Filippo Minelli (born 1983) works internationally to analyse landscape, politics and communication in order to create installations and performances documented through photography and video.
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Filippo Minelli was born in Brescia, Italy in 1983. The artist graduated with honours from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan in 2006, where his academic education went alongside unauthorized interventions in public space, characterizing his early artistic practice. Interested in landscape and the public sphere, Minelli’s work concentrates on challenging the role of identity and its narratives, both in the physical and digital environment. Drawn towards border zones, Minelli evolved his practice working with the aesthetics of protests, bringing politics to an anthropological and introspective level by decontextualizing the use of tear gas, reversing the function of flags, and borrowing from the aesthetics of protest slogans. Having been born and raised in Europe, his main interests are contradictions: the grey area between historical heritage and urban sprawl, reality and the representation of it, politics and its rhetoric, emergencies and the enforcement of power.
A natural step from his graffiti and street art, the camera allowed Minelli to make the smoke bomb, a wholly transient form of protest, into something enduring and permanent. As the shapes in Minelli’s photographs vary, so do their message. In some, vibrant eruptions brim with energy and movement, whilst in others gentle mists suggest the transience of time. Minelli’s work is often less about ‘capturing the moment’ than capturing the aftermath. One thing that remains consistent throughout the work is a sense of displacement. Picturing coloured clouds landed in desolate, undisturbed nature, or pigmenting the air of deserted industrial caverns, Minelli’s imagery brings together the silence of the still landscape with a resounding and enigmatic force.
The works of the series Silence/Shapes, begun in 2009, are presented as natural landscapes in which we see exploding coloured smoke substances jarring visually with the context of their setting. Although there is no documentary intent, everything the images are composed with extreme attention to formal and technical qualities. In Silence/Shapes, Minelli stages an ‘occurrence’ that is not natural or spontaneous but put in place by invisible hands so that the author of the action remains undetermined.
The use of smoke bomb devices arose from Minelli’s interest in social and political issues: often used in protests, they generally refer to the imagery of the mass, of bustle, shouting and noise, maybe even violence. In Minelli’s photographs, however, the noise of the world fades away to make room for a silence, suspended and amazed; an absence, deaf and precipitated, comparable to a sudden vacuum. The effect is powerful and not at all reassuring, amplifying the impact of the vision. Minelli’s work continues the legacy of many artists in ‘representing’ sound: attempting to give shape to its absence.
Fillippo Minelli has had work exhibited in major galleries and museums throughout Europe, including at the Venice Biennale and Somerset House, London. He held a solo show at Huxley-Parlour in the summer of 2015.