CONCRETE, DESIRE, PIZZA: The Making of CALI THORNHILL DEWITT + MISHA HOLLENBACH’s “Hot Fire 2”

Born from the fire, and straight from the fire—032c Vitrine alum CALI THORNHILL DEWITT and artist MISHA HOLLENBACH’s collaboration “Hot Fire” rolls the fundamental elements of life (concrete, desire, and pizza) into a ball of exuberant chaos. Originally presented as a broadsheet for the New York Book Fair, the duo continued the series with a sequel for Slam Jam in Milan. Photographer LUKAS GANSTERER travelled to Milan to document the making of “Hot Fire 2”:

032c spoke with artists Cali Thornhill DeWitt and Misha Hollenbach about “Hot Fire 2”:

Tell me about how this collaboration came about.

CALI THORNHILL DEWITT and MISHA HOLLENBACH: We had talked about doing something together for a while, then we realized a publication for the New York Book Fair entitled “Hot Fire.” The words and paintings came together effortlessly and seamlessly. The newspaper was a suite of posters that, when folded and collated into a publication, reads like accidental poetry. Both the words and the paintings flow onto and into one another. This guy in Italy liked it so much that he called us with an offer to buy the originals. The paintings, made for purpose of print, required the words, so these were screened in a workshop in Bologna. And then framed. Luca Benini, the proud new owner of the prints, wanted to exhibit his new suite in his store Slam Jam in Milano, so we agreed under the proviso that we would come over and make even more of a mess.

Cali provided the words and Misha the painting, but did your ideas spill into each other?

We were making work together. We came together with our own suitcases. Ultimately, we wanted to make something in the days we were to be together.

Was the tar-painted pizza an ode to the locale of Milano? Or is pizza the international language of desire?

We had been to the Italian equivalent of Home Depot a few times to get supplies for our project. We had wood cut, we had snapped wood and bent metal to fit into a Mini, bought 25 bags of quick-set concrete, paint, etc. And we had forgotten paint brushes. But we also knew that we weren’t making paintings, although we bought paint. We had been taken to a restaurant “in the top 10 restaurants,”—I’m not sure if that was “in Milan,” or, “pizza,” or what the criteria was—but they made giant pizzas. We planned large concrete works on their placemats, went back to the outdoor studio we had negotiated with some old guy, made a huge mess with concrete, and decided we need to make some quick paintings—and use pizza. Olives actually made all the difference. It’s a black texture thing.

What drew you guys to the theme of fire?

Fire. And we both love Roasted Pets.

Your “Quiet Desire” piece. Is that a sculpture or a tomb stone?

It’s a table, actually. PlusDesign—the gallery who unknowingly got involved, and with whom we had the pleasure of confusing for a few days—suggested that they loved our initial idea for a table after we had discussed notions of columns, obelisks, arches, holes, pizza paintings. So we just did as requested. We are like design-slash-art DJs. Making this “table” allowed us to learn the fundamentals of concrete construction. The table—work in progress—is a cool piece. We want to make more tombstones though. Oh, and some sculptures. And an arch.

Cali Thornhill DeWitt’s Romy Schneider Memorial Sweatshirt is available in the 032c Online Store

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