Retrospective: Parade Presents – Arts Prize 2015, After Nyne Meets Winner Raphael Giannesini

A month ago today it was the hottest day of the year- no, scratch that- the hottest day of the decade.

Among the hidden streets of Shoreditch, people gasped for air as they wove in and out of one another. However, in this trendy side of town, on that particular summers eve, it wasn’t just the sunshine causing a commotion.

Today marks one month since Parade Presents Art Prize 2015, having received over 400 applicants, the evening showcase exhibited works of 23 lucky finalists. With all applicants being under the age of 25, Parade Presents Art Prize 2015 was a true display of the freshest, hottest talent around.

The exhibition space alone was inspiring: wide open rooms needing to be filled; clean white walls gagging for colour; small endearing alcoves begging for excitement. The way the show was curated simply felt like Cinderella and her slipper – the perfect fit. Round every corner was something more exiting than the last, on every wall was something different and unique.

For me some of the highlights included the works of Julius Roberts, Josef Jackson and Ao Jing. Julius Roberts’ metal chairs suspended in mid-falling position brought life to the exhibition as passer-bys couldn’t resist the temptation to sit down and experience a strange sense of defying gravity, whilst Josef Jackson’s ‘XL Noses’ enforced a satirical overtone in another corner of the show. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ao Jing’s emotive performance piece, performed by a woman painted head to toe in white, stopped audience members in their tracks and held their attention from start to finish.

Overall, with so many different original artworks ranging from large canvas pieces to emotional performances, it’s no real wonder why this show captivated such an audience.

Nonetheless, it was Raphael Giannesini’s animated piece ‘The Reason Why’ which stole the heart of the judges. His perfectly executed animation seduced the curiosity of many viewers and held their focus throughout the 5 minute showing. Giannesini was announced the winner of The Parade Presents: Art Prize 2015 on 8th July 2015. After Nyne caught up with him to discuss his winning piece and what the award has meant for his work.

A month ago you were announced as the winner of Parade Presents: Art Prize 2015 with your animated piece ‘The Reason Why’. What was your initial reaction when you found out you had won?

I was happy. That was the beginning of summer.

Briefly summarise the concept behind ‘The Reason Why.’

Well, I wanted to question the modern forms of communication and access to knowledge via new technology of information. I liked particularly this idea of serendipity resulting from the process of research on Internet that drives us to experience a new narrative shaped of free association. On Internet we don’t read text but hypertext interconnected by links with different levels of details. At the end, we always discover things that we were not originally in quest of. It is like an endless odyssey made of accidents, detours, encounters that keep us connected.

‘The Reason Why’ tries to highlight those problematic through an installation centred around a video animated with a basic 3D software. It introduces a fictive character that evolves around a moving universe made of objects, ideas and impressions narrated by a voice over. ‘The Reason Why’ acts as an invitation that brings the audience into an onsite journey in the quest of unresolved meaning.

Your piece really entices the viewer with the continuity of the spinning scenery. What was the purpose of having a man as the consistent centre point of the rotating scene?

I thought this man as an alter ego, someone we could project ourselves in. He is a witness, present and absent in the same time. Somehow he is a container, who digests information, objects and ideas.I like the fact that the camera spins around and aroundbut he keeps watching us. He acts like a figure of a classical painting that looks towards the audience to bounds the pictorial space with the exhibition space.

‘The Reason Why’ is just over 5 minutes long, which many people can find quite long for a film-based art piece. What techniques did you have use to keep the audience motivated to continue watching until the end?

That was something I was particularly focused on. I wanted my film to be long enough to push people to question their position as viewers. ButI knew that I had to find the right balance between something long and captivating and something long and long. That’s why I use different tools to maintain the continuity and intensity of the audience’s experience.

First, The voice over is there to feed the audience with semi useless/usefull information to attract people’s curiosity. Then, at different points, the voice involves directly the audience with sentences such as “please bear with me” or “I am glad you have made it so far”. It fosters a sense of responsibility or even some empathy towards the piece. I have also added a deck chair (like the one of the video) to put people at ease while there were watching.

Finally, since winning the Art Prize in July, what changes have occurred in your artistic practise?

More emails.

The Parade Presents: Art Prize 2015 took place for one night only on Wednesday 1st July 2015.

See Raphael Giannesini’s winning video here: .

Florence Rose