Ismael Monticelli (BR, 1987)
Residency period: October-December 2019
Brazil was a colony for 322 years, from 1500 to 1822. During this period, most of the reports about the country were written by foreign travellers. One of them was a 16-year-old Swiss-German, Carl Seidler, who arrived in Brazil in 1826. After spending ten years in the country, he returned to Europe and wrote a book about his adventure in the tropics.
The first part of the residency project tried to address social networks as a context for artistic creation. Ismael recorded several videos during the three months of his residency. The videos were edited, subtitled and posted on his personal Instagram account, daily, during the 90 days of the residency, as a kind of visual diary of a Brazilian traveller in Switzerland. All subtitles were drawn from passages taken from Seidler’s book. The artist’s intention was to focus on ways to reverse Carl Seidler’s narrative about Brazil, to Switzerland.
When he was in Rio de Janeiro, Seidler watched the play Wilhelm Tell by Schiller, performed by Brazilians, at the Imperial Theatre. In his book, he wrote harsh criticisms, commenting that “the German masterpiece had become a comedy” in Brazil and that it was difficult to laugh at what, for him, “was a comedy made by monkeys”. Starting from that, the second part of the research consisted of designing an installation about how Brazil knew and appropriated the story of Wilhelm Tell, the most famous Swiss legend.
Isamel Monticelli is a Brazilian artist whose work deals primarily with the intersection of fiction, art, and history – particularly microhistory, an approach that focuses on the particular fates of individuals to study the world in which they evolve.Working from established narratives, he attempts to reorganize, rethink and present them in other ways, revealing other facets that are not, or hardly, visible. These experiments have generated installations, photographs, objects and videos, without being restricted to a single technique or category. After several residencies and prices (Foco Bradesco ArtRio Award, Funarte Prize for Contemporary Art, HTTPpix 2010 Photography Festival), he is currently a Phd candidate inContemporary Art and Culture at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.