“WORLD MAP”, the work of Ryts Monet from Circulart at Cittadellarte to the BIENALSUR in Buenos Aires
Until 31 December 2023, the capital of Argentina will host the BIENALSUR at the MUNTREF. The group exhibition "Rompecabezas" includes an installation by Ryts Monet that the artist created during the residency of the project CirculART at Fondazione Pistoletto, presented on the occasion of Arte al Centro 2021. "The experience in Biella," he commented, "allowed me to investigate and work on the relationship between fashion and sustainability. For a responsible global change in this area, it is essential to trigger processes to raise awareness on the theme".

“With a firm determination to explore alternative dynamics for art and culture in the pursuit of new logics of artistic and social circulation both locally and globally, BIENALSUR continues to support the right to culture and diversity”. This is how the official website presents the exhibition being held in Buenos Aires at the MUNTREF Centro de Arte Contemporáneo y Museo de la Inmigración – Sede Hotel de Inmigrantes, opened on 29 July and closing on 31 December. The initiative includes the group exhibition Rompecabezas (puzzles), curated by Diana B. Wechsler and Benedetta Casini, which proposes a selection of works in the different artistic languages of international creatives¹. “The selection of works part of the exhibition project highlights the complexity of constructing any kind of history, given the variety of converging realities. Let us remember,” said Wechsler, “that the territory of the symbolic is moving, fugitive, unstable. In it, every certainty can be questioned according to how much the socio-cultural and temporal parameters criss-crossing them change. However, this weakness of the symbolic, more precisely of images, is at the same time its strength. For this reason, it is worth carrying out the exercise of thinking with images and creatively expanding the horizons of the senses. Taking this premise and the warning about the impossibility of a single history as its starting point, Rompecabezas passes through the uncertainties of this present, and in pluralism tries to imagine critical positions that contribute to thinking about decentralisation, exchanges, appropriations and re-appropriations in multiple, reciprocal, global senses”.

Ryts Monet. Photo by Gianmaria Gava, 2022.

WORLD Map (about sustainable fashion) by Ryts Monet
BIENALSUR chose the work WORLD Map (about sustainable fashion) by Ryts Monet for Rompecabezas. Its presence in the exhibition was made possible thanks to the support of the following organisations: the Italian Cultural Institute of Buenos Aires, the Italian Embassy in Buenos Aires, the Austrian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Cittadellarte and Officina+39. Enricomaria De Napoli, aka Ryts Monet, born in Bari in 1982, lives and works in Vienna, but studied at the IUAV (Venice’s University Institute of Architecture), where he graduated in Visual and Performing Arts in 2007 specialising in Visual Communication and Multimedia in 2011. The work originates from a reflection on the imbalances in economic and political relations at an environmental level, for which Ryts Monet chose the image of the planisphere made by subtraction, wearing down and consuming a denim fabric support until generating the image of an exhausted Earth now reduced to shreds. The intention of WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion) is to raise questions about the impact that the hyper-consumerist market and the massive extraction of resources have and will have in the future, on a local and global scale. It also questions the ambiguity of our globalised world’s political and economic choices, which act against the need for sustainability and environmental awareness.

WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion) exhibited at Arte al Centro 2021.

The birth of the work at Cittadellarte in the context of CirculART II
WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion) was conceived in the context of CirculART II, a project curated and produced by Cittadellarte which brought together companies, artists and fashion designers to create new forms of language capable of inspiring change. The initiative, the result of a process of integration and inclusion between the worlds of art and industry, was developed for the 23rd edition of Arte al Centro. Through the works created for the project, the companies and artists showed how it is possible to be conscious innovators, bringing concrete elements of social resilience by drawing inspiration from the current needs of the ecosystem in which the new humanity is emerging. CirculART II was therefore not the point of arrival, but the starting point of a new path aimed at finding a balance between business, society and nature. Four artists were involved in CirculART II Silvia Giovanardi, Giulia Pellegrini, Marcello Pipitone and Ryts Monet himself – and thirteen were the textile companies of excellence with which they were offered the opportunity to engage. The artists’ pure and unprecedented reading of industrial reality served to outline and reveal, in four original works of art, new design paradigms based on circular economy and ethics. Works created to inspire not only the textile industry, but all production sectors, to realign their activities with the ultimate promise of doing business: to respond to the real needs of humanity.
The partner companies in the project were Cotonificio Albini SPA, Eurojersey SPA, Flainox srl, Filatura Astro srl, Lanificio F.lli Cerruti, Lenzing Group, Milior sas, Officina+39, Ribbontex srl, Taroni SPA, Tessuti di Sondrio, Tintoria Emiliana and Vimar 1991.

The interview with Ryts Monet

What contaminations did you have from your residency at Cittadellarte? And which ones from the CirculART experience?
First of all they left me with my work WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion), which I have since included in my portfolio as well as exhibited on several occasions. Its premise should be pointed out: I had never worked on the relationship between fashion and sustainability, because I was convinced that these two worlds could not meet. By taking part in the residency I was able to learn a lot about this subject from an educational point of view and understand the devastating impact on our environment caused by the fashion industry and especially by fast fashion. Reflecting on possible sustainability in this area is an urgent and necessary issue. I am therefore really happy to have had this opportunity which has left me with new experience, knowledge and encounters.

In your opinion, what is a possible solution to tackle this long-standing problem?
I think that the most important ingredient is to change our habits for the better, we have to realise that the short-sighted consumption of resources – which are not infinite! – is wearing out the Earth (and not only). The key, in this sense, can be the triggering of a specific social awareness: this is already a first step towards a solution.

WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion), detail.

Why did you, with your work, propose a parallelism between the planisphere and fashion as a reflection of decadence?
I reflected on this expression of sustainability through the proven fact that our planet has reached a condition of wear and tear, hence my work reproducing a planisphere worn out by ‘consumption’ and the extraction of resources. Moreover, let us not forget that we inherit a world that has already been used: if we do not take care of it, what we leave to posterity risks being as unusable as an old, worn-out dress. The human being continually passes Earth on to a new generation.

What does the use of denim in the work represent instead?
It represents the theme of stonewashing, i.e. the bleaching and wearing of denim. It is a process that is done with mechanical tools and by hand, but stonewashing uses pollutants that go into the groundwater. Just think, you buy jeans with holes, with a used effect… This is for me one of the emblems of stupidity and indifference to the environmental problem, we want to buy something that is already at the end of its life cycle. There is no shortage, however, of virtuous realities that make or work with fashion in an ethical manner: Officina+39 operates in a sustainable and innovative manner, bringing a solution to the issue, but there are more and more companies – and the Biella region is a prime example – that work responsibly, and it is thanks to getting to know these companies that I found the inspiration to create my work.

WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion), detail.

At Arte al Centro, you exhibited your work together with those of other artists. Was it inspiring to work with other creatives in the context of Fondazione Pistoletto and Biella as a place of textile excellence?
The exchange was definitely productive, but I started with a suspicious attitude about the actual possibility of showing sustainability in fashion. Many artists have tried to raise awareness by proposing some sort of solution to the problem, I instead had a more cynical attitude, highlighting a more alarming aspect of fast fashion.

Does your work fit into the context of the Buenos Aires’s Biennial?
For the group exhibition, the curators proposed working on an interpretation of maps, of new geographies. In general, this BIENALSUR has been dealing with powerful themes and I was surprised to see that each work is a statement. All the works engage with strong topics related both to the continent of reference and to current political, social, civil and environmental issues. I am also happy that WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion) has been placed in the exhibition space in front of the entrance. It is very impactful: when you enter the exhibition you find yourself in front of my work, a 5×3 metre denim cloth.

¹The artists exhibiting are Regina Silveira (BRA), Adriana Bustos (ARG), Anna Bella Geiger (BRA), Nicolás Robbio (ARG), Horacio Zabala (ARG), Glenda León (CUB), Harun Farocki (DEU-CZE), Élodie Pong (USA-CHE), Agustina Woodgate (ARG), Daniel Canogar (ESP), Fernando Bryce (PER), Andrea Alkalay (ARG), Filippo Berta (ITA), Ursula Biemann (CHE), Paula Castro (ARG), Luis Hernández Mellizo (COL), Erin Johnson (USA), Ryts Monet (ITA-AT), Renata Poljak (HRV), Juan Pablo Renzi (ARG), María Gimeno (ESP) and Sergio Vega (ARG).
Cover image: WORLD MAP (about sustainable fashion) at the BIENALSUR.