Filippo Minelli (Italy, 1983) is a contemporary artist working internationally, analysing and researching landscape, politics and communication to create installations and performances documented through photography and video. His work is based on a nomadic practice mainly focused on peripheral geographic areas.
Landscape, identity, politics
Minelli graduated with honors from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, BFA New Media (2006), where his academic education went alongside unauthorized interventions in public space, characterizing his early artistic practice. Interested in landscape and the public sphere, his work is mostly addressed at challenging the role of identity and its narratives, both in the physical and digital environments.
Drawn towards border zones rather than Countries he evolved his practice working with the aesthetics of protests, bringing politics to an anthropological and introspective level by decontextualizing the use of tear gas, reversing the function of flags, and borrowing from the aesthetics of protest slogans. Being born and raised in Europe his main interests are contradictions, as the grey area between historical heritage and urban sprawl, reality and the representation of it, politics and its rhetoric, emergencies and the enforcement of power.
Images always played a key role in Minelli’s work, initially in the form of photography as a way to document the interventions made during frequent trips between the Middle East and South America, from West Africa to the former Soviet Republics and South-East Asia, and then becoming an integral part of an ironic poetics, collecting and organizing images, downloading stock-photos from the internet and re-positioning them within physical spaces, 3D scanning city details to create sculptures and using the landscape to challenge the story of the people populating it.
In 2011, Minelli started to focus methodically on his native land, documenting and conceptualizing the landscape of separatist northern Italy to interfere with the narration of identity created by political rhetorics, starting a participative performative process called ‘Padania Classics’ and then publishing the book ‘Atlante dei Classici Padani’.
What is reality?
In the last few years Minelli started an investigation on the brinks of perception titled ‘What things are not’ where he questions the intrinsic political nature of public space, how politics exploits it and the information landscape, colonizing the imaginary to manipulate perception, in a complex scheme of identity-building.
Inspired by political demonstrations in 2009 Minelli started to develop the series Silence/Shapes, with the aim of giving silence a physical shape. In 2013, Elephant Magazine (UK) dedicated the cover of its 13th issue to his series ‘Silence/Shapes’, and in 2014, Onomatopee (NL) published a monograph about this production. During the same year, Fundación Loewe (ES) organized two exhibitions on the series in Madrid and Barcelona, while in 2015/2016 Opéra National de Paris chose the series for the image of its yearly programming. In 2016, Minelli exhibited and performed the series for Somerset House (UK) and Maneж (RU), during the same year ’Silence/Shapes’ was on the cover of Monthly Photography Korea and entered the permanent collection of Galleria Civica di Modena (IT).
His work was exhibited by Somerset House (London, UK), Manifesta12, Münchner Stadt Museum (Münich, Germany), Total Museum (Seoul, South Korea), La Triennale di Milano (Italy), East Wing Biennial (London, UK), ArtScience Museum (Singapore), Fundaciòn Loewe (Madrid, Spain), Museu do Som e Imagem (São Paulo, Brazil), Biennale di Venezia 2011, Centro Cultural Recoleta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), MACRO (Rome, Italy), and was reviewed over the years by some of the major international media outlets such as Le Monde, The New York Times, Harpers, Huffington Post, The Guardian, CNN, ARTE and Al Jazeera.
Since 2007, Minelli has been invited by several international institutions for research-projects, residencies and lectures: Aarhus University (DK), National Centre for Contemporary Arts (RU), Gyeonggi Creation Center (KR), Politecnico di Milano (IT), Epicenter Projects (USA), Fotografia Europea (IT), Centro Cultural de Belém (PT), Total Museum of Contemporary Arts (KR), IULM University (IT), Italian Embassy in Bogotá (CO), UCL (UK) and Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE) among others.