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Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 Studio Visits: Federico Nessi

Federico Nessi at his home studio in the Upper East Side.

In conjunction with recent collaborations between Thomas Hollingworth, Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 (Magazine pg. 100), Modern Luxury (Miami) and NO MAD Paper, featuring Miami culture, ARTLURKER, will now present studio visits of select Miami based contemporary artists. Running concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach the aim of these features is to venerate the cities native artistic wealth and honor those who continue to make Miami what it is.

Federico Nessi’s work in which himself and fellow performers and their environments interact with each other uses visual metaphors that stress various levels of various struggles to attain various self-realizations. A stylized use of light, cinematography and post production editing, combined with a neo-punk approach to music making and interaction, Nessi conveys a mixture of vulnerability, tenderness and masochistic violence that comments upon both the fragility and the strength of the human mind.

Federico Nessi at his home studio in the Upper East Side.

Can you give us a sense of what kind of artist you are now and what you are working on?

My elevator pitch, this is what this is called, and I have never been good at that, so… yeah, I basically am at a point where I am making whatever feels right more than anything else; whatever makes me feel the best. As yet I don’t know how that is effecting the actual work because at one point it did seem that I was making something more definable, or designable, or tailored, but now I have decided to stop repressing all these thing that I was for a while like my desire to make music and my desire to put myself in situations that make me feel uncomfortable. So now I am focusing on that but still focusing on the ideas that I have always focused on which is the representation of these feelings, thoughts and moments.

What mediums are you using?

Music, video and performance, only. I haven’t picked up a stills camera in quite some time. I will still do it, eventually, but right now everything is coming in a different form; figuring out how to create these little performances, these moments. That includes video and sound mainly for me.

Closing reception for Emotional Response Can Be DeConditioned, Spinello Gallery.

Regarding you current direction, and disregarding for a moment the actual work that you did for the show, how significant do you feel that Emotional Response Can Be DeConditioned was to your current direction?

Well, its not so much Emotional Response Can Be DeConditioned as it is the months before that. I guess Wire Wire Wire is more significant in terms of how my work has been directed because I think Emotional Response Can Be DeConditioned had a lot of elements that I was already working with that I just took in a new direction. I think something to note about Emotional Response Can Be DeConditioned, however, is that I did want to have some tanglible work within the show and that the actual process of the show pushed me over the edge of not wanting to do that at all, for a little bit at least. But interms of a general shift, I think my excitement and passion for Wire Wire Wire was what set me on my current direction where as Emotional Response Can Be DeConditioned merely confirmed that I want to be doing this.

Wire Wire Wire, Miami Light Projects.

What projects do you have on during Basel?

For Basel I am DJing the Whitehot Party at Locust Projects on Saturday 7th. And that’s mainly it. That’s my goal for Basel. I am in the PULSE booth for Spinello but I don’t really know what he is showing, but mainly I am just DJing this party which will be myself and Chris Video. And I mean were not just DJing, were going to do a performance too. I am kind of excited that I am not doing something too specific for Basel and that I have taken the Djing as my main thing; were going to create a pretty bizarre party!

This is your studio where you do a lot of image manipulation and editing, but you also spend quite some time in a recording studio also is that right?

Yeah, I guess I have a lot of studio spaces, but yeah, this is where I spend the majority of my time. When I have those days that I can just take off and work on my own thing I just sit here. And it’s so beautiful, you know, I feel like I am outside. You get to enjoy the day; there are squirrels that talk to me. Well, they talk to each other and I kind of join in. Then there’s the Blue Jays and the Cardinals. I choose to spend a lot of my time here.

How do you feel about the fair?

Well, without being too overly dramatic or spiteful, I kind of hate it. But I hate it because of how I experience it – walking into this really sterile, hospital-like scenario where there’s a million artists and a million works that make no sense together. The work is in no way in the context that the artist intended it to be, well, sometimes it is and that’s those kind of artists, but if something is really a captivating work then its not meant to be in that scenario. I think Art Basel in Switzerland does a lot better in creating environments for works. If things were more like that here then I would probably enjoy fairs more, but I made it a point this year not to go to any because every year I get really discouraged. Its really easy to compare yourself to the billions of artists and at the same time not feel any attachment to their works because they are poorly lit or too close to each other or you can see the money oozing off the walls.

Ana Mendez and Federico Nessi at a recording studio.

What projects do you have on after the fair?

I am working for 12/12 [December 12th] now, which is a singles night show. I looked over this Basel. I am doing the Whitehot Magazine Party at locust projects, but it’s a party and then I am focused on 12/12. Its nice for me for Basel not to be ‘it’ because its so easy to get caught up in it. So I try to focus all my attention on shows that are on during other times and then just take in Basel for what it is, enjoy it, maybe try and see what’s going on, what’s out there in the city; in terms of people rather than work. I am sure that I am going to come across something this year that I am really moved by; last year it was the artist’s ball at Viscaya, that was beautiful, the little diamond in the ruff. Oh, and I was really moved by a Banks Violet piece at the main fair last year, but it was like the one piece in the whole fair. Banks Violet shows with Team (NY) but it wasn’t in the Team booth, it was in his German gallery[.]


Federico Nessi will DJ the Whitehot Magazine party at Locust Projects on Saturday December 6th from 7pm – 10pm and will be in his gallery, Spinello Gallery’s booth at PULSE MIAMI 2008.

On Friday December 12th, Federico Nessi will participate in Singles Night, a night of solo performances at Studio 1415, 1415 NE 129th Street, Miami. Performers will include Dino Felipe, Federico Nessi, This Heart Electric, Ana Mendez, Teepee, Rick Diaz, Treasures, Green Circles, Drowning the Virgin Silence and Flux Forces. No Cover – Full Moon.


For more information please visit: www.spinello and


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Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 Studio Visits: Federico Nessi