Basta? Basta!


n. Colloquial Arabic.

1. unleavened dough, made of wheat flour, water and sometimes eggs.

2. a prepared dish containing pasta as the main ingredient.


v. interjection. Italian.

(obsolete) (That’s) Enough! Stop!

So here we are with the second blog entry from Madder Red, and today’s menu is dishing up an Italian treat. We have sweat to start, tears for main, and applause for dessert. Which is pretty much exactly how it worked out, I think anyone who’s ever been involved in putting on an exhibition will understand…

I started with the search for the perfect artist for Saudi Arabia. It was difficult. What with all the restrictions on art, some placed upon me others I placed upon myself. Seriously: getting the right work was taxing. I needed something that pushed the boundaries just far enough, kept to Islamic traditions yet also reflected a contemporary Italian aesthetic, had a strong concept to support it and was still beautiful in the classical sense. Well, where exactly was I going to find such a thing?

Fortunately I had come across Teresa Emanuele at the Venice Biennale where she had been exhibiting her shadow box, an installation that I had noted for its simplicity, beauty and innovation. Her monochrome photographic installations of wild landscapes that incorporated light and shadow seemed just the ticket, they were conceptual, beautiful and unusual.

We spent months perfecting a new body of work. We designed a pop up white cube space accordingly, with air-conditioning and lighting and a special corridor for the video work. A gorgeous piece that invited the spectator to view the world as though through the lens of her camera, filtering the world as she saw it. We designed some incredibly chic acetate invitations and a sleek beautiful catalogue of which we are all justly proud. I researched the great Roman philosopher Seneca to death (thank you Stanford library) and was very pleased with the result of my final essay. All of this with time to spare.

But wait!! It was in time when it landed at the depot… And there it stayed. Languishing in the customs house. Day 1 passed. Day 2 passed. Day 3 passed. And yes, Day 4, it passed too (this is when the tears started). D-Day arrived. It was the day before the exhibition. Teresa and I, her assistant Matteo, the guys from XXX who were amazing and built the entire cube from scratch were all sitting on the floor despondently clasping hammers and nails. I was seriously considering cancelling the event. 1pm. 2pm. 3pm arrived, and with it the artwork. Yay!!



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