“Metamorphosis” is a term derived from the Greek metamòrphosis or “transformation”, which is composed of meta-, that means “beyond”, and morphé-, “form”, literally meaning everything that goes beyond its own form. This concept is characterized by the fact that the mutation, which totally or partially involves the physical form, does not affect the personality and the spiritual essence. This presupposes the immutability of the soul and its preeminence over the body, which on the other hand is precarious and subjected to the transformations of time.
The theme of metamorphosis has been extensively investigated by the artistic-literary tradition, from the classical myths of Ovid and Apuleius, to Franz Kafka’s Metamorphoses, to Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne on view at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. While in these narratives the transformation takes place through a magical component – in the Odyssey, for example, the sorceress Circe using her powers transforms Ulysses’s companions into pigs – in biology, on the other hand, metamorphosis concerns defined changes in organic structures that allow the transition to an “adult” stage, from larva to butterfly for example, or an evolutionary process that determines survival. While in ancient times the concept of metamorphosis was closely linked to divinities and it supported a certain type of moral notation, today it is a broader idea: it questions the creative process itself, and its relationship between technology, human and nature. It is no longer understood as a simple change that focuses only on the future outcome but instead it involves the entire being in the world, it is an event that happens now, suddenly, and can uproot the certainties on which one had relied.
The artists on view at the Marignana Gallery investigate each of these aspects. Accessing the space, one is greeted by the diptych “Herbaria (from Egerton 747)” by Silvia Infranco: the work stems from a study on medieval herbaria and is realized with multiple, dense layers of wax that allow her to give transparencies and matter to the initial Polaroid research. “Fitografia”, the installation that accompanies the diptych, consists of tea bags sealed with a thin layer of wax that freezes and makes permanent a fleeting, everyday object. In the following room, we are offered a dialogue between the works by Giulio Malinverni and the ones by Yojiro Imasaka. Both artists show us untouched scenarios in which no human intervention is discernible. Color is the absolute protagonist and if in Malinverni’s pieces, through continuous references and citations to the history of art, a view that investigates the infinite possibilities of the imagination is revealed, Yojiro Imasaka’s photographs show the uncontaminated and hidden aspects of the landscape, in particular the Bayou swamps in Louisiana.
The exhibition concludes with the digital works by the multidisciplinary artistic studio fuse*: the work “Artificial Botany” unites sources and studies from the past with new technological processes. The project starts from a 15th century study by Ulisse Aldrovandi, naturalist and botanist, who produced one of the oldest and most complete herbaria in existence today. Through artificial intelligence, the fuse* processes images and videos in which each component is in a constant state of progress, a change that shows no sign of stopping and leads the observer to question the nature and development of what they are observing. In an imaginary dialogue with “Herbaria” by Infranco, the observer is led back to the first room of the gallery, thus taking note of the fact that the condition of the human being is a continuous metamorphosis in which it is necessary to determine how to move within it.
fuse*, Yojiro Imasaka, Silvia Infranco, Giulio Malinverni, Metamorfosi. Percorsi oltre la forma
11/03/2023 – 03/06/2023
Galleria Marignana Arte
Dorsoduro 141, Rio Terà dei Catecumeni, 30123 Venezia
Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, she subsequently attended the School for Curatorial Studies in Venice. She writes about contemporary art with a particular eye towards emerging artists and experimental research projects.