Inaugurated on the 22nd of October, Fruits and Vegetables Exhibition is the second Giuseppe De Mattia’s solo show in the spaces of Matèria gallery. The exhibition, curated by Vasco Forconi and organized in collaboration with the Carlo Zauli museum in Faenza, confirms and deepens the investigation conducted by the artist, always in an ironic way and played on the double meaning, regarding the methods of production, use, sale and, therefore, consumption of the work of art. All this, in relation to the circuits that guide and balance these phases.
The author, who, in other times, has already criticized, through his own work, the contradictions related to some dynamics of the art system, in this circumstance, has transformed a gallery, a place canonically assigned for sale, into a fruit and vegetable shop. In fact, as soon as he enters the venue, the visitor is greeted by a pungent smell that reminds the mind and senses to a real market and it is the effect of Odori, a work made with essential oils and aromatic herbs of various kinds. Furthermore, the intense luminous neon green writing which completely pervades the first room of this enchanting chromatic spectrum, reciting – precisely – “Fruits and vegetables” and tracing the interpreter’s calligraphy, contributes to transfer the visitor immediately to another place.
Now immersed in an almost disorienting dimension, very different from the identity of the place where initially thought to be, one reaches, after having also registered the presence – at this point perfectly suited to the context – of the artwork Grembiuli, in the last room. Here, the great work Espositore di frutta e verdura vera e finta takes place, a large iron structure with real wooden boxes containing a disparate variety of local products such as bananas, oranges, carrots, apples, tomatoes and eggplants.
So, the artist establishes, through the smells, the colors, the shapes and, therefore, the show of this fruit and vegetable harvest, an enthralling chromatic and olfactory symphony, giving them aesthetic dignity. Therefore, as the curator writes, it is possible to see how “The fruit and vegetable shop, for De Mattia a place of great fascination since his childhood, here becomes a repertoire of shapes and practices that the artist selects isolates and translates into a large environmental installation “.
Moreover, moving, as well as the whole project, on the fragile border between reality, fiction and verisimilitude, the artist has executed and hidden, among the real crops present, painted ceramic sculptures of vegetables and other products, obtaining an impeccable but disorienting mimesis between real and artificial, between reality and its perception. The chronological element is the only one factor that helps the observer in the discernment between the authentic and the simulate because, as usual, real foods, unlike those reproduced by De Mattia, deteriorate with the passage of time.
This last aspect enriches this operation with a further and significant feature, defining the entire realization as well as a work capable of stimulating multiple sensory levels. The sense of smell, the sight, the time and, indirectly, the touch with the taste, are all equalized simultaneously by reading the work.
Finally, as a last act of fictitious idolatry, of vainglory and of derision towards merchandise, the artist, with Arancia scaramantica, acts a personal gesture of good luck in favor of the sale, retracting his own hand engaged in the act propitiatory of the horns turned, towards an orange, therefore the object to be sold, and in front of the public, or the wished buyer.
Fruit and vegetable exhibition, personal exhibition by Giuseppe De Mattia curated by Vasco Forconi, awaits you in Rome, at the Materìa gallery, until next January 21st; enjoy your visit.
Giuseppe De Mattia. Esposizione di frutta e verdura
curated by Vasco Forconi
22/10/2019 – 21/01/2020
Via Tiburtina, 149
For all the images: Giuseppe De Mattia, Esposizione di frutta e verdura, courtesy Matèria, Ph Roberto Apa
Contemporary art critic and curator, he has curated exhibitions in galleries, independent and institutional spaces. He has lectured in Italy and abroad. His texts and research are published in catalogs, sector magazines, gallery editions and monographs. He is the curator of artist archives, contributor to specialized magazines and press offices. He collaborates with foundations, public museums, publishing houses and universities on research and curatorial projects.