Roberto Santaguida First Fifth

Date(s): Jan 29 to Mar 5 2022

Location: Small gallery


It is slow our collection of things for this business of living. In the first days, our eyes are fused to the brain. Below eyelids, sealed shut, the beginnings of the iris and retina swim in an inky goop. Our vocal chords and tongue take shape. We cry out, but without air, we do not make a sound. Our skin is translucent; we have not yet learnt to shiver. Tiny air sacks form into lungs. When we try to breathe, we only swallow mouthfuls of amniotic fluid. A few weeks before our arrival, we dream, and, for the first time, we imagine another world.

Influenced by his studies, first in film production, then in visual arts, Roberto Santaguida’s practice focusses on deconstructing the traditions of the documentary genre by applying principles of poetry and questions of philosophy. First Fifth, a fifteen-channel video installation, tells the story of human life by using home videos, found footage and abstract films. Collective experiences of life, dream and imagination are some of the themes that emerge from the images. The series, with its intimate and nostalgic narrative, places various events from the artist’s early years of life in a dialogue with moments of History. With First Fifth, Santaguida makes room for a story that configures, destroys and reconfigures the obsessive gallery of details that, for the sake of convenience, we call memory.

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Since completing his studies in film production at Concordia University, Roberto Santaguida’s films and videos have been shown at more than 300 international festivals. He has also taken part in artist residencies in numerous countries, including Iran, Romania, Germany, Norway, and Australia. Roberto is the recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, the Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a fellowship from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany.

Roberto Santaguida, exhibition view First Fifth, 2022. Photo: Paul Litherland⁠

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