Red Hook Lines by Artist Ester Grossi, 2017

The maritime language is an international language, which helped foster the following art. One day in November 2017, a man came down the pier and saw our sign about volunteering. He introduced himself saying "I’m a captain in Rome." Federico Talamanca wanted to extend his visit in NYC and be near the water. We said he could stay in the Captain’s Cabin if he gave us one day of work a week. His boat skills from Italy transferred readily to our ship-work needs (and his Italian cooking was great too!). Soon afterwards, Laura Arena of the Red Hook Art Residency at De-Construkt got in touch to say that she had a resident artist from Italy who wanted to learn about Red Hook’s maritime waterfront, but she did not speak much English. Could we help? "No problem, we have a volunteer from Rome who can take her around." Federico spent two afternoons with Ester. Ester created the following art work and texts.
         

Red Hook Lines by: Ester Grossi

But what I found fascinating was exactly these contradictions.

The first aspect I noticed during my time spent in Red Hook was its dimension of neighborhood with its small community of residents (an uncommon thing for a metropolis like New York).
For me, the landscape was at the same time unusual (as a European) and familiar, looking like the New York of the past that I have in my mind: wooden houses, vintage cars and the bar where the whole community meets on Wednesday night to listen to live music and dance.

The common denominator of Red Hook’s landscape is the line. The one of the horizon of the water that surrounds the seafront, the countless intertwining electric wires along the streets, the lines of the large cranes that overlook the harbor, the geometries of old and contemporary architecture.

The line is what I used to transfer these impressions about Red Hook on my canvas.

Thanks to Laura Arena, Captain Federico Talamanca, and PortSide NewYork for helping me in my research, which does not end here!

Red Hook Lines by: Ester Grossi

Prima di trasferirmi presso la residenza artistica De-Costrukt, curata da Laura Arena, sapevo ben poco riguardo Red Hook. Dall'Italia avevo letto diversi articoli riguardo il suo passato contraddittorio, da porto di notevole importanza dal 1850 al 1950 circa, a quartiere "problematico" negli anni '90.

Ma erano proprio le sue contraddizioni a rendermelo affascinante.

Il primo aspetto che ho notato di Red Hook, vivendoci, è stato la sua dimensione di "quartiere", di piccola comunità (caratteristica non comune per una metropoli come New York).
Il paesaggio che mi circondava era per me sia inusuale (in quanto europea), sia comune e familiare (essendo come io immagino la New York del passato). Case di legno, auto vintage e il pub dove si ritrova tutta la comunità il mercoledì sera per ascoltare musica e ballare.

Il comune denominatore nel paesaggio di Red Hook è la linea. Quella dell'orizzonte dell'acqua che circonda il lungomare, gli innumerevoli fili intrecciati dei pali elettrici lungo le strade del quartiere, le linee delle grandi gru che sovrastano il porto, le geometrie dell'architettura portuale antica e contemporanea.

La linea è ciò che ho utilizzato per riportare su tela le mie impressioni su Red Hook.

Ringrazio Laura Arena, il capitano Federico Talamanca e PortSide New York per avermi aiutato nella mia ricerca, che però non finisce qui!

Date:

2017

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