Benedetto Pietromarchi was invited to be the inaugural artist in residence for The Owners Cabin. Pietromarchi boarded a vessel in July 2015 and remained in residence for approximately one month, during which time he produced a body of work related to his time, thoughts and investigations on board.
Fundamental to Benedetto Pietromarchi’s practice is the investigation into the relationships between nature and artifice, biology and construction, and how these notions are experienced and perceived within the context of our varied cultures, histories and present realities. While the conclusion of Pietromarchi’s work takes the form of the physical artistic object – sculpture, film, collage, drawing – the study, research, journey and active experience of discovery that leads up to these works is central to the final understanding of and approach to the artwork. For Pietromarchi, art should exist in and of itself, but rather it is a mode through which to relay collected information - a vehicle for communication, reflection and revelation.
Classically trained, Pietromarchi studied sculpture at Accademia delle Belle Arti in Carrara, Italy, as well as architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, England. Both areas of training provided Pietromarchi with a strong highly informed technical and theoretical foundation from which he has evolved his unique approach to the central themes of interest within his work. It also engendered in him him a deep respect for his artistic predecessors, sighting in particular the influence of Joseph Beuys and Giuseppe Penone on is work.
Traces of both of these artists can be found in the work of Pietromarchi, from the importance given to art as a mode through which to insight social change central to Beuys’ concept of Social Sculpture, to Penone’s use of the exaggerated and the absurd to reveal the struggle of nature against man. However, whereas Beuys endeavored towards encouraging those in society to themselves engage in performative art and become Social Sculptures, Pietromarchi mines the ready-made social realities he finds in distinctive cultures in order to distill rather than create a utopic new; and while for Penone negative/positive attributes were almost inherently imbued in man/ nature, for Pietromarchi it appears that the juxtaposition of materials and ideas in his work reflect a reality in which lines of delineation are multifaceted and in a constant process of flux and evolution.
Also present in Pietromarchi’s works is a strong engagement with the ideas of psycho-geography, a methodology initially posited by Guy Debourd and The Situationalist International group in the 1960s. Writing on psych-geography has investigated ideas of society within the the modern urban environment, questioning notions of drifting association brought together to create a surreal sequence that is in fact drawn from existing autonomous elements. Psycho-geometry has not however, until now, been applied in practice to the visual arts, and it is through this solicitation of an expanded field of ideas that Pietromarchi is able to use art, writing, research and travel as tools.
Through participation in The Owners Cabin, a lived situation where nature and artifice cohabitate and collide, there time and space collapse and merge, where cultures and histories have been made and broken, Pietromarchi will apply his fascination with the experientialism as an exposing vehicle. The residency will provide Pietromarchi with the time, space and experience to consider and investigate how these various elements come together, how they effect him, the world, those working directly in the industry. To questions what is the ultimate result, documentation, visualization, understanding and realization? What are the traditions and histories that effect trade, travel and commerce and how are these changing and evolving? - June, 2015