I think your work is very interesting because it has as its common thread the search for minimal movement. All your performances seem to want to investigate complex systems that are stripped down to the bone in order to extract an essential gesture.

My activity as an artist is closely related to the study of the human condition, and work as a structural part of it. I am first and foremost interested in investigating issues, as are the tool body, private resistances, and the arbitrary use of the landscape: so I open up research as in the case of the algorithms used by Amazon, the Albanian prison alphabet, or the seasonal collectors of bottles and cans in the city of Berlin. To these areas I then "fold" art, which is a very malleable tool. Gesture, movement, and choral actions are not the goal of my practice so much as the result of research; in some ways I am only concerned with pointing out certain evidence that already exists. 

One thing that is striking about your research method is your ability to immerse yourself in the communities of workers you are investigating. Certainly because of a natural inclination of yours to be social, but it seems to me there is more to it than that.

There is a personal anecdote: at one point I thought that I could/should do all the work in the world, perhaps to exorcise the obligation of having to have one, perhaps-more concretely-because I imagined a very vast potential for action. In general to this day I still believe that this is a necessary methodology, as an artist and as a researcher, learning to be in the body of others on multiple levels. For example, in the performance Ma vai a lavorare! I decided to step into the shoes of a fruit and vegetable market vendor by simply performing the relevant tasks for a month.

For the sculpture cycle on Pino Pascali, however, I learned to think like him while trying to acquire his technical skills. For the film Tre Titoli, which involved the former community of agricultural workers from Cerignola (heirs to the memory of Giuseppe di Vittorio) and the new community of laborers from Ghana, I activated meetings between the two communities that eventually led to the filmic writing of the work, in which they themselves are the protagonists.

Vacanze intelligenti_Nico Angiuli. Venezia Porto Marghera. Foto di Nunzio Santoro.2021
Nico Angiuli - Vacanze intelligenti, Venezia, Porto Marghera, 2021 - Photo of Nunzio Santoro
Part-time Resistance. studio. foto di Ivana Pia Lorusso. 2022. jpg
Nico Angiuli - Part-time Resistance, studio, 2022 - Photo of Ivana Pia Lorusso
When did your interest in work-related gestures begin?

During a residency in Blanca (Spain) between 2012 and 2013 at Centro Negra. Here I began to reflect on how agriculture was a dance, without needing to declare it as such. I began to study the gestures underlying the use of tools in the fields, their transformation in the course of technical and technological development, and how this affected and still affects the workers' bodies. 

The gestures, stripped down to the bone, are already naturally small choreographies, and after four years of research and performance, I have made an archive of them: an archive of "basic" human gestures and related to agriculture (The Tools’ Dance- Archive of Agricultural Gestures). If for this project the study of the body investigates its machinic gesturality, with the film Three Titles starting with the cultivation of tomatoes, I investigated caporalato and the cyclical nature of violence: the exploitation suffered by the locals at the hands of the latifundistas, and then today perpetrated to the detriment of the migrant community.

In the following years I continued with the video work The Human Tools On the issues of de-humanization of the human body understood as a tool, thus Amazon Dance. I am now engaged with the MACTE museum in Termoli in the realization of Part-time Resistance On the themes of private resistance and edited by Eugenia Delfini.

In addition to your performance and video works, you have been pursuing a project on Pino Pascali that you mentioned earlier. Can you tell us about it more specifically?

From 2006 to 2011 I collaborated with Stalker/Osservatorio Nomade and, on the occasion of a stop in Puglia, I was able to study some of Pino Pascali's autographed notebooks. They contained drafts of some of his works that involved imitating natural elements such as wind and heat and that Pascali had not been able to make due to his untimely death. I empathized with the artist and defined a sculptural cycle of 11 works (of which I made three, "Hammock," "Sand Ladder" and "Gallows"). It was very complex because I had to learn to work the way he worked, who had no limitations in technique and meticulously mastered every material. In the reconstruction work I was also guided by the dialogue of friends and gallerists close to him such as Claudio Abate, Fabio Sergentini and Gian Enzo Sperone. 

Nico Angiuli - Incarnatio duabus rotis rotatis, Collezione Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa Venezia, 2011 - Photo of Roberto Dell Orco
Tell me about a work/residency/exhibition important to your path.

A project that I really enjoyed is the one carried out during the residency at Villa Ruffieux, in Sierre (CH) in 2014. During this residency period, I delved into the theme of the construction of Swiss identity through landscape: indeed, Switzerland has always had a naturalistic imaginary attached to it, despite industrialization and the consequent destruction of its mountains. This paradigm, used for identity, political and touristic purposes, is called reframing of the real and is actually long-standing (think, for example, of the School of Savièse, which was known for its depiction of the Swiss landscape as early as the 19th century).

The project Adieu, Erasing the Alps, developed during the residency, was aimed at denouncing, through performative acts, this cultural constitution of nature-with the villa's group of gardeners (the gardener is precisely the emblem of landscape construction) we then destroyed Styrofoam Alps to make fake snow and ate a cake in the shape of Mount Matterhorn. "Beyond the Alps, to the Mediterranean," as a punk slogan from the 1980s put it.

Tre Titoli. studio. elaborazione digitale. 2015
Nico Angiuli - Tre Titoli, studio, digital processing, 2015 -
Nico Angiuli. Amazon Dance. prodz. Fondazione Onassis Stegi. Atene, 2021
Nico Angiuli - Amazon Dance, prodz. Fondazione Onassis Stegi, Atene, 2021 -

STUDIO VISIT presents a series of interviews with artists from Puglia or or whose research is connected to issues related to the territory. The red thread of the different conversations is the exploration of matter: its use, compositional specifications and observations. The aim is to create a multi-voice dialogue, a mapping of materials used in contemporary art practice stretched between the search for new possibilities of concretization and the reactivation of old ones.

written by 
Elena Bray

Nico Angiuli (1981) is an Italian artist trained between the Academies of Fine Arts in Rome and Bari; in
2011, he received his master's degree in Production and Design of Visual Arts from the IUAV in
Venice, with a sculptural thesis on Pascalian unfinished. He collaborates in the same years with the group Stalker/Osservatorio Nomade. In 2011 and assignee of the Bevilacqua La Masa ateliers. In Spain, from 2012 to 2013, he works on La Dance of Tools, to translate agricultural gestures into choreography. In 2014, in Switzerland invited by ViaFarini, a project on the political use of the Alps. In 2015, Three Titles, film about the cyclical nature of abuse in Giuseppe Di Vittorio's homelands. In 2017 The Tools' Dance at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan, curated by Care/OF. In 2018 the award
Italian Council with The Human Tools, a circular film installation, on the themes of the dehumanization of the human body.
In 2021 the EMAP - European Media Art Platform award, for which he translates into performance - with the
Onassis Foundation in Athens - the algorithms of Amazon. More recently Part-Time Resistance, research on private resistance, in collaboration with the museum MACTE in Termoli. Since 2017 and lecturer in Performing Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bari. Lives in Berlin.
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