DOPPELGAENGER 7/27 March 2014

including drawings, sculptures and a textile installation

From the press release

Balancing is the second phase of a site specific project developed in the context Radio Materiality, curated by cultural association Vessel in Bari in the summer of 2013. For the latter, the artist engaged through dialogues with mums living and working in the city, instrumental for an investigation into the sociological aspect of the notion of trust. The dialogues, translated in a collection of sound documents, have been presented at the Athens Biennale in 2013. The second phase, brings various elements of the project together as a performative installation. The artist has realized ten custom made wooded spin tops with a graphite finished point. The spintop – in the local jargon ‘Virruzzo’ – better than any other object represents a tension towards an alterable balance, never still, just like the one between a mother and her own child. The public will be able to participate in the performance as a game, allowing the spintops to draw their journey down a fabric made slide Cologni will construct on the two flights of the staircase in the Gallery. The project Balancing is manifestation of, and search for, equilibrium at the same time. It points at a social realm in constant evolution, where that very balance becomes unstable and precarious. Within this context mothers act as axes of rotation for taking history forward in new terms


Balancing is based on a series of dialogues between Elena Cologni and mothers based in Bari. The project’s research was part of Vessel’s curatorial and artistic process of investigation Radio Materiality, started in  2012. At the heart of this is the European Mediterranean area, with the geopolitical and social dynamics. The Apulia region, more specifically Bari, is the starting point for a dialogue expanding on notions of sameness, proximity, conflicts and distances. A project opening up through narratives and alternative self referential stories, other’s voices at times discordant with the dominating discourse: voices of women, mothers, migrants, and from diverse sexual orientation too. All of these define a multi-centric and fragmentary landscape. The radio thus becomes a metaphor for a collective of diverse voices from individuals. This happens within a process of re-appropriation of the discourse and the ‘word’ therein, the very concept of expressing oneself


Balancing (Catalogue),  Doppelgaenger Gallery, 2014


The project was supported by Arts Council of England, and VESSEL, Bari. The exhibition has been sponsored by Carvico SPA (www.carvico.com)



Mnemonic Present, Un-Folding #3, 2005, video live installation (3 projectors + 1 live video feed+ 2 video delay video feed + 3 screens + paper + 2 trestles) Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo

This is one of the 2 versions of the piece presented in 9 venues, and part of the project PRESENT MEMORY AND LIVENESS IN DELIVERY AND RECEPTION OF VIDEO DOCUMENTATION DURING PERFORMANCE ART EVENTS, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and conducted as post doctoral Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.


action: I fold the paper, stop, recollect and describe places I lived in

projections: the three live projections are live feed with a progression of 8 second delay


…. #3 was presented and supported by Alessandro Rabottini and presented by Giacinto di Pietrantonio, then Director of the GAMeC Museum, who stated

‘Her work, combining various techniques and artistic practices, aims at analyse the relationship between memory and past not only through the use of the sense of sight, but also trying to stimulate the multiplicity of the senses of our body, referring to the totality of the human being. A human being looking for the sense of life within the places of life, places activated or re-activated through art. In this sense, she belongs to that thread of research proposed by artists like Bruce Nauman, whom, in the relationship technique-body-action-psyche, wants to understand the the essence of beings within a world where there is the need to reactivate archaic energies and react to the superficial society of spectacle’


Performance Transcript (translation from Italian)

The spoken text (as is all following italics) alternates with the action:

the main entrance with a glass door and steel, the yellow glass door

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

As I walk in on the right a staircase two flights

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Walking up the stairs, on the right a door to the bedrooms, through the door on the left a bedroom, on the right another one, on the left the bathroom and in front of me a bedroom

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

With an orange carpet, two beds very low in relation to this massive white wardrobe with golden reliefs

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

That wardrobe, before going to bed at night, would get enormous and I had the impression of it being like a wideangled photograph falling over me, it isn probably just a dream, and not even so

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

My bed was next to the window, my sister’s close to the door

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Norsi Isola D’elba

At the top of the stairs a door to the left, as I walk in on the right the living room

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Where the was a sofabed on the right the television, a table in the middle, a small balcony in front of it, then going tot eh left a room with two ..beds, three of us used to sleep in there

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Walking out of our room on the left there was a bathroom and ahead my parents’ room with awindow onto the balcony with a beautiful seaview

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

77th Street Upper East Side

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

A three floor townhouse, walking in there is a staircase in front going tot the first floor, on the right hand side the entrance door,

As I walk in there is a large empty space, a folding bed in the corner, in front of me a door tp a bedroom without the bed and there is a bathroom,

on the left of this room  there is a bowindow connected to the upper floor from where you can look down

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

This large room have green walls and to walk up to the upper floor one has to go out and walk up stairs where there is another big room which I believe is now the living room

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

I can’t remember the walls’ colour

Entering through the main door of the upper floor in front of it there is the kitchen,

a lot of space, my own space is tiny

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Lincoln Square

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

A very tall building, as I walk in I go straight to the elevator andto the 8th floor, out of the elevator: on the right the main door, walking in on the left the very small kitchen with things I don’t know  and in front the living room with a sofabed and a table for eating

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

On the left, no on the right of the hallway there is a bedroom with roughly half a metre around the bed and on the left…. there is the bathroom with shower curtains with  ehhm… the shower has got a transparent plastic shower curtains with little fish and sea waves

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Warren Street, Warren Street

A five floor townhouse with no lift, as I walk in the staircase is… red carpeted, walking up to the fifth floor, the door on the right, very small corridor, the first door on the left is the, the first on the right is a studio and bedroom,the second on the right is my bedroom, in i ton the left there is a fitted wardrobe with no doors, but a curtain hiding what’s behind, on the right a comfortable bed, and two windows overlooking the street, very noisy, walking out there is a living room with a kitchen

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

…a little old

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides

Going back to my room from the living room and on the left there is a bookcase and two stones: one is a quartz and the other has got a blur which looks like a sunflower

Action: folding the stripe of paper from either sides



Arts and Humanities Research Council (Grant for Creative and Performing Arts)


action 1out of 3(1’36”), 3 stills from DVD, 30×40 each;
London 2004.

part of the exhibition LA POLVERE NELL’ARTE,
Curator Elio Grazioli,
Assab One, Milan, Italy,
July 2004 with artists:




video live installation, 2006 (typewriter+ tracing paper+ videocamera+ 2 projectors + live delay system)

in Dissertare/Disertare, curators Associazione START, Gaia Cianfanelli & Caterina Iaquinta, at Centro Internazionale per l’Arte Contemporanea, Castello Colonna di Genazzano, Roma, June/September 2006

Artists:  Elisabetta Alberti, Alessandra Andrini, Elisabeth Aro, Atrium Project, Fabrizio Basso,  Sara Basta,  Bianco&Valente, Annalisa Cattani, Silvia Cini, Elena Cologni, Francesca Cristellotti, Simona Di Lascio, Christine De La Garenne, Simonetta Fadda, Mariana Ferratto, Valentina Glorioso, Ulrike Gruber, Alice Guareschi, Goldiechiari, Koroo, Lorenza Lucchi Basili,  Sabrina Marotta, Libera Mazzoleni, Amanda McGregor, Dessislava Mineva, Motaria, Sabrina Muzi, Sandrine Nicoletta, Valentina Noferini, Anita Timea Oravecz, Paola Paloscia, Benedetta Panisson, Laurina Paperina, Arianna Pecchia Ramacciotti, Chiara Pergola, Luana Perilli, Maria Vittoria Perrelli, Michela Pozzi, Giada Giulia Pucci, Moira Ricci, Cloti Ricciardi, Francesca Riccio, Fiorella Rizzo, Stefania Romano, Anna Rossi, Ivana Russo, Nika Rukavina, Erica Sagona, Lucrezia Salerno, Guendalina Salini, Maria Salvati, Monica Stemmer, Federica Tavian, Adriana Torregrossa,  Francesca Tusa, Sophie Usurier,  Marta Valenti, Marcella Vanzo, Anna Visani,  Elisa Vladilo, Cristina Zamagni.


Sitting down at one end of the bridge I write on a piece of paper as long at the whole bridge (about 30 meters), using a typewriter. I transcribe from my breastfeeding diary recordings, reawakening memories of the attachment to my baby back then. The live video is played back through two projections indoors: one is live and the other is delayed by 8 seconds.

The piece refers to my interest the time in live documentation of performance, its reception and processes of memory construction.


(the curators referring to the project in the book below)


Jill Fields (2012), Entering the Picture: Judy Chicago, The Fresno Feminist Art Program, and the Collective Visions of Women Artists, Routledge, page 303



Soprintendenza alla Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

more here


1999, site specific mediatised performance, National Portrait Gallery, London (still from one out of eight cameras recordings)

Eight channel Installation at Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia 2002, Curator Enrico Depascale


The screen of the monitors is a meeting point for myself artist and audiences in this following work, marked by a continuous change of position from in front and behind it. In the making of the piece Ancora Cerca, I was able to experiment with cctv systems, issues of documentation and time as well as self-representation.  The work was performed at National Portrait Gallery, NPG, London 12-14 March 1999 and presented  as an 8-monitor video installation at the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo in Brescia, Italy, between the 6 and 24 April 2002. For this piece I worked with the existing video security system of the gallery. After having done some research on the ideal location for the performance within the space, I looked at the monitors to which the video-cameras would send the captured video information and made notes.

Cologni, E.,

Floor plans of the top floor of the NPG with notes for production, 1999

‘…room 17-cam.24 -coming from18-stop between sculpture and entrance-watch camera; room 19- cam25 – stop watch camera between glass case and sculpture; room21-cam26 – standing behind sculpture watching camera; room 22-cam 28- walking from 21 in the middle and out; room 18- sitting on sofa…’.  This enabled me to visualise the space from the viewpoint of the cameras – the space I would physically enter while performing. The performance took place on the 12th of March, the recording of it from the documentation on the 14th.

12 March – performance: I would stage an encounter with the warden watching the surveillance monitors in the NPG, by walking towards it and watching the video-camera of each chosen room. As I address the camera in each room, I become a ‘picture’ in the gallery, yet the camera, fantasised as the Gaze of the Other is also, as it were, ‘pictured’ as the spectator sees me imaging what it is seeing and giving myself the things I lack and are looking for (meaning of ancora cerca).

14 March – video recording: I went back two days after (as required by the gallery for security reasons) and played back the tapes that were stored. I was surprised to find that the system reduced the footage by half, so that not all frames were kept. As a result the quality of the recording was poor. However, I placed the video camera in front of the screen to record the half an hour of the performance from each of the monitors: the recording of the action went through a number of filters. In the resulting video, the viewers see the evidence of the performance through the ‘eye’ of these surveillance cameras, that have videoed me walking from room to room barefoot, clad in a beige dress, and evoking a romantic spirit of the gallery by carrying a red rose. The spectators, at this stage positioned as the camera when watching the surveillance video or see stills from it, are pictured by myself as I look at the camera. The spectators project what I might have seen from my vantage point in the gallery space.  In this gallery dedicated to the construction of identity through picturing it, this performance makes the deep structures of that identity construction emerge, so we all become aware of how much both the artist and the spectator never fully or comfortably, inhabit the illusory space of identification.

Cologni, E. That spot in the ‘moving picture’ is you, (perception in time-based art), in Blood, Sweat & Theory: Research through Practice in Performance  ed. John Freeman, Libri Publishing, London, 2010, pp. 83-107


National Portrait Gallery, London

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London