Show Photo Album

Courtesy of Alberto Mesirca and Muyinza Kasirye

Wall contribution, Forcella, 2019  

Photo documentation by Bifulco, Forcella- Napoli

Dec 9th Presents

Forcella Reigns: The Men Who Play Cards

An Encore Presentation of Francesca Bifulco & Alex Schetter’s Multimedia Immersive Art Installation
At ZJU Theater in North Hollywood, CA Wednesday, September 5 - Sunday, September 9, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA – Creative agency Dec 9th is proud to present an encore presentation of sculptural painter Francesca Bifulco’s Forcella Reigns: The Men Who Play Cards, an immersive multimedia installation, in deep collaboration with digital artist/sound engineer Alex Schetter. Returning to the site of its successful April 2018 world premiere at ZJU Theater in North Hollywood, the multifaceted art/set/ sound installation will run for five days – Wednesday, September 5 through Sunday, September 9, 2018. The artists will be present through its entirety. Forcella Reigns is the culmination of a three-year anthropological study in a rundown neighborhood in Naples, Italy. There, Bifulco imbedded herself with a group of men who play cards on a corner staircase, Gradini Forcella, at the same time everyday, unwitting actors in an improvised show. 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 in Forcella, Bifulco would become a mute player and the teller of their story. The installation merges Bifulco’s sculptural paintings with hybrid stage design, integrating shadowbox video projection and 3D environmental sound. All ages are welcome. Admission is free but donations are gladly received. ZJU Theater is located at 4850 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601. 

The exhibition is supported by Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA).​

Viewing/experiencing hours for Forcella Reigns: The Men Who Play Cards:

• Wednesday, September 5 – 6:00 -11:00pm
• Thursday, September 6 – 6:00 -11:00pm
• Friday, September 7 – 6:00 -11:00pm

• Saturday, September 8 – 6:00 -11:00pm
• Sunday, September 9 – 3:00 -8:00pm

Intended as a site-specific project about Naples for Naples, the installation's title comes from a graffiti tag (Forcella Regna) found on site and refers to the Camorra battles in the neighborhood. This world can feel distant from that of the men playing cards. Yet, these two realities coincide in Forcella. Bifulco’s fellow Italian collaborator, Marina Piccola Cerrotta, a Naples-based anthropological art historian, has been in- volved since 2016. Cerrotta came to realize that contemporary art often coincides with anthropology*, and found that very principal in Bifulco’s project.

 

Video and sound become an integral part of an atmospheric set where each element functions as a charac- ter in a play. The different elements coexist with each other in a black box theater where the audience is invited to follow the daily rituals of Forcella's card players through reoccurring imagery and a multi-sen- sory set-up that removes the awareness of linear time and space. Integrating Schetter’s sound design, vi- deo and multimedia technologies have become a fundamental part of all projects for Bifulco.

!As is only natural, a limited run of 100 Neapolitan style Card Decks based on Bifulco's hand painted imagery has been produced specifically for this exhibition. These entirely original decks of 40 card are individually numbered, fully playable and include instructions on how to play the popular Italian card game,

Scopa, in both English and Italian. The Card Decks will be available for sale during the exhibition as well as the original painted prototype of the cards.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT –

“As I was documenting the habits and moves 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 call 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.

Our choice to present the installation in a black box theater is intentional to fully experience the acoustic and scenic treatment we crafted while also reflecting the theatrical nature of the subject matter. Forcella Reigns is not just about men playing cards. It has become my greater engagement and contribution in supporting and strengthening Forcella's community through a cultural production with the aspiration to impart the wealth of these personal experiences to the same streets that generated them; steeped in history, theatre, coffee and anthropology of Naples.”

ABOUT:

Francesca Bifulco –

Francesca Bifulco (b.1986 Paestum) is a native Southern Italian artist holding a BFA in Visual and Performing Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. She studied and worked in set design and special effects makeup for television and cinema under the historic Carboni Studio in Rome. The practice of these different disciplines led her to painting, going from large-scale backdrop canvases to sculptural textured wooden compositions and, most recently, incorporating immersive landscapes which surround the painted works in collaboration with LA sound and digital artist Alex Schetter. In recent years, her work has been focusing on cultural rituals which have sprouted up amidst social conflict, everyday routines that are transitioning or have transitioned into personal or local rituals and – whether or not the participants realize it – have become a beacon of light for a community, especially if that community needs it. Her creations have been collected and exhibited from California to Texas and from her homeland of Italy to Japan. Bifulco was awarded second place at the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery in occasion of their annual juried group show in 2016. Since 2013 she has lived and worked in Los Angeles.

Alex Schetter –
A musician and audio engineer first, Alex Schetter’s (b.1985 Los Angeles) initial work in the art world was in sound, later branching into video and digital imagery as an extension of his sound installations. His work has been commissioned from private galleries to municipal events in the US and Italy. He has collaborated regularly with Francesca Bifulco since 2012. Schetter studied music business at Loyola University of New Orleans. He later studied Audio Production at the Art Institute of  California. He has worked in music and sound since 2008 scoring for video games and television, operating a small commercial recording studio, and editing sound for the audio industry interview series, Pensado’s Place. Currently, he does sound design and hardware service for the synthesizer manufacture, Elektron Music Machines.
 

​​*In 1922, Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski published his essay, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, in which he spoke for the first time about the participant observation method, a foundation for ethnographic fieldwork research. The anthropologist goes into the field and establishes a direct relationship with the people he is studying, grasping the native's point of view, creating empathy that allows a full immersion into the dimension of the "other," and traveling to a place repeatedly for cultural enrichment. To Malinowski, what gives rise to the line between direct observation and the author's deductions is undeniably valuable. In this spirit, Francesca Bifulco arrives at Gradini Forcella under guise of the artist-anthropologist, filtering the reality she observed and stored up through her art while she becomes the other player, the one that stays behind the scenes, identifying with the reality from which she is trying to collect information.