the sky over the lake at a precise time of day. I transfer those colors to these canvases, and construct on them symbologies built of scripts of different languages. Its not visual poetry: the word reaches me from somewhere else. My works on paper here that use numbers they represent an endless journey of the mind traveling within itself. You might say my medium is leggerezza lightness. I think of words as wings. Light is the same; it is weightlessness itself. In my laser installations, light settles onto buildings, bodies, trees: everything shifts toward lightness.TS: You incarnate evanescence.MNR: Im aware of the total transience (caducit) of appearances. I have worked on catastrophes, on moments of sudden immense change. I did a work on the destruction of the )HQLFH7KHDWUHLQ9HQLFHE\UHDZRUNRQWKHHDUWKTXDNHLQ&KLQD,QGthat speaking about catastrophe leads to epiphany, and epiphanies contain hope.

    TS: What would you like people to take from your work at Deering Library?MNR: What lasts is memory, memory working in the minds of many people. Anyone who participates in this event in any way will not forget it. An acceptable metaphor might be a NLVV\RXUHPHPEHU\RXUUVWNLVVRUcertain kisses, because theres nothing else like it. These memories remain in you and become you. The event should be like that, including the work of everyone who contributes to GHYHORSLQJWKHSURMHFW,QWKLVRDWLQJera, the material results of the work can be made more or less permanent, in the form, for example, of sketches and YouTube clips, but that remains almost against my own will.TS: What would you like to remember of this work, and what would you like others to remember?MNR: For me, it is wonderful to see the students who come to meet me and talk to me. Id like to remember the students and teachers Ive met. For the piece itself, where I have asked poets to write about trees, Id like to summon people to think of trees as spiritual elements. The poet Mario Luzi said that trees are bridges between the sky heaven and earth, and that they are equinoctial - a center of gravity, a balance point. The work VKRXOGRSHQDGLPHQVLRQIRUUHHFWLRQintroduce conditions that allow for self-interrogation. The fruit of poetry is a luminous question. I would like WKLVHYHQWPDNHXVUHHFWRQWKHnature of nature. As a bridge between earth and sky, trees evoke vertical possibility, which is what I hope words can become. Today words mostly crash around horizontally, scream-by-scream, and lose meaning. Words inste