We are happy to announce our latest project Due Mondi, which brings together the Japanese artist Kensuke Karasawa, for the first time in Italy, and Francesca Rivetti’s latest project I Want To Talk To Seymour Too; opening in Viasaterna, on Tuesday, October 11th at 6 pm.
Due Mondi is a show revolving around two fundamental themes. Nature, first of all, which despite not constituting the specific subject of any of the works on display, remains a source of inspiration throughout. We thus find the commonplace notion in contemporary society of the need to draw closer to nature, underlining not so much the more transitory and ephemeral aspects, but its substantial inevitability, both for the individual and the community. As Bruno Latour writes: “Ever since the term was invented, every political policy has been defined in relationship to nature, and every element of the latter, every prerogative and function depend on the political will to limit, reform, found, simplify and illuminate the public sphere.” (Bruno Latour, Politics of nature: how to bring the sciences into democracy, Harvard University Press 2004).
Secondly, as the artists place the act of looking at the heart of their research, perception itself is the other theme, along with the complex dynamics of mediation that from direct experience lead to representation. This is something of a metalinguistic approach, aimed at investigating for the first time the expressive language adopted – sculpture in Karasawa’s case, photography in that of Rivetti – and yet exploited by both without rigidity, blending the geometric rigour of the scientific study with atmospheres warmed by intimacy and bursts of authentic visionary power.
Kensuke Karasawa shapes his works largely by using camphor wood and wax. Natural materials, as mentioned before, with which the Japanese artist became familiar thanks to his own masters belonging to the Mono-ha artistic current, who since the end of the 1960s have been absorbed in the complex attempt to discern reality and appearances. Karasawa’s sculptures thus act as subtle devices for the bending of conventional rules. They trigger short circuits. They evoke minimal shifts, at times imperceptible. Silent yet substantial revolutions. That which may be seen does not correspond exactly to the image deposited in the memory of the onlooker. The principles of the Gestalt are taken up and circulated. Works of which the outline may be reminiscent of a mountain, for example, are laid out so as to be observed top-down, turning the conventional perspective on its head. Other times, instead of filling an empty space, the wax, just like water, drips out, thus passing from being contents to container, the base on which to stand other objects. Lastly, in the site-specific sculptures created especially for this exhibition, fluorescent sticky tape marks the points in which the wooden sticks that they are made of change direction, hence modifying the perception of the depth of space. This is all resolved through a grammar of pure, simple shapes, clearly close to minimalist tastes – and yet far-removed from any modular schematism – in order to unleash a series of visual surprises.
The sea is the protagonist of the work of Francesca Rivetti, I Want To Talk To Seymour Too (from the romance by J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey, Little Brown 1961), made up of three series of photographic images. In Ocean, several fragments of plastic bags, found by the artist herself in the depths of various seas around the world, from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, and even the Caribbean are used in the studio to simulate the surface of water. The result is an organic/non-organic hybrid, being infused with life – creating the ‘sex appeal of the inorganic’ (Mario Perniola, The sex appeal of the inorganic, Continuum (2004) –, while also being transformed from waste material into sublime scenario. Displacement is a series of still-life images of objects taken from the sea and displayed by Francesca Rivetti as findings, all shaped by the sheer force of the elements. Midway between Surrealism and the Ready-Made, they have the strength of ancestral sculptures, which the camera both documents and interprets, assigning a particular character to each one. Grottesche is the third part of the project. These are close-up images of ancient cave paintings, broken down into their constituent parts. They are hieroglyphic representations, “without thickness or weight,” as André Chastel describes them in Grotesque (L’Arpenteur 1980), and as such the opposite of reality, and just like a photograph, the bearer of both dreams and nightmares. Here too, as in the plastic seas, we find ourselves trapped in the alternative universes that Francesca Rivetti, just like Kensuke Karasawa, comes up with in order to make us rediscover the real world.
Due Mondi, Kensuke Karasawa and Francesca Rivetti Opening: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 6 pm From October 12 to December 23, 2016 VIASATERNA Via Leopardi 32, Milan www.viasaterna.com
Selected press coverage: Arte Magazine Cultframe Il Giornale dell’Arte