The Sudden Outpost - Galleria Cesare Manzo Roma - 2009

Reflections on cinema can be traced throughout Carola Spadoni’s work.  First as a filmmaker directs videos and films including Al confine tra il Missouri e la Garbatella/Freddy and Victor blind date (1997) and Giravolte/Freewheeling in Roma (2001); later with the installation works Dio è Morto/God is Dead (2003), Live Through This (2006) and echo’s bones/ossi d’eco (2007)  she focuses on the idea of a mise en espace of cinema. The Sudden Outpost, the exhibition at the Cesare Manzo Gallery in Rome, marks a new phase in the artistic career of Carola Spadoni.
Through banners, embroidered  fabrics and blankets, assemblages, photographs, light box, super 8 and videos the artist takes us on a journey through the popular cultures of Italy, America and India. It is one great narrative assemblage, a work inspired by the idea (typically American) of patchwork. The background is her Roman upbringing and the New York years, the traveling, the cultural passions and life experiences. The similitudes and contradictions that this path opens.
Raw packaging paper is the backdrop to this sudden outpost where the banners host recent and current slogans, symbolic and trivial phrases, always debuking and pungent.
The fast American landscapes of the lightboxes are prints from the Super 8 Kodakrome frames, a type of film discontinued by Kodak: like many artists today, Spadoni is fascinated by obsolete technology of the past.  A Mandala made of fabrics (silk, shantung, cotton, tulle) and inkjet prints from photos is mounted on the wall (on the occasion of the Eurasia exhibition at the Museo Mart of Rovereto  the same concentric form, larger and multicoloured was laid on the floor): some of the photos shot in Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan, depict images of instruments used to measure time, others show us images from the Thar desert.  One of Carola Spadoni’s work strategies is to bring into new context parts of the work that has already been done, an example are the photos taken from Dio è Morto (God is Dead), an anti-western featuring a quiet and unceasing female protagonist.  Likewise for the maze of ordinary, found, or preserved materials.
A key to this rich and complex multimedia installation is in Stay gold, a photo shot in Arizona which the artist has preserved for the last fifteen years.  This photo looks at a sort of backstage, the back of a billboard in an backstreet somewhere, a squalid and charming corner.  This is one of the typical borderline milieu chosen by the artist, at the same time real and imaginary places.  Stay gold is an American idiom, a warning not to become soured and to keep an integrity, which is extended from singular to plural, individual to group: “Stay as you are”.

Laura Cherubini