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The Opening Response: Riccardo Maria Chiacchio

The Opening Response titles a special series of interviews with artists, curators, writers, composers, mediators, and space-makers around the world. Dialoguing within and around the thematics which have rapidly emerged as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, we offer within this frame a differentiated, honest, and beautiful bid at understanding. Weekly, distinct doors are opened into the lives of the contributors; into their experiences dawning on pleasure, productivity, metaphysics, and paradigmatic shifts. Hopefully, these conversations can act as way-posts and lead to furthered empathy, unison, and co-creation. The Opening Response meets the need for weaving the autonomy of a web of conscious communications in times of extreme perplexity.

Born and raised in Naples, Riccardo Maria Chiacchio is a stylist based between London and Milan. His use of subliminal details and imaginary structures communicate feelings that characterize his work. He has shot with notable names like Jordan Hemingway, Laura Marie Cieplik, Laurence Ellis, Georgia Hudson, Francois Pragnere, Elliot Morgan, Clark Franklyn, and Luca Anzalone.

Josseline Black – Reflecting on this recent period of forced isolation, how are you articulating your response in a public discourse? What is your role in this larger conversation?

Riccardo Maria Chiacchio – It’s been hard for me to be present in this discourse because I feel like we are all living a big trauma but also all in very different ways. This is not something personal to me only where I feel like sharing, “complaining”, or giving any type of advice. It would be reductive and borderline offensive. What for me might be important in this moment might be frivolous to somebody else and vice versa. I tried and I keep trying to keep myself quite neutral and always positive when it comes to this subject in public.

JB – Has your artistic practice changed through isolation?

RMC – Yes and no. I’m a big observer and isolation “forced” me to observe things I didn’t particularly notice before. I would say my practice stayed the same but I just focused on different things and on different sides of things I would work on before isolation.

JB – How has your practical capacity to produce work been affected by the pandemic?

RMC – I must say that has been the hardest thing to cope with. I’m usually a very productive person and also quite immediate in the realization of my ideas. Not being able to travel and to work with numerous people on a set has slowed down my process a lot and that has caused some stress. I use my work as one of my main ways of communicating and often I feel like somebody is keeping their hand on my mouth shut. Quite frustrating I must add.

JB – What is your approach to collaboration at the moment?

RMC – In this particular moment I’m very focused on myself and the growth of my personal work, the pandemic had made me realize many things about my work so I’m mainly working by myself. I’m always up for collaborations though if that doesn’t get in the way of my personal creative growth.

JB – How would you define the present moment, metaphysically/literally/symbolically?

RMC – I feel a bit like we’re all in some sort of “jail” and by that, I mean that we are forced in a space and forced to work on things we don’t necessarily work on before. But I still haven’t really made up my mind yet on the present, I will have a clearer vision of it when it will be considered past.

JB – How is this time influencing your perception of alterity in general?

RMC – I’m very much still working on it at the moment.

JB – What is your position on the relationship between catastrophe and solidarity?

RMC – Catastrophe and solidarity are two things that go hand in hand. And talking about hands I have a catastrophe in one hand and solidarity in the other one. We should all try to focus on solidarity anyway.

JB – What is your utopia now?

RMC – I will answer this question merely by talking about myself and by that, I mean that “my utopia” and “utopia” are two very different things. My utopia now is to feel and understand and realize as much as I can for then to use all of these feelings and realizations to live a better life.

Josseline Black-Barnett is a contemporary curator, writer, and researcher. She holds an M.A. in time-based media from the Kunst Universität Linz and a B.A. in Anthropology (specialization Cotsen Institute of Archaeology) from the University of California Los Angeles. She operated for five years as in-house curator of the international artistic residency program at the Atelierhaus Salzamt (Austria) wherein she had the privilege of working closely with a number of brilliant artists. Included in her duties within the institution she allocated and directed the Salzamt hosting of the E.U. CreArt mobility for artists program. As a writer, she has reviewed exhibitions and co-edited texts for Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, Portugal, Madre Museum Naples, the Museums Quartier Vienna, MUMOK, Guimarães Gallery, Gallery Michaela Stock. She is regular theoretical contributor to the Contemporary Art Magazine Droste Effect. In addition, she has published with Interartive Malta, OnMaps Tirana, Albania, and L.A.C.E (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions). In tandem to her curatorial practice and writing, she has for the past decade used choreography as a research tool inquiring into the ontology of the performing body with a focus on embodied cartographies of public memory and space. She has held research residencies at the East Ugandan Arts Trust, the Centrum Kultury w Lublinie, the University of Arts Tirana Albania, and the Upper Austrian Architectural Forum. It is her privilege to continue developing her approach to curatorship which derives from an anthropological reading of art production and an ethnological dialectic in working with cultural content generated by art makers. Currently, she is developing the methodology which supports the foundation of a performance-based trans-disciplinary platform for a spectral critique on art production.

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