Masquerade, 2019, unfired clay, oil, marble, painted metal, found objects, variable dimensions, MAM Museum, Lissone, Italy
Starting point of my project for the MAC Museum of Lissone, promoted by the cultural association ATRII, is an article appeared in Newsweek magazine.
The American magazine reports the phrase “white standard”, pronounced by a well-known political leader, in reference to the ethnicity of some Italians. I subsequently directed my project around the idea of stereotype, developing it with the intention to investigate and reinterpret some artifacts related to the Italian peninsula history.
I know that the use of raw earth, a material I have chosen, has very ancient origins. I have always been attracted by the radical poverty of its appearance. Linked to rural architecture, it was built with this method, which dates back to the origin of living, the most ancient part of my grandparents’ house. The use of unfired clay is not new to the art world, among the contemporary artists I would like to mention Urs Fischer, Daniel Dewar, Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
I allowed myself to be influenced both by the creative process and by the implications of the material. I have modelled three objects that touch on different eras and narratives, meaningful of the italian tradition and culture. The three sculpture-masks are a she-wolf’s head, the mythological figure of Medusa and the Carlo Collodi’s puppet.
The she-wolf linked to the Capitoline fable dating back to the 4th-3rd century BC it is a free reinterpretation of the female wolf linked to the Roman culture founding myth. The mask of Medusa instead is inspired by the Etruscan iconography very close to Asian art, with an open mouth and a tongue on display. The mask of Pinocchio is left to a state of draft playing with the misunderstanding of the materials.
The chosen set up is a search for the identities that make up the rich Italian society, in which capacity of the objects of condensing and conveying commonly shared meanings is questioned.
Mother’s Bliss, 2019, Ncontemporary Gallery, Milan, Italy
With the project Mother’s Bliss presented at the Ncontemporary gallery in Milan, I investigated my mother’s cultural imagery through her drawings and her memorabilia collection.
I have always been fascinated from her look on the world and on things, this exhibition is a small portrait of her through her objects and drawings.
Part of the show is a letter, where I retraced through my mother’s stories that “mythical” time before her father’s suicide. Representations and symbols in her stories that are also genetic heritage of the generation born after the Second World War.
The paintings are based on her collection of porcelain, postcards and paraphernalia and fuse the tradition of Flemish and Dutch old master painting with ideas and images drawn from her compilation. The neon lights depicting a pair of shoes with ribbons and a native American head, are instead based on drawings made by my mother when she was a teenager; I tried to translate them as faithfully as possible without additions, working rather by subtraction.
An exhibition Mother’s Bliss that really put me to the test, making me stronger and more aware of the stories that you can’t escape. The specific weight that an image or a sentence needs to reach the public depends on things that have happened and lived, not since yesterday but long ago.
Africanella, 2016, neon light tube, power transformer, 50 x 45 x 9 cm / Auspicious beast, 2016, 60 x 40 x 30 cm embossed lead, epoxy resin, spray, MAR Museum, Ravenna, Italy
The neon work Africanella is based on an Italian company logo. The neon portrays in a caricatural and grotesque manner a dark-skinned African head with large lips and fez, the typical North Africa hat.
I found it really significant that a company can use an image of this content today. In this simple ready made, it seems to me that the whole history of my origin country, Italy, with its colonial past, to the sad recent history of the refugees seems to be condensed.
A work that inevitably assumes neocolonial hues, which indirectly refers to the xenophobic and racist wave directed against Asian and African immigrants.
The title Africanella is borrowed from a 1935 fascist song for the war in Africa. Linked to male-dominated legacies, the ballad was born as a bit funny and promoted the union between Italians and Ethiopians. A popular sexist song, among other Faccetta Nera, Africanina or Pupetta Mora, linked to gender stereotypes and propaganda.
That past of violence and coercion is still among us, it is a past that contaminates the present and if not discussed, can cause damage to future generations. I believe that the accurate and analytical study of fascism is really important, with all its load of miseries and stereotypes to understand its mechanism and the language manipulation. A crazy ideology, but equally capable of penetrating the soul of people.
Displayer, 2017, 100 x 64 x 70 cm, waterprint and spray on aluminum
The free-standing works that I call Displayers, function both as dividers and two-dimensional surfaces, a configuration that I have employed as part of my creation of hybrid sculpture to highlight the polysemy of displayers as boundaries and symbols of liminal areas. The series includes a wide stylistic range of patterns, frames and templates; the way I bring together and present materials has been compared to physical manifestation of sentences, narratives, and languages.
My sculptures and installations are assemblages of abstract elements, resembling details of urban or design objects, with more abstract and geometric configuration. I use a combination of found elements including ordinary furniture decorations, supermarket fragments, raw metal, and architectural sections.