Aesthetics and Emotions at MART

For their second Slow Art Day, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rovereto and Trento (MART), Italy, organized both an online and an in-person event.

For the online session, which took place on April 1, the eight participants received three artworks by email the day before of the event so that they could look slowly on their own and then come and present their thoughts during the session.

For the in-person event, organizers presented the three artworks at the beginning of the session, then they left the 20 participants to look slowly for 45 minutes.

Participants were given some prompts to think about while looking:

  • Which elements strike you the most?
  • Which positive or/and negative emotions do you feel looking at this artwork?
  • Do you like this artwork asethetically?
  • Does it evoke you memories? If so, which ones?

They also asked participants to do the following:

  • Rate their emotional and aesthetic responses with a scale of of 0 to 5 points.
  • Assign a title for each work of art (we recommend other educators consider adding this fun element).
  • Think of a common thread connecting the three artworks.

Once their slow looking was done, the museum then divided the participants into small discussion groups of four people each.

Photos from the in-person session can be viewed below.

Gino Severini, Cannoni in azione, 1915 oil on canvas, 50 x 61,5 cm, Mart, Collezione VAF-Stiftung

Organizers collected the participants feedback and shared with us a few snippets (translated from Italian).

Admiring, observing and talking in a group about the individual and personal sensations that the works made on us was very beautiful, instructive and formative. Feeling how each participant had his own point of view and his impression and how the various impressions intertwined with each other was very welcome and was appreciated by all.

Renzo – Slow Art Day participant

I think we all had a great desire to live this moment, in which physical closeness, looks, voice, were finally used as “normal” means of communication and expression simply belonging to our human race. After these two years of restrictions [for Covid] I think we all felt happy to get to know and re-know each other in a close way and to make a group. Looking together, exchanging opinions and impressions, sharing the different possibilities of reading and interpreting the works was an enriching experience and, let me say, at least for me, even moving.”

Maddalena – Slow Art Day participant

We’d like to add that Denise Bernabè, Membership Coordinator at MART, and Piero Consolati, MART member for several years, have been organizing Slow Art monthly meetings in addition to the annual events. And, due to the pandemic, April 2 was the first time they ran an in-person slow looking session – and they did great!

We very much look forward to what they come up with for 2023.

– Jessica Jane, Phyl, Johanna, and Ashley

Slow Art Day in an 18th century building: Casa Regis

For their first Slow Art Day, Casa Regis, a non-profit association and centre for culture and contemporary art in Valdilana, Italy, featured local artists in a video and social-media-based event.

Casa Regis’ Facebook post of the event.
In the picture, Achill(a)/Frame, sculpture by Daniele Basso.

On April 10, 2021, art photographer and founder of Casa Regis, Mikelle Standbridge, uploaded a series of short videos of different artistic installations on the organization’s Instagram page.

The videos featured a soundscape of birds chirping, as Mikelle briefly introduces works by local artists Sissi Castellano, Daniele Basso, Carla Crosio, Michela Cavagna and herself. Note: the artists were selected and chosen in part because of the interesting juxtaposition of their work against the backdrop of the eighteenth-century building in which Casa Regis is located.

Below you can find pictures of the featured installations, links to the videos, and a brief description of each.

Screenshot from the short video of
Sissi Castellano’s installation I AM NOT AN ARTIST

Sissi Castellano‘s silkworm cocoon installation entitled‘ ‘I AM NOT AN ARTIST‘, is based on the Japanese Mingei philosophy of objects, which the artist follows. The Mingei approach simulatenaously focuses on the function and aesthetic value of common household objects.

You can view the installation and the above video here.

Daniele Basso. Hawk. Steel and white bronze sculpure. Picture taken from Casa Regis’ IG page.

Sculptor and artist Daniele Basso‘s ‘Hawk’, which comes from a series called Frames, is a stainless steel and white bronze sculpture. The artist plays with effects of mirroring, showing the complexity and the different levels of reality.

You can find a brief explanation and watch above video here.

Carla Crosio. Cancer. Picture taken from Casa Regis’ IG page.

Artist Carla Crosio‘s installation, entitled Cancer, is made of of marble, bronze and glass and it takes inspiration from her personal life.

View the above video here.

Michela Cavagna. Birth. Picture taken from Casa Regis’ IG page.

Fiber Artist Michela Cavagna‘s installation entitled ‘Birth’, is inspired by the Russian tale of Vassilissa.

You can view the video of the installation with a brief explanation here.

Screenshot from the short video of
Mikelle Standbridge’s installation Public Domain.

Mikelle Standbridge also included one of her works of art named ‘Public Domain’. This art work can be seen as a bridge between art and science.

View Part 1 and Part 2 of that video.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the use of video for creating slow looking environments. We recommend that our museum educator and curator friends around the world watch some of the short videos that Mikelle created.

We are also happy to report that their inaugural event was so successful that they then planned in-person Slow Art day events for the rest of 2021. Excellent!

We look forward to whatever Casa Regis comes up with for Slow Art Day 2022.

Jessica, Johanna, Ashley, and Phyl

PS: A press release of the event is available in Italian here.

What’s in a Name? Titles and Emotions at MART

On April 10th, the Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART) in Rovereto, Italy, organized a virtual Slow Art Day event that focused on re-titling artworks based on participants’ emotional experiences of slow looking.

Images of three artworks from the MART collection were emailed to the 15 registered participants ahead of joining a Zoom session. Once in the virtual session, participants were given 45 minutes to look slowly at three artworks. They then split into 3 discussion groups, each led by a coordinator, that focused on the emotions and observations of the participants while viewing the works. Participants were then asked to give each artwork their own title based on emotions experienced during the slow looking. The day after the session, participants were sent a brief profile of each artwork that included the emotional titles, the actual title, and the name of the artist, date, and art movement.

Below is one of the artworks along with a word cloud of the emotional titles given by the participants. Some of these translate to: “Disgust”, “Towards tomorrow?”, “Artist’s self-portrait”, “Who am I?”.

Arnulf Rainer, Splitter, 1971
Pastel and oil on photography, cm 60,5 x 50,5, Mart
Titles assigned to the artwork by the participants.

The event was well recieved by all the attendees, with one participant commenting:

“See how this way of following art stimulates a lot of creativity in us. Beautiful. We are like amateur jazz improvisers, extemporizing on a score!”

Participant Quote

That’s right. Slow looking is like jazz improvisation. We love this design of MART’s first official Slow Art Day event and hope that others decide to copy this.

Note that their Slow Art Day was not their first slow looking series. In 2020, local art enthusiast and MART member Piero Consolati approached Denise Bernabe, the Membership Coordinator at MART, about the possibility of organizing slow art sessions. Thanks to their initiative, MART has hosted nine slow art sessions since May 2020, which are now held monthly at the museum (so far, mostly virtually).

At Slow Art Day HQ we are delighted that slow looking has become a staple activity for the MART Museum. Denise Bernabe and Piero Consolati share updates with us about the status of slow art at MART throughout the year.

We look forward to MART’s continued events throughout the year, and their celebration of Slow Art Day in 2022.

– Johanna, Jessica and Ashley