If I Can’t Dance is pleased to present Sara Giannini’s Maquillage as Meditation: Carmelo Bene and the Undead, the 15th publication within its “Performance in Residence” series, as well as the closing project of Edition VIII—Ritual and Display (2019–21).
The book is an event that happens, has happened and will happen on the night of October 31. Every time it is opened, it leads the reader in the midst of All Saints Eve, the night in which the other side, the “off-scene,” is on scene. The setting is the Palace of Melancholy, a place for mourning, longing, remembering, and aching. In this temporal and spatial loop, Giannini summons the specters left behind by the controversial Italian actor, author, director, philosopher, and public persona Carmelo Bene (1937–2002).
The complicated legacy of this male figure is approached by Giannini through inner voices of dissent, shame and rebellion, as well as through imaginative historical gatherings. Maquillage as Meditation takes readers through Giannini’s personal journey as she tries to face her conflicting feelings toward Bene, recalling her first encounter with him on television at the age of ten. In the process, she speculates on new constellations through which to understand his practice and context. Partly a script, partly a personal voyage into the psyche of diseducation, this book asks fundamental questions: What do we do with the “dirt of our past”? How does one reconcile—or even just face—those early influential figures? How do we understand the experiences they engender(ed), even if it might not be our desire to return to those experiences? But what can happen if we do return?
In her company and support, Giannini has invited traveling partners—friends and allies who bring with them their own critical examinations and excursions into what Bene has meant, and still means, for their lives and practices. Snejanka Mihaylova, Jacopo Miliani, and Arnisa Zeqo probe the walls of the Palace of Melancholy, looking for an exit. Together, the four travelers weave through time loops and eternal returns as they follow the traces of this legacy that lives on in them, of that which remains undead.
The publication, designed by Raoul Audouin, is available at this link from December 16 for a reduced launch price of 15 EUR (through January 9, afterwards 22 EUR).
Sara Giannini’s Maquillage as Meditation is part of the “Performance in Residence” programme within If I Can’t Dance’s Edition VIII—Ritual and Display (2019-21). Edition VIII also includes new productions by Derrais Carter, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Giulia Damiani, Lisa Robertson, MPA, and Sands Murray-Wassink.
If I Can’t Dance receives structural support from the Mondriaan Fund and the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts) and project support from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
Other titles in the “Performance in Residence” series
18 pictures and 18 stories, Bulegoa z/b and Isidoro Valcárcel Medina
Adrian Piper: Performing Objects I Have Been, Rhea Anastas
Anemones: A Simone Weil Project, Lisa Robertson
Black Revelry: In Honor of The Sugar Shack, Derrais Carter
Chroma Lives, Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich
Delphine Seyrig’s Calamity, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez
Guy de Cointet’s …….