Filippo Minelli (Brescia, IT 1983) is a contemporary artist living and working between Barcelona and London, analyzing and researching architecture, politics, communication and geography to create installations and performances documented through photography and video.
After attending the course in Art and New Media he graduated with honors from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, where the academic education went alongside with the interventions in public spaces that characterized his research in previous years. Interested in the landscape and public spaces Minelli initially engages in instinctive and unauthorized actions, which in the early two thousand made him a pioneer for Italy of what will later be labeled as ‘street art’, and then he continued a personal path based on the aesthetics of protest, bringing politics to an anthropological and introspective level by decontextualizing the use of tear gas, reversing the function of ags and borrowing from the aesthetics of protest slogans.
Photography always played a key role in production Minelli’s production; initially as a way to document the interventions made during frequent trips between the Middle East and South America, from West Africa to the former Soviet Republics via South-East Asia, and then become an integral part of an extremely sharp and ironic poetic using the landscape to tell the story of the people who live it. In 2013 Elephant Magazine (UK) dedicated to the series ‘Silence/Shapes’ the cover of the 13th issue, entitled ‘Post-photography’ and in 2014 Onomatopee (NL) published a monograph about the artist’s production. During the same year Fundación Loewe (SP) organized exhibitions about the series in Madrid and Barcelona, while in 2015/16 Opéra National de Paris chose the series for the image of its yearly programming. In 2016 Minelli exhibited and performed the series for Somerset House (UK) and Maneж Museum (RU), during the same year ’Silence/Shapes’ was on the cover of Monthly Photography Korea and entered the permanent collection of Galleria Civica di Modena (IT).
After several projects abroad in solo and group exhibitions, in 2011 Minelli started to focus methodically on his native land documenting and conceptualizing the landscape of northern Italy. His work was exhibited by Somerset House (London, UK), Münchner-StadtMuseum (Münich, Germany), Total Museum (Seoul, South Korea), La Triennale di Milano (Italy), East Wing Biennial (London, UK), ArtScience Museum (Singapore), Fundaciòn Loewe (Madrid, Spain), Museu do Som e Imagem (São Paulo, Brazil), Biennale di Venezia 2011, Centro Cultural Recoleta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), MACRO (Rome, Italy) and was reviewed over the years by some of the major international media outlets such as Le Monde, The New York Times, Harpers, Huffington Post, The Guardian and Al Jazeera.
Since 2007 Minelli was both invited and selected by several institutions for research-projects, residencies and lectures: Aarhus University (DK), National Centre for Contemporary Arts (RU), Gyeonggi Creation Center (KR), Padiglione Architettura (IT), Epicenter Projects (USA), Fotogra a Europea (IT), Centro Cultural de Belém (PT), Total Museum of Contemporary Arts (KR) and IULM University (IT) among others.
Silence/Shapes is an ongoing project, started in 2009 with the aim of giving a shape to silence. In political demonstrations clouds of smoke and teargas are the element entering the scene muting the perception both visually and acoustically: people and movements disappear, sounds are more muffled, and the screams are lowered because of breathing difficulties.
From this reading of landscape the suggestion to use the smoke itself to visualize silence in the landscape, decontextualizing smoke-grenades in places that amplify the feeling of calmness, thus giving shape to what is invisible by its very nature. Opposing the violence of smoke to the romantic idea of beauty is therefore demonstrating that beauty itself can be found in clashing visions, adding political connotation to the deceptively aesthetic result. The visual impact in the photographs of the series is similar to what Kurosawa did with the sound effects in his lms, removing the audio suddenly after war scenes, leaving the viewers shocked thanks to the sudden materialization of silence.
Silence differs considerably from place to place and the one you experience at night waiting the traffic lights of a big city is different the one of natural landscapes, so the project which rst started in the Alps and in the northern Italian countryside then continued in places with different characteristics, such as Californian deserts and the suburbias of Florida, abandoned Soviet factories or the lush vegetation of the Azores Islands.