How Nomadic Artist Stefano Ogliari Badessi Brought a Playful, Immersive Installation to Miami

The artist's new exhibition at the Directed Art Modern includes a wheeled sculpture he plans to ride through the streets of Miami.

Stefano Ogliari Badessi, I Don’t Know Where to Go (2019). Courtesy of the Directed Art Modern.
Stefano Ogliari Badessi, I Don’t Know Where to Go (2019). Courtesy of the Directed Art Modern.

A so-called nomadic installation artist, Stefano Ogliari Badessi manages, every once in a while, to wind his way back to Miami.

Amid last week’s art-fair hullabaloo, the artist went to the city to open “A Tribe From Wonderland,” a whimsical exhibition at the Directed Art Modern gallery in Miami’s Little River district.

For the show, Ogliari Badessi, who is known for making colorful and immersive environments that are the stuff of Instagram dreams, presented a grouping of quizzical mixed-media objects: a “spherical postcard” made from blue-and-white pottery; dragon-like creatures made of wire and string; and fuzzy-footed beings made of yarn and metal scattered throughout the gallery space. Amid all that, the artist installed shiny inflatable objects and swirls of neon lighting.

 Installation view of “A Tribe From Wonderland,” 2019. Courtesy of Directed Art Modern.

Installation view of “A Tribe From Wonderland,” 2019. Courtesy of Directed Art Modern.

The works on view are largely part of the artist’s Wonderland Project (which was most recently on view in Italy) and the installation marks Badessi’s first return to Miami since 2017, when he executed his enormous installation Chinese Dream at the Sugar bar.

Though elaborately rendered, Badessi’s works are purposefully ephemeral. At the close of every exhibition, the artist packs up everything and brings it with him, ensuring that his installations have as little impact on the environment as possible. He also often repurposes materials. In past exhibitions, he has used found plastic bags to construct immense inflatable constructions, and for his current exhibition, he’s chosen to work with natural materials, silks, bamboo, and other pliable woods to construct his creatures. 

Stefano Ogliari Badessi, Trabubu VIII (2019). Courtesy of the Directed Art Modern.

Stefano Ogliari Badessi, Trabubu VIII (2019). Courtesy of the Directed Art Modern.

Special to the Miami installation is his recently unveiled work I Don’t Know Where to Go, a creature vaguely reminiscent of a Chinese New Year dragon puppet affixed to a bicycle, which the artist will ride throughout the city, inviting others to ride alongside him.

Ogliari Badessi hopes that the gesture will reveal to viewers that art can be made from anything, and can also exist in everyday environments.

Stefano Ogliari Badessi: A Tribe from Wonderland” is on view through December 22, 2019, at The Directed Art Modern, 350 NE 75th Street, Miami


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