Workshop with Cesare Viel
l'armonia art residence
Cesare Viel led the second workshop held for L’armonia, Manifattura Tabacchi’s third art residency programme. Viel is a polyhedric artist whose work explores the most delicate forms of expression. Viel creates performances and installations in which he employs many expressive techniques such as sound, the voice, writing, photography, and drawing.
During the three-day workshop, Viel focused the participants’ attention on the body, a material ‘vulnerable’ to perception, a material in which various tensions and equilibriums coexist: these, when examined by a group, spark questions regarding artistic production. Is it possible to create a work to exorcise the performance anxiety life confronts us with on a daily basis? Can a performance be created to diffuse this aspect, an aspect connected to harmony, when harmony is seen as an inclusive rather than divisive force? After discussing various possible answers, the six artists-in-residence used their bodies to respond to the questions posed by Viel.
The workshop’s activities were based on bodily movements, and squares were drawn on the floor at the start of the performance to delineate the field of action in which the artists reenacted and reinterpreted Bruce Nauman’s piece entitled Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square (1967).
‘In projects such as this one, and like all projects connected to art, to dreams, to emotions and design, one must always contend with limits. If we don’t, we risk being unrealistic — as if we lost touch with our own research. We must take reality into account, herein lies the beauty of our work, even though it can sometimes be frustrating: we must find beauty even in frustration, this is a great task and we artists are fortunate to take on this challenge.’
Viel’s words did not leave anything to chance. His questions, how they were phrased, finding solutions through the body, and embracing limits as an intrinsic part of research were all lessons in how to ‘feel’ and to ‘be’ in the world, whatever its form.