Opening of the Changjiang Biennale in Chongqing: interview with the only female Italian artist

On April 26 the first edition of the Changjiang International Photography & Video Biennale opened its doors to the public within the superb setting of the Chongqing Changjiang Contemporary Art Museum (CMCA). The Museum is a recent acquisition of the Municipality, as it just made its debut to the world with this exhibition, which will be displayed till July 26.

The Galilei Institute was present to the inaugural ceremony of the Biennale, where a jury composed by 30 critics awarded the artists who most originally represented the theme of the exhibition, titled Real Unreal 是非. The Biennale aims at exploring the future of photography and video and brings into question if the two are effectively able to document the past and interpret our fast-paced transforming age.

Wang Qinsong, well-known photographer and Biennale’s chief curator, together with the Spanish Alejandro Castellote and the French Francois Hebel, showed us through the four floors of the CMCA where works by more than 200 artists from 30 countries have been wisely exhibited. The works take extremely different approaches to the topic, reflecting artists’ imagination and including photography, video, painting and public interactive pieces. One which especially focused our interest represents a female body hanging upside-down from a rope, which is illuminated in a red light and reacts when touched. As Wang noted, the modernity of the exhibition is also underlined by the presence of a number of highly provocative pieces, as not often happens in the Chinese artistic scene.

Entering the third floor of these wide exhibition, the attention is immediately captured by four photographs positioned on the white walls of hall. The author is Alice Cazzaniga, the only female Italian participant artist. Alice is a young woman with a background in foreign affairs and China studies, specialized in contemporary art curatorial projects and recently developing her own artistic language. Alice explained us her artistic project, four pictures of which have been selected for the exhibition. The photographs are disposed to drive the spectator into a step-by-step comprehension of the artist’s interpretation of life in today’s world, comparing society’s constraints and efforts to rebalance with mankind’s nature.

The first picture places men and trees side by side, the subjects having the lowest part of their body painted in white, as if they were trying to protect themselves, just as we do with tree trunks. In the artist’s mind, the white paint is the symbol of the harmful protection characterizing our modern human condition, a protection which encloses a deep contradiction: living for damaging and damaging for living. It is from this personal consideration that the artist derives the name of this series: Living Illusion生活错觉.


The second, and most appreciated, photo of this series portrays a woman watching the beauty of the sunset from a world made of slag heaps, on top of which she stands on, as if in the attempt of not sinking into it. Through this photo the artist wants to portray and alert us about the symbolic sunset of our modern lifestyle.


In the third one, the protagonist, feeling ashamed of his white-painted legs, hides himself behind the rails of a construction site.


Finally, in the last frame, he stands proud in a field where the fake grass is in reality a plastic net from which he is emerging. Alice tries to communicate the importance of finding in ourselves the strength to face reality in a romantic vision of reconnection with nature.


As declared during the opening press conference, the museum will put efforts in enhancing the interaction between domestic and foreign artists, art institutions and art activities. Therefore we expect to see numerous Italian artists to enter the Chonqginq promising contemporary art scene.

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