Magazzino Italian Art, New York, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, and Magazzino Arte Moderna, Rome, are pleased to announce Marango, Sicilian artist Alessandro Piangiamore's first solo exhibition in the United States, curated by Vittorio Calabrese.
Opening on May 1st, 2018, at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, Marango will feature 14 pieces from the series Ieri Ikebana, La cera di Roma, Belvedere, and Primavera Piangiamore, as well as a new site-specific work from the artist's open-ended project, Tutto il vento che c'è (All the Wind that Blows).
The artist will be present for the opening reception, which will be held on Tuesday, May 1st from 6pm to 8pm, preceded by the presentation of the exhibition catalogue, published by Magazzino and designed by Waterhouse Cifuentes, at 5:30pm in the charming setting of Casa Italiana’s garden.
The exhibition’s title, Marango, comes from the Sicilian word for Amaranth, a color extract from a flower originating from South America, which characterized the textile production of ancient Mesoamerican cultures. Amaranth is one of the elements found in Piangiamore’s Ieri Ikebana’s compositions, symbolizing the relationship between materials, tradition, and nature, typical of the artist’s oeuvre.
In this latest exhibition, Alessandro Piangiamore places the works in dialogue with each other in composite installations, proposing a new reading of their visual impact and their reciprocal meanings. Through the use of materials easily found in everyday life, as well as an inclination to give up control over the physical result in favor of the idea, the artist draws upon the lexicon of his predecessors associated with Arte Povera.
As the art historian Ara Merjian states: It is under the sign of Arte Povera's ontological 'hybridity' that Piangiamore works, negotiating the space between sculptural presence and pictorial distance. Between open-ended duration and the boundaries of the frame, between the sensory and the cerebral. Here, Piangiamore presents a selection of pieces representative of the different series he has elaborated in recent years, ranging in materials from glass to wax, clay to concrete.
The latter constitutes the fundamental component of Ieri Ikebana, a series of sculptures realized by pouring concrete over an arrangement of fresh flowers discarded at city markets and on the streets. The final result, always unpredictable, underlines the contrast between the elusory fragility of the flowers and the hardness of the concrete, crystallizing the ephemeral in a sort of engraved still life. The sculptural nature of the work is then reinterpreted through a pictorial representation, as the Ieri Ikebana are vertically hung on a wall.
The contrast between this painting-like orientation and sculptural consistency is also evoked by La cera di Roma's verticality. This body of works is created by melting beeswax and paraffin candles collected from Rome's innumerable churches and parishioners. Starting from a highly symbolic element, the artist relinquishes any form of control over the changing matter. The ritualistic value of the objects is therefore deprived of its own significance, giving space to a free act of self-creation.
The abandonment of control over the final result is even more significant in Primavera Piangiamore, where the final shape of biomorphic crystal sculptures is entrusted to glass artisans. The glass forms enclose bright-colored essences, obtained by mixing market perfumes on the basis of mere chromatic criterions so that no smell can ever be perceived. This way, an aerial and ephemeral element such as perfume passes over to the visual realm, negating its own nature while simultaneously maintaining it in a secret, inaccessible dimension.
The negation of functionality and loss of purpose is likewise reflected in the works of the Belvedere series. Here, pieces of galvanized iron designed to lift the Ieri Ikebana off the floor and onto the wall become sculptural objects reminiscent of their own original ambition as tools.
If the Ieri Ikebana works embody the relevance to the artist of the natural element, the open-ended project Tutto il vento che c'è (All the Wind that Blows) is an homage to the unpredictable and unstoppable force of nature. In the ironically impossible attempt of cataloging all the winds in the world, Piangiamore creates small soil monoliths to be exposed to specific winds for a determined amount of time. The erosion, operated by the blowing force, will shape the forms, finally creating a contemporary portrait of the wind by subtraction.The resulting sculptural shape will be dictated by chance and non-repeatable.
On the occasion of Marango at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the artist has decided to portray the Nor'eastern, a Hudson Valley wind. The monolith, made of local soil, is currently living at Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, waiting to be sent back to Rome to the artist in a few months. At Casa Italiana, a text description of the site-specific project will present the ongoing erosion happening at Magazzino.
As Alessandro Piangiamore explains: In my research, I often try to crystallize everything which is ephemeral and fleeting through a practical approach to the matter, which allows me to cleave to reality and grasp it. Between the physical and the abstract, nature and the artificial, my research aims— rather than creating single objects— to make their inside shape and images emerge. Rather than being static or frontal, their features are accomplished through evocations and semantic visual shifts.
Marango marks the third collaboration between Magazzino Italian Art and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU following Burri-Posters in 2017 and Ornaghi & Prestinari in 2016.