Symposium Beijing / 30.05 – 01.06. 2014 / CAFA Art Museum
Day 1: ON THE DIFFERENCES OF COLLECTIVE PRACTICE
Isola Art Center
From Site-Specific Art to Fight-Specific Art:
the Collective Isola Experience.
Isola Art Center is an open, experimental platform for contemporary art based in Milan’s Isola neighborhood. Over the years it took several names: Isola Art Project (2001-2002), Isola dell’arte (2003-2004), and finally Isola Art Center (2005-2013).
It is powered by energy, enthusiasm and solidarity. Over the last decade Isola Art Center has confronted an urban situation marked by conflict and extensive transformations. Its projects continue to be “no-budget”, precarious, hyperlocal. Doing away with conventional hierarchical structures, Isola Art Center rhizomatically brings together Italian and international artists, critics and curators, artists’ collectives, activists, architects, researchers, students and neighborhood groups.
From 2001 to 2002 the project worked without an own space, participating in events of the neighborhood associations. Then, from 2003 to 2007 the Center occupied 1500 m2 of the industrial building called the Stecca, and worked on the space of two nearby parks to defend them from privatization and gentrification. After the eviction of the Stecca building in 2007, Isola Art Center is hosted until today by friendly venues in the Isola district, and works in its public sphere.
By now the subject of almost 100 solo exhibitions at museums, exhibition spaces, and commercial galleries worldwide, AES+F works have been shown in such prestigious venues as the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, ZKM (Karlsruhe), Casino Luxembourg, Kiasma (Helsinki), the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Tate Britain(London), Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva, various UK venues), thePassage De Retz (Paris), the Vanhaerents Art Collection (Brussels), MACRO Future(Rome), the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), and many others. Among the important European institutions collecting their works are the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), the Sammlung Goetz(Munich), the Neue Galerie Graz, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), and the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). Their works are also found in the foremost collections of Russia, including the Multimedia Art Museum Moscow, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), and The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg).
About the book “Fight-Specific-Isola”
Fight-Specific Isola traces the long history of the Isola area of Milan and the organic, spontaneous progress of the Isola Art Center over the past 12 years. Featuring texts and many images, the book tells the story of an artistic and urban transformation, led by artists, who often had to invent tools and concepts along the way. This publication serves as an example of how to act on the ground in today’s urban condition. Different narratives of history, artistic intervention and action allow the reader to trace the complex idea of collectivity, solidarity and fight-specificity. Testing new terms such as dirty cube and dispersed centre this book shows a possible way to respond to the constant pressure of neoliberal development and gentrification.