Between November 2014 – October 2015 «Drop City, Newcastle» presented eight exhibitions in our permanent gallery at 20 South Street.
As our location in Newcastle closed for redevelopment, we took the opportunity to explore alternative ways to open up diverse and dynamic potential for our activities and engagement with the city and beyond. Working in a peripatetic and collaborative capacity with regional and international initiatives, institutions, museums and art fairs across North East England, London, Vienna, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Madrid and Antwerp we were able to forge an exciting and responsive programme drawing on our multifaceted practices and relationships.
Drop City, Newcastle
at 20 South Street
Los Barbaros (‘The Barbarians’) (2015) is the recording of a live event, a non-choreographed, spontaneous performance that takes place at the Villa Pedregal on the outskirts of Mexico City from a Saturday afternoon to the early hours of the following morning. With no script, no storyboard and no specific instructions to the participants, twenty acquaintances are invited to dine, drink and talk, to freely roam and rummage around the vast house and its garden, to leave whenever bored or invite other friends to join. Meanwhile, a camera discreetly records the event by adapting to the occurrences and reacting to the unexpected developments of the evening. As night takes over, drunkenness and tiredness ease away social restraints and reservations, overcoming shyness and slowing down reactions.
For this first edit of the film, the narrative is developed though the use of only two voices, two abstract characters speaking over the top of the images: the voice of the house (a rational voice, the voice of the act of writing, of creative ordering) and the voice of the night (an aggressive, instinctual utterance, the gut irrational feeling ascribed to certain kinds of fiction). The two monologues, albeit similar, never completely overlap; one fades slowly onto the other, both maintaining a certain distance from the event itself, menacing and yet oddly remote, disconnected from the real action, even gratuitous.
Francesco Pedraglio is an artist working with writing, performance, film and installation. He was born in Como (Italy) in 1981.
Recent performances and exhibitions include: MAZ-Museo de Zapopan, Mexico (2014); CCA Glasgow (2014); Hayward Gallery, London (2014); Rowing, London (2013); Jeu de Paume (2013), Kunsthalle Basel (2012); ICA (2012); Auto Italia South East (2012); Galerie Kamm, Berlin (2012); Hollybush Gardens, London (2011), The National Portrait Gallery (2011); Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2011).
The Object Lessons, a novella made in collaboration with Nina Beier and Marie Lund, was published by Mousse in 2012 and A man in a room spray painting a fly was published by Book Works last year. Pedraglio is a founding member of the London based curatorial initiative FormContent (www.formcontent.org).
See more work by Francesco Pedraglio
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