The La realtà, i linguaggi (Reality, languages) exhibition curated by Fabio Cavallucci at Galleria Astuni, will be open until the 27 February, 2022. The curator identified an actually crucial hub of our contemporaneity, the relationship that links reality and language together. If the goal of clarifying the nature of such a relationship, of explicitate the inner power relations is in the hands of linguistics, art does still have the mission of opening the endless gates of imagination. To this end, La realtà, i linguaggi tries to offer a valid and extremely multiform range of proposals, even from a strictly technical point of view.
With the video installation I am the mouth II (2016), polish artist Agnieszka Polska conveys her reflections on the idea of inadequacy between a concept and its linguistic formalization. It’s the mouth itself, privileged seat of communication, that, slightly emerging from a layer of water, comes to tell us that “there are some ideas that can be expressed in a language that has not yet discovered”.
With Wherever you go, wherever you are (1998), Maurizio Nannucci opens up the mental dimension of the written word, endowing this one of a psychological load that does not leave the viewer unmoved. By choosing the blue color for his neon installation, the artist enhances the imaginative dimension of the viewer, reaffirming the man’s ability to create images, to tell stories, like the one told by Nedko Solakov’s little men in Doodles (2021). In his site-specific intervention, which has its main referent in Nannucci’s second work, This is not here/more than real (2021), Solakov populates one of the two white walls installed in the gallery space with little men exploring the surface, helping themselves with ropes, skiing and playing on a swing.
The two phrases that make up the “altarpiece” of the exhibition, This is not here and More than real actually appear on the opposite sides of the wall occupied by Solakov. If the game between the two artists is played on a technical-stylistic ground, on the communicative differences of a similar message, others, like Giulio Paolini, have questioned the need for the presence of a message itself. Un’opera aperta (3), recalling the homonymous essay by Umberto Eco (1962), is a visually convincing demonstration of what is – or should be – the primary role of art; Paolini, using the tautological device and deactivating the external referent, actually closes the doors to communication, and opens those of imagination. Un’opera aperta, although closed in its form, is “interpreted […] without its irreproducible singularity being altered”.
Paolini (come è / come se, 2014) also carries the graphic sign out of its “natural” habitat (the sheet) allowing it to take possession of real space; in an equal and opposite action, Maurizio Mochetti celebrates the third dimension. His aerial model (Da una dimensioen all’altra, 2016) pierces the sound barrier of two-dimensionality (a circle) by crossing the walls of the exhibition container, which becomes itself malleable material.
By creatively recombining graphic signs, man is able to re-semantize them and to defuse their original strength or, on the contrary, to charge the latter with disruptive meanings. In Untitled (Natale ‘95) Maurizio Cattelan combines two different interpretations of the star in an alienating recipe. The star, which is the guide of the Magi in the Christian iconography, was adopted in the 70s by the Brigate Rosse, an italian far-left terrorist organization. However, the dimension to bring to our attention is another one. Like Nannucci with blue, even the paduan artist reflects on color (specifically red), which is itself semiophore (bearer of meaning).
The possibilities for reworking an immense heritage of signs are infinite, just as infinite seem to be the attempts to reduce to a code, to a scheme a multifaceted and reactive reality which tries in every way not to be caged. Endless names by Dutch-Brazilian artist Rafael Rozendaal (2021) is therefore an invitation to proceed in opposite ways, to set rational superstructures aside, giving ideas less space and enhancing experiences instead: ‹‹I always say that my work is not about something, it simply is […] I see art in the same way you would look at a flower or a tree or a glass of milk. You don’t have to think, “What does this mean? What story will it tell?” Just look at it and say, “It’s interesting how this tree moves in the wind.” And this is all››.
[i] Umberto Eco, Opera aperta, p. 34.
La realtà, i linguaggi
curated by Fabio Cavallucci
20/11/2021 – 27/02/ 2022
Galleria Enrico Astuni, Via Jacopo Barozzi, 3/D-E-F, 40126 Bologna (BO)
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 13:00; 15:00 – 19:00; Saturday and Sunday: by appointment
Phone: 051 421 1132
Fax: 051 421 1242
cover image: Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Christmas ‘95), 1995, neon rosso. Courtesy: Galleria Enrico Astuni
Agnieszka Polska, I Am the Mouth II, 2016, HD video. Courtesy: Galleria Enrico Astuni
Maurizio Nannucci, This is not here / More than real, 2021, neon in vetro Murano di colore blu e rosso. Courtesy: Galleria Enrico Astuni
Giulio Paolini, Come è / Come se, 2014, matita e collage su carta grigia, matita su parete. Courtesy: Galleria Enrico Astuni
Maurizio Mochetti, Da una dimensione all’altra, 2016, modellino aereo in fiberglass, grafite. Courtesy: Galleria Enrico Astuni
Graduated in Conservation of Cultural Heritage, he is currently attending the master’s degree course in Visual Arts at the University of Bologna. He is part of the team that manages a well-known cultural dissemination blog and is also a contributor for Juliet Art Magazine. He believes in art as a space for recovering a lost complexity.