Evidentiary Realism. Interview with Paolo Cirio

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After an idea by Paolo Cirio, Evidentiary Realism is an exhibition platform that features a selection of artists involved in forensic, investigative and documentary practices, presented at NOME Gallery in Berlin from 1 December 2017 to 24 February 2018. Paolo Cirio, curator of the project, recounts how this particular form of realism in art is capable of revealing complex contemporary social systems.

How was the project Evidentiary Realism born and, as an artist, how did you work in the role of the curator?
The idea was born about three years ago, when I began to notice a common tendency and also an interest of the public concerning researches in social themes presented with documents normally concealed by complexity, secrecy and manipulation of linguistic, technological and political apparatus. The Wikileaks’ case has certainly changed history, the subsequent releases of documents with the cases Snowden and Panama Papers, have confirmed a provision in the sensitivity of the public. As an artist, interested in these issues and active in researches with such strategies, I was already in dialogue with many artists with similar practices. However I did not find curators engaged in analysing this trend, for this reason I decided to dedicate two years of work, with the support of NOME gallery in Berlin that produced the exhibition and Fridman gallery in New York that collaborated in the first presentation.

How would you define the realism inherent in the concept of Evidentiary Realism and how do the works of invited artists fit into this dimension?
Today’s realism shows documents of techniques, evidences and apparatuses that produce forms of abuses of power often hidden by systems of power and secrecy. The artists present these documents in innovative visual forms, often using new technologies to capture and analyse such documents, thus producing an advanced form of realism. Historically, I have identified Hans Haacke as the first to have adapted this form of realism. In the late 1960s, society began to be influenced by information technologies interconnected to global financial and political systems. Haacke noted the intricacy of these systems and their social impact. I then identified Mark Lombardi and Harun Farocki, who in the following decades had a similar interest, then they grew exponentially after September 11, 2001, from Holzer until today when there are many artists interested in this artistic practice – some have become well known in a few years as the collective Forensic Architetture. With Evidentiary Realism, I managed to reconstruct this historical trajectory, on which I still work, also to include other artists in future editions.

The media influence the perceived reality and form a vision of the world that does not necessarily adhere to the truth. Can you give us a concrete example?
The power of the media has been an issue for decades, but today this power has branches that are often not perceptible. At the same time, today certain manipulations can be monitored and analysed with technology and advanced study of semiotics and linguistics to expose their cognitive and psychological influence. With Evidentiary Realism, I also introduce the idea of Forensic Linguistic, present in the works of Stolle and Khan-Dossos and in the work of Hans Haacke “The Chase Advantage”.

How can art help to decode power devices?
Art has a capacity for synthesis, which is fundamental for understanding complex systems, and yet these systems are often secret or hidden, and in this case art has the function of unveiling them. Visually exposing the document on which the artist has invested his research offers the public the manifestation of this reality, and not less, the technique used by the artist to show the document has aesthetic expressive qualities related to the sensitivity and intent of the artist. In Evidentiary Realism there are different approaches to visual, artistic, and methodological techniques of research and presentation of the document: in some cases it is pure abstraction to visualize underpinning structures, in others the abstract represents the intelligibility of power devices; in some works the document is almost a ready-made, or the work is the documentation of the analysis process that produces aesthetic images. An important approach for some works is the emotional side that documents can trigger with the artist’s intervention, this is for example the case of Barnette and Hafez, who have personally experienced the consequences of certain technocratic phenomena of political apparatus.


Evidentiary Realism

Sadie Barnette, Josh Begley, James Bridle, Ingrid Burrington, Harun Farocki, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Hans Haacke, Khaled Hafez, Mark Lombardi, Kirsten Stolle, Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman. Curated and organized by Paolo Cirio.

>> for info evidentiaryrealism.net

38029434035_d4c7febd7b_hEvidentiary Realism, Veduta dell’installazione, NOME Gallery, Berlin (1 dicembre 2017 – 24 febbraio 2018). Courtesy NOME Gallery

NOME_EVIDENTIARY_REALISM-9933Evidentiary Realism, Veduta dell’installazione, NOME Gallery, Berlin (1 dicembre 2017 – 24 febbraio 2018). Courtesy NOME Gallery.

NOME_EVIDENTIARY_REALISM-9935Evidentiary Realism, Veduta dell’installazione, NOME Gallery, Berlin (1 dicembre 2017 – 24 febbraio 2018). Courtesy NOME Gallery.

NOME_EVIDENTIARY_REALISM-9975Evidentiary Realism, Veduta dell’installazione, NOME Gallery, Berlin (1 dicembre 2017 – 24 febbraio 2018). Courtesy NOME Gallery.

38880165852_19a7be95db_hEvidentiary Realism, Veduta dell’installazione, NOME Gallery, Berlin (1 dicembre 2017 – 24 febbraio 2018). Courtesy NOME Gallery.

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Giulia Bortoluzzi

graduated in contemporary philosophy/aesthetics, has been working in collaboration with various contemporary art galleries, theaters, private foundations, art centers in Italy and France. Is a regular art contributor for L’Officiel, editor assistant for TAR magazine, founder and editor for recto/verso and editor in chief for julietartmagazine.com

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