Memories Arrested in Space

Open 29 September – 9 November, 10 am – 5 pm
Opening: September 28th, 6-8 pm
The Italian Cultural Institute, 39 Belgrave Square SW1X 8NT

ARTUNER returns to Belgrave Square, London for the third consecutive year during Frieze Week.

ARTUNER and the Italian Cultural Institute of London are glad to present a new exhibition, Memories Arrested in Space opening Friday 28th September at 6PM. The show will remain open throughout Frieze Week, enlivened by a series of talks and events hosted by the leading cultural institution.

The boundaries and relationships between immateriality and physicality, mathematical principles and nature, reality and fiction, chaos and order are increasingly becoming pressing concerns in everyday life, as our existences are gradually but inexorably shifting towards the predominance of digital realities.

The artists selected for this exhibition straddle precisely these boundaries: Rebecca Salter, Serena Vestrucci, Paul Kneale, and Bea Bonafini.

Each of the exhibited artists champions an original and subversive approach to abstraction, or rather ‘non-figuration’, and art-making. From challenging the status-quo of the paintbrush, to questioning the bi-dimensionality of the canvas as a surface, these artists make us ponder age-old art historical questions of light, time, and landscape through unexpected means.

Rebecca Salter’s works (Keeper of the Schools of the Royal Academy) are heavily detailed minimal abstractions, particular emphasis is given to the interplay between marked and unmarked space on the canvas. The layering of neutral tones often suffuses the work with an ethereal quality, the muted colours offering a tranquil, yet spellbinding, response to nature. In her paintings and drawings, Salter applies notions of mark-making that, traditionally, pertain to Asian calligraphy; the distinction between front and back of the canvas disappears, as the artist focuses on creating an object existing in space, rather than a painted surface; she revisits the great Romantic tradition of landscape and weather painting, through the use of the line, rather than colour. Rebecca Salter was elected Royal Academician in 2014 and Keeper of the Schools of the Royal Academy in 2017. She has been an artist in residence at the Anni Albers Foundation, Connecticut. In 2011, Salter had a major retrospective at the Yale Center for British Art: into the light of things 1981-2010.

Bea Bonafini creates immersive environments tapping into some of our most deep-seated instincts and memories: domesticity and sacredness, artistry and craftsmanship, desire and aggression. These seemingly conflicting notions reveal their affinities in the inlaid carpet artworks created by Bonafini. Inviting the viewer to interact through all their senses – by feeling the softness of the fabric under one’s bare feet, by listening for their gentle rustling or swooshing – these large-scale carpets unfurl under one’s eyes and simultaneously reveal and conceal their figures. Playing with viewpoint and optical illusion, these works sit on the boundary between figuration and abstraction, and thus never cease to draw the spectator in. Bea Bonafini graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016 and in 2017 was featured in the Zabludowicz Collection Invites, a solo show of the artist in this leading London Institution.

Serena Vestrucci’s artworks from the series Trucco (which in Italian creates an ambiguity between the meanings ‘makeup’ and ‘magic trick’) take on the appearance of hypnotic and pulsating nebulae, a light feedback coming to us from unconceivable distances and unknown heavens. These charming abstractions are in fact composed of makeup (eye-shadow, blush, powder, etc) on canvas. By employing this medium to create her works, Vestrucci cleverly subverts the relationship between colour and substrate: while canvas is generally conceived as subservient to paint, makeup is put to the service of skin – in this case, the canvas. Serena Vestrucci widely exhibited in Italy, winning the Premio Cairo in 2017. In September 2018 she took part to the exhibition Young Italians 1968-2018 at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York. This is her first exhibition in the United Kingdom.

Paul Kneale is interested in how the world is constantly translated into a digital language which simplifies, trivialises and depersonalises content and the people it addresses. The artist explores the way in which digital facets of our existence can be manifested and reimagined in the flesh of the physical object. His pioneering technique of scanner painting is not only a way of making art; it is a novel way to use an everyday object. The scanner becomes a means of reflection on mass-consumption, just as ready-mades were a meditation on mass-production, combining the electronic device with the gesture of the artist. Work by Kneale will be included in the forthcoming exhibition Peindre la Nuit at Centre Pompidou Metz (opening October 2018). Some of his scanner paintings and sculptures were recently on show at the Rubell Family Collection and at the prestigious Thetis Gardens in the Arsenale Novissimo (Venice), in a group exhibition on view during La Biennale di Venezia 57°.