Mario Rizzi /Barletta

Honeymoon Project

“The idea of organizing a marriage of two young Kurds in Berlin doesn’t represent the artist’s invasion in people’s private lives, but the firm conviction that a creative act can break the bureaucratic boundaries that prevent a free union between two citizens yet to be accepted in a foreign system. On the one hand, the work manages to preserve a poetic quality, and on the other, it reveals what its real target is: an investigation of the limits of the border, a theme always central in Rizzi’s work.” (Luca Beatrice, Flash Art International, Vol. XXXVI, # 231, p 112).

In December 2002 I decided to engage myself as an artist in order to make possible the celebration of the marriage between two young Kurds living in Bamberg. Due to the Iraqi citizenship of the bridegroom and to the impossibility to get the papers required for the marriage from Iraq, this basic right was previously denied to the couple. By the accumulation of papers and the multiplication of official meetings with the authorities, revealing the limits of the possibility of autodetermination and the atmosphere of preventive suspicion in our society, this right was conquered and the wedding reception took finally place at Künstlerhaus Bethanien on May 31, 2003. The following week the couple was living a deserved ‘honeymoon’ in Gropiusstadt in the apartment kindly offered to me by Birgit and Uwe. They lived an unforgettable week and showed a special curiosity for this Berlin suburb, as their photographic images show. They needed to feel at home and welcome, Gropiusstadt allowed them to fill this lack for a while.

The ‘Honeymoon Project’ was conceived to focus some of the very complex issues surrounding art and engagement. If ‘art is an activity that produces relations to the world’ (Bourriaud), then this is definitely an art project. But where is the limit? This ‘activity’ has been experimented only by two people and the same project is about the intimacy of this experience. The artist has simply been an interface. I believe that this crossing between private and public, life and art is the central question of such an happening. Can art be useful, can the everyday become art, can people become a medium in art? How many people have to witness this experience to state it? If art is based on human interaction, can a kind of ‘relational ethics’ be employed as one of value criteria? Where does ‘exploitation’ begin? And also, how would you characterize the esthetics of an art event focusing on the difficulties of a refugee in the contemporary world? Is it necessary to produce an image, an object, an actual performance or can communication itself be the artwork? I leave these questions to the reader. I only want to add that I would never imply that everything is art. I don’t believe it. Art has its own specificity, probably anyway it goes through different strategies than in the past.


contact: Mario Rizzi