‘I know no one, more international than me’ Miltos Manetas loves to say when asked where he is from, but as all roads lead to Rome, eventually also this globe trotting greek artist ended up in the eternal city. It was almost a year ago and last week at Complesso Monumentale Santo Spirito in Sassia, an ancient hospital complex dating back to 727 AD, M.M. inaugurated his one-night-only exhibition and performance entitled BlackBerry Paintings, a series of works started in August 2010.

‘There is a fundamental error in painting-in every school of painting- that has existed until today: we are always painting on a plane that’s different from the plane of reality. We either paint on a canvas or some other support that is positioned in parallel or in front of the world, we never paint over reality itself, we never “paint reality”. That was to change for me after I had a recent accident in 2010, when I went down 40 meters from the top of a rock on my back with a little tree, finally saving my life. After a month of immobility in the hospital, I returned to that same place where I had the accident and I rent a little house there. Waiting to recover completely, I had my colors and canvasses brought there but I couldn’t paint: regular painting just didn’t seamed a good idea anymore.  Finally, one day that I took a brush and without any color on it, I started “painting” over the landscape. A few days after my “discovery”, I keeping my Blackberry on my left head, I start filming whatever it was that I was painting. A Blackberry and a brush was now all that I needed for a studio. That’s how the BLACKBERRY PAINTINGS were born and from that moment, I decide to continue my life by painting it at the same time.’ states M.M.

Curated by Valentina Ciarallo, as part of the project Spirito Due, M.M.’s BlackBerry Paintings were shown outside the virtual realm for the first time ever. The juxtaposition of this unique dimly-lit space and carefully-placed digital projections silenced the guests, who listening to Debussy’s compositions walked up-and-down the long room staring in awe and patiently waiting their turn at the painting performance. It seemed as though past, present and future came together in a timeless moment, which probably influenced by the proximity to the Vatican, felt somewhat church-like.

The BlackBerry Paintings created during M.M.’s performance at Santo Spirito in Sassia will be on view at MACRO (via Nizza 138, Rome) until December 30th.



By Cosima Bucarelli