“Work comes out of work”, Richard Serra does not stop to stress concerning the various modes of his artist enterprises, be it sculpture, film, drawing or print. With 'Intimacy' sound artist Pietro Riparbelli proves that from the factual labor and workspaces of contemporary artists work evolves into new and unprecedented art.
Post-minimal with respect to the process art aspects of production, Riparbelli recorded eight artists at work in their studios, complete with their spoken reflections, discussions and the physical act of material creation. Work does come out of work – more so even: the mostly silent gallery walls, the sound levels there rarely rising above hushed speech, the art itself inherently mute, are activated by Riparbelli's sound art piece 'Intimacy'. The objectified white cube walls of the gallery turn out to be teeming with hustle and bustle and loaded with subjective narratives.
Not only does Riparbelli project creation into the gallery space, he also draws poetic lines from the artist to the viewer – in this case listener. Riparbelli does not only literally bring us closer and more intimate to the artist at work, in the studio. He also reflects on a wholly different nature of art process practice: the intimacy of hearing. One can close the eye, shut out light and turn off from seeing artworks. Totally closing off the ears is impossible. Experiencing sound art is a much more intimate act than viewing visual art. The aural mental image is profoundly direct, pure and unmitigated. Intimate even as the projected 'image' only forms in your head and not in a perspective proportion before your eyes in terms of color, material, distance, scale et al.
Seeing registers from perception in front of the viewer; hearing is all around. Seeing is external; hearing is internal. Riparbelli's work brings the poetic inspiration of the creation of an aural image, experience or understanding of his work directly to the listener, therewith instantly and profoundly activating imagination on a process art plain from external to internal between the artists, the sound artist, the sound art piece and the listener; conceptually but also and very much so tangible, bodily: the haptics of the poetics of space.
What you hear is not what you see. Riparbelli presents processes. He does not propose soundtracks to the artworks. This is not illustration, but a poetic dialectic akin to his Cathedrals project in which Riparbelli examines the architecture of the churches with full focus on the sounding environment of the building, sounds in space and resonances. With 'Intimacy' Riparbelli portraits the artists at work as a positive aural space, drawing attention to process and dialogue, to trial and error and all that aurally surrounds the artist and all of us. As in Rachel Whiteread's casts, this sound art work details the spaces most likely overlooked or overheard (or not even heard to start with) and presents these as full forces of time and matter, histories in and of themselves. These are by no means negative spaces or residues. These are shown to be various instances of the locus of life lived and creation therein; the 'toto' of which the artwork is but a single detail, a shard, a 'pars' – the artwork as the glimmer of an afterimage of the whole of creative activity.
Still: 'Intimacy' itself presents itself as an afterimage, a recording of the flux of creation, detailed and etched in recording material itself dematerialized in playback in the gallery space, with the concluding record itself being a once again material recorded afterimage of the afterimage and yet in no way a distillation or dilution of original creative instances themselves, but quite on the contrary a marked affirmation of continuous creation that can and will only take form in the form of triggered active imagination through the sound art piece. A totally new work came out of work. New work that is in a constant state of subjective assessment and intimate poetical reflection.
Pietro Riparbelli is an Italian philosopher, composer and sound-multimedia artist. He has released compositions under his own name and as K11 en PT-R. With Michele Ferretti (Nubilum) he forms the duo Zone Démersale. Riparbelli's work has been released by Touch, Gruenrekorder, Old Europe Cafe, Cassauna and Geräuschmanufaktur. Riparbelli lives and works in Livorno (Tuscany), Italy and works works with the Enrico Fornello Contemporary Art Gallery. Riparbelli is member of A.I.P.S. (Archivio Italiano Paesaggi Sonori).