Venezuelan artist Claudio Marcotulli likes to straddle the worlds of film and art in his work because he's deeply rooted in both.
The son of an art collector, Marcotulli began building model airplanes as a kid, inspired by his dad, who he says "is really into craftsmanship."
Marcotulli originally had a space at Mana Contemporary in Wynwood from 2019-2020, which he shared with fellow local artist Laurencia Strauss. He left Mana and moved into a studio at Laundromat Art Space in Little Haiti in 2021.
"I moved into Laundromat very soon after I left Mana. My wife Roxana Barba, a fellow artist, showed me the space at Laundromat," he says. He immediately liked the convenient parking right out front, which is also closer to his house.
Aside from creating art, Marcotulli teaches film production as an instructor with the Florida Film Institute (FFI). Through FFI, he goes to Hialeah Gardens and South Miami senior high schools once or twice a week to teach film production to high schoolers. Marcotulli has a master's degree in film and production from Miami International University of Arts & Design."
He applies his film school knowledge to enrich his visual art, creating a fusion of both disciplines. "It's bringing what I learned in film school to the visual art world," Marcotulli says.
And those colliding worlds are obvious in so much of his work, particularly his collaborations with Strauss, who met Marcotulli while both were doing a residency in Chiapas, Mexico, in the summer of 2018.
"We became fast friends at the residency because, during a residency, you're in a new situation and connect with people. You step out of your daily routine, and that helped us become good friends," Strauss adds. "We kept in touch when we returned to Miami."
She recalls when the two shared studio space at the 777 International Mall in downtown Miami and decided to collaborate on a project that incorporated film.
The trio was brought together through their advocacy for social and environmental rights, particularly the value of people, land, and water.
Marcotulli and Strauss again collaborated, along with Marcotulli's wife Roxana Barba, also an artist, on a piece at Laundromat in Little Haiti. The project was called "Fragmented Inner-Middle and Upper Worlds" and was part of Laundromat's 2021 show "Imaginary Reality Artificial Landscape." Yi Chen Hsieh curated the show.
The two also collaborated on a show at Bridge Red Studios, and during that project, "We evolved the conversation, and he invited me to curate 'Vessels of the Unconscious,' his resident artist show at Laundromat," Strauss says. "The curation of Vessels was fun; I love discussing work with the artists."
While curating the Laundromat show for him, Strauss focused on Marcotulli's thought process and encouraged him to edit his work.
"I'm trained as a landscape architect, and so through the show, we were creating a spacial experience and trying to edit things so we could think through the viewer's experience," Strauss says.
Although Marcotulli's work is very mechanical, Strauss says it also has a very intuitive aspect to it. "There's a rationality but also a mechanical aspect to his work. With him, it's a very personal and existential experience. I feel that is what is so compelling about his work, the rational and less rational side of him."
Marcotulli has also collaborated with Dale Andree, director of National Water Dance, several times, once filming dancers in the water in the Everglades. That film, Flickering Glades, was presented during ScreenDance Miami Festival and also on a loop at the AIRIE (Artists in Residence in the Everglades) space.
His fascination with eyes is related to why he thinks it is the most amazing organ and how we as human beings "have been able to master the camera obscura and make telescopes," as he explains it.
Always working on a new project, Marcotulli's next collaboration will be with video and sculpture for a performance called "Apuntes Americanos-Kanay," directed by his wife, Roxana Barba, taking place at the Koubek Center in Little Havana October 27 and 28. The piece, which had six presentations in Lima, Peru, in 2022, brings together a total of ten dance performance, music, and visual arts artists.
Always staying busy, Marcotulli is working on a collaboration with his wife. Entitled "In my center, a cyborg seed," it is a performance utilizing motion-tracking and projection-mapping that deals with our relationship to technology, myth, and the future. Premiering in 2024, this work is directed by his wife, Barba, and is one of six 2022 Knight New Works.
In residence at Laundromat since 2021, the gallery's director Ronald Sanchez says, "It's imperative for artists like Claudio to have a studio space where they can develop ideas and turn them into works of art."
The solo show Strauss curated for Marcotulli is something Sánchez says all artists are entitled to propose after a year of residency because "it allows for people to focus solely on the artist's work and see and understand their voice and vision. Following the solo exhibitions, we attempt to map if an artist continues receiving attention and is invited to other solo or group shows, essentially launching their careers to great heights," Sanchez says.
– Josie Gulliksen, ArtburstMiami.com