Nicolò Cecchella, Darren Harvey-Regan, Marco Maria...

Nicolò Cecchella, Darren Harvey-Regan, Marco Maria Zanin. Impronte

The peculiar two-dimensionality of photography has created in its historical maturation easier approaches to painting, even defining the case studies (portrait, landscape, still life, etc.) and often encouraging reciprocal references, still very much in vogue today, between caravaggism and Renaissance suggestions as regards photographers, and the infatuation with photographic installations by artists of other backgrounds. Hybridizations never fail.

As far as sculpture is concerned, the relationship becomes more sought after, despite having far away roots, but it determines open fields of research: the successful exhibition Impronte, curated by Angela Madesani, at the Passaggi arte contemporanea gallery in Pisa needs to be explored. A triptych of resolutely skilled artists on the theme, with distinct paths yet capable of creating sumptuously homogeneous results almost suggesting the idea of ​​a single show: an appropriate amalgamation of the symbolic image of refraction, where the terrible and divine (transcendent) image gathers all the colors in pure and linear light.

Light and perception are synonyms of Nicolò Cecchella’s work, present with the work Volto Terra (2015-2017), fulcrum of the exhibition, terracotta casts of his own features imbued with poetic and scientific references (for brevity, think about the mask by Pirandello and the optical phenomenon of the Rubin vase) as well as a probable prompter of the title of the exhibition due to the effective formal synthesis of both the macrosystems concerned, that of sculpture and photography. The imprint, in fact, is the materializing moment par excellence, denouncing the intention of the collective to dig (or remove, if you like) to get closer to the origins of the matter, understood both as a physical substance and a subject matter, to reach formal and symbolic archetypes of the artistic investigation, without depriving itself of metalinguistic references, also touching on other technical areas such as literature and artistic engraving.

The latter is the significant leitmotiv of all the works exhibited with suggested echoes, such as the combination of Traccia (2016-2017) by the aforementioned Cecchella and For an engraving of indefinite thousands of years (1969) by Giovanni Anselmo, and real notable citations in the photographs of Marco Maria Zanin whose subjects recall Giorgio Morandi’s painting. Zanin carries out an intriguing romantic process by aestheticizing architectural rubble and rural work tools, placing a rather significant mystical accent, elevating the objects to a fetish and following a widespread and pertinent contemporary inclination towards an archeology of the present (following Giovanni Urbani’s footsteps): beyond the graphics, works such as Symptom III (from the series Ferite/Feritoie) refer to a certain noble photograph (I think about Mechanical Form by Hiroshi Sugimoto or the more specific Beauties of the common tool by Walker Evans come to mind) in  perfect synchrony with Rephrased I (2013) by Darren Harvey-Regan, an English artist devoted to photographic investigation between the object and its representation. Unlike the other two members of the collective, who are more humanist and anthropological, Harvey-Regan‘s research contemplates an analytical rigor centered on the perceptive dilemmas of the human eye, especially on the material-formal nature of the object, yet it is capable of to stimulate aesthetic values ​​and not deprive oneself of some poetic ascendancy; it is not by chance that the author often cites among his sources of inspiration the famous burin Melancholia (1514) by Albrecht Dürer. The engraving returns, c.v.d.

Overall, the exhibition has an excellent and brilliant display, without denying the monumentality of Harvey-Regan’s dolmen works or the naturalness of Cecchella’s works rather than the meditative autonomy of Zanin, despite the concentration of the gallery space. Unbalanced, one of the most accomplished exhibitions of the year (we are already approaching to the Venice Biennale) characterized by a careful and authentic but at the same time suggestive line, in reference to which it seems appropriate to coining the definition Relational Romanticism.

Luca Sposato


Nicolò Cecchella, Darren Harvey-Regan, Marco Maria Zanin. Impronte
curated by Angela Madesani
March 9 – May 25 2019
Passaggi – arte contemporanea
via Garofani 14, 56125, Pisa –

ImpronteImpronte, veduta parziale della mostra. ph. Nicola Belluzzi, courtesy Passaggi Arte Contemporanea

ImpronteImpronte, veduta parziale della mostra. ph. Nicola Belluzzi, courtesy Passaggi Arte Contemporanea

Darren Harvey-Regan, The Erratics – Wrest#3 e The Erratics – Wrest#7, 2015. ph. Nicola Belluzzi, courtesy Passaggi Arte Contemporanea

Marco Maria Zanin, Natura Morta IV, 2015, stampa fine art su carta cotone, 60 x 75 cm. ph. courtesy dell’artista


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