Commencing this week, thanks to the National Park Service, two environmental installations by Gian Maria Tosatti will become permanent on Governors Island. Developed in 2011, during a residency program at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, these works, as part of a larger project called “I’ve already been here”, give a possible lecture of the contemporary identity of New York City and its complex community. “Apt #102” and “Headache”, which occupy two buildings on the island, are focused on the theme of loneliness inside a metropolis in which the majority of people are foreign and on the contradictions of the American Dream. These two works have been made in a deep relationship with the city and their permanent presence in the body of New York, make them two monuments of the current identity of the city.
Monumentalizing the identity of a city and of a community, making a work which, as a mirror, reflects what takes shape and exists in a precise space-time, is the practice on which Tosatti’s work is based. The body of his work has passed through many different cities and circumstances, making environmental installations as synthetic spaces which allow viewers to perceive the precise the essence of the present.
The re-opening of the two environmental installations is marked by the occasion to arrange a panel discussion with curators and artists who are familiar with Tosatti’s work and whose own achievements over the last few years attempt to deepen the relation between city and monument, community and place. The discussion will open with Alessandro Facente, independent curator, which has collaborated with Tosatti in some of his most complex and large scale works, from “Devozioni” (2005-2011) a cycle of installations based on the city of Rome, to “Tetralogia della polvere” (2012), which has rendered to the city of Novara (Italy) one of its architectural and historical symbols which was forgotten since decades.
Also participating is No Longer Empty President Manon Slome. No Longer Empty, has since 2008, focused its projects on the many different territorial identities in the city of New York and in 2011 proposed an open conversation on the web about the topic of what is public art now. City and identity are also two of the main guidelines of the activity of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, which, under the direction of Eva Franch i Gilabert, has hosted a large amount of discussions which could be seen as a permanent observatory on the present. Andrea Galvani, a New York based Italian artist, has developed over the last several years, research based visual documentation on the monumentality of gestures and elementary forms in nature.
The above mentioned are all part of the panel for the discussion about “Monumentalizing the identity of a city”, which will commence upon the topic of discussion via the installation work made by Tosatti, in and about New York City, introduced and moderated by the critic and art writer Katy Diamond Hamer. The discussion is hosted by No Longer Empty and will be held on the grounds of the current exhibition “This Side of Paradise”.