Quaranta | 2016

17/09/2016 • 29/10/2016


Magazzino is delighted to open its new exhibition season with Alessandro Piangiamore’s third solo show at the gallery. The title of the exhibition, Quaranta [Forty] directly references the number of works on show; less explicitly, it is also a reference to a landmark birthday and therefore part of a ritual – an element that has always characterized the Sicilian artist’s work.

The body of the exhibition consists of works from his Ikebana series, which is based on a collection process associated with the quotidian and the contingent: market castoff flowers or flowers found along routes that the artist takes every day, collected and drown into slabs made using building materials. The hardness of the materials and structures contrasts with the lightness of the flowers, which conjure up a traditional ideal of beauty and fragility. This exaltation of the imprint left behind by something ephemeral imbues the work with a characteristic that fluctuates between still-vital beauty and the echo of a twilight zone. What we see is, in effect, merely an outline, a recollection and an overlay which, although eternal, bears witness to a vanishing act. The artist’s reference to the past – something that is already evident in the creative process – is expressed as a key part of the artworks’ titles, which consist of the date that the artwork was created, preceded by the word ieri [yesterday] because, materially speaking, the result of a creative work is visible only the following day.

The term Ikebana is a citation from the Japanese art of arranging cut flowers, a technique that the artist actually applies in his works without bowing to virtuosity or, most importantly, without seeking to achieve the aesthetic harmony and naturalness of form, that, on the contrary, are the goals of the original Asian practice. As ever in his work, after laying the foundations for its completion, Piangiamore willingly relinquishes control of the last part of the creative process: he pours the cement as a negative; the result of this action on the flowers is not visible until it is no longer possible to modify the outcome.

The exhibition is rounded off by a series of sculptures made out of galvanized iron, conceived by the artist as objects suited to raising the works; metaphorically, that is to say achieving elevation through physical effort. These “levers” were conceived as tools whose purpose is solely hypothetical and unverifiable. They consequently remain suspended midway between being “fungible” objects and the impracticability of the purpose for which they were conceived. At one and the same time their appearance contains something of the industrial, the lightweight, the magical and the menacing. In essence, they belong to the system that Alessandro Piangiamore has created over the years through his artistic research: a Borgesian system ordered upon real objects and figures which nevertheless exist solely thanks to the potential of the imagination. To quote Borges himself: “We accept reality so readily – perhaps because we sense that nothing is real.

Alessandro Piangiamore was born in Enna in 1976. He lives and works in Rome. He won the XVI Cairo Prize for Italian Art in 2015. His keynote exhibitions include the solo exhibitions Primavera Piangiamore at the Palais de Tokyo in 2014, Tutto il Vento che c’è at the Galleria Civica Segantini di Arco (TN) in 2013, and at the GAMEC in Bergamo in 2011. He has participated in several group shows including The Lasting (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome 2016); Par Tibi Roma Nihil, NOMAS Foundation, Roma 2016; Meteorite in Giardino (Fondazione Merz, Turin 2014); Sletto e Corso, (XXI Biennal de Selestat, France 2013); ReGeneration (Macro, Rome 2012); Mutiny Seemed a Probability (Fondazione Giuliani, Rome 2010); and Le 50 Lune di Saturno (Triennale di Torino 2008).