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Founder of the Building Bridges International Art Foundation, an international non-profit organization based in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, conceived to be a platform for critical thinking and research; local and international programs in Los Angeles; art residences.

He has been part of the curatorial team of several international biennials, such as the Casablanca Biennial, Morocco, the Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates; Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado; among others. He is also an active member of the board of the Bugatti Foundation, Italy; Now Art LA, Los Angeles; and the DAP Program Advisory Board at The Broad, Los Angeles.

We asked Marisa Caichiolo a few questions to get to know her better:

Your first contact with art?

From an early age I was linked to the arts through my family, my aunt painted and had a studio where I usually played with brushes… papers and canvases… from a very young age, she was my first art teacher…. When I was 13/15 I created a studio in my parents' garage to play ... and teach painting lessons to all the kids ... in my neighborhood (5-6 years old) I had a lot of fun !!!!

What training did you have?

I am an artist and curator, I have studied art history and curatorial studies, I have a doctorate in art history and psychology. I moved to the United States to work as an artist for Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures on films like “ Rugrats go Wild ” and “ The Wild Thornberrys Movie “. The world of animation was my first introduction to the city of Los Angeles.

My research focuses mainly on the impact on social and political changes in society. Focusing on cultural exchanges by seeking cultural production that fluctuates between theory and practice.

My curatorial projects have been presented internationally, including the MUSA Museum of Arts of the University of Guadalajara (Mexico); Kirchner Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, (Argentina); DOX Center for Contemporary Arts, Prague (Czech Republic); Frost Science Museum, Miami (USA); PVAC Palos Verdes Art Center, Palos Verdes (California); Building Bridges Art Foundation, Los Angeles (California); KATARA Cultural Center, Doha (Qatar); Sharjah Museum of Contemporary Art, Dubai (United Arab Emirates); Anaheim Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, Anaheim (California); Telefónica Art Foundation, Santiago (Chile); among others.

I am the founder and heart behind Building Bridges Art Exchange with the support of many people and friends, an international non-profit organization based in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County. The foundation is designed to be a platform for critical thinking and research; local and international programs in Los Angeles; art residences; and educational programs among others.

As part of my curatorial practice I work for several international biennials, such as the Casablanca Biennial, Morocco; Sharjah Biennial of Young Artists, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Biennial of the Americas, Denver, Colorado; among others. He is also an active member of the board of Bugatti Foundation, Italy; Now Art LA, Los Angeles; and the Advisory Board of the DAP program at The Broad, Los Angeles.

Over the past twenty years, regardless of its variations, my work has focused on reflection on the skin. Skin as a metaphor, as a shield, as a mediator and support element for a nomadic identity, always changing, always waiting, exposed to interaction with others and to the construction of my feminist and feminist self.

From my point of view as a displaced woman-artist-curator, the skin is that layer, that covered, that barrier (always permeable), which separates our inner world from the outer realm and its harshness. At first I use the skin as a symbol, as a narrative structure, then transforming it into a medium and conceptual support. It is from there, from that place, that I approach topics beyond the basic notions of biology and cognition to arrive at reflections of another area, getting closer to social and political issues. I am particularly interested in power relations: their linguistic-discursive instrumentation and their potential for the diminution and deconstruction of dominant orders.

This research has led me to explore new paths, environments and subversive strategies associated with the insurrection, without ever jeopardizing the hedonistic nature and aesthetic dimension of my work of art. During this process, I have incorporated the use of different materials into the art practice, as I find them more malleable to carry the pieces. Time has also witnessed the metamorphosis of my work, which has acquired a certain lightness in terms of materials, thicknesses and volumes, but has also become more intense and critical from a conceptual point of view.

In the exploratory phrase of my latest series “How else can I serve you?”, I was immersed in an intense conversation with myself. In the series, the skin thickens to form a callus and turns into metal and silver objects. Next, I explode the metal in a very sensual or sexual way, and transform it into something permeable and fragile to create an organic shock with the use of my own hair through embroidery (a practice that I have felt very attached to ever since my grandmother Death).

This is where my critical comment comes into play, denouncing covert violence, abuse and immigration as narratives of the relentless domination and irritation that have led women to spaces of silence and forced submission. I confess that, in my professional evolution, I have developed a great predilection for artistic residences as the main platforms for the development of artistic projects.

How do you choose the projects or artists to follow?

From my heart… The concept of each project is very important to me as well as the execution of the artwork. Most of the artists I work with captivate my heart from the very first time. From their first studio visit or their exhibitions, I usually enjoy working with them for the long term, pushing their careers forward and placing them in the best platforms and exhibition spaces. I love sharing my vision with the artists and living these moments of co-creation, the organic collaboration on each project.

What anecdote do you remember with a smile?

I love moments of censorship in curatorial practice and I always remember them with a smile.

One of the most interesting aspects of the curatorial field, and even more so when it is performed in different cultures, is that nothing is certain, because we work on something that will have an impact on others, but we never know what the end result will be in advance. This is even more important when working on projects in situ, as they require a significant level of empathy from the artists, who have to manage the work in a different language and with different social and cultural norms.

Based on my experience, I must also add that, when working in different countries, you face religious and political limitations, which must be taken into consideration when putting together some curatorial initiatives. In fact, I had to face censorship several times: it happened at the Fundación Telefónica in Chile with an installation by Cuban artist Antuán Rodríguez showing Maduro's face; with Lluis Barba at the 2016 Casablanca Biennale (Morocco); and with a performance by Carlos Martiel (it was not easy to work with the Cultural Center where we presented the performance due to the nudity problem). For this reason, the curatorial team or curators must be flexible enough to be able to align their projects with the historical dialogue and social context of the participating institution hosting the exhibition. In this way, we can expand our borders and our perspective.

How important is communication?

As a Latin American immigrant and as a female artist and curator, it was a great dream of mine to create a more unified world of understanding and to have an open narrative, dialogue and discussion on social and political issues in today's world. So communication is everything.

I believe that most of the curatorial projects are organic. Furthermore, it is possible to distinguish the different movements and ever-changing trends within these projects. Conducting artistic research leads to action, but it is not an organized methodology. Interpretations vary widely. In terms of the curatorial process, I consider it a social exercise in which the different artistic perspectives can vary widely, but the ultimate goal and focus is always on trying to have a specific impact and convey a message to the public. In recent years, the trend has shifted towards curatorial projects where the curator executes projects as a means of communicating artistic research without placing an emphasis on the exhibition itself. Sure, we always talk about different strategies used by curators to approach different cultural manifestations and how they use concepts such as historical features and cultural specificity to better understand manifestations in other parts of the world. This is where a dialogue is generated.

Communication is essential; is the main subject of any art project. At the beginning of a project, the communication is between the platform (museum, institution, gallery or public space), the artist, the curator. Of course, this conversation is translated directly to the general public when the installation is open for a conversation between the artwork (artist) and the public (viewers).

Currently, we are incorporating more experimental options to connect with the public and it has to do with how technology has progressed and become a part of our daily life as well as artistic practices among the younger generations.

What is the difference in the perception of art between Italy and abroad?

I believe that the perception of art in Italy is still somehow connected with the perception of beauty, aesthetics and the use of materials determined by the philosophical and cultural revolution of the Renaissance throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. Now, the contemporary view has obviously changed, but personally I feel there is still a very strong connection with the perception of materials, beauty and space that differs from perception in Africa, South America, Asia or North America.

What is art for you?

Art = LIFE

Art is life, no matter how fragile the times are. Art is a testimony of the human condition.

To propose art, do you have to have studied it?

No… I believe that some of the most famous artists are self-taught, such as Vincent Van Goth or Frida Khalo, among many others, including the new emerging artists, who are a real force within the contemporary art world.

What do you ask a gallery owner?

Well, I myself have been running a gallery for 15 years, a non-commercial gallery of a non-profit organization that has been fully functional for the past 15 years.

I think it's a question of passion… These are my questions: how do you support artists and creativity in times of global crisis? How do you make a difference in the art community? How do you educate your community to support and understand new movements in today's art world? How are you handling all these rapid changes in the international art scene? How do you plan to move forward and bring relevant art programs to society now?

One of the most complete and interesting interviews I have done, thank you for your time and for your availability Marisa.


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