Purple Magazine
— F/W 2016 issue 26

Gianni Motti

how not be surprised

artists series by MAURIO CATTELAN in collaboration with MARTA PAPINI 
portrait by GIASCO BERTOLI 


Broker, 2005, Unlimited at Art Basel 36, Basel


MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Why do you do what you do?
GIANNI MOTTI — I don’t really know why. It’s a mystery even to me.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
GIANNI MOTTI — A chair umpire in tennis? As a child, I was a ball boy, and I was jealous of the man up in the high chair enjoying his great view.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Isn’t your work more a caption for the world than an image?
GIANNI MOTTI — Maybe so, but the world is so complex that it’s hard to give it a caption.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Are your pieces intended to be chronicles of reality?
GIANNI MOTTI — We’re all influenced by our surroundings, of course, but I work more by intuition. There is no objective reality, but there are many subjective truths. The quality of our beliefs determines the quality of our realities.

Draft, 2015, Galerie Parrotin, Paris

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Do you like to stick a finger in the wound?
GIANNI MOTTI — It’s a devilish delight I indulge in from time to time.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Is there still something that cannot be said?
GIANNI MOTTI — There’s more that can’t be said all the time. Political correctness is invading every sphere of society. A trifle can offend a minority — and a majority, as well.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Has your work ever been censored? Do you ever feel like you censor yourself?
GIANNI MOTTI — I’ve been censored on occasion. C’est la vie! I myself don’t feel that I’m censoring my work. I try to say what I think without overstating it, and that seems to work pretty well.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — How do your works come to an aesthetic solution?
GIANNI MOTTI — When I exhibit them in places for art.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Why is being “against” important?
GIANNI MOTTI — It depends because with today’s newspeak, “against” might mean “for,” and “for,” “against.”

Pre-emptive act, 2007, Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — If you were a human activity, what would you be?
GIANNI MOTTI — I’m already a human activity.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Is evolution the result of human action or human design?
GIANNI MOTTI — How could I know? You’ve given me only two options. We’d need others. There might be surprises in store.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Do you feel comfortable inside the white cube?
GIANNI MOTTI — The first time I went inside a white cube, it was like entering another dimension. Dazzled by intense light, I felt no pain, no sensation of cold or heat. I felt only peace, an ineffable serenity.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — How does money influence your work?
GIANNI MOTTI — I’ve never had money in mind when conceiving a work. If I need money to make it, I proceed to a second stage: finding the money. There’ve been cases where I’ve been invited to places with very big budgets, and the production has cost so little that it’s caused trouble.

Blitz, 2003, 1st Prague Biennial. National Gallery, Veletržní Palác, Prague. On the day of the official opening of the Prague Biennial at the National Gallery, Gianni Motti asked a detachment of American servicemen to make the place safe

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — To what extent are your works autobiographical?
GIANNI MOTTI — I sometimes feature myself for the sake of convenience because it’s simpler and faster, but the point isn’t to talk about me.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Is there anything that still surprises you?
GIANNI MOTTI — How not to be surprised? The world is so fantastic, but also crazy, bonkers.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Would you make people forget any of your work, if you could?
GIANNI MOTTI — Yes, there are works I’d like to see forgotten, but I won’t say which. Otherwise people won’t forget them.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Is there anything you feel certain about?

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Do you ever not work?
GIANNI MOTTI — I work a lot. I enjoy it. But I also practice the art of not-doing.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — What’s the most difficult thing you’ve done until now? Is there something you’d like to do and that you haven’t yet?
GIANNI MOTTI — I think the most difficult thing has been the performance of Entierro n°1, in Spain, when I did my first funeral. I was distraught for a while. Something I’d still like to do? Travel at the speed of light.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Is losing control something that bothers you?
GIANNI MOTTI — I rarely lose control because, really, we have control over very little.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN — Tell us about a work of yours as if it were a story.
GIANNI MOTTI — At CERN [the European Organization for Nuclear Research], in the world’s largest particle accelerator, in a circular tunnel 27 kilometers long, a hundred meters underground, physicists were going to accelerate and collide particles at speeds approaching the speed of light, so as to reproduce the conditions of the Big Bang and learn a little more about the mysterious disappearance of antimatter. I found it all fascinating. So I decided to act like a proton and go around the 27 kilometers on foot. At my non-accelerated speed, it took about six hours. The particles, by contrast, make the trip 11,000 times in a second. After a few kilometers, I lost all sense of space and time. I remember nothing. I’d been hypnotized by the monotonous perspective of the tunnel. I was gone, elsewhere. When I got out, I felt that everyone else had grown older by six hours. Maybe one day, the scientists at CERN will discover mysterious traces of antiMotti.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2016 issue 26

Table of contents

purple NEWS

purple BEST of the SEASON





purple BEAUTY


purple TRAVEL

purple PHILO

purple SEX

purple NIGHT

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