Returning back to my hometown of Turin every November is always a special experience for me. This year, I had the opportunity to organise an exhibition with three international artists in a very unique location in the city centre, Palazzo Capris. The venue, with its 17th century architecture and classical baroque interior is commonly used as a social club for the city’s top lawyers. During the week of Artissima the space hosted new works by Michael Armitage, Paul Kneale and Tabor Robak. The show took on an acchrochage format wherein each artist had their own room(s) to show their work. The result blended conceptions of the group show with that of the one-artist exhibition. In doing so, we were also able to effectively juxtapose the ornate interior of the palace with contemporary paintings, sculptures and computer-rendered video work.
While being close in age, each of the artists hail from diverse backgrounds and have their own stories. As a result they work through different mediums and surfaces. The British/Kenyan Armitage’s substrate of choice, the lubugo bark cloth native to Uganda, is commonly used to cover the body as part of a funerary ritual. Michael approaches painting with a singular material sensibility that highlights personal histories, Kenyan tribal myths, and poignant narratives. Painting, steeped in its own tradition; applied to a non-conventional surface.
Conversely, the Canadian Paul Kneale uses primed linen for his own analogue to digital transcriptions of scanner-based impressions. He expanded his experimentation with scanners while developing a new body of argon/steel sculptural works called Event Horizon.
Lastly, the American Tabor Robak’s software is custom built for the latest 4K televisions at the cutting edge of display. He contributed a two-channel video where computer generated elements were constantly being reconfigured in a loop of infinite possibilities.
While developing their own visual language, their works build on movements and themes from the last decades of art history. Nevertheless, the pursuit of innovation is key in each of their oeuvres and their references – Mark Rothko’s Chapel and the paintings of Der Blaue Reiter to name but two – are just bases with which to build their own unique practices. The end result of their combinative yet distinctive contributions was a take-over of the Palazzo that dealt in equal parts with traditional yet un-conventional painting, technological image-making, and computer programmed high definition display.
Now that the physical incarnation of the exhibition has concluded, I’m pleased to present its online component, which includes documentation of the works and descriptions along with educational content and articles that we’ll continue to update and add to the site in the weeks to come.