Otto Zoo gallery presents Jani Ruscica’s first Italian solo show. Ruscica (Savolinna, 1978) is one of the most interesting contemporary Finnish artists, internationally appreciated and awarded.
His work mostly consists of video production. It is based on the concept of individual identity and on how this is influenced by the cultural environment and the geographical places.
Ruscica is enamoured with the humanistic dimension and – perhaps due to his status as a Finn with Sicilian origins – with the continuous and contradictory relationships that develop and transform in the places we have lived in. His works are often created right after his sojourns, as the film Beatbox (2007), shot in New York after a long permanence, or his last film Travelogue (2010), shot after his residency at the Camden Arts Center in London.
Ruscica is captured and subdued by the power of the cinematic media – traditionally like many Finnish artists. He creates films (shot in 16mm and then transferred to digital beta and HD) that swing between experimental documentaries, fiction, and video art.
In Milan he will present Evolutions (2008) – awarded last year at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne – and Beginning an Ending (2009), his most cinematographic works. Both pieces were shot in a studio in Helsinki. The protagonists of the films are non-professional actors. Both productions were built up with a minimal and evocative theatre set, which recalls Brechtian theatre and consequently the magic of Lars Von Trier’s Dogville.
In the first film, 7 teenagers between 12 and 19 – deftly directed by Ruscica – question themselves about the birth of the universe, mixing their imagination together with the original plot of the film. Thus, different stories are made up. Ruscica – faithful to the staged nature of the film– diversifies them with scenic objects built in the studio: Greek sculptural deities, mirrors, papier-mâché waves, spheres, replicating the tradition of the 16th century Italian opera and the theatrical and the cinematic techniques of the Twentieth Century Masters.
In the second film, 7 older actors tell their personal visions of the future, as a result of their life experiences, which turn out to be a bitter reflection on the present. For this film, Ruscica has chosen a more realistic and contemporary set design, making use of technological solutions but keeping a marked theatrical setting.
As a completion of the installation in the gallery, photo portraits of the 14 protagonists will be shown: the adults in their mundane surroundings, the teenagers in their rooms surrounded by the images of their adolescent archetypes.