The Fondazione In Between Art Film by Beatrice Bulagri has invited eight artists to address the theme of domestic violence: Iván Argote, Silvia Giambrone, Eva Giolo, Basir Mahmood, MASBEDO, Elena Mazzi, Adrian Paci, and Janis Rafa.
Mascarilla 19 – Codes of Domestic Violence, the first project undertaken by Fondazione In Between Art Film, took the form of 8 new video projects by 8 international artists. With this ambitious series of commissioned works, the foundation wanted to further the international debate on the dramatic issue of domestic abuse, which has been exacerbated by the long months of the Covid-19 emergency.
The 8 artists who were invited to explore the theme of domestic violence during the unprecedented global lockdowns in 2020 are Iván Argote (Colombia/France, b. 1983), Silvia Giambrone (Italy/UK, b. 1981), Eva Giolo (Belgium, b. 1991), Basir Mahmood (Pakistan/Netherlands, b. 1985), MASBEDO (Italy, Nicolò Massazza, b. 1973 and Iacopo Bedogni, b. 1970), Elena Mazzi (Italy, b. 1984), Adrian Paci (Albania/Italy, b. 1969), Janis Rafa (Greece, b. 1984).
Mascarilla 19 (Mask 19) is the name of a campaign launched by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in response to an appeal by UN Secretary-General António Gutierrez and to the frightening increase in abuse during the pandemic, when many women, due to the lockdown, found themselves trapped at home and unable to ask for help. In a world that is digitally hyperconnected but physically separated, the victims of domestic violence found themselves in a state of double isolation, having no way to communicate with the outside world. This situation led to the idea of a secret SOS signal, a code word that victims of violence could use at pharmacies around Spain, alerting staff to set an emergency response process in motion.
With a project that directly alludes to this campaign, Fondazione In Between Art Film wanted to call attention to a global emergency while also aiding artists, providing them with tangible support to produce new work at a time when all artistic undertakings had been put on hold.
The 8 artists’ films that make up Mascarilla 19 – Codes of Domestic Violence offer different perspectives on a shared theme, captured in its full scope and urgency: each work expresses a unique sensibility, through languages and approaches that range from documentary-style exposé to the symbolic, psychological exploration of relationship dynamics.
In the works by Janis Rafa and by the artist duo MASBEDO, the idea of the home as a place of violence is explored through highly metaphorical language and with the characteristic narrative tension of cinematic storytelling, whereas Basir Mahmood looks at how the mechanisms involved in producing images on film can be a realm of social, economic, and gender conflict. Eva Giolo highlights solidarity between women through a rhythmic, diary-like fragmentation of the narrative; Adrian Paci evokes a sense of physical and psychological isolation by centering his work on voice rather than image; and Elena Mazzi searches for the roots of gender violence by delving into mythology and archeology. The idea of domestic abuse as a phenomenon in the public rather than the private sphere is explored by Iván Argote, who examines political activism and the normalization of violence by linking the cities of Paris and Bogotà. Lastly, Silvia Giambrone turns the home into an arena of violence so internalized that it pervades a couple’s everyday actions and language.
Mascarilla 19 – Codes of Domestic Violence is meant to offer a shared platform of dialogue to as broad an audience as possible. Its program of video screenings has been travelling to some of the most prestigious art institutions in Italy and abroad, such as MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo in Rome, Castello di Rivoli, Lo schermo dell’arte – Festival internazionale di cinema e arte contemporanea in Florence, and Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
Between 2020-2021, the films commissioned for Mascarilla 19 – Codes of Domestic Violence have been selected in many international film festivals, such as Cinéma du réel, Doku Fest, European Film Awards, FID Marseille, IFFR – International Film Festival Rotterdam, Punto de Vista, This is Short, Visions du Réel, Vilnius International Film Festival, just to name a few. Notably, Basir Mahmood’s film Sunsets, Everyday (2020) won the IFFR Ammodo Tiger Short Award 2021.
Beatrice Bulgari is Founder and President at Fondazione In Between Art Film, which has the aim of supporting artists and institutions working with moving images. Between 2012-2019, she founded and directed the film production company In Between Art Film, dedicated to providing artists, filmmakers, and directors with the possibility of freely exploring a creative interdisciplinary approach between two languages: the language of cinema and the language of contemporary art. Over these years, Beatrice Bulgari has produced several feature-length films and artist’s films by Vanessa Beecroft, Pierre Bismuth, Yervant Gianikian, William Kentridge, Diego Marcon, Masbedo, and Shirin Neshat, among others. In 2007, she set up CortoArteCircuito, a multifaceted platform that produced documentaries by international directors on the work of contemporary artists such as Antony Gormley, Luigi Ontani, Alfredo Pirri, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Marco Tirelli, among many others. Beatrice Bulgari has also collaborated as set and costume designer in many films, such as Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso.