Good Horn, Good Brakes, Good Luck II
Assam State Museum, Guwahati
On March 7th 2017 the Assam State Museum and Microclima present Good Horn,
Good Brakes, Good Luck II. Through the works of six italian based artists, the exhibition presents research conducted during the Guwahati Research Program between 2011 and 2017.
Good Horn, Good Brakes, Good Luck II is the second chapter of the namesake exhibition
that took place at Greenhouse of the Biennale Gardens in August 2015. The title of the
exhibition comes from a popular motto connected to the safety programs that exist to
counter the dangerous traffic situations.
Six years after the beginning of the project, Mr. Y. S. Wunglengton, Director of the Assam State Museum, has invited the group of artists to temporarily show their works alongside the permanent collection of the museum. Five projects are displayed in dialogue with the ethnographic gallery and the textile collection.
The Assam State Museum, founded in 1940, offers different sections – from archeology,
sculptures, paintings, to costumes - which display different aspects of the history and
culture of Assam.
The artists exhibited are Giuseppe Abate, Riccardo Banfi, Alessandra Messali,
videomakers Matteo Stocco & Matteo Primiterra and William West.
Giuseppe Abate presents Bhujia, a series of embroidery textiles that he started during
the residency between January and March 2016. Abate documented and collected
images from the urban environment, focusing his attention on local brands, which are
often hand painted signs on the sides of vans, truck and public transportation, instead of
being printed. Assam is famous for its ancient tradition in fine textile production, so Abate
planned and produced a collection of textiles made with Indian silk, linen and cotton. His work seeks to highlight aspects of a city that has undergone a particularly rapid period of technological and industrial development, linking two very different eras in its history. The textiles of the Bhujia series are visually juxtaposed with fabrics of the antique assamese tradition, emphasizing this mixture of traditional elements and new commercial iconography.
Riccardo Banfi shows the photographic series I found myself in Guwahati, a visual diary
of his experience during the residency in 2015. As the title suggests, his research was
shaped on an instinctive exploration of the place, carried out without considering any
specific subjects or cultural expressions. In this project there are recurring images of
festive occasions and public events, juxtaposed with snapshots of urban and natural
context. The images are organised according to criterias of accordance and discordance.
The video installation of Alessandra Messali sums up the documentation of Emilio
Salgari and the Tiger - A Story written in far away Italy, set in Guwahati 1870, a project
realized between 2013 and 2016. In between 1907-1911 Emilio Salgari published four
books, Alla conquista di un impero (Quest for a Throne), Il Bramino dell’Assam (The False
Brahman), La caduta di un impero (An Empire Crumbles) and La rivincita di Yanez (Yanez’
Revenge) set in Guwahati. In Messali's work, Emilio Salgari and the tiger, she worked on
these four books analyzing the incongruity between text and context in collaboration with
the journalist and historian Kumudeswar Hazarica, Guwahati University (History department, prof. Paromita Das), Cotton College (English department, prof. Santanu
Phukan) and Handique Girls’ College (English department, prof. Mitali Goswami and
With students from the Handique Girls’ College (English department) and with the
technical support of fellow artist Giuseppe Abate, she translates the results of her
research into a theatreplay that was held in the Assam State Museum’ public garden on
26th March 2016. In conjuction with the exhibition of GOOD HORN, GOOD BRAKES,
GOOD LUCK II Messali presents a publication relating to Emilio Salgari and the Tiger,
edited by Orchid Publication in Assamese, English and Italian.
The duo Matteo Stocco and Matteo Primiterra presents the documentary Shatalol, a
video installation that is the first result of research undertaken from 2015 to the present.
Their work aims to explore from a visual and social point of view the contrast between
the two sides of the city of Guwahati that are divided by the Brahmaputra river. Images
and voices are used to illustrate the explosion in urban development in contrast to the
traditional aspects of this society. Religion and society are presented as the backdrop to
a city confronting its economic need to copy the western model of development, for
better or worse.
The pilot project of the residency, by Paolo Rosso and William West, is The Guwahati
Bamboo Walkway, an on-going intervention that is a continuing part of this residency.
This first intervention also has the function of a key for the invited artists to enter into the
context of the area.
The walkway is placed on the opposite side of the Brahamaputra river, in the area of
North Guwahati. Here it overlooks the river landscape, functioning as a place of
contemplation, and provides the local people with a shared space.
In practical terms the Guwahati Bamboo Walkway functions as a means to arrive at the
ferry terminal of North Guwahati from the village of Anandanager. A constant flux of
commuters pass through the villages of North Guwahati, making their way to and from
the ferry terminals that line the shore. This means that it is considered more as a
commuter zone rather than as somewhere to linger. The site is not only of natural beauty, but replete with archeological remains dating from as early as the twelfth century that at the moment are relatively uncared for and unappreciated. Through the building of the bamboo walkway Rosso and West hope that they might be considered somewhat differently.
The exhibition shows a maquette of the walkway, realised by the Mishing artisans from
Majuli Island, Giuseppe Abate and Edoardo Aruta, new artist of the Guwahati Research
Artists on show: Giuseppe Abate, Riccardo Banfi, Alessandra Messali, Matteo
Primiterra, Matteo Stocco, William West.
Artistic Director: Paolo Rosso
Curator: Alice Sartori
Stage Design and Production: Edoardo Aruta and Giuseppe Abate
Photo: Matteo Stocco
Assam State Museum
Gopinath Bordoloi Rd, Mawhati,
Ambari 781001 Guwahati, Assam (IND)
from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm, closed on Monday
Riccardo Banfi, 2016 Installation view Photo by Matteo Stocco
Photo by Matteo Stocco