Valeriana Berchicci introduces herself as an ‘Artist, Artist Researcher, Researcher Artist, Researcher’. With her work she joins «Young Italian Artists. Contemporary Art Stories», ongoing space and archive dedicated to key players in the contemporary art world, who are under 35, conceived by Antonello Tolve, and curated with Elena Giulia Rossi.
Unknown person: Miss, excuse me, are you queuing for the bank?
Val: Hello, are you talking to me? No, I’m queuing the ice cream shop.
I see. Do you know what’s going on here?
Sorry? What do you mean?
Well, can’t you see. They’re watching us.
I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you mean. I see people queuing for something.
This emergency situation is controlled from above in order to change things and make everyone traceable… to study us as guinea pigs. You see this pen – I work with this pen from the first light of day, all day long, I’m a scholar.
And what do you do?
…me? I’m Artist.
Ahh! Artist! And what does you do? Paint? Sculpt?
Actually I can use these techniques and others, but this is not what makes me an Artist. I can tell you that I study, researching different concepts that allow me to investigate some aspects of human beings through the medium of art.
What do you mean? I’m sorry, what school did you go to?
I studied at the Fine Arts Academy.
Ah! So you didn’t go to university?
No, I’m sorry, nowadays qualifications are…
Yeah, so you didn’t go to university?
I’m telling you…
Okay, so you didn’t go to university.
Excuse me, did you go to university?
Whatever… so what do you do?
What I’m asking you isn’t a big deal. Can you explain?
Okay. Sure, I’ll make it brief and to the point. I am a stupid individual who sees an abyss and falls into it. But I’m also someone who hears a fool fall, intervenes, measures the distance, constructs a ladder, descends, climbs up and wash my hands of it.
And so, I greet you politely! Goodbye.
This is an excerpt from the text I’ve been working on during these months of the Health Emergency (Dialogue 103.Outdoor scene). Being forced to stay at home allowed me to study a lot and take advantage of “extended” time for my research. One morning I woke up and thought I might be able to write a text based on a series of memories, experiences and information which I had unconsciously entertained myself with during the night. The first thing that popped into my head is all the times someone asked me: What do you do for a living? And following that, my juggling of words in an attempt to explain it as effectively as possible according to the person I was facing, regardless of their nature or social background.
Artist and Researcher are two different words that imply two subjects performing different actions in space: those who think they are divided in this way contribute to infesting the current condition of the Art system, starting with their places of study and then continuing in the places, phases and conditions that follow afterwards.These two words, when they are inherent in one nature, can find other ways to “speak” or even invent new “words”.Research isn’t the prerogative of those who know, but of those who don’t know. From the moment we turn our attention to something we don’t currently know, we engage in research. This must be the prerogative of every artist.
One of the features of my work is that I don’t like to call what I produce “Opera” (work), but I much prefer the word “Project”, as my Master taught me. A project consists of a fundamental phase, that of the process in which the research is structured. Towards the final stage of the process I come to define the “medium”, or “how” I represent it: it can be a canvas, a postcard, a photographic image, a video installation, a poem, or take on the nature of performance or sound.
The text “Artist. Artist Researcher. Artistic Researcher. Researcher.” revolves around the following keywords: artist, researcher, field, process, research methods, experimentation, strategy, legitimacy, recognition. In consists of 9 sections and an apparatus called Dialogues.
Valeriana Berchicci, June, 2020