Fall Session 2023
Mahler & LeWitt Studios

Left to right: Tommaso Faraci, Ngadi Smart, Guy Robertson, Eleni Maragaki, Zuza Banasinska, Jessica Tang, Glen Pudvine, Michael Newman, Esa Kirkkopelto, Lubna Chowdhary.

Our 2023 Fall Session welcomed several of our Open Call awardees: Zuza Banasinska FRENCH INSTITUTE IN ITALY, IL NUOVO GRAND TOUR, Eleni Maragaki UNIVERSITY ARTS LONDON, ART FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, Jessica Tang YALE SCHOOL OF ART AND YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY, and Ngadi Smart PUBLISHING ECOLOGY: LOOSE JOINTS. We were also joined by artists Lubna Chowdhary and Glen Pudvine, as well as writer Michael Newman and his performance collaborator Esa Kirkkopelto. Finally, Luis Alberto Rodriguez and Afra Zamara returned to Spoleto to shoot their project in the Festival dei Due Mondi costumes archive, supported by the Carla Fendi Foundation.



In partnership with the Institute of France in Italy’s ‘Il Nuovo Grand Tour’ program, we welcomed Polish visual artist Zuza Banasińska. Zuza’s essay films and installations utilize video, computer game engines, sound and sculpture to animate spectral realities sedimented within archives. The subsequent works create complex ecosystems that challenge unitary notions of identity, gender, and representation.

During my residency I thought alot about traces – ghostly marks of an encounter between the self and the world, between being and surface. I’ve experimented with a series of prints which I’ve titled ‘Spoleto skyboxes’. In game engines, a skybox encloses the game terrain in a 6-tile cube, creating an infinite map of the surrounding environment, whose edge can never be reached… read more



Greek visual artist Eleni Maragaki was awarded the 2023 Mahler & LeWitt Studios / University of the Arts London, Art for the Environment open call, which supports work by young artists exploring the defining concerns of the 21st century – biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy and human rights.

The Mahler & LeWitt Studios residency encouraged me to develop my practice in two key areas: studio-based work, and physical exploration of the territory…. The body of work I created reflects my interest in bridging the dichotomy between urban construction and the natural environment. read more



Jessica Tang – whose practice seeks to examine the tension between observation and experience via material experiments that arise from inquiries into the nature of the essential tenets of photography: light and time – was awarded our open call opportunity in partnership with Yale School of Art and Yale University Art Gallery. As well as a research and development residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios, Tang benefits from a series of mentoring sessions with Margaret Ewing, Horace W. Goldsmith Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Yale University Art Gallery. She lived and worked from the Torre Bonomo throughout the 2023 Fall Session.

In the mornings, the sunlight streams into the top floor of this tower through the three long, horizontal, rectangular windows to the east. Usually, I drink my coffee and wait for the sunlight to shine through the window that faces mostly south. I watch the area illuminated by the sunbeam do its slow dance from the frame, to the wall, and to the floor, gradually changing in shape and size. Eventually I hear the bells telling me it is noon. read more



The Loose Joints and Mahler & LeWitt Studios Publishing Award is a yearly opportunity to develop an artist’s practice through an artist residency and book award, focused on a curated theme. In 2023 we partnered with innovative magazine Atmos for Publishing Ecology: an award inviting artists engaging with the anthropocene, climate change and the environment.

The winner of Publishing Ecology 2023 was Ngadi Smart (SL/UK), for her project Wata Na Life, an expressive series of photo-collages from her native Sierra Leone that takes the context of a water crisis, deepened by corruption and government complacency, and builds a vibrant and lucid foundation for empowerment and change through photo-collage works.

During the residency I experimented with the existing photo series in tactile ways: collaging with paper, creating new shapes and layers. I revisited the project in search of improvement and new creative visual ways to view the project in preparation for its publication as a book. read more



Lubna Chowdhary (b. 1964, Dodoma, Tanzania) works primarily in the field of ceramics. Shaped tiles, sculptural objects, and spatial installations, constitute a distinctive oeuvre that bridges the disciplines of architecture, craft, design, sculpture and painting.

During a visit to the Torre Bonomo to see Sol LeWitt’s site-specific drawings, the line quality and process of drawing directly – in which graphite pencil made contact with the chalky textured surfaces of the walls – inspired me to take up a pencil and draw myself. LeWitt had mapped the rooms, often drawing in response to the fixtures and fittings in the Torre. I also began to use my studio space as a sketchbook, exploring placements of work and taking pleasure in the process and materials of drawing – often with unconventional materials. read more



Glen Pudvine is a figurative painter working through themes of identity, existentialism, the everyday, pop culture and medieval and renaissance iconography. Searching for connections between these themes and experiences from the artists life, Pudvine creates new motifs that communicate a broader curiosity for who we are and where we are.

During my time at the Mahler & Lewitt Studios I felt compelled to use the landscape of Spoleto as a subject matter, but also as a context for my motifs to live in. It has been fascinating for me to live around the scenery that was utilised in medieval and Renaissance Italian painting, giving me a new perspective on those pictures as a whole. On returning to my studio in London I wish to further explore the use of the topography of Spoleto, developing my skills as a landscape painter and perhaps abstracting it to a gradient colourfield, starting from a cool pale blue, to a warm yellowish green. In doing so I hope that the subject matter of the land itself can become a type of allegory, referencing space and time. read more

Glen Pudvine, ‘Ear in Spoleto’, 2023, oil on canvas, 50x60cm



Michael Newman is Professor of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Among his current projects is a long essay on measure, measurement and the unmeasurable, which is at the interface or art, science and ethics. He has used the residency at the Mahler & LeWitt studios to bring this to fruition whilst also initiating a new project, working with his collaborator Esa Kirkkopelto, stemming from the work of Sol LeWitt. read more



Esa Kirkkopelto is a philosopher, artist-researcher, and performance artist. His research focuses on the deconstruction of the performing body both in theory and in practice. In Spoleto, he developed new work in conversation with co-resident Michael Newman and his research around measure and measurement. For our Open Studios, Esa presented a performance titled Art as a Word: Diagrams, Gestures, Bodies. He described it as, “a performative research exposition which demonstrates how our speaking bodies turn into diagrams, and vice versa.” read more



Supported by the Carla Fendi Foundation, photographer Luis Alberto Rodriguez and set designer Afra Zamara joined us in Spoleto to explore and document the Festival dei Due Mondi costumes archive, which has recently been catalogued by Monica Trevisani and a team of conservators. The archive holds approximately 3000 costumes, illustrating the history of performance (dance, theatre and opera) at Spoleto’s festivals from the early 1960s to the 2000s whilst charting shifting attitudes to culture and fashion. Drawing on their backgrounds in dance and scenography, Rodriguez and Zamara reactivate the archive: capturing the flare and detail of the original designs, whilst inventing new situations for the costumes and exploring relationships between performance, dress and expressions of identity. We will be sharing the results of the shoot in due course!


The session concluded with an open studios event (pictured above) when the residents shared work-in-progress with our local audiences.

Thank you for reading and for your support of the program. We look forward to sharing details of our 2024 Winter Session soon.

Our best wishes, Eva LeWitt and Guy Robertson