Nanni Balestrini – Tristanoil / Flash Art NY Desk

May 19, 2015

21, 22, 23.05.15

Opening: 21.05.15, 6:30 pm

Tristanoil (2012) is a movie by Nanni Balestrini (b. 1935, Milan; lives in Rome and Paris) generated by a software program that continuously reassembles approximately 150 clips. The movie can be described as an open, self-perpetuating structure in which a sole scenario recurs: the destruction of the planet through the predatory use of its resources.

Here Balestrini continues his inquiry into strategies of creative production that sidestep subjectively produced matter and the utter subtraction of self-expression. Indeed, Tristanoil was first developed in another form — the experimental novel Tristano, in which the artist assembled heterogeneous materials according to a combinatory system. First released in 1966, the novel is a cut-up of literary fragments sourced from crime novels, technical manuals, school textbooks, feuilletons and so on, which were mounted together by an early calculator. Hence, both the novel and the movie exploit combinatory principles, mathematics and programming over the subjectivity of the author.

Tristanoil fuses together three main sources of visual documents: the infamous TV series Dallas, ecological disasters (oil spills, air pollution, landslides and the overall defacement of the natural landscape due to uncontrolled industrial activities) and scenes from the financial world (above all from the 2008 Wall Street crash). Oil trembles over these images, as on the surface of the ocean, transfiguring the archival materials into a psychedelic narration of the detrimental effects of oil consumption.

Nanni Balestrini’s art has been exhibited at the 45th Venice Biennale and dOCUMENTA (13). Solo shows have been hosted by MACRO, Rome; Fondazione Morra, Naples; and Museion, Bolzano, among others.

Tristanoil is presented in conjunction with the release of the May-June issue of Flash Art International. In this issue: Martine Syms talked with Los Angeles-based artist Charles Gaines; Orit Gat met with Genius’s Tom Lehman, Christopher Glazek and Emily Segal to discuss where their website is going; Boško Blagojevic introduces New York–based artist Bradley Kronz; Mitchell Anderson reviews the art of Switzerland’s 56th Venice Biennale representative Pamela Rosenkranz; Cyril Duval considers the ongoing relevance of Tobias Wong, “the enfant terrible of the design world”; Michele D’Aurizio, Gea Politi and Lodovico Pignatti Morano met with three figures whose creative outputs are intimately tied to the city of Milan: Ugo La Pietra, Giorgio Armani, and Nanni Balestrini; Robin Peckham spotlights Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen; and Sylvain Amic discusses the work of Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani.

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