Francesca Bifulco's Immersive Exhibition 'Forcella Reigns' Opens Today
Sculptural painter Francesca Bifulco is proud to present a sneak peek of her multifaceted installation, Forcella Reigns: The Men Who Play Cards, for just three nights - Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29, 2018 - at North Hollywood's ZJU Theatre Group. Bound for Naples, Italy, this hybrid, site-specific, theatrical presentation/art installation is the culmination of a 3-year anthropological study in Forcella, a tough and degraded neighborhood in Naples. There, Bifulco bonded with a group of men who play cards on a corner staircase, Gradini Forcella; unwitting actors in an improvised show put on every day without fail. This preview presents the elements of the installation coexisting with each other in one single location - a black box theatre - where the viewer can experience the work through a temporal narrative and reoccurring imagery. Before its official unveiling in Naples, Bifulco will share Forcella Reigns' test run with Los Angeles audiences. The artist will be present for the duration of the exhibit-turned-installation (15 hours). Admission is free for all; there is no age limit. ZJU Theatre Group is located at 4850 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601. For more information please visit http://www.francescabifulco.com.
Viewing/experiencing hours for Forcella Reigns: The Men Who Play Cards: • Friday, April 27 • 7:00 - 11:00pm • Saturday April 28 • 5:00 - 11:00pm • Sunday April 29, 2018 • 3:00 - 8:00pm
Surrounded by the smoke of cigarettes, the smell of espresso, and the noise of the dilapidated streets where abuse, violence and organized crime dictate the flow of the neighborhood, Bifulco would become a mute player and the teller of the men who play cards' story. Bifulco's collaborators on this project include Marina Piccola Cerrotta, a Naples-based anthropological art historian and Alex Schetter, a digital artist/sound engineer. Integrating sound design, video and multimedia technologies have become a fundamental part of all projects for Bifulco. She and Schetter collaborate often in these aspects. Field recordings and video incorporated into the painted pieces have become essential to the story line of Forcella Reigns.
Intended as a site-specific project about Naples for Naples, Forcella Reigns marks Bifulco's first official plunge into immersive multimedia installations, a world she is innately adept in. Experimenting with raw material and combining her signature sculptural paintings with video, sound, and hybrid stage design in order to share an oneiric experience, the notions of time and space are manipulated while the audience is invited to follow the theatrical sacredness within the daily rituals of Forcella's card players.
ARTIST STATEMENT - "Forcella Reigns is my latest body of work about a group of men playing cards. Whenever I would go back to Italy, nothing would be more captivating than Forcella, an often avoided neighborhood in Naples. It is here that I discovered the men who play cards, who, through the cards they deal, turn Gradini Forcella, their corner staircase, into a theatrical space full of rituals - a regular appointment despite the social hardship that surrounds the neighborhood.
As I was documenting the habits, moves and mimicry of these men, in this small, yet powerful open-air theater, I realized that Forcella Reigns was allowing me to fully blend my experience in set design, the focus of my formative years in Rome, with my way of painting - creating something I like to define as 'an immersive set.' Taking advantage of the intrinsic theatricality of Naples, I wanted to stretch that and take it to a more raw dimension, where I could freeze the moment of that experience in time and space. Here, the paintings become scenes of specific, close-up, tangible moments of my daily visits to Gradini Forcella. Video and sound gain their official role as part of an atmospheric set where each element functions as a character in a play."
Francesca Bifulco: Francesca Bifulco (b.1986 Paestum) is a native southern Italian artist holding a BFA in Visual and Performing Arts. She studied and worked in set design and special effects makeup for television and cinema in Rome before moving to Los Angeles in 2012. The practice of these different disciplines eventually led her to painting, going from large-scale canvases to sculptural textured wooden panels and, most recently, incorporating immersive landscapes which surround the painted works. Her creations have been collected and exhibited from California to Texas, and from her homeland of Italy to Japan.
ZJU Theatre Group: ZJU Theatre Group (aka Zombie Joe's Underground) was founded in August 1992 in a small industrial garage in Northridge, California. Founded on the groundwork laid by master theatre craftsman Artaud, Stanislavski, Chekhov, Gogol, Dostoevsky and George Lucas, combined with a smug, slow-burning hybrid-fusion of French Grand-Guignol tableau and West Coast energy and style, The Underground has birthed hundreds of exciting productions over its 26 glorious seasons, notably a wide range of horror, immersive and movement-based incarnations, world premiere works from local playwrights, and hour-long modernizations of timeless classics from Shakespeare, Poe, Molière, and Lovecraft. For the past 18 seasons, The Underground has spearheaded the avant garde theatre scene in the NoHo Arts District, headquartered at 4850 Lankershim Blvd., in North Hollywood.