memento project is a progressive art project engaged with issues related to personal memory and cultural identity

On the Otherness of North and South
a project by Antonio Pauciulo in collaboration with Guido D’Angelo

Artists: Guido D’Angelo / Eva Kaiser / Antonio Pauciulo / Christian Pertosa

The state of things: cultural, social, and political contexts
Today’s Europe, which seems to have left behind all of its ideological totalitarianisms, is littered with differences, which — to paraphrase the title of an essay by Edgar Morin — could be summarized as “an idea of the North and South”. However, this characterization refers not only to geographical differences in which North and South are only the relative dimensions, but also to two modes of thinking, being, and culture as well as two different ways of perceiving reality. Clichés such as “the cool and productive North” versus “the inefficient and hospitable South” are proof that these realities — beyond a certain level of acceptance — remain incomprehensible and impenetrable for one another.

First working hypothesis: culture is founded in memory
If the organization of reality is an intellectual or mental process — and it really is possible to change realities in such a manner that they can easily be interpreted differently — then memory plays a fundamental role in the process. From this perspective, all of the cultural differences between North and South can be reinterpreted as different “constructs of memory”.

Second working hypothesis: memory is selective
Acknowledging that memory emanates from selection — a conscious or unconscious decision to keep some things at the expense of others — forces us to abandon the illusion that there exists a general, objective form of memory that corresponds to a single, unquestionable reality. In this manner, we can interpret cultural differences (both personal and collective) as the result of decisions that follow a particular goal whether we are aware of them or not. Thus, the history of a country (as well as an individual) arises from what it has decided to remember.

The project seeks to make differences visible within the context of an encounter
A true European cultural project is only then possible if the ways of thinking in North and South can be brought into dialogue with one another. In doing so, we shall discover that differences and inconsistencies represent a source of richness that we need not be afraid of. It is the new that arises from the combination of North and South as well as the North, the South, or neither.

Guido D’Angelo focuses on sediment: the displacement of material as a container for memories, traces of something that once was, or the expectation of a possible renovation. He believes it is important to find a way in which material can be given a form by means of accumulation.

Eva Kaiser’s portraits focus on inner states and moods. The figures are media for thoroughly personal memories that are recorded in their faces and bodies. By forgoing external attributes and narrative elements, Kaiser creates a hermetic space — a kind of internal enclosure — that surrounds her figures. A form of opening takes place by means of glances, which serve as the bridge that leads to and from the observer.

Antonio Pauciulo’s paintings examine the existential relationships between the individual and itself as well as to others. His figures appear as fragmentary engrams of past experiences that were selected by an emotional process and made accessible to the consciousness. Traces of the near as well as distant past are brought together. Elements of the picture are overlapped, covered, and re-exposed, a dynamic that lends them an identity that was previously invisible.

Christian Pertosa borrows elements from art history in order to tell the tale of his own mythology. The displacement and montage of his own memories of the world of mannerism and expressionism creates a magical aura with critical and ironic connotations.