Screening: Maria Domenica Rapicavoli and Janne Schäfer – PASSAGE

Screening and artists talk  Friday, June 1, 2012, 8 p.m.

PASSAGE  (2010, 24 min.) is a video work by Maria Domenica Rapicavoli (Catania/London) and Janne Schäfer (Berlin) based on their communal 3 week long journey from Berlin to Sicily undertaken in June 2009. The aim of the journey was to explore past and contemporary German-Italian relations of immigration and tourism in the face of today’s complex and diverse trans-European spider-web of migration and movement. The main question raised in the video is to explore the relationship between identity and place.
“We crossed Europe physically. We are from different parts of the continent. Crossing right through from North to South we traversed many geographic borders as well as mental ones. We didn’t know each other before we left but our lives merged for the time. We travelled in opposite directions, and yet together. We came across many people and their stories: adventurers, refugees, nomads, tourists, immigrants and cyber-space travellers; Italians, Germans, Europeans, global citizens and all combinations in-between.”
The work is a dialogue between a fictive female narrator, a collection of personal testimonies of various people the artists met and moving images shot along the way. The voice of the female narrator poses questions and statements about her own self-identification in the light of a dislocated state of being. She is an artificial traveller, someone who maybe hasn’t ever travelled unless through others’ experiences and seems to know the whole world and the human condition as a mental or philosophical state. On the other hand a diverse array of people are telling about their personal experiences of moving and migrating. All of the characters seem to have created various and different kinds of hyper-identities layering and sampling from different places, memories and desires. The projected moving images of fleeting landscapes and peripherical observations and the dialogue of disembodied voices create a mental space every traveller knows: a mix of longing, curiosity, change of perspective, increased self-awareness and a simultaneous sense of loss. The work creates a powerful, though-provoking audio-visual space taking the audience right into the experience of being in-between spaces and to question one’s own identity in the light of this situation.

The screening of the work will be followed by a discussion with the artists.

The project and the journey from Berlin to Catania was organized by association Erbematte in Catania in cooperation with uqbar in Berlin. The editing of the work was kindly supported by the Italian Cultural Institute in Wolfsburg/Germany.

Maria Domenica Rapicavoli (*1976, Catania) lives and works in London. She received her MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College University in London in 2005 and her BA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania in 2001. Through the use of video and photography she explores how stereotypes and reality coexist in the creation of a cultural identity connected to her figure and her cultural background.
She was awarded as Best Italian Artist in London in 2008 at the Italian Cultural Institute in London. In 2004 she achieved a Postgraduate award in Arts and Humanities by AHRB-London. Her works have been exhibited in various international exhibitions including: Riso, Museo D'arte Contemporanea della Sicilia Palermo (2010), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Rotonda di via Besana,  Milan (2010), Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi Florence(2009), Sala Rekalde Bilbao (2008), Italian Cultural Institute London (2008), RAUM500 Gallery Munich (2007), Whitechapel Gallery London (2006),The LAB San Francisco USA (2006) and many others.

Janne Schäfer (*1976, Darmstadt) lives and works in Berlin. Since 1999 she has worked in collaborations with Danish artist Kristine Agergaard under the pseudonym J&K. She graduated with a MA in Art in Context from the University of the Arts, Berlin in 2006 and with a BA from Chelsea College of Art in London in 2001. Janne Schäfer/J&K work with mixed media installations, performance and interven­tions in public and institutional spaces exploring issues of cultural identity and mythology.
She has been awarded numerous prices and grants for her work, amongst others from the Danish Arts Foundation, the Cultural Capital Fund Berlin, the Danish Arts Council and has recently been awarded the 1rst price for the art-in-architecture competition for the new building of the Goethe Institute in Cairo/Egypt. Her works have been exhibited widely in solo and group shows around Europe in places such as the Pergamonmuseum Berlin (2008), The National Gallery Copenhagen (2011), Casino Luxembourg (2008), NGBK + Kunstraum Kreuzberg Berlin (2008 + 2010), The Aarhus Art Building (2010), Overgaden - Institute for Contemporary Art Copenhagen (2007), SMART Amsterdam (2008), KUMU Tallinn (2007), Pori Art Museum (2007) and the Liverpool Biennial (2002) amongst many others.