The Stones are My Ideas of Imagination.

Carrara, Museum of Marble | December 15th 2012 – January 19th 2013

The final exhibition, curated by Mike Watson within the Database program, which closes the project’s calendar of residencies and workshops, will be held within the Museum of Marble in Carrara.

A resident curator at Nomas Foundation in Rome, Mike Watson has invited artists Graham Hudson, Robert Pettena and Andrew Rutt to work in Carrara during the months of September and November.

During these months, a new approach to the concept of workshop was tested: the artist selects a target group of the population, but the workshop is managed horizontally – it’s not about the artist imparting a lecture. Rather, the interaction with the public shapes the work of the artist itself.

As suggested by the title of the exhibition, The Stones are My Ideas of Imagination – which adapts a famous quote by William Blake – the material resulting from the workshops has become the founding element of the works on display from December 15th at the Museum of Marble in Carrara.

Graham Hudson will contribute the results of research carried out with the students of Professor Francesco Galluzzi’s course in Aesthetics at the Fine Art Academy of Carrara. The group took into consideration the theme of ‘Speaking to Walls‘, devised by Maria Rosa Sossai (Alagroup) and Mike Watson and based on the work of Lacan.

Robert Pettena worked on the theme of Anarchism, entering into contact with both the quarrymen who work in the three quarries of Colonnata, Torano and Miseglia, and with the anarchist groups Germinai and Gogliardo Fiaschi, from the historic centre of Carrara.

Andrew Rutt engaged with sculptors from Studi Nicoli in Carrara, the oldest workshop still existing within the centre, giving voice to the craftsmen who actually execute and create marble works of art on behalf of international artists.

The exhibition will also include works by Stefano Canto, an artist selected by the curator for his philological research into the creation of the Monolite, the obelisk which was placed in the Foro Italico in Rome in 1932 by Carrara native Renato Ricci and Benito Mussolini. The project traces a connection between Rome and Carrara, two cities linked by a historic relationship of power play and the will to submit beauty to the service of power.

Residencies and workshops

The residencies and workshops are part of the project “Joan of Art. Toward a Free Education System”, curated by Mike Watson during his residency at the Nomas Foundation in Rome. The goal of the project is to inquire into the nature of education, and the possibility of providing an alternative and free system, within an international network of art institutions. In Carrara, the international seat of Anarchism, the theme for the workshop was the hierarchical nature of education.

One of the three workshops, led by Graham Hudson and entitled Speaking to the Walls was carried out in collaboration with Maria Rosa Sossai (Alagroup), invited by Mike Watson (‘Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System). ‘I’m Speaking to the Walls’ is a short book which collects transcripts of the conferences held by Jaques Lacan at the clinic where he began his career as a psychoanalyst in training. In its everyday use, the expression “speaking to the walls” indicates situations in which nobody listens to you. Yet for Lacan – who analysed the use of language – this phrase has literal meaning, and indicates that the speaker is communicating not only with people, but also with architectural spaces, including walls, to which little importance is usually given. “I’m speaking to the walls” therefore indicates our will to enter into dialogue with the places that welcome our participation, and within which we take action – Maria Rosa Sossai (Alagroup). 


August 29 – 30 : Andrew Rutt and Mike Watson’s first visit to Studio Nicoli.

October 19 / November 21 -22: Andrew Rutt returns to Studi Nicoli to dialogue with the staff and collect stories and experiences which will form a map of the relationship between the citizens and their local landscape.

November 8-11: Robert Pettena concludes the long dialogue opened with the Anarchist community of Carrara. The quarrymen, who are the recipients of this work, will be invited to share their memories and their own anarchist ideologies within the informal setting of a lunch at the quarry canteen.

November 17 -18: Maria Rosa Sossai, Graham Hudson and Mike Watson conduct the academic workshop “Muri – Walls” at the Museum of Marble, with students from the course in Aesthetics led by Prof. Francesco Galluzzi at the Fine Arts Academy of Carrara.

December 15 2012 – January 19 2013: Final exhibition at the Museum of Marble in Carrara.

Born in Sussex (GB) in 1977, Graham Hudson lives and works in London. Graduated with a BA fine art from Chelsea College of art and design in 2000 and a MA from the Royal College of art and design in 2002. His solo exhibitions include: Monitor, Rome, 2012, ASPEX, Portsmouth, UK, 2012, MACRO, Rome, 2012, Arthouse, Austin Texas, 2011, zingerPRESENTS, Amsterdam, 2010, Jan Cunen Museum, Oss, Olanda, 2008, Locust Projects, Miami, 2008. Group exhibitions include: ‘Our Mutual Friend’, Film Video Umbrella, London, 2012  ‘Glow’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2010 ‘Newspeak’, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2010 ‘Languages and Experimentation’, MART, Rovereto, 2009,: ‘6 of 1: Performance and Sculpture’, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2008.

Born in Rome in 1974, Stefano Canto obtained a degree in Architecture in 2003. His research moves from the poetics of objects to that of locations, crossing the social implications which underlie the relationship between natural and urban environments, and between man and architecture. The artist’s most important recent exhibitions include: Connect the dots (and see the unseen), Macro, Rome; Selbsbewegung, Galleria Corpo 6, Berlin, 2012; Bachem-Natter Happy-Christmas, Carandente Museum, Spoleto, 2011; La Costante Cosmologica, Rocco Guglielmo Foundation, Catanzaro, 2011; Contemporary energy. Italian attitudes, Supec, Shanghai, 2010; Energia:Umanità=Futuro:Ambiente, MAXXI e Tempio di Adriano, Rome, 2009.

Born in Penbury (GB) in 1970, Robert Pettena spent most of his childhood and adolescent years between Brixton (London) and San Giovenale (Reggello). In 1990 he relocated to Florence, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. His artistic career sets off from the field of experimentation with video-art and video-installations, integrating with other expressive means, such as photography and site specific performances. Since 2000, his research – focusing on the relationship between video images and spatial environment – has been integrated with further expressive opportunities, such as photography and site specific performances. He has taught at the Salzburg Summer Academy, and at the LDM International institute between 2004 and 2006. He is currently a professor at the Fine Art Academies of Florence and Carrara.

Andrew Rutt was born in London (1965) where he obtained a degree in Fine Art at Central St. Martins and Goldsmiths College. Since 2000 he has based his activity in Rome and London. His works include video-art, photography and installations. His most important exhibitions include: Exotic Dancers (1999, solo show, VTO Gallery, London); Underwood Audio II (2002, group show, Underwood/Saatchi Gallery, London); Everything Must Go (2006, group show, VTO Gallery, London); A Book in the Back of Your Head (2007, solo show Galleria Navona 42, Rome) as well as several participations in group exhibitions at the Sala 1 Gallery in Rome. In the most recent of his exhibitions, Nuda verita’, held in 2010 at the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome, Andrew Rutt photographed employees of the library itself in the nude, in contact with the books, in their daily work environment. The artist’s method often includes moments of participation and interaction with others, prior to, during, and following the production of the work itself. According to Andrew Rutt, “ the artist is not only someone who makes interesting things, but who also makes interesting things happen.”

The DATABASE project, curated by Federica Forti, creates a platform which establishes a new sense of belonging to the city of Carrara, through the revival of the Museum of Marble in Carrara, which is the gateway to the city and to understanding the history of our people. Our aim is to catalyze different subjects in the city and put them in sync through careful links between companies, institutions and local resources.
DATABASE as a real digital archive is able to communicate and store as well as raise awareness of our history through contemporary codes.

Founded in 2008 by Stefano and Raffaella Sciarretta, Nomas Foundation aims at supporting and promoting contemporary research in art.
The program, curated by Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni, focuses on the structure and language of art through the analysis of critical and emerging practices at an international level.

ALAgroup is an educational/training platform where the artists are considered key figures in the process of learning/teaching. This process is recognised as an opportunity for creative freedom and a concrete action of shared responsibility; it is developed in a climate of mutual recognition and human and intellectual empathy.

An art critic and curator, Mike Watson lives and works in Rome. He writes for Frieze and Art Review, as foreign correspondent from Italy. He has recently concluded a research doctorate in Phylosophy at the Goldsmith College in London, and is currently working on his first book Joan of Art; Towards a Conceptual Militancy for Zer0 Books. As resident curator at the Nomas Foundation in Rome, Mike Watson is developing an experimental project entitled Joan of art; Towards a Free Education’.

DATABASE presents
Curated by Mike Watson
December 15th 2012 – January 19th 2013
Carrara, Museum of Marble 
Viale XX Settembre n. 85
Opening December 15th at 2 p.m. | Blanca Teatro Performance at 3 p.m.
Image courtesy of Ian Watson:


I’m speaking to walls

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