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The residency provided me with the time and space to further develop my art practice with a concentrated focus on my fabric-based works.
Jon exhibited some of the works he produced during his residency in a one-night public event called To carry on like a pork chop. He shared with the audience the creative process he used to make the works and the influence of being exposed to new inputs while in Prato.
Born in Northern Ireland, Jon moved to Melbourne as a child. He studied painting at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and completed his studies at the Victorian College of Arts.
His practice is strongly influenced by a sense of nostalgia for a typically Australian iconography, a common language, and familiar linguistic expressions, which he transforms into colourful and large works. Over the years he has worked with different media including paintings, textiles, flags, billboards and neon signs. Jon has also dedicated himself to musical projects, performing with the bands King Jerklews, Adawo, Gloss Enamel and Olympic Donuts. The influence of live music and performance is very present in his artworks.
Jon's works are found in many renowned public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), the Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney).
Damiano undertook two projects, each one relating to cultural movements in Northern Italy.
The first continued a series of works exploring the relationships between design and radical politics in Italy, with specific reference to influential 1980s Milan design group ‘Memphis’ and material on student and worker movements curated at the Centro Documentazione Pistoia.
Damiano’s second project was conducted in collaboration with Monash Art Design & Architecture lecturer Warren Taylor, curating an exhibition and catalogue of the work of Fluxus designer Gianni Sassi.
Through his multi-disciplinary practice, Damiano challenges ideas of authorship, influence, and the inscribed flow of art-historical time, often bringing together artworks, historical events and cultural material to examine their form and language by means of recontextualisation. His methodology explores the principles of assemblage and montage across sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, video and performance. Articulating an ongoing investigation into how artists negotiate the past, present and future through their ideas and objects, Damiano’s work interrogates the narrative of time, critically positioning his own and other artists’ work in a continuum in order to question the nature of art-making itself.
Damiano received a PhD in Fine Art from Monash University in 2014. He’s currently a lecturer at Monash University and the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. His work is the subject of the monograph Continuous Moment - Damiano Bertoli, published by Surpllus.
Theatre Stills, a series of collages using Italian print media from the sixties and seventies sourced in Prato from the many second-hand stores and markets. The series includes images from art, architecture, fishing and alpine landscape publications re-purposed to create ‘sketch images’ of a fictional theatre.
Interiors and Abstracts also utilise Italian print media but from a later period, the eighties. In Interiors Stuart merges images from Siena archeological digs, Lombard alpine regions and Tuscan interiors to create surrealist outcomes. In Abstracts he provides alternative narratives by completely removing the original object photographed and replacing it with an ‘after-image’.
Born in Perth, Australia, in 1971, Stuart lives and works in Melbourne. He was awarded a PhD in Philosophy by Monash University in 2016, and he has a Bachelor of Arts (Design) from Curtin University, Perth.
Stuart’s work takes many forms, from performance, video and sculpture to collaborative workshops, and is characterised by a resolute sense of art as a social enterprise. Personal and social themes such as fear and embarrassment are often presented through absurd situations or amateur self-help environments, including nude gallery tours, anger workshops and participatory performance works.
Stuart has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, since 2003.
For me, my interaction with Prato isn’t one of simply representing experience or exchange. Rather it is my hope that I will cultivate attentiveness to bodily experiences, of being ‘with’ people and things. Through a process of collecting, walking, observing and note taking, I will seek to create a minor phenomenology. This process has the potential of allowing for moments of material poetry, pleasure and discovery.
Charlie has exhibited in group and solo shows since 2005. He combines a variety of media including sculpture, video, installation, drawing and text. Charlie is primarily concerned with the documentation and cataloguing of experiences.
Laresa presented the results of her research in Lets do something, an interactive exhibition composed of three artworks, video and audio.
Interested in psychology and interpersonal and social relationships within a community, Laresa’s work focused on the inner tension and drama that we create as individuals, as well as gestures of possibility and play.
Influenced by what she experienced in Prato, such as medieval processions and the social quality of public space, her work focused on individual agency and expression but also on how people grappled with interpersonal psychology. She believes we love to watch people perform because it reminds us of our own efforts in life.
Laresa involved locals in her projects, of different ages, and specifically untrained because – she said – untrained performers bring a special quality to the work and often surprising results.
Working with locals was a great experience for me and the participants were generous and thoughtful in their contributions. I have very fond memories of making this work in Prato.
Dr Laresa Kosloff is a Melbourne-based artist whose work incorporates performative videos, Super8 film, sculptural installations and real time performances.
Her practice examines various representational strategies, each one linked by an interest in the body and its agency within the everyday. She explores how movement and gesture translate into significance in various public and studio contexts. Her work draws upon a range of references from slapstick comedy to high-end art.
She lectures in the Master of Fine Art Program at RMIT University in Melbourne.
Pat and Jen worked in collaboration with local textile firm Beste, designing a fabric that conflates the varying techniques, methodologies and economics employed by the differing fabric mills - the traditional, the technical high-end and the low-cost mass producing - and attempting to generate something that is in itself unique.
Our period of residency at Monash Prato has been exceptionally fruitful and productive. We have had the time, space and facilities to research and develop this project. Monash Prato has been pivotal in the project’s realisation through initiating and managing our collaboration with Beste.
Their Prato work Nuove Tendenze was exhibited at Neon Parc in Melbourne.
Pat and Jen have been working collaboratively since 2001. Employing a diverse and lateral array of media and processes, their work unpicks the hidden systems that make up the sites and infrastructure that surround us. Within such thinking, contemporary architecture is deconstructed to such a degree that it is not solely concerned with the making of functional and utilisable space, but crucially, the determination of how, and by whom, such space is used, and for what purpose.
They have been the recipients of several awards, including undertaking a mentorship with Turner Prize winning artist Martin Boyce as part of the Jane Scally Travelling Scholarship, and the Marten Bequest Award.
Influenced by Sol Le Witt - whose works he had the opportunity to see during his time in Italy - David collaborated with dancer Giuseppe Claudio Insalaco, choreographer and dancer Sabrina Mazzuoli, actor Michele Degirolamo and musician Samantha Bertoldi to explore themes such as sameness and difference, anxiety and comfort, desire and restraint, proximity and distance.
The video Incomplete was shot with an Italian film crew in the studio of a local artist, Chiara Bettazzi, and post-produced later in Australia.
Melbourne-based, David is one of Australia’s foremost video artists. In creating his installations, videos and photographs which often focus on the theme of identity, David works with practitioners in theatre, dance, film and sound.
He has an extensive exhibition history both in Australia and overseas. His ‘Portrait of Cate Blanchett’ (2008) was exhibited in The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Centre for Photography in New York.
Maree ran a series of workshops with the local community to produce a unique cloak, similar to those worn by her ancestors for ceremonial purposes, but featuring textiles woven in Prato instead of possum skin.
It has been fantastic working with the Prato community on the Prato Textile Possum Skin Cloak Project. Like our Possum Skin Cloak workshops back in my community in the south east of Australia, it is always very rewarding to bring people together to share their skills, knowledge and stories to pass down to the next generation. That's how you keep culture alive.
Maree held the public exhibition Ritual and Ceremony at the end of her residency to share the cloak and other works she produced during her time in Prato.
Maree gifted several of her paintings and photographs, as well as the cloak, to our centre. Visitors are welcome to come and view the works here.
Maree is of the Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta and Boonerwrung people of north west Victoria.
Her practice is intertwined with her Australian Aboriginal cultural heritage and focuses on reclaiming traditions. She has created traditional garments and jewelry. She has explored designs used on hunting shields.
With fellow Koorie artists, Maree created the possum skin cloaks that featured in the opening ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
The diverse cultural histories of China and Italy inspired Professor Cai’s painting entitled the Dawn of Stone Bridge, which the artist gifted to our centre at the end of his residency. The work was one of many paintings that Professor Cai completed in Prato. His works explored not only landscapes, but key symbols and cultural attitudes throughout the history of China and Italy. He held two exhibitions during his residency, concluding with 'East and West: Respecting Diversity'.
Professor Cai’s residency was an initiative of a memorandum of understanding between Wenzhou University, Monash University, the PIN Polo Universitario ‘Città di Prato’ - University of Florence, and the Province of Prato. Prato is among Italy's most multicultural and diverse cities, and it has one of the largest populations of Chinese migrants in Europe, with many from Wenzhou. The memorandum aimed to promote social inclusion research, greater inclusion of Chinese residents in Prato, and student and staff exchanges. With no shared language between them, Professor Cai and our staff were supported by Miao Miao Huang, a local student, who undertook an internship at our centre.
One of Professor Cai’s paintings was later used on the cover of Chinese Migration to Europe: Prato, Italy, and Beyond, edited by Loretta Baldassar, Graeme Johanson, Narelle McAuliffe and Massimo Bressan, and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. This publication was an outcome of the Chinese in Prato symposia series held in alternate years at our centre and at Wenzhou University, featuring academic work and local initiatives on the Chinese in Prato to contribute to knowledge and understanding of the migrant experience.
Professor Cai was Vice-Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design, Wenzhou University, in China, and one of the directors of the oil painting association in Zhejiang.
The late Dr Jo-Anne Duggan (1962-2011), our centre’s first artist-in-residence, was a scholar and photomedia artist. Jo-Anne investigated site-specificity, the complexity of the museum, and the pasts that collide in the context of viewing art and historical materials.
Jo-Anne had a longstanding focus on Italian material culture and history and her practice as a photomedia artist was profoundly influenced by the heritage associated with Italian Renaissance painting.
A Site of Convergence: Celebrating 10 years of the Monash University Prato Centre, published by Monash University Publishing in 2011, is the result of collaboration between writer and editor Cynthia Troup, and Jo-Anne. It is a tribute to the humanist vision that shaped the development of our centre, and a celebration of Jo-Anne’s photographic art. It includes Jo-Anne’s account of the effect of her association with our centre on her creative vision and practice.
Jo-Anne's association with our centre began in 2003 and culminated with her exhibition ‘Wondrous Possessions’ in 2010. Jo-Anne gifted a triptych of the State Archives of Mantova from this exhibition. The photographs are on display in our reading room.