Davide Savorani and Michelangelo Miccolis, Savorani’s technical and performative assistant, have been working on a series of projects including a room-sized installation in Savorani’s studio space at the Galveston Artist Residency for the past eleven months. Savorani is one of three artists-in-residence who will exhibit their work in the Galveston Artist Residency Exhibition, opening on Saturday, June 1st, from 6-9pm. “My first idea was about the translation from vision to words and the gaps that human beings face in translation—what you lose. The project itself is about language,” said Savorani.
“Every day I would have a banana as a snack and simply tack the skin on the wall,” he continued. Once the installation is complete all the skins will be used as fertilizer for a local bed of roses; “It’s nice to know the project will, in a way, live on, even though I’m gone.”
Savorani transcribed the shapes of his banana wall into what I dubbed “Bananaglyphs.”
Adding carpet and two more medicine balls as chairs will enable viewers to interact with two very different forms of language: a wall of bananas and a video loop of text and sound projected on the opposite wall. Also available this Saturday are books edited by Danish artist Hannah Heilmann that document Miccolis’ encounters on the streets of Galveston wearing a banana suit.
Savorani’s prints that do not feature bananas are extensions of his exploration of what he calls The Can’t Get Away Club. Savorani explains The Can’t Get Away Club as part of the nature of living in a place like Galveston; the calm sea breeze, the cheap booze, and endless reasons to never return to a big city can keep people stuck. Each year promises are made, “Maybe next year I will move to Houston…Maybe I will finally start that popcorn ball franchise.” From Faenza, a small town in the north of Italy himself, Savorani is familiar with this syndrome and decided to immerse himself in Galveston: “I came here with nothing and I wanted to try to understand the city. Something I experienced was this idea of a place where you really face yourself.”
What I admired most about both Savorani and Miccolis was their ability to immerse themselves in a completely foreign place and use materials that were part of their daily lives. In the studio, when I asked about a strand of plastic beads hanging on the wall, Miccolis remarked, “Yes! We were at some parade and they were just throwing them! We kept grabbing at the air! This is what the city gave us; why not make art out of it?”
As I pictured two foreigners reaching around daiquiri-toting Galvestonians for beads, I began to realize that this is where great art comes from—an ability to take what is around you and see its potential. To me, some of the best work I’ve seen comes out of this ability to go into an art practice with questions, rather than answers.
Special thanks to Davide and Michelangelo for sharing their impermanent home with me.