Italian video art centres and archives: a treasure yet to discover
Italy was a vibrant centre of Video Art production and exhibition throughout the 1970s and 1980s. All the more remarkable because of the early and seminal experimentation of the medium and the international reach of the work produced. Artists connected to the Italian video centres include well known names such as: V. Acconci, J. Baldessari, A. Boetti, C. Boltanski, D. Buren, A. Kaprow, J. Kounellis, M. Merz, N. J. Paik, G. Paolini, B. Viola and many more. This seminal experimentation laid the foundation for Video Art practice, thus it is only a few years that its history and the social, cultural, political and economic circumstances that characterized its rise and its fall into critical oblivion are finally brought to light. REWINDItalia, the AHRC funded project I am part of as Research Assistant, started from these premises. Because currently, there is no Italian public and central archive for videotape only a small part of the tapes have been retrieved and are available to the public. In my paper, I will examine the present situation of some of the most important historical Italian video archives, centres and artists’ studios, (such as Cavallino’s Archive and ASAC – which comprehends art/tapes/22’s videotapes – in Venice, DOCVA in Milan, Centro Videoarte in Ferrara, MuEL in Varese), showing from a multidisciplinary approach the uniqueness of their cases. This overview will aim to show that the seminal early Italian video production is still to be discovered, to stimulate the interest from a research and curatorial point of view.
Laura Leuzzi is research Fellow on AHRC funded research project REWINDItalia based in Rome. Art historian and curator, Laura Leuzzi completed her PhD in “Tools and Methods for the History of Art” with a thesis in Contemporary Art entitled “L’elenco, la classificazione e il catalogo come pratiche artistiche nel Novecento” (List, Classification and Catalogue as artistic practices in the twentieth century) at Sapienza Università di Roma. Author of articles and texts in exhibition catalogues, her research is particularly focused on the relationship between words and image in visual art and new media. In 2008 she curated the exhibition “Artefacta e le Biennali del mondo” (Mestre, Centro Culturale Candiani), on the video documentation of the 52nd Venice Art Biennale in the world. In 2009 and 2010 she curated the cycle “(dieciluglioduemilaotto)” along with Emanuele Sbardella.