The artist, a land surveyor

The artist, a land surveyor

Life develops from the interaction with an environment (J.Dewey); believing in this assumption, we decided to shape our intervention for the Alternative Art Guide on this reciprocity (man/environment) that generates diversity and strenght.

Lately, in art we see a renewed interest in nature and environmental issues. The gap between human and Nature has started with the Industrial Revolution and since then has never stopped. Many artists in the last years focused on themes like nature and the relationship with place. For most of them the relation with the surrounding environment becomes crucial to the rediscovery or the definition of the self.

Someone said that ecological art attempts to ameliorate one of the critical problems facing the planet: the widening gulf between natural and urban ecosystems. The experience in and of  nature can be seen as an alternative to the capitalist socio-economic system.

On the one hand such an attitude can be attributed to the need (ever more pressing in times of economic crisis) to draw new strength from renewing ties with the space that surrounds us. On the other hand a historical phase in which we are witnessing a gradual depletion of natural resources,  justifies the return to the land that can also be found in many different fields, including production industry. In fact, according to Thoreau, “All good things are wild and free”!

In an increasingly suffering environment, we are visually less sensitive to the devastation of man over Nature. The artistic research we are talking about, originates from attention and “tuning” to nature; that means being reactive to the alienating forms of contemporary society. A reaction which is often cathartic and therapeutic. Both City and Nature are feminine words in Italian and this has been crucial for us in the choice of three female artists: their approach to these issues is feminine in the sense of a particular attention to the body (in relation to space), as the unit of measurement in their work. It is a “panic” and strongly sensorial approach. Anna Positano photographical survey is a narrative of suburban landscape in its interaction with new ecosystems.

The environment that surrounds us, the natural one in particular, is being rediscovered, reinterpreted by Serena Porrati through thin scraps in seeing which invite us to discover a new sense or rather a new meaning in things and in the landscape. Simona Barbera finds her ideal place in the wild and unspoiled nature, as magical and powerful location from a sensory point of view.  She seeks in there for instability and transformation, but also  opposition to western society and bad consequences of politic and economic globalisation of the world. All the three of them have in common a focus characterized by ’empathy’ to the surrounding environment, while declining their projects according to strongly individual path.

Anna PositanoGrowth

Growth is a research project developed both in the form of the essay and in the form of a photographic series. This work concerns the relationship between Nature and abandoned industrial areas. There, the border which separates the natural and the artificial becomes permeable and undecided.

Anna Positano captures in the pictures of spontaneous growths an almost political dimension: It is Nature (Mother Nature) that slowly regains ground against city, concrete and perhaps even humans. Her pictures focus on the details of these empty spaces, which have turned into abandoned areas, true gaps in the urban fabric – “terrains vagues” making up what Gilles Clément calls “Third Landscape”.

Anna Positano, Untitled From the series Growth, 2009, Cprint.

Anna Positano, Untitled From the series Growth, 2009, Cprint.

Anna Positano, overview exhibition at CHAN.

Serena Porrati – Support

The perception of the natural environment is lead by cultural, economical and symbolic ideas. She is interested in all the forms of non-human life and wild forms that coexist, interact or interfere with this mechanism.

At CHAN, from a performative public action consisting in graphite-rubbing on both the horizontal and vertical joints between each block of “bugnato” of the Bank of Italy, Serena Porrati obtained a series of frottages. The resulting footprints betray the silent and inscrutable surface of the stone that adorns the building. This “support” covers the walls of the exhibition space. The structure created in the space of CHAN is a projection of the material that surrounds the bank, and alters its message. Not strength, but inconsistency and fragility. Security turns into uncertainty, threatens the value of money and gives way to a reflection about the role that banks play in today’s society as well as about the problematical relation between Mankind and money itself.

Serena Porrati, Untitled from the series Support, 2012, frottage.

Serena Porrati, Untitled from the series Support, 2012, frottage.

Serena Porrati, Untitled from the series Support, 2012, frottage.

Simona Barbera – Daphne Cneorum, something there needs to thrive

Interested on the idea of vulnerability, of the body and land, in her projects she often mentions environmental topics relative to the practice of soundscapes, field recordings and photography, where the idea of environmental instability questions issues connected with landscape transformation, loss, power and control, shadow and void. The central point of her research is the idea of subverting the relation body-territory as a nostalgic, integral and closed system: national borders, security, selfdefense, established order, construction and displacement, power over life and death – in short, the sovereign power.

The project Daphne Cneorum will be realized at CHAN in march 2014.

Simona Barbera, Entering land, 2013, analog photography printed on rag paper, mounted on aluminum.

Simona Barbera, Entering land, 2013, analog photography printed on rag paper, mounted on aluminum.


CHAN is a non-for-profit association active in Genova since 2009. It is also a collaborative platform for national and international young artists and curators. CHAN focuses on the newest trends in art and culture. As a collective curatorial space, CHAN represents different forms of expression in its gallery.
The association is aiming to promote the production and realisation of site-specific works devised for the city of Genova (Italy). CHAN makes the latest artistic research easily understood using a simple language. CHAN promotes the circulation of artistic production and ideas by its publishing activity.

In its five years activity CHAN has collaborated with curators, independent or artist run spaces, institutions, both in Genova and abroad. Among them, motel b (Brescia), Sottobosco (Venezia), DisorderDrama (Genova), Nopsswrd (Genova), Care/of (Milano).

30 June 2017 / by / in

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