Part 1 of 4
For the last several years, Davide Balliano has worked exclusively in black and white. Known for his paintings and sculptures that use an austere, minimal language of abstract geometries, Balliano will now completely deviate from his typical practice and embrace color. Using only tubes of paint in bright hues and readily available materials meticulously organized in his studio, Balliano will dispel his habitual, disciplined practice and create expressionistic color studies informed by the natural world.
"I intend to use the restriction imposed by this calamity as an opportunity to move into territories usually outside my daily gymnastics.
It has been a desire of mine to tackle color, while avoiding the architectures that I find more comforting and instinctive.
Statistically, failure will be the most predictable outcome, but I hope to meet it with joy, having peeked in a garden usually foreign to me.
I will accompany these excursions with conjugations of the grammar I’ve been dedicating myself lately, in the hope of finding a blooming bridge, and new words."
- Davide Balliano
Part 2 of 4
As an artist known for his signature black-and-white geometric paintings, Homemade has presented Davide Balliano with an opportunity to break out of his comfort zone and experiment. Using color for the first time in years, Balliano attempts to avoid rigid structure and a precise plan, instead swirling color paint on paper in melodic strokes. Through this instinctual process, he gravitates towards certain hues, which offer a sense of security and calm. He also discovers that using color in an artwork can produce a very different emotional response than one might experience by looking at it. Through navigating the delicate and spontaneous process of selecting which shades to pair together, Balliano creates a series of expressive color studies that embody and are grounded in connection, balance, and harmony.
As days of seclusions turn into weeks, I continue my excursions in the garden of color.
I wonder cheerfully blind, surrounded by kind but overpowering nature: a forgiving Subject that allows me to play, gently reminding me that’s just what I’m doing.
And play along I will, hopeful to be admitted at a point to graduate from “the chaos of the emotions to the order of the possible.”
My movements remain unpremeditated, often underlining my love and desire for patterns, for some a rationality to be perceived, if not understood.
Yet, I surprise myself in sensing how the performance of color informs my relationship with black and white.
More than think, this tonal brainstorming makes me feel.
I feel the ferocious greens of the forest of central Bali, the peach shades of a sunset over the bay of Naples, the red of my wife’s dress in Avignon.
As the current crisis dissolves the thought of a predictable future, memory fills the void.
And they are all memories of communion.
Part 3 of 4
For painter Davide Balliano, use of color is a threshold he was hesitant to conceptually cross. The tension between sculpture and painting, three and two dimensionality has been his central area of exploration. Finding balance between colors represented a too precarious set of relationships. Now, after delving head first into creating expressionistic, ambling colorful paintings on paper, Balliano has embraced the unknown and has come to understand his own practice with new clarity. Resulting from a confirmation bias, Balliano is now working on a large-scale painting in white—the amalgamation of all colors—with new clarity.
I started this conversation with color to deny the possibility of any moment being a waste.
The passing of linear time, our most valued treasure, became over the years one of the structural thoughts of my research, and, with it, the illusion of calculating it, controlling it, understanding it.
Color scatters all my dogmas, refuses to kneel to my plans, remains a riot of nihilism.
All my values are surpassed, nothing replaced them yet.
I back up in strategic retreat, finding myself waving a white flag, wrapping myself in its fabric, lying down in its comfort.
I’m working on white paintings: one embraceable; the other, still in its planning stage, larger than (my) life. A monument to this time of ours, covering the same space of my conversation with color, demanding attention, gently.
The future remains unpredictable, color stands its ground, white contains it all.
Part 4 of 4
For Homemade, Davide Balliano pushed the limits of his practice: he let go of black and white geometric abstraction and explored color. Opening tubes of unused multihued paint kept in his studio, he created gestural studies that reflected the incoming colors of spring. Now, Balliano returns to his methods, having gone through an odyssey of self exploration, coming back with new insights.
I have been trying to reflect upon the feelings that have surfaced over the past few weeks of studies in color.
I come from an understanding that art is the articulation of a set of thoughts, the testimony of a thesis that, to be shared and argued into conversation, must be translated into tangible existence. It must occupy space to demand time. It requires time to own its space.
I’ve come to believe that meaning is something to be achieved: an ambition more than an ingredient. I consider the contrast of conflicting elements to be one of the most valuable tools for my compositions. Precision meets violence to ignite harmony.
I keep returning to how the majority of the progress I made seems to clarify my relationship with the strongholds of my practice: the rigor of geometric abstraction and the boundaries of black and white.
As in a process of reflection, color shields its secrets, shedding light into the dark corners of my belief. I found myself on the defense, forced to fortify my position. I reevaluated my polarized palette, haunted by its otherworldly absence of light, and its radiant adversaire: its blinding luminosity. I reinforced my conviction in the representation of a nature against Nature, one that doesn’t belong in reality.
Then I circled back to the definition of color: an object’s production of different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light.
Always a mirror. Always reflecting introspections. Always guarding its truth, replying in riddles like an oracle.
Or, as my Theory of Color professor often repeated: An object is of every color but of the one it appears to be.
About the artist
Davide Balliano (b. 1983, Turin, Italy) is an artist whose research operates on the thin line of demarcation between painting and sculpture. Utilizing an austere, minimal language of abstract geometries in strong dialogue with architecture, his work investigates such existential themes as the identity of man in the age of technology and the human relationship with the sublime. Balliano has had solo exhibitions at institutions such as Museo Novecento, Florence (2019); Dirimart Gallery, Istanbul (2019); Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2019 and 2017); Museo delle Arti di Catanzaro, Italy (2018); 39 Great Jones, New York (2018); and Luce Gallery, Turin (2017 and 2015). His work has been included in group exhibitions at Bjorn & Gundorph Gallery, Aarhus, Denmark (2020); David Zwirner Gallery, New York (2015); Madre Museum, Naples (2012); MoMA PS1, New York (2010); and Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall Bridge, London (2010), among others. Balliano lives and works in New York.
From July 9 through September 7, 2020, Magazzino presented Homemade, a special exhibition of new work created by eight New York-based Italian artists—including Alessandro Teoldi, Andrea Mastrovito, Beatrice Scaccia, Danilo Correale, Davide Balliano, Francesco Simeti, Luisa Rabbia, and Maria D. Rapicavoli—during the global quarantine. Originally launched as part of the Magazzino da Casa’s digital program, Homemade culminated with an in-person exhibition of the final artworks created over the project’s two-month duration, which opened to the public on July 10, 2020.
Magazzino Italian Art presents a live streamed conversation with four of the artists who participated in Homemade —Alessandro Teoldi, Danilo Correale, Davide Balliano and Maria D. Rapicavoli.
Magazzino Italian Art will begin welcoming the public back to the museum starting Friday, July 10, 2020 in accordance with state, regional, and local guidelines of the phased reopening of the Mid-Hudson region. Find out more information on Magazzino’s summer programming, as well as new health and safety protocols.
Alessandro Teoldi (b. 1987, Milan, Italy) is an artist whose practice involves textiles, sculpture, drawing and painting. In his work, Teoldi hints at the dissociative trauma of separation and creatively transforms the human need to establish affective connections with simple, everyday materials into intimate artistic mediations.
Francesco Simeti (b. 1968, Palermo, Italy) is known for his site-specific installations using wallpapers, sculptures, and 3D collage.
Beatrice Scaccia (b. 1978, Frosinone, Italy) is an artist and writer. Her visual works, which take the form of drawings, paintings, and digital animations, explore the absurdity of the human condition.
Maria D. Rapicavoli (b. 1976, Catania, Italy) is an artist whose practice developed from a background in photography, film, and video, and has expanded to include sculpture and site-specific installation.
Luisa Rabbia (b. 1970, Turin, Italy) is an artist whose practice encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, and video.
Andrea Mastrovito (b. 1978, Bergamo, Italy) is a multimedia artist whose practice is characterized by its constant evolution.