Daniele Puppi: Minimal Devices of Multisensory Reanimation

Roberta Cutillo (July 02, 2015)
The Italian Cultural Institute in New York recently showcased two remarkable installation pieces by Italian artist and receiver of this year’s Gotham Prize, Daniele Puppi. We had the opportunity to discuss with him these works of “re-animated cinema”, the concept behind them, his inspiration and his take on the experimental art scene in New York.

Daniele Puppi works with installation art, which he finds to be a more direct art form and the ideal method of creating something that can be truly experienced by the public. And that’s what the artist wants: to transmit a full experience, hence why he makes use of mixed media, working with both images and sounds.

Sound is what he finds to be the most important part of his installations, the element that ties everything together, usually through coherence in everyday life, but in the case of his works through disruption. Sound is the first thing we perceive upon venturing in the Italian Cultural Institute, which hosted some of the artist’s works in the occasion of his entrance into the New York art scene following his reception of this year’s Gotham Prize.

The sound comes from a piece called “Naked”. It’s like a drill, sounding intermittently, shaking a projector and therefore the projected images along with it. The sound creates a disruption but it’s also the only time during which the projected scenes evolve, intrinsically linking this sound to the visual scenes.This sound changes the entire viewing experience and Puppi is interested in exploring the public’s reaction to being presented with the unexpected.

In a sense the artist works with contradiction, using technology in unconventional ways. Another installation present in the Institute called “Blast”, for example, projects images onto two old television monitors set on the floor in a seemingly “careless” way. The monitors become passive receivers of images but though they may appear so, they are not fully obsolete: they generate the sound.  

Both these works are examples of what he calls “re-animated cinema”. And cinema he tells us is in fact one of his main sources of inspiration, particularly his desire to change it. For that’s what he does: Puppi takes existing scenes or films new ones, edits them and then presents them in an unusual manner, deconstructing and rearranging what to him are the three main elements: “sound, space, image”.

His work is all about mixing - mixing old and new technologies, mixing visual and auditive experiences - and that’s how he manages to be so innovative, so exciting. It’s then easier to understand why he says he still hasn’t found anything quite intriguing enough for his taste since recently moving to the city.

He’s certainly not thinking of giving up though. His very first US show was well received by artists and curators alike. “I’m very curious” he says, “to discover experimental art here”. Though it’s hard to find amidst the vastness of the New York art scene, and is certainly hidden behind more mainstream art forms usually found in the famed Chelsea galleries, we’re confident that it’s out there and wish him luck uncovering it.  





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