Within the historical environs of 17th century Palazzo Capris, ARTUNER is delighted to present its second Artissima Week event at the venue: A Place of Our Time, a group exhibition featuring works by Pietro Consagra, Luigi Ghirri, Nick Goss, Rachel Harrison, Katja Novitskova, and Slavs and Tatars. To see the installation views, click here.
A Place of Our Time
Opening: November 3rd, 6.30 pm
Open during Artissima Week, 10 am – 7 pm
Palazzo Capris, Via Santa Maria, 1 – 10122 Torino
Artists have always been interested in exploring the geometries of the landscape, and analysing man’s place in it. Indeed, such man-made images often come to replace the memory of actual nature in one’s mind, thus triggering what Ghirri defined as “a shift from the question of its meaning and that of its imagining. And so, the journey lies within the image, within the book”.
This exhibition will look at the work of six international artists who, across a wide range of media, engage with nature and man’s position in the landscape. Luigi Ghirri’s photographs consider the tenuous balance between people and their surroundings. He not only captured the landscape itself, but also the landscape as it had previously been represented, having already passed through cultural frameworks of interpretation. Greatly influenced by Ghirri’s photographic practice, the paintings by Nick Goss evoke indistinct places and liminal states of mind. Human figures, as well as architectural and natural fragments flicker delicately throughout his compositions, at once inciting and repelling associative interpretations. Recurrent in Goss’s canvases is a sense of fragility that can be read as a metaphor of man’s struggle against nature; each of Goss’s motifs suggest relics of a built environment: abandoned, overgrown, and decayed. His work finds its place in the lacunae between the real and the imagined.
Katja Novitskova’s large-scale sculpture evokes a primeval scene, jarringly built with plexiglass, aluminium and dibond. Startlingly cinematic, ‘Expansion Curves’ investigates the sites where the technological and the natural intersect, and underscores these subjects as two sides of the same coin. On one hand she transports man back to pre-historical pagan times, on the other she proffers that technological and digital progress will become inextricably linked to the natural cycles of the world. Similarly, Rachel Harrison’s sculpture seems to point out that in contemporary society, where leisure and professional time are becoming increasingly blurred, people aren’t simply relying on machines to survive in a competitive and hostile environment, they are becoming them. Her work taps into the arbitrariness of the world, and unapologetically intrudes with its artful clumsiness on already congested ecosystems.
During the latter half of the 20th century, Pietro Consagra revolutionised the concept of sculpture by creating artworks that were almost two-dimensional, engendering a new, subversive relationship with the viewer and the environment. They possessed surfaces that were neither smooth nor volumetric, but composed of extremely thin, overlapping slabs. These sculptures, as the critic Giulio Carlo Argan wrote, “truly create a new relationship between the object and the space it inhabits, […] incorporating in the environment works that do not solely mirror it, but alter it”. Consagra’s ‘Colloqui’ and ‘Ferri Trasparenti’ series dealt with a crisis of representation: striving to dispose of an authoritarian centre, these sculptures metaphorically represent the deepest layers of the human soul, increasingly fragile, increasingly more precarious, from a strictly frontal perspective, that is, open to a direct relationship with the beholder.
Peripatetic, man moves across the landscape shaping and pushing boundaries, creating geographies of identity, of belonging, and loss. Luigi Ghirri writes that “the only journey now possible seems to be the one found inside signs and images”, as “the only possible journey or discovery left is that of re-discovering previous discoveries”. Indeed, when Slavs and Tatars address the socio-political and linguistic changes that have occurred in the former-Soviet states and annexes that make up ‘Eurasia’, they examine liminality, not through the agitprop imagery of liberation and nationalism, but through the linguistic – or more precisely, lingual – alphabetic shifts.
ARTUNER’s exhibition proposes that a landscape is a complex entity, one whose definition is continuously renegotiated. In Luigi Ghirri’s words, “landscape is not where nature ends and the artificial world begins; it is rather a passageway that cannot be delimited geographically, or better, a place of our time, our epochal cipher”.