Barbara Probst. Where photography becomes “simultaneous”

The artist Barbara Probst, after exhibiting at Le Bal in Paris, arrives in Italy (Milan) at Monica De Cardenas Gallery. The artist’s works, composed of two or more large and medium format photographs with a strong visual and emotional impact, capture and destabilize the gaze of the observer, in fact they constantly play between illusion and reality, making all the atmosphere of the installation to the limit of the unlikely.

Barbara Probst takes more photographs from various angles and distances and does it simultaneously: this methodology makes the images very different from each other, even though the subject is always the same; each becomes disguised by the frame, thus exposing a distorted and different reality in each photo shoot. The artist positions different points of view and feeds them to the observer, stimulating curiosity and intimate voyeurism, the instant of shooting breaks into different pieces and the series become puzzles to compose, to elaborate and to experience; Barbara therefore moves away from the concept of “captured moment” and approaches the development of multiple shots of the same “instant”.

In the exhibition we find photographs related to fashion, still life, reportage and portraiture, these typologies interact with each other in a surprising way so as to become complementary works.

In the first room of the gallery we find a double portrait of the famous twin sisters Lia and Odette Pavlova with the title Exposure #124 (2017). Here parts of the bodies of the young girls are hidden by glass objects, a real mix of portrait and still life. The two large photographs (168×112 cm each) which seem to mirror each other, are elaborated with different framing and taken at the same time where the viewer of this diptych is forced to play to find the differences.

In the same room a triptych entitled Exposure #139 (2018) apparently represents a classic still life composed by a table with various objects underneath, such as a bottle, a jug and a fruit, together with them we find an element of the human body: a hand; in each photograph the hand appears on different planes and it seems that this fragment of body belongs to a woman who is in a precarious condition of life, where what remains is only the surrounding of everyday objects.

Faced with this triptych we find another one entitled Exposure #132 (2018): here we move away from still life and we find the representation of a female body lying in front of the camera, the “human body” in front of the “camera body” becomes the story of a recovery in the recovery, seen from different points of view; the body of a woman with her sculptural presence, depicts beauty and strength at the same time, and here it is clear that Barbara brought her old sculpture studios, made at the Academy of Monaco, precisely in her photographs.

In the next room we find ourselves in the middle of a story, Exposure #123, a reportage linked to the portrait where the artist catapults us into a typical American motel by the sea and a woman with a melancholic gaze confronts the landscape. The link between the subject with the natural scenery becomes strong and it seems that everything is wrapped in a mystery that leaves ample space to the imagination.

The exhibition closes with the Exposure series #119.1 (2016) made up of 5 photographs (76×76 cm), taken in the studio. Here 5 different shots alternate, as the colors and the black and white are interspersed too.
The story in this story becomes more of a puzzle than a puzzle, objects on the table and human subjects mix in an almost surreal exhibition.
This series is followed by: a portrait of a woman in black and white, a still-life in color where bottles and cups hide a man’s half-length on the sofa, then a peeling wall in black and white, then again the body of the man on the sofa, but this time in a closer and frontal shot and to close a composition of a glass, a pitcher and a female body, superimposed on different planes but visually matching.

Barbara Probst’s photography is not developed towards a concept of two-dimensionality, but rather towards a three-dimensionality seen in a double vision: as objects in space, therefore a sculptural vision, the other, as a real reality. The world of the artist is told through various planes of vision, where the importance of time, understood as simultaneous shooting is as important as the multiple shots.


Barbara Probst
26 September – 30 November 2019
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 15 – 19
Via Francesco Viganò 4 Milano

Barbara ProbstBarbara Probst Exposure #124, Brooklyn, Industria Studios, 39 South 5th St, 04.13.17, 10:39 p.m., 2017 Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper 2 photographs: each 168 x 112 cm Ed of 5

Barbara Probst Exposure #132: N.Y.C., 368 Broadway, 02.09.18, 3:56 p.m., 2018 Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper 3 photographs: each 112 x 112 cm Ed of 5

Barbara Probst Barbara Probst Exposure #119.1: Munich, Waisenhausstrasse 65, 08.02.16, 3:18 p.m., 2016 Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper 5 photographs: each 76 x 76 cm Ed of

Barbara Probst Exposure #139: Munich, Nederlingerstrasse 68, 08.21.18, 5:13 p.m., 2018 Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper 3 photographs: each 112 x 75 cm Ed of 5

The most honest elegance in Gian Paolo Barbieri’s photographs in Milan

The white walls of the 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery in Milan host the largest retrospective on instant photography by Gian Paolo Barbieri entitled “Polaroid and More” curated by Giovanni Pelloso.
Over 120 unpublished polaroids that trace portraits and figures of iconic and timeless characters related to fashion and the entertainment world, and beyond. The Polaroids exhibited in the gallery in a serial way and inserted in black frames and with white passepartout, make the entire exhibition even more elegant.

Gian Paolo Barbieri who has always collaborated with major brands such as Valentino, Versace, Ferrè and many others, brings us into a scenario linked to theatricality and beauty, where everything fluctuates between reality and fiction.
What we read in his photographs is certainly an intimate and light story, and this can be seen not only through the representation of female bodies, but also through male figures and natural subjects; although everything is staged, it is fashion, it is theater, it is a show and although all this may seem almost an exhibition of the subject, in reality the photographer wants to tell us a totally personal, romantic and intimate vision.

The polaroid Neorealism of 2000, recounts love and intolerance for the lack of bourgeois conventions, essential features of neorealism itself; while the portraits of Daniela Ghione, Felicitas Boch, Lynne Koester, Monica Bellucci and Patty Pravo, which he shot throughout his career, give the exhibition an elegance that has no boundaries, where beauty and femininity are ingredients donated to visitors with irremediable and disturbing visual and emotional impact.

We pause on two Polaroids from the respective titles Hoshi Kabuto Mask and Kabuto, from 2005, where in both are represented two men, in the first one a man in profile, in the second a man of 3/4 with a frontal face; both subjects wear a Kabuto, a typical Japanese medieval helmet, usually made of leather and iron; these helmets were often decorated with natural or sacred elements, such as dragons, animals or fruit. This object (the helmet) unites two fundamental elements of the photography of Gian Paolo Barbieri: the “refinement”, in this case identified through the decorative details, and the “strength”, in this case represented by the well-sculpted male body wearing the helmet itself.

In works such as Magnolia and Banana from 2003, nature has an indissoluble bond with the female figure, here eroticism is the key to interpretation.
The figure of the woman, like that of man and nature, has not been taken as a stereotype, but wrapped in a single conviction, the one that is never completely revealed.

In the Polaroid Veruschka for Vivienne Westwood (1997), the female figure is seated in a captivating pose and this is evident from the look but also from the clothes and objects that surround her, such as stockings, shoes and a circle (hula hoop) from the spotted texture, but also with an ironic hairstyle; all these elements contain the characteristics of the photographer’s retrospective: femininity, eroticism, irony, sarcasm, balance, vulnerability, strength and timidity.

Another part of the exhibition is dedicated to photographs taken in which the subjects are natives immersed in their natural habitat, naked bodies often thought of as preparatory works; unlike studio shots (posed and studied), these instead are characterized by their spontaneity and improvisation.
Barbieri also showed off new works inspired by William Shakespeare in the fourth centenary of his death, and how he always liked to think:
“… I draw from the past to look to the future.”


Gian Paolo Barbieri
29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery – Via San Vittore 13, Milano
10 May – 27 July 2019
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11.00-19.00
Other days and times by appointment
Free entry

tel. 02 94387188

© Gian Paolo Barbieri – Daniela Ghione, Interview Mag. Milano, 1986
Polaroid Type 55 Positive, unique piece Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

© Gian Paolo Barbieri – Banana, Seychelles, 2003
Polaroid Type 55 Positive, unique piece Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery


Identity is essentially how others view us | OTHER IDENTITY

Genoa, after the closure of the Museum of Villa Croce, excluding the formalized spaces of the galleries, certainly needed a revolution and aesthetic innovation or simply of Contemporary Art. Then comes a project that renews the static air that was perceived in the city and to think about it was Francesco Arena, curator and creator of “ OTHER IDENTITY-Altre forme di identità culturali e pubbliche “.
International event of contemporary art that embodies photographs, installations, video art, performances and electronic music, where the concept of identity is expanded beyond the figure of self-representation, up to precisely “other forms of cultural and public identity”.
The project was conceived as a transposition of the identity of the curator himself on the works he selected, the artists and the selected venues. For the second edition, Other Identity returns to 4 locations, 3 of the most important galleries in Genova: ABC-ARTE Gallery, Guidi&Schoen-arte contemporanea Gallery, PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo, and one of the most dynamic official spaces in Genoa, Sala Dogana-Palazzo Ducale.

As the curator states in the event catalog:
“An edition that presents itself as “unplugged” after the first release in a huge venue that is the one of the Loggia della Mercanzia always in Genoa; “music for the eyes” where works of art and visual and audio projects intends to show the existing contamination between visual and performing arts, and the indissoluble bond created with contemporary music.”

Each location has several peculiarities in it and in it the choice of Francesco Arena to favor the invited artists by contrast and assonance.

At the vernissage of Other Identity several performances alternated, among these, at the Guidi&Schoen gallery, that of Nadia Frasson entitled “Noli me tangere“, where the artist previously sewed on skin-colored pink organza, the shape of a brain and during the three-hour arch has embroidered over small black ants; ants are insects that creep in excellence and represent a penance for the artist, a torture on their own skin and memory. After the performance Nadia‘s organza remains as a relic inside the gallery and more than a post-performance installation, we could define it as a trace of “what it was”.
At the ABC-ARTE gallery instead the performance of Cinzia Ceccarelli with Mihaela Slav entitled “Tso (treat me without oblivion)” denounces the wrong system of the world of psychiatry, about what should be the compulsory care provided by that branch of science.
In Sala Dogana at Palazzo Ducale, the Skin/Tones performance by Francesca Fini, sees the artist undress from a delicate bathrobe and sit on a white cube where he begins to analyze parts of his body through a digital microscope; traces of skin, hair, eyes, hair and saliva, are transposed on the projector in front of her and the user, inviting the latter to accept the mapping of her body. The visitor becomes voyeur, he no longer observes the body of the artist but his macroscopic and deformed elaboration, a sort of “super-selfie“, as she herself defines, transmitted through a filter, an invisible membrane.
Also in Sala Dogana at the end of the evening the FLeUR (Enrico Dutto and Francesco Lurgo) performed live electronic music, where the soundscape blends with the digital world, and where post-rock joins an obscure ritual.

As in a tour in Genoa we find ourselves living the art in all its facets, starting from PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo, historical building of Genoa, where we see installed and shown almost small personal. Each room contains the artist’s intimate story, I would call it a “diary of images”, where the concept of memory and current events alternate and where the contemporary nature of the works displayed fits perfectly with the historicity of the location.
Entering we find the works of Debora Garritani, where symbols and iconographic references with a Flemish taste intersect with contemporary elements, here the artist denounces the appearance at the expense of being; in the second room the artist Romolo Giulio Milito with 12 diptychs, brings us into a much more intimate and personal atmosphere, for him eroticism is the exact encounter between himself and his models, in the same room the artist wanted to insert a personal catalog where the visitor can intervene in pen with words and drawings, on the white of the pages or on the images themselves, so that the catalog becomes “unique” as the work of art. This location has very high but welcoming rooms, as are the landscapes, the scenes, the sharp contrasts between Giorgio Galimberti’s black and white; his characters get lost and mix with the surrounding environment, here the identity of man becomes one with that of the places that host him; in the central hall we find Alexi Paladino (Lilian Capuzzimato) with a photographic reproduction of his collages, a personal diary where the concept of identity is seen through traces of his past and the characters of a true story are in constant conflict with each other; here, despite the bitter taste of the stories, there is always a declaration of love for his family; in the same room, by contrast, Montserrat Diaz throws us into a reality where apparently everything is in balance, its self-portraits are infected by the concept of space and time and the image appears “clean” and “built”. Continuing in these rooms, in the project we also find the large vinyl paintings of Ivan Cazzola, tall, powerful, here the contemporaneity of his shots related to the world of fashion, music and entertainment, contrasts with the frescoes on the vaults.

The last room hosts two artists, Monica Mura and Donatella Izzo, the first shows her installation, a large silk curtain depicting her face split into two parts, one obvious and the other pixelated (almost wanting to present deteriorated, low resolution); the resolution, in computer science and in graphic design is the magnitude that indicates the degree of sharpness or clarity of an image, in this case the pixel is the ability of the image to recover its initial state and is indeed enriched with colored interventions in gold, just to want to highlight the importance and the preciousness of its “hidden” part at the expense of its obvious part; the curtain is combined with a looped video that takes up his own face in a continuous metamorphosis between outlined shapes and pixellature; the second artist Donatella Izzo presents installations with everyday objects (such as a table and a 1980s pouf) in dialogue with photographic portraits, or rather as she calls them “anti-portraits”; in his works, sacredness and history merge and spiritual identity is opposed to the supernatural silence.
PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo for its structural peculiarities is exactly the historical container par excellence that serves to match and enhance in the best way, the path of the artists chosen for this venue.

Among the project’s locations, two of the most important Genoese galleries emerge; ABC-ARTE and Guidi& Schoen-Arte contemporanea.

The Guidi&Schoen gallery does not follow a specific line or media, but rather follows what is profoundly meaningful and formally sophisticated, and this has also been transported by the curator within the space.
In the first room the photographs of Nadia Frasson with hand-embroidered interventions, perfectly match the works of the German Sebastian Klug who works on the weaving of two photographic prints, here the contemporary flavor is linked to craftsmanship and identity is seen as concept of “dissolution”.
Walking through the gallery, the female bodies linked to the landscapes of Marco Cappella alternate with those of the couple of ERRESULLALUNA+ChuliPaquin, where “the image is a step, and the step becomes dance”, here the most banal gesture becomes intense; while in the same room also appears the great diptych with dark colors by Ramona Zordini, a dialogue on full and empty spaces that can be summed up perfectly in a quote by Jean Paul Sartre “only, this identity of essence is not accompanied by an identity of existence”.
The project expands into several rooms and we discover the work of Patricia Eichert, where the juxtaposition of her presence (at least in part, given that she only photographs her legs) in domestic settings accompanied by her dogs, give the project irony and sarcasm, so as to contrast the most introspective works of Christina Heurig, which instead highlights a real “contemplation of one’s own disorders”, as the artist herself defines.
Among the artists also Karin Andersen and her surreal characters, here the identity is often seen as a mixture between the human and the animal, while the place is a real ecosystem where it is possible to live and adapt with its own changing genetics.
The contrasts so loved by the curator are also evident in the style of the individual artists; where we are usually used to seeing the large and immense artificial landscapes of Giacomo Costa, for Other Identity the artist expresses himself through his ironic and unpublished self-portraits and in this case he denounces the social stereotypes, he does it through the disguise of himself and the another seen by itself.

We dwell on the penetrating characters of Richard Kern, with the strong white blacks, where the key point is this: “ the spectator’s voyeurism always corresponds the exhibitionism of the represented”.
The upper part of the gallery is structured like many white cubes, while the lower part, the “basement” has rooms with exposed walls, where the industrial atmosphere is much darker and mysterious; hence the choice to include artists who talk about “memory”, in the case of backlit suitcases by Roberta Toscano, or of “brazen intimacy” in the works of Marcel Swann, presented with old recovery frames that fit perfectly to a wall of old clay bricks. Still in the basement, instead, the works of Ophelia Queen and Sandra Lazzarini are linked respectively to social and cultural stereotypes and to the transposition of still life composed of the staging of one’s daily life.
The contest was linked to a project, organized by Radio Babboleo, where for the occasion everyone could send their own self-portrait; at the end of the competition, the best self portrait was shown in the Guidi&Schoen gallery. The winner was the photograph of Isabella Quaranta.

We move from ABC-ARTE, this gallery prefers painting and abstraction where the gestural cut dominates; but for the first time it welcomes a project where the privileged medium is the photographic and performative medium, and gives carte blanche to the curator who has set and set up very different artists in these large white rooms.In entrance we find the works of Manuel Bravi, here “In Deep Red” tells us “the representation of the erotic impulses present in each of us, the marked exhibitionism of the digital times that clashes with the fears of the judgments of others”; Light Painting, a traditional and artisan technique, is well combined here with a strong contemporary impact.
The same room hosts the majestic but delicate work of Davide D’Elia, entitled Adriana, the name of a woman who really existed, where 15 canvases come together to give life to an identity that is represented this time through the concept of absence and memory; in the same environment the diptych of Paula Sunday instead is exactly opposite to the absence and appears in a double identity: she herself dressed as a bride and groom, where to marry oneself means to celebrate one’s independence, a sacred commitment in front of one’s responsibilities.
In the central hall we find the large installations of Bärbel Reinhard and Nadja Ellinger, both represent themselves in dialogue with the natural landscape, specifically the second artist is self-represented immersed in the woods or with natural elements and always does so in a very raw way, combining everyday objects, such as knives or pomegranate juice, a metaphor for blood; use photography to visualize his inner feelings and fears.
From the same theme also the work of Amalia de Bernardis entitled “Natura morta con errore”, where the error is given both by the image of herself represented as a subject subtracted from her own natural environment, and by the compositional choice of the still life to the constant search for precarious balance; as well as from the images, also from the broken frames that enclose his works.
The work of Federica Gonnelli instead consists of 9 tiles, the faces of Louise and Herbert, printed in small organza canvases superimposed between them, are the protagonists that add up to each other, where one cannot do less than the other, where the identity is unique and no longer two.
Natascia Rocchi with her series, works on the photographic reproduction of collages, the historical characters are tied to contemporary ones, almost wanting to erase the years that separated them; the identity here too blends, erasing time.
In front of this wall we find the work of Silvia Celeste Calcagno, the ceramic photography becomes imposing, where we are usually used to seeing it in small format, here the representation of the self becomes immense; beside the triptych by Corinna Holthusen, pictorial interventions on photographic bases reported on canvas of female portraits, where past, present and future merge into a single work, a process of birth, life and death that is repeated in the cycle.
A long corridor welcomes Mauro Vignando, his work on double postcards, tells the journey of film stars (couples of lovers and portraits) on which he then intervenes with cuts, in this case the concept of subtraction of the subject is linked to the subtraction of identity; to follow we find the large-format posters by Francesca Randi, entitled “I Senza Nome“, characters immersed in a dark and nocturnal setting, where the mask becomes on the faces of the subjects, hiding of the self.
To alternate the gaze of the observer we find a more pornographic portraiture with the 35 polaroids by Alessandra Pace and Fausto Serafini, a diary of images, an emotional and sentimental path, where the artists themselves affirm: “We believe that hiding is the most serious error possible , we must expose ourselves, with all the force of truth … “; in front of the triptych by Carmen Palermo, polaroids re-photographed with a voyeuristic taste.
In the textile installation by Isobel Blank, composed of elements in wool, foam, remains of cloth that are compared with small drawings on canvas and a self-portrait of the artist, identity is redefined over time, like the moment suspended in limbo; Boris Duhm presents photographs and writings autographed in gold, in these works the artist stages the concept of “alter ego” and shows the playful confrontation with the power of disguise.
The works by Maurizio Cesarini from the substantial conceptual line close the room, where despite the double presence of the photographed subject (himself and the other seen by himself) the artist manifests himself as “absent”; Emanuele Dello Strologo with black-and-white shots, tells a story in Bosnia; identity is seen as a request for help through the eyes of the protagonist children in these hyper-realistic shots.

At Palazzo Ducale in Sala Dogana, in addition to exhibiting wall works, we find a focus on video reviews. This is the privileged medium here; in fact the spectator is immediately welcomed by thetrailer of the exhibition on the big screen and at the end of the corridor we find the installation/performance of Cinzia Ceccarelli, where a monitor that repeats the waves of the sea and a chair in front of the screen, describes exactly the title of the work “The patience of Penelope”; here the expectation of the return of a love can be essential to feel complete with one’s own identity and the compulsive gesture of weaving is re-evoked before undoing waiting to see the arrival of someone or something in the waves of the sea.
In the second room we find the projection of the videos of: Isobel Blank, Maurizio Cesarini, Silvia Celeste Calcagno, Monica Mura, Francesca Leoni, Solidea Ruggiero, Christian Reinster and Tore Manca (Mater-ia). During the whole period of the exhibition, in the Sala Dogana, the video reviews of: Francesca Fini, Francesca Lolli, Phoebe Zeitgeist and the film by Tore Manca (Mater-ia) entitled Bioethic Vision (a research on the concrete image, on the sound and above all on the relationship between the identity of man and nature, against that material selfishness that is afflicting us at this time).
In the last room, that of the columns, we find Chiara Gini with a triptych linked to the primitive man and the loss of self, while Francesca Leoni presents a photographic work of her performance where the link with the place where she performs is highlighted. Silvia Bigi is inspired by her dreamlike and childlike world and by the memory of a flight (that of the bumblebee) among the trees of the home garden; Giacomo Infantino outlines the places of his city, Varese, where human figures often appear immersed in nocturnal and dark scenarios, as if they were part of the same environment; Chiara Cordeschi reveals her identity through details of her body, the essence of femininity is a constant link between her projects.
The electronic music lives of Luca Fucci and The Deep Society (Valerio Visconti and Mirko Grifoni) are proposed at the end of the project, with visuals strongly influenced by contaminations linked to contemporary video art.

Every artist in every venue has been able to show himself without hesitation; it does not exist only to perform and show itself: Other Identity thus becomes a true declaration to the world of multiple cultural and public identities, which often overlap and divide, where the word identity is too often proclaimed, but always too little understood.

Here’s how the curator Francesco Arena speaks in the catalog:

“…artists who by exhibiting their works take a personal challenge and talk about themselves directly and sincerely, with no mediations, through different but honest sensitivities. The colours of the photos, videos and installations blow up, this time, in the austerity and authoritativeness of private spaces, in the elegance of the locations, facing in a clear-headed and energetic way this challenge that for several artists is their first great official trial.”

Benedetta Spagnuolo

OTHER IDENTITY-Altre forme di identità culturali e pubbliche
Second Edition
curated by Francesco Arena

9 – 23 March 2019 | GENOA
Exhibition extended to March 29th
Free entry

Contemporary art exhibition (Photography – Installations – New Media Art – Videoart – Electronic Music)
With the patronage of the Liguria Region and the Municipality of Genoa
In collaboration with: Goethe-Institut Genua, ABC-ART gallery, Guidi&Schoen-Arte contemporanea gallery
Organization: Benedetta Spagnuolo/ARTISTI ITALIANI-arti visive e promozione

Partners and sponsors: Radiobabboleo, Il Secolo XIX, Locanda di Palazzo Cicala, EdArte-Associazione Culturale, AA Photography by Alessandro Arnò and M. Lucia Menduni, Valentino Visuals, Capra Pictures
Cover photo: Chiara Cordeschi

ABC-ARTE: Via XX Settembre, 11/A
Mart-Sab 09:30-13:30 | 14:30-18:30 Dom e Lun on appointment

Guidi&Schoen-Arte Contemporanea: Piazza dei Garibaldi, 18R
Mart-Sab 10:00-12:30 | 16:00-19:00

PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo: Vico alla Chiesa delle Vigne, 18R
Merc-Dom 16:00-20:00

Sala Dogana-Palazzo Ducale: Piazza Matteotti
Mart-Dom 16:00-20:00 (fino al 23 Marzo)

+39 340 2540631

Other IdentityNoli me tangere”. Performance by Nadia Frasson. Galleria Guidi&Schoen-Arte Contemporanea. Ph. By AA Photography di Alessandro Arnò e M. Lucia Menduni

Tso (trattami senza oblio)”. Performance by Cinzia Ceccarelli con Mihaela Slav. Galleria ABC-ARTE. Ph. By AA Photography di Alessandro Arnò e M. Lucia Menduni

Other IdentityFLeUR (Enrico Dutto-Francesco Lurgo). Electronic Live. Sala Dogana-Palazzo Ducale Ph. By AA Photography di Alessandro Arnò e M. Lucia Menduni

Exhibition view at ABC-ARTE Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at ABC-ARTE Ph. By Francesco Arena

Artwork by Bärbel Reinhard. ABC-ARTE Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at Guidi&Schoen-Arte Contemporanea Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at Guidi&Schoen-Arte Contemporanea Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at Guidi&Schoen-Arte Contemporanea Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo Ph. By Francesco Arena

Artwork (detail) by Romolo Giulio Milito. PRIMO PIANO di Palazzo Grillo. Ph. By Francesco Arena

Exhibition view at Sala Dogana-Palazzo Ducale. Ph. By Francesco Arena

Juno Calypso. The aesthetic perfection against the aesthetic itself

Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti in Milan houses for the first time in Italy, the Pop-Pink atmosphere and aesthetics of Juno Calypso. Young London artist, she has been working with self-portraits, she exhibits worldwide and is known for her Photography Awards 2016, one of the most sought-after prize in photojournalism sector organised by British Journal of Photography.

We enter a cosy and sugary atmosphere based on 60s and 80s years, where irony and sarcasm try to cross prejudices and clichés referred to the modern woman; settings like American motels and bunkers in Las Vegas become places where the artist explores her new characters.

Walking through the halls of the art gallery, we find a wide range of photographs, selected among the 3 most significant series took by Juno: Joyce, The Honeymoon and What to do with a Million Years.

During university, Juno began a series of self-portraits disguised as a fictional character called Joyce. Secretly photographing herself at her grandmothers’ house or in bedrooms rented online, Juno was used to enact the private life of a woman wasted by labour of femininity and lead to the “ritualised absurdity”. Joyce is a woman looking convulsively for perfection, who uses treatments and devices to improve her body; a woman that frustrated pursues continually herself through her alter ego.

The artist thinks that every single detail of her set, from the artificial light to the clothing, every element is fundamental for the result of her dreamy scene.

In the Honeymoon series (2015) the protagonist is always solitary and never gloomy. Juno spent a week alone in a resort for couples, the Penn Hills Resort in Pennsylvania and by bringing with her a bag full of wings and lingerie, she starts to play with her characters, where rooms become stage, a place where to perform, where to act alone expressing desire and disappointment. In those days, Juno used to go out only to have breakfast or dinner, she dedicated all the rest of her time to her shots. In 2016, she came back to the same hotel to continue the series by simulating a real honeymoon.

What to do with a Million Years is her new project made in 2018. Here the set has changed, no more rent house or motel, but a two-floor house in Las Vegas with a worrying “Bunker” underneath it; the Bunker was built at the end of 1960 by a rich makeup businessman, Avon Gerry Henderson and by his wife, since they were terrified by a possible nuclear explosion with the advent of cold war.

Juno found out, only after she had taken her pictures, that such bunker actually is owned by a company related to “cryonics”, the science that hibernates bodies in liquid nitrogen. All that makes the artist’s project even more worrying and attractive.

The bunker, in the artist’s imagination, exists to be lived daily with all its thousand comforts: hydromassage, guest rooms, pool, dancing room and garden; it has been chosen right because it is the symbol of a place which withstands everything, especially death.

Juno Calypso hides herself into the den built using the billions of the beauty industry to “save” people from death (one of the strongest human fear) and she puts us a question:

“What if we could live forever?” this query is even more powerful for all those humans who have always been obsessed by death and, especially for those who have always believed in immortality. The artist wants us to believe just that there are other lives beyond the one we are living now, with thousand characters and infinite personalities which alternate; hers is an invitation to eternal life where all is rosier and more sublime.

By looking at those works we get confused between a state of visual wellness, thanks to pastel tints, and fear, because after all the thought of immortality is not always pleasant.

During her visit to that house, the artist tells us these words:

“You enter the house via an old escalator that moves slowly hearing the drip of the pool filter. The air is filled with the smell of chlorine, like a park in a holiday resort indoors. There are air inlets that let the air circulate regularly from the above; apart from that, the rest is silent. There are four lanes above your head but you cannot hear anything. It’s a place loaded with all the surreal peace of a film set.”

During her last project, the artist was inspired by the essays and brochures she found inside this house on a glass piece of furniture.

In the whole exhibition itinerary at Studio Visconti, we find different works:

Erotic nightmares, 2018, where a figure appears against the light, while through the folds and transparency of the curtain, we can catch the “garden of wonders”. Other side curtains frame the scene; the blue atmosphere recalls the night and mystery, while the silhouette of the female body represents sensuality.

Also in the works Tuesday in Eternity and A Cure for death made in 2018, windows and curtains are constant elements.

In the first one, there is no human presence and the visual balance of architecture, furniture, windows and curtains is highlighted; in the second one, the voyeuristic view is more evident, since binoculars are turned from the outside to the inside, where Juno’s figure appears, but only through a detail, her legs.

A work that expresses bliss, but also loneliness, is of course Milk made in 2016, here the artist dives into a heart-shaped bathtub and full of milk; only a part of her face sticks out and behind it there is a large glass that reflects the bathtub or better “pieces of heart”.

In The First Night made in 2015, Juno tells her “first night”, a lonely honeymoon; with the veil and a wig, she pretends to be a bride immersed in a night atmosphere all in blue. The honeymoon is usually a couple event; here the artist represents it on her own. In this case irony prevails.

Works like Disenchanted Simulation, Routine Delusion and Reconstituted Meat Slices, made in 2013, are totally wrapped by the pink colour, and here, in her self-portraits, her face is always covered by something, a book, a pillow, or hair: her alter ego is shown and hidden at the same time.

The air that we breathe into the gallery is mixed and eclectic, on one side we find beauty and contrast of perfect ambiences, on the other side we find the worrying approach to the story of those places and the silent atmosphere that the artist can create in her sets.

Juno Calypso is desire, fear and irony. It is aesthetic perfection against the aesthetic itself.

Benedetta Spagnuolo


Juno Calypso
Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti
Corso Monforte 23 – Milano
24th October 2018 / 11th January 2019

Juno Calypso, Reconstituted Meat Slices, 2013

Juno Calypso, Milk, 2016

Juno Calypso, Routine Delusion, 2013, 76x51cm, Archival pigment print, ed 1di 51

Juno Calypso, Stretch, 2017

Juno Calypso, Disenchanted Simulation, 2013, Archival pigment print, Ed 4 di 5+2Ap1

Juno Calypso, Erotic nightmares, 2018, Archival pigment print, ed 3 di 51

Juno Calypso, A Cure for death, 2018, From the series What To Do With A Million Years

For all the images ph Courtesy by Juno Calypso and Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti

Giacomo Costa. TIME(e)SCAPES

It starts like that: TIME(e)SCAPES.

Giacomo Costa’s works, on the walls of the art gallery Guidi&Schoen in Genoa, are not only “shown and exhibited”, but they are part of a great “Contemporary Megalopolis” (like those created by him), where the gallery itself becomes part of the work. A great unique landscape that houses his “new” Solo exhibition, his new way of introducing himself.

Since 1996, the Florentine artist’s works have been only snapshots needed to capture the moment and stop time in order to tell all his work, where spectators had to imagine a story behind those pictures, elaborating the past, the present and the future.

His landscapes are still based on real life places, with their aching and elegant beauty, but now Costa explores a new way of showing and giving them to the observer. Now he brings on the main floor and the basement of the art gallery his new project: TIME(e)SCAPES.

His works in 2018 hold, even more than before, innovation and contemporaneity, now they become also a Videobox (as the Florentine artist calls it), a combination of two words, light box and video monitors.

In this project, the subject is no longer the instant, but the passage of time, the alteration, the change, the image processing. The subject of the frame appears well defined to the observer’s eyes for a lapse of time, until a visual change occurs which moves totally the gaze and confuses it, but very slowly, in an almost imperceptible way.

What Costa wants to bring out is not the clearness and the “solution” of an image or a visual puzzle, he does not want to explain how his imagery and his flashbacks were born; on the contrary he wants only to give us some clues, create a process of dialogue with the spectator and alternate the outward “certainties”.

As usual, he offers images that cause concern, melancholy and he exhorts the observer to ask himself or herself a question.

Big cities, huge mountains, volcanos and in general all his sceneries and imagery seem changed; they exactly “seem”, since actually, nothing really changes, all goes back the way it was before, and it is right what the artist wants to show and explain, his landscapes are as real as they are fictitious.

In this solo exhibition, as usual, Costa’s research arises from the urgency to think over the relation between man and the environment, where architecture and nature seem to grow so much that they suffocate the territory in which they are housed, as they swallow it, by enhancing the whole with his perspective lines.

There is a cyclic path that starts from his first works dated 1996, until the latest works in which there is never a solution of the problem, there is never a starting point or a point of arrival, but a continuous evolution; not only catastrophic views but an analysis of the elements of society which are deeply influencing our period. In his works, he shows the possible consequences of our actions if we go on behaving like that. Landscapes, cities, nature are metaphors of human behaviours, a nature that with its strength towers above the time and invades the space, like a metaphysics force, metaphoric.

His is not a revolution; it is a declaration instead, he confesses what might exist. Nature in these works is the leader and interweaves with man as they were embracing each other sometimes softly, other times roughly, a double mark that traces all his landscapes.

From a formal point of view, in his works the artist places the “contrast” at the centre of everything: on one side, the evident contrast of light and shade effects; on the other side, the sharp contrast that we detect between a visual frame and another in the Videoboxes. Everything that appears in a changing process is just illusion, it goes back to the starting point, the origin, the essence of things and the constant search for our own SELF through landscapes which alter, but only apparently, the visual perception.

Everything gets back to the starting point: TIME(e)SCAPES.

Benedetta Spagnuolo


Giacomo Costa – TIME(e)SCAPES
Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea
Historic Centre – Piazza dei Garibaldi, 18r – Genoa
6th October – 17th November 2018
From Tuesday to Saturday 10.00-12.30 / 16.00-19.00

Giacomo Costa-TIME(e)SCAPES, installation view at Galleria Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea ph courtesy Francesco Arena ©2018

Giacomo Costa-TIME(e)SCAPES, installation view at Galleria Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea ph courtesy Francesco Arena ©2018

Giacomo Costa-TIME(e)SCAPES, installation view at Galleria Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea ph courtesy Francesco Arena ©2018

Giacomo Costa-TIME(e)SCAPES, installation view at Galleria Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea ph courtesy Francesco Arena ©2018

Giacomo Costa-TIME(e)SCAPES, installation view at Galleria Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea ph courtesy Francesco Arena ©2018

Don’t talk about “Selfie”, let’s talk about “Dancing with Myself”

These days, when the term “Selfie” is on everyone’s lips, the exhibition “Dancing with Myself” brings back down-to-earth a generation that often does not know the origins of the concept of Self-portrait.

Among the visible bricks at Punta della Dogana a long story is told and curated by Martin Bethenod and Florian Ebner, with 100 works from the Pinault Collection (many of which are unpublished for Venice) related to a selection of works coming from the Folkwang Museum in Essen (Germany), for a total of 145 artworks.

The exhibition explores the stories of vulnerable, sensuous and innovative characters, where the concept of “Myself” is not seen mainly as a form of narcissism but as a relation between one’s body and the outside world, being a political body.

The show is focused on four themes, Melancholia, Identity Games, Political Autobiographies and Row Material and flips through significant names: from Claude Cahun to LaToya Ruby Frazier, from Gilbert & George to Cindy Sherman, from Alighiero Boetti to Maurizio Cattelan, from Rudolf Stingel to Lili Reynaud-Dewar, from Adel Abdessemed to Nan Goldin and lots more.

Dancing with Myself” faces different forms of “Self-portrait” from the 1970s to today and the artist’s role as “actor” into his own figure; the artist presents himself as a model to cross and overcome any censorship, showing his own alter ego on a fictitious stage.
This is a collective exhibition where eclecticism emerges and paintings, photos, installations and sculptures dialogue one another.

However, the technique that changed drastically the way of self-portraying is definitely photography: the artist, thanks to the self-timer and by standing in front of the lens and not behind, has the opportunity to penetrate into social media manipulating the communication codes from the inside; personality produces an identity alternation made of several realities. The photographic medium for many artists is the virtual space where the mixture of genres and the unmasking of stereotypes can eventually take place; photography built between truth and manipulation, between original and copy, becomes the main setting  where bring out opposites and relate them at the same time.

It is hard to tell all the feelings and stories that hide behind each work and each “self-portrait”, in fact, it is just the story as a whole that expresses the essence of the project.
Having followed this path, strong traces remain like real flashbacks in our mind:

– The dialogue between life and death in the “Autoritratto” (Self-portray) 1993-94 by Alighiero Boetti, who in this work cools his warm body with water (it is interesting to know that  in that period the artist found that he had a brain tumour and he would die the following year);

– The uncertain dialogue by Urs Lüthi with himself, where everything swings between illusion and reality;

– The dialogue with herself and the annihilation of her own sexual identity by Claude Cahun in the photo “Self portrait”1929;

– The dialogue between body and sexuality in the works by Gilbert & George, where human condition is interpret with hints of humour;

– The dialogue between Cindy Sherman and her body that becomes “simulacrum”;

– The dialogue between silence and his own conscience by Urs Fischer;

– The dialogue between his own body and illness in the work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled – (Blood) 1992, where a large curtain that represents his blood (with red and white corpuscles), falls down at the entrance of the exhibition; the artists indeed was an AIDS sufferer and he died shortly after in 1996. This big curtain is a sort of ritual, an expression of tragedy and tenderness at the same time.

– The dialogue with his spectre, in the work “We” made in 2010 by Maurizio Cattelan, where fear and familiarity are the protagonists, and it is right over this work that I linger.

The artist portrays his own image lying on the bed, made of synthetic material and smaller than the normal human height; he creates a double self-portrait: one with his arms on his legs and the other one with his hand on the sheet and the other on his chest.
Although the posture reminds that of corpses, bodies seem to move or be dynamic, this is what we feel when we notice the two Cattelan’eyes peering at something or someone. This sculpture clearly symbolizes the will and desire for control also after death. In front of us there is a split Cattelan, where the same person lives two choices and consequently two different lives.

As Angela Vettese says in a section of the catalogue of the exhibition, Cattelan has always questioned the “possibility to be a different person and then the identity and it seems that he wanted to talk about the infinite existences that facing us and that we are supposed to choose only one path.”

I appreciate and love deeply this exhibition in all its wholeness. Curators wanted to highlight and move away at the same time from the standard concept of “selfie”, accusing partially the “artist” of today who does not know the origins of self-portrait and who dares daily to express himself through “media” and advanced technology.
To “see ourselves” now becomes “to see ourselves through the others’ eyes” rather than through our eyes. In the past, the artist who portrayed his figure looked for the need for his body and then for a therapy, now “to portray oneself” is a purely narcissist experience and demonstrative by searching for others’ acceptance.   

Everything has changed and we realize it especially when we think at those artists that already in the 1930s hazarded their life and freedom, rather than restrain themselves (like Claude Cahun), and today it is odd to think that if you expose yourself you will hang behind.
Don’t talk about “Selfie”, let’s talk about “Dancing with Myself”, don’t talk about those who want continuous approvals, let’s talk about those who declare constantly their own “self” without necessarily receive the others’ opinion.

Benedetta Spagnuolo


“Dancing with Myself”
April 8 Aprile – December 16 2018
Punta della Dogana, Venice

Maurizio Cattelan- “We” 2010 – Pinault Collection Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2018 © Palazzo Grassi, photography by Matteo De Fina

Dancing with myself, Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2018 © Palazzo Grassi, photography by Matteo De Fina

Dancing with myself, Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2018 © Palazzo Grassi, photography by Matteo De Fina

Dancing with myself, Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2018 © Palazzo Grassi, photography by Matteo De Fina

Dancing with myself, Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2018 © Palazzo Grassi, photography by Matteo De Fina

Dancing with myself, Installation view at Punta della Dogana, 2018 © Palazzo Grassi, photography by Matteo De Fina

Emilia Faro’s Galaxy – Project-Room #9

A Galaxy made by natural elements is what is housed in the Project-Room #9 by Emilia Faro in the DavidePaludetto ArteContemporanea Gallery in Turin. The reason why I visited and wrote about this project is definitely the way in which the artist refers herself to the world through her installations, setting out “natural” items in the gallery space in a completely surreal way. Exhibiting her person through these elements is like a relief for her, a care that leads to ecstasy and folly. The artist often covers the concept of freedom, not as a social and political thought but as her position, where the free will is originated and well-defined streets are determined.

Sicilian artist, Emilia Faro, brings into her works her homeland, and just in this project-room, one of the elements that comes out is the volcanic sand directly offered by “Mrs Etna”; just “Idda” (“her” in Sicilian dialect) is the symbol of fertility and revival.

The subjects represented by Emilia are vegetable and abstract elements: leaves, branches and flowers are covered with volcanic sand and come out from walls and pillars; soft shapes like those belonging to nature, contrast physically and conceptually with the scratchy sand, the white structure of the room and the net that holds the pillars.

Her works are suspended and rotate as they would in a galaxy where systems, stars, and dusts move. In the centre of the room and on a wall, some elements stand out against any gravity and even the sculptures on the pillars or the framed pictures seem to be suspended: everything that is apparently stable actually is not at all. However, despite all that, this “system” appears safe and uncontaminated.

In this room there is no works that is unlinked to the other, even though the artist gave them different names, the whole work is to be experienced in its totality and sum; every element interweaves the other not only visually but also inside its history.

Colours like black and pink act as contrast; the artist recalls strength through the colour black with which she reacts to her interior fears, while pink indicates the bond with femininity and her own skin. The two colours, so different and similar might be for the artist a “completion” request towards somebody or something or simply the integrity towards herself.

All these elements offer to the observer who is immersed in the exhibition, a sense of interior wellness that leads him or her to experience his/her origins, a true return to primordial elements.

Like the artist writes: “the work of art is born from a creative intuition, that arises, in turn, from an feeling of unease that we can get back from our past or present time and it’s right through art that we can exorcize our troubles. [..]. Today conceptual art is very common and to interpret it is a challenge.”

The whole artist’s path is certainly eclectic, both technically and conceptually. Emilia shows her own life and autobiographic being through her art; themes like liberation and search for emancipation of her identity have always been her travel mates.

She constantly describes concepts like pleasure and pain, Eros and Thanatos with naturalness and dignity; without fears, the artist face sorrows, not only her own ones but also those that afflict humanity in its wholeness. The “creatures” in all her works are protagonists of important events and changes; they conquer life through courage and determination becoming then elements not only natural, but mystical and shamanistic.

The spontaneity of her work is disarming; the lightness with which she transforms materials is recognizable.


Project-Room#9 – Emilia Faro
DavidePaludetto Arte Contemporanea
Via degli Artisti 10, 10124 – Turin
From June 21 to July 21, 2018
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 16 – 20

Project-Room#9 – Emilia Faro Courtesy by DavidePaludetto ArteContemporanea

Project-Room#9 – Emilia Faro Courtesy by DavidePaludetto ArteContemporanea

Project-Room#9 – Emilia Faro Courtesy by DavidePaludetto ArteContemporanea

Project-Room#9 – Emilia Faro Courtesy by DavidePaludetto ArteContemporanea

Tomas Rajlich: Between Grids and Monochromes

In the ABC – ARTE Gallery in Genoa we get absorbed in what is considered a real anthology of the Prague avant-gardist Tomas Rajlich.  Half a century of paintings, from the Sixties to the present, covers the whole exhibition area, where there are two essential protagonists: industrial and modular grids on panels and canvases, characteristic of Rajlich’s early works, and the recent monochromes that explore the combination of gesture and light. The trademark of all his oeuvres is certainly their instinctive and vital force, but behind that, there is always a regular and elementary “structure”, linked to both the drawing of the grids or the monochromes.

The aim of the exhibition curated by Flaminio Gualdoni is not to highlight the contrast between the oeuvres of the ‘70s and the current ones, but, by combining works from different periods, it offers to the observer a sort of visual continuity. Despite this mixture, the differences amongst the works can be felt, from the painting stroke to the technique used.

Almost all of his works are acrylic paintings on canvas, while the early ones are often painted on wood panels; most of them are “Untitled”, as if he wanted to further confuse the observer and drag him or her towards an undefined time and space, a perfect mixture of past and present.

In the essay dedicated to the exhibition, the curator talks about a colour that totally fills the canvas and that is not subjected to any instrumental and component logic. I think that this logic is simply and outwardly “hidden” by blinding and bright colours, a pretext that the artist implemented to get closer to a stronger concept of “contemporaneity”, a passage to the new that does not cancel the balance of the component structure. Even though Rajlich uses the colour in an instinctive way, it always appears under an imaginary “grid” that links it to rationality. The technical execution of some of his large works certainly confirms this logic; in fact, right in the most recent ones including “Untitled”, “Chang Fei” (2003) and “Brigantia” (2002), the canvas is the frame of the work; a real self-framing.

I believe that the artist has never given up his structural criterion and has always followed a well-defined path adding a dense matter that hints at the irrational and confuses the observer’s sight.

As we enter the gallery, the first thing we notice is the video projection of the artist’s most significant work, so that before enjoying the real work, this preview will prepare us to look at the whole Rajlich exhibition.

In the various rooms, we wonder which works belong to his past and which ones to his present, in fact, the canvases are mixed according to “setting and colour” and not to periods of time; or better they are laid out according to “atmospheres”. Each room reflects a feeling, an emotion, and a mood: we pass from black to pink, from sky-blue to gold, from white to fuchsia, from silver to orange.

5 Rooms, 5 Settings, 5 Moods. Lines, grids, and materials unite all that by snaring the observer’s eye and making him or her think about a personal introspection: a real narration of existence.

Entering the first room, we find at once the first “grids”, three of Rajlich’s works painted in shades of opaque grey and a large golden canvas made in 1983. In those years, the artist already worked with flaming and bright shades; as the curator said “Colour is, and offers itself, as a substance that is itself to be seen, as image: as light”. 

The second room is surely the one which best describes Rajlich’s contemporaneity; it is represented by his three enormous canvases (220×200 cm each, approximately) made between 2002 and 2003, painted in orange, pink/fuchsia and white. Light lies in the solid and dense acrylic colour, and it comes not only from almost pure colours but also by brilliant dust, that overlaps the canvas. In the same room, there is a dark black panel 40×40 cm, “Untitled” (1969), which contrasts and distracts the visitor’s attention from that brightness which he/she was used to.

Walking into the third room, we see three other works painted in pink shades, the same painting line but different periods. Opposite to them, one of the most monumental works “Untitled” (1978), a large black canvas, 250×210 cm; the paint, like the colour, looks solid and opaque on the most part of the surface, only in a small lower portion can we see a grid “imprisoned” by the acrylic colour itself.

In the fourth and fifth exhibition area, we find works with different features and colours: bright white, opaque grey, silver, orange, and purple. Several canvases in these two rooms have a texture that recalls corrugated cardboard, as if the artist had scraped and scratched the colour on the canvas.

The work that catches my attention is “Untitled” (2010), with a pure white that becomes ochre; the material emerges framed by the canvas itself; almost simulating a Polaroid it seems to create a painting on photographic paper, a frame of life captured by Rajlich and given to the observer.

This solo exhibition follows a disarming circularity, where time does not exist and the years of production merge into one another. As the curator says at the end of his essay: “Picture after picture, the spiritual strain of Rajlich’s painting evolves, breathes, lives. In these works, the actualistic element, the original component of the avant-garde feeling pales and the painting remains: “an area of purity, beauty, well-being, concentration, simplicity, essentiality, integrity”.

Genoa, 11th May 2018
Benedetta Spagnuolo


Tomas Rajlich. Fifty years of Painting
4th May 2018 – 4th July 2018
Tuesday – Saturday H. 09:30/13:30 – 14:30/18:30
Sunday and Monday by appointment
Via XX Settembre 11/A – Genoa


Tomas Rajlich. Fifty years of Painting, installation view at ABC ARTE, ph Francesco Arena

Tomas Rajlich. Fifty years of Painting, installation view at ABC ARTE, ph Francesco Arena

Tomas Rajlich. Fifty years of Painting, installation view at ABC ARTE, ph Francesco Arena

Tomas Rajlich. Fifty years of Painting, installation view at ABC ARTE, ph Francesco Arena

Tomas Rajlich. Fifty years of Painting, installation view at ABC ARTE, ph Francesco Arena

Alex Pinna Stories and Giuseppe Ferrise Woody Wildlife

The Guidi&Schoen Gallery of Contemporary Art in Genoa houses a double opening and a twofold narration: on one side “Alex Pinna Stories”, the solo exhibition of the Ligurian artist which is shown principally on the main floor of the Gallery, while on the other side, in the basement, we find “Giuseppe Ferrise Woody Wildlife”, the art of a young artist that for this occasion has been invited by Pinna himself, following  the programme planned directly by Guidi&Schoen for 2018, when a gallery artist will have to “play a duet” with a young budding, chosen right by him.

Although the Gallery decided to put on formally the works of the two artists on different levels of the exhibition area, we find in some parts, a direct dialogue between them: Pinna’s thin figures indeed talk and touch the ironic and amusing beings by Ferrise. In my opinion, this is not an ordinary bi-personal, but most of all it is a double vision of stories; two artists that through their sculptures and figures not only want the observers to think over the concept of existential “metamorphosis”, of material and nature, but they want especially tell their stories crosswise, with figures that are outside any ordinary context.

Alex Pinna comes back to Genoa and exhibits 20 works (made of bronze and rope) which invade the gallery, while a monumental sculpture will be standing for the whole period of the exhibition in the square of San Matteo Church in Genoa. His sculptures are silent figures, beings that seem not to have a well-defined identity, a mixture of natural elements and human beings: tiny boxers, heroes, trapeze artists and tightrope walkers of a suspended life, a life never told completely; these little big beings are never “explained” perfectly, but they offer the beholders some inputs to make them think.

Right from outside the gallery, through the window, we can see a large mounted area completely dedicated to this artist (except a single work by Ferrise). Here, a central elongated sculpture is surrounded by other small wall sculptures and others on pedestals; all these are made by bronze and recall the theme of nature. More specifically, there are little beings crumpled on leaves or as somebody else may think, simply leaves that mutate into human beings.

As we enter the gallery, we find thin figures, suspended and unstable, made by knotted rope, which the artist named “Alias”. Despite the apparent instability, Pinna creates a balance using all he can find around him where the prolongation of the rope from the body is the base on which the artist can let the same figures dance and walk. On the left side, anchored to the wall, we find small sculptures of extremely thin figures, but by continuing our tour, what is particularly striking is the work “heroes M”, a bronze human-size sculpture: a figure, almost on tiptoe, with a tilted body, head down with its right hand placed on the wall. Its spinal and shoulder blades are well defined; this emphasizes the suffering and solitude, already evident from its pose against the wall. I believe that this is the work that best reflects the author’s essence in this exhibition space.

Other small and big works alternate on the whole path; among them “mi arrotolo e sparisco” of the 2018 collection (made by rope and canvas). In my opinion, this is a scathing and upsetting work; the title is grotesque, while the subject, being almost in a “crucified” pose, wants to drift away from reality and leaves what it sees and experiences, thus waiting to exist in a new life. In another room, we find the direct dialogue between the two artists: the work “keep go on” by Pinna, almost 3 meters high, emerges in the centre as if it wants to touch the ceiling, while the work by Ferrise “Coccineolia” lays on its feet: a real conversation between Earth and sky, a direct communication between divine and terrestrial.

Going down to the lower floor, the basement, we find the works of the budding Calabrian artist Giuseppe Ferrise. In line with Pinna’s work, materials including stones, raffia, bark and leaves, interweave to form figures often linked to nature. They are ironic, fairy-like, playful and disturbing in some ways; these materials are part of his story and his life, in fact, Ferrise has been living in a country house surrounded by a thick forest since he was born. His woods are not only places where to “extract” row materials for his sculptures, but also a source of great inspiration for his narrations and figures.

At the base of all his subjects there is a constant sarcasm, it is evident also from the names the author gives them: Sauro Jr, Asdrubale, Sir Pente and a funny and jocose “Carletto”, the famous chameleon protagonist of a well-known Italian product. Ferrise’s works, thanks to the materials used, seem to come out from the underlying land and walls, this aspect is emphasized by the excellent gallery manager’s choice who decided to show these works in the basement, where the setting is opposite to a common white cube. It is worth travelling over these two worlds, which never seem to meet, but despite this, they dialogue to each other impeccably; it is worth tasting and living nature through these alienated and bizarre figures.

Benedetta Spagnuolo


Alex Pinna Stories and Giuseppe Ferrise Woody Wildlife

February 23 – March 24, 2018
From Tuesday to Saturday 10.00-12.30 / 16.00-19.00
Guidi&Schoen Contemporary Art
Genoa | Centro Storico – Piazza dei Garibaldi, 18r

Alex Pinna, Stories, installation view at Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea Ph. Francesco Arena ©2018

Alex Pinna, Mi arrotolo e sparisco, 2018, Rope, steel, canvas, cm 25x125x10 Ph. Francesco Arena ©2018

Alex Pinna, Stories, installation view at Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea Ph. Francesco Arena ©2018

Giuseppe Ferrise,  Woody Wildlife, installation view at Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea Ph. Francesco Arena ©2018

Giuseppe Ferrise,  Woody Wildlife, installation view at Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea Ph. Francesco Arena ©2018

Urs Lüthi. Lost Direction & Similar Disasters

Lost Direction & Similar Disasters is the title of Urs Luthi personal exhibition, unveiled at the Collicalireggi art gallery in Campania, as part of Art is the better of life cycle. The themes here presented strongly refer to self portrait,  but most importantly themes such as identity within contemporary society have been chosen by Lüthi thanks to his wide artistic experience, where elements such as tragedy and irony come together in a mix defined as “that thin line that runs between laughter and tears” by the artist himself. Different media are mixed together in this exhibition: from photography to sculpture to installation – all of these become part of his vocabulary as the concepts of “loss and disarray” that strongly define the entire exhibition.

Lüthi chose for the walls to be painted in pastel colors, a pink one to welcome visitors and a green one that accompanies them throughout the whole exhibition, almost cutting the art like some sort of horizon would do. We are often used to see in Lüthi’s work his self-portraits, while in this particular exhibition the artist shows himself in one sculpture only – Lost Direction V (made of aluminium and gloss varnish) – which is located right in the middle of the room: the artist is shown as contorted on himself, almost like in a cocoon that becomes a safe place to be, the safety after the initial confusion. The sculpture is located on a pedestal, on a luxurious asian carpet – a clear reference to the mix of Western and Eastern traditions and elements. The artist has somehow always been hiding in a bid  to show his true self – since his very first photos taken with a heavy made up face (make up – some sort of face embellishment) but is now doing that through a “safer” place which is the sculpture.

On the walls are 18 photographs taken by the artist with a smartphone during the holy days of Catania’s patron Saint Agata – and this is truly a documentation of a contemporary voyeur who is observing the sacred nature of the event. It looks as if the secular, uninitiated artist is now looking at the holy Saint Agata lost in the crowd, managing to highlight those elements that are of real interest to him: the faces and the exaggerated expressions of devotion shown by the people adoring Saint Agata. These photographs have been subjected to a post-production work by the artist himself, to reinforce the sense of exaggeration mentioned above.

Along this visual path we also find No title – a giant photo showing a broken mirror, an element that has been accompanying him throughout his career since early 70s (as seen in his self-portrait “I’ll be your mirror”) – which has always represented both vanity and reflection to the artist. And it is the mirror itself, just as ambiguous and conflicting as photography is, that serve a double purpose both in reflecting the image and being its testament and in making it become a work of fiction. Ambiguous-mirror, just as the reflection of Lüthi has always been when dealing with himself, hi many identities or even better, his various states of “absence” of defined identity.

In this site-specific project thought for Catania, not only does the artist wants to pay a tribute to the city where he is exhibiting, but also aims to show his always contemporary nature, constantly trying to free himself from any definition or stereotype. Lüthi states: “Each one of us is truly himself, but also always changing in relation to what is in front of him”, or according to the place where one has been growing up, the eductaion he has received – man is a forever evolving creature with millions of possibilities, and we need to “be everything” in order to feel at ease with whatever is different from us. Urs Lüthi is pure eclecticism, and so is his voyage through art, from sacred to profane, from Western to Eastern culture, from photography to sculpture – everything is forever changing,  including the very nature of the self.

Benedetta Spagnuolo


Urs Lüthi, Lost Direction & Similar Disasters
From October 7th 2017 to January 20th 2018 – the end of the exhibition has been postponed to February 16th 2018 (in occasion of Saint Agata festivities)
Collicaligreggi, Via Indaco, 23 Catania
Visinting Timings: from Tuesday to Friday from 3 pm to 7pm / Saturday from 4pm to 7pm

Urs Lüthi, 2017 No title from the series Lost Direction Photographie, 204x154x9 cm Courtesy Galleria Collicaligreggi

Urs Lüthi, 2017 LOST DIRECTION V Aluminium, paint, Wood ED. of 3, 135x90x55 cm ph. Benedetta Spagnuolo

Urs Lüthi, Lost Direction & Similar Disasters, 2017 installation view at galleria Collicaligreggi, Catania

Urs Luthi, 2017 No title fotografia digitale 32x27x6 cm Courtesy Galleria Collicaligreggi