Mysteries narrated in a video by Giulio Squillacciotti
The collaboration between Triennale Milano and the United Nations SDG Action Campaign took shape on the common ground of shared objectives. The reflections of the 23rd International Exhibition Unknown Unknowns: An Introduction to Mysteries take up the critical tradition of the Exhibitions, highlighting the challenges of a present that is uncertain and that, more than ever, needs to find new ways to mobilise and connect people and organisations and to inspire them to take action on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The video essays by Dimitra Louana Marlanti (b. Athens, 1989) and Giulio Squillacciotti (b. Rome, 1982) are the first to be commissioned by Triennale Milano and the UN SDG Action Campaign on these issues. With these goals in mind, Dimitra and Giulio were invited to create two works, in the form of unique, personal interpretations. Both video essays will premiere today at the SDG Global Festival of Action and are being showcased in the Festival’s digital experience and action space alongside the works of legendary and emerging artists and activists from across the world.
The Review di Giulio Squillacciotti, © Claudia Ferri
In his works, Giulio Squillacciotti constructs complex stage sets, which he uses to convey narratives of the present, in which realism and fiction intertwine to elicit emotional responses and to explore the full potential of creative actions, with a close, almost anthropological eye on gestures and rituals. Squillacciotti clearly delineates his figures ― possibly drawing on his studies in medieval art ― opening up a whole world in which mystery and everyday life are seen to interact.
We asked Giulio Squillacciotti two questions to understand how he tackled the project commissioned by Triennale Milano and the UN SDG Action Campaign.
How did you formulate the key focus areas for the sustainable development goals of gender equality, climate action, inequalities and the creation of more sustainable systems, coupled with the themes of the 23rd International Exhibition?
Giulio: “I adopted the same processes that I use in my work and applied them to the key themes in the UN SDG campaign. For me, it’s important to see reality through a filter that uses fictional elements to add a layer of sophistication or, alternatively, to take real elements and needs and insert them into contexts that are paradoxical or unusual. That’s why I chose a particular case as a portfolio review – I wanted to create an indirect conversation between those involved, so they could discuss their views on climate change.”
What is the Unknown that you would never want revealed?
Giulio: "The unknown ― what is not known, not said, not expected ― triggers a desire for conjecture in me. Talking about ‘that which is not known’ primarily inspires me to imagine the unknown in narrative and visual terms and then ― though not necessarily ― to compare it with what has actually happened, usually in a decontextualised manner.”
Born in Rome, Giulio Squillacciotti is an artist and film director whose work focuses primarily on the invention and mutation of traditions. He studied Medieval Art History in Rome at the Sapienza University, where he graduated in Arts and Humanities, and at the UB University in Barcelona. He later earned an MA in Visual Arts from the IUAV Venice University of Architecture. He was a fellow resident at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht and was one of the artists in the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture.