Maria D. Rapicavoli
Part 1 of 4
Maria D. Rapicavoli’s practice involves meditative study on the particular configurations of space and time within a variety of contexts. Through photo, video, installation, and sculpture, the artist constructs insightful interventions that suspend details for further examination and explore complex relationships between historical memory and individual conscience. For Homemade, Rapicavoli will examine the ambiguities, fears, and uncertainties of the current moment through daily drawings, photos, and written reflections. Following the ebb and flow of her own emotional reality, Rapicavoli will share an acute and personal analysis of her own domestic space and her immediate neighborhood in lower Manhattan. For this first entry, Rapicavoli walked through the streets around her apartment and took photos of the unusual compositions she encountered.
"I like to think of my work as a process that during the next two months will merge into a combination of various media including drawings, painting, photos and text. It will be based on how reality is adapting to fear, in relation to space and time as perceived in this specific moment." - Maria D. Rapicavoli
Part 2 of 4
Before Homemade, Maria D. Rapicavoli’s practice was principally concerned with exposing the external realities of political and social structures. In these unprecedented times, introspection, solitude, and meditation on changes in everyday life have begun to inform her approach. Rapicavoli now sees her interior world, both mental and physical, in a new light. Using her camera inside her apartment for the first time, she notices sunbeams that enter her bedroom every afternoon and becomes infatuated with small neighborhood dramas, like the broken glass of a store window. Rapicavoli notes that while space has shrunk, time has expanded. In an effort to understand new rhythms of time in quarantine, she has divided her reflections into chapters, which she will continue writing throughout the duration of the project.
I have never thought of writing a story. I have never used my camera at home. I have never photographed still lives. I haven’t left my apartment in the last three weeks, and I have been fully experiencing living in a restricted space with an expanded sense of time.
The work I have done thus far is a process that brings me away from my usual conceptual ground. In fact, I have shifted my practice from an investigation of external reality to a reflection of how this new condition of life to which we are all exposed influences our inner world.
By combining text and photos, I intend to verbally and visually represent fears that have developed and how they will translate into actions through my personal perception of time and space.
Dividing the text into chapters helped me to shape the time that, otherwise, passed in a monotonous rhythm.
By photographing the sunlight and still life, I tried to stop time and encapsulate it into a fragile shelter (the broken glass) that was protecting another shelter (the shell of a snail, which has always been perceived as an animal that moves slowly).
The sunbeam distorted my personal space, shifting it from an intimate place to a white shooting set.
Part 3 of 4
In the first week of shelter in place, Maria D. Rapicavoli came across a shattered storefront. Piles of the blue green window glass entranced her—they were evidence of a neighborhood drama, human interaction she knew nothing of. She tried to save the remnants to be repurposed for her Homemade project, but abandoned them for fear of bringing a foreign contaminant in. Inside, she broke several wine glasses; each accident reminded her of the broken window. She staged photographs with these new shards of glass and continued to write her reflections down. In the last two weeks, Rapicavoli has begun to meditatively model an exact replica of the broken window from porcelain clay in an effort to recombine, reconstruct, and remake a reality that has been fissured.
In this new phase of the project, I explored the sense of loss, both personal and collective; in particular, on the collective loss of a world we once knew and how this loss translates into absence, and, consequently, into pain.
This notion inspired my artistic practice and prompted me to continue photographing objects with which I cohabitate. I started working with porcelain, modeling pieces of clay and reassembling them to create new fragments in a process of deconstruction/construction.
I am reconstructing the glass shards that I found on the street, which I got rid of weeks ago, because they represented a threat that came from the outside.
Once finished, the clay pieces will be fired and then glazed with crystalline to recreate the glassy effect of the shards.
I am reconstructing this loss and remodeling external reality to keep this memory of a condition that will never be the same again but that has taken on a new form.
Part 4 of 4
Maria D. Rapicavoli has recreated the thousands of glass shards that she encountered outside of a broken storefront window. Her rigorous and time-consuming process has allowed her to meditate on her own experience of having to reconstruct and reimagine her current reality in this unprecedented moment. Through hours of meticulous molding and modeling of individual clay pieces that occupied every inch of her apartment, Rapicavoli has returned to where her project first began, indicating that, as Gabriel García Márquez notes in One Hundred Years of Solitude, time does not pass; rather, it turns in a circle.
Throughout this two-month artistic process, I tried to depict a common condition through my own personal experience.
In this last phase of the project, I investigated the concept of rupture and that of resilience, which consists of an individual's ability to face and overcome a traumatic event or a period of difficulty, but which also refers to something that quickly regains its original form after experiencing stress.
In my artistic practice, I worked on the production of thousands of pieces of clay that I first modeled and let dry before smoothing out all their corners.
Rebuilding the pieces of glass allowed me to rebuild a new reality.
And I returned to photograph the abandoned building from which the whole project started, redirecting again the attention of my research to external reality and, ideally, coming full circle.
About the artist
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. Her work explores conditions and experiences of power, alienation, invisibility, and displacement through a critique of global economic and political systems. She has had solo exhibitions and screenings at institutions such as Fondazione Brodbeck, Catania (2017); Riccardo Crespi Gallery, Milan (2016); International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York (2014); Italian Cultural Institute, Wolfsburg, Germany (2010); and Artegiovane, Turin (2010). Rapicavoli’s work has been included in group exhibitions at Socrates Sculpture Park, New York (2019); The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2019); Abrons Art Center, New York (2016); Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2016); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2016); and Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013), among others. Rapicavoli 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.
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.
Danilo Correale (b. 1982, Naples, Italy) is an artist and researcher whose work investigates labor, leisure, and laziness as metaphorical lenses into the post-modern sociopolitical and economic landscape.