Flaying the skin of things: the world as a membran...

Flaying the skin of things: the world as a membrane in Oliviero Biagetti’s works

The artistic research of Oliviero Biagetti (Rome, 1994) can be considered as a continuous and heterogeneous practice of porosity: a complex reflection aimed at configuring through painting, drawing and installation, perturbing aesthetic scenarios that, from time to time, redefine the meaning of what is commonly considered “reality.” Towards the latter, Biagetti operates a double lunge, revealing its artificial surface and, at the same time, renegotiating in depth its limits under the banner of an organic sensibility, where it becomes a perimeterless body, a multi-cellular and complex territory that frees itself from the quiet domestic code, while re-appearing as an vestibule of possible hypotheses.

It is a gaze moved by a subtle – and persistent – consciousness of flaking, in which every surface becomes vibrant matter and every border a ‘weak’ membrane. The plasticity of Biagetti’s aesthetic reality is refracted in the fluidity of these interstices, true fault lines in which the other great urgency that moves the artist’s research is materialized: the actualization of an unprecedented coexistence with Otherness; that pausing in the half-light zone in which the reality-body becomes an indefinite and mutable morphology, and where the encounter with the monstrous stranger is both the paradoxical piece and the aesthetic matrix of this mosaic. It is precisely the triggering of this crucial contact – the instant in which the organic reconfiguration of a now fractured reality emerges – that binds the different works on display at Candy Snake Gallery in Milan, in the exhibition Sense Of Wonder, in which Biagetti’s gaze confronts itself with Aronne Pleuteri and Margherita Mezzetti’s visions.

The artist’s pictorial images bend the wall like interfaces which reveal an extra-ordinary possible: they creep into the ever-changing skin of plaster as they stage an other reality where the skin of bodies organically vibrates in a turbulent rhythm. Looking at Dulcis in fundo (2021), it is precisely an interface – that of a smartphone – touched by one of the many hands of an unknown body, in which the formal stage of a larger process of metamorphosis seems to crystallize for an instant. It is as if in this pictorial density the life and movement of the curious entity is intimately bound up with its almost magmatic, viscous morphology that slowly contaminates the other vainly unaffected morphology of the everyday reality.

A knife, another cutlery’s base and a glass’bottom are also clearly visible: essential elements tin defining the domestic topography of a table, yet now becoming traces of a phantasmagorical and alienating reality. A filament of the haughty body escapes from the pictorial space, excluding any claim to trace its matrix: the evidence of its grafting into the everyday scenario remains, and it is precisely through this insistence on the contact between different dimensions – the domestic and the unknown – that Biagetti confronts the concept of the ‘monster’ by keeping it to the aesthetic dimension of the sensible – with its folds and frictions – rather than formalizing it in an exclusively representational practice. By disengaging from a defined iconic code, and also considering the problems associated with the representation of the monster as that which exceeds any established order, monstrous otherness becomes, on the contrary, a potential for the signification of reality: the dialectical body of its constant signic, physical and conceptual reconfiguration.

The expanded feature of this new monstrosity is fully expressed in Commozione Verde (2022), where a fluorescent green liquid invades the webcam and keyboard of a laptop like a secretion that, by necessity, exceeds from the organism that has generated it. Again, reality bends into a perturbing fissure, in which otherness manifests itself no longer as a solid but indefinite body, but rather as a substance whose slow and inexorable progress is sensed: a progress that manifests itself entirely in contact with the surface of the technological device, again constructing the phantasmagorical topography of an interiorized object. The keyboard and the webcam – prostheses of projection of an individual into the virtual world – become silent and alive as scenarios in which the pulsation of the possible makes its way, while the interface remains off, as in Dulcis in fundo, projecting its emptiness into the mystery of the pictorial interface. A void, this one, that is pure potentiality: the condition that preludes the porosity of organic contact in which the gaze is renewed and amplified.

Biagetti operates a critical somatization of the everyday – taken from the Sci-Fi imagery of David Cronenberg’s film Videodrome (1983) – by staging the porosity of each perimeter, captured in a dynamic of disintegration and reconstruction, to the point of questioning the margin of the canvases themselves: images that slowly build up as territories of trespassing, ending up as if naturally projecting outside themselves. In the sculpture More than a feeling (2022), all the physicality of Biagetti’s gaze finally materializes. From the canvases to the physical space of the gallery: the artist stages the crucial trespass between the skin of reality and that of the work, leaving suspended that condition of perturbing confusion, the indefiniteness of boundaries, the curiosity of a new tactile gaze in which silently takes shape the need for a coexistence with what, only apparently, turns out to be unknown.


Oliviero Biagetti, Margherita Mezzetti, Aronne Pleuteri. Sense of wonder
26/05/2022 – 26/07/2022
Candy Snake Gallery
Via Luigi Porro Lambertenghi 6, Milano

Oliviero Biagetti, Dulcis in fundo, 2021, oil on canvas, 70 x 80 cm, ph: Tiziano Ercoli, courtesy the artist and Candy Snake Gallery

Oliviero Biagetti, More than a feeling, 2022, polyurethane, iron, DAS, plastic, latex, acrylic colors, 130 x 40 x 90 cm, ph: Tiziano Ercoli, courtesy the artist and Candy Snake Gallery

Cover image: Oliviero Biagetti, Dulcis in fundo (detail), 2021, oil on canvas, 70 x 80 cm, ph: Ivana Sfredda, courtesy the artist and Candy Snake Gallery


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