Massimo Torrigiani for the Centre for contemporary art and culture, Bari: Sussi e Biribissi, sculptures and drawings by Diego Perrone

Bari’s new centre for contemporary art and culture, a project wanted by the Municipality and directed by Fantom’s Massimo Torrigiani, comes to its second project with an exhibition dedicated to the most recent work of Diego Perrone (Asti, Italy, 1970), amongst the most significant and appreciated Italian artists of the international contemporary art scene.

Sussi e Biribissi, sculptures and drawings by Diego Perrone is open to the public from 14 July to 10 September 2017 at Spazio Murat, the first of the three buildings which will be home to the Centre for contemporary art and culture of the city. Diego Perrone’s work interprets and amplifies themes of crucial relevance, not limited to the visual arts, such as the bonds with our own origins, the relationship with material and cultural heritages and their metamorphosis, by means of new ideas and techniques. And a generous dose of irony.

Diego Perrone’s vision and poetics are rooted in the peculiar and mysterious allure of provincial life. The countryside, and the intimidating and foggy landscape in which little brutalist villas are disseminated, over the hills where the artist was born, are the epicentre of his obsessions.

In this exhibition, the artist presents a new series of ballpoint pen drawings on paper, and above all sculptures in glass, which continue the artist’s restless research and experimentations, carried out over the last ten years, on the fusion of this material. With these works, Perrone challenges the bourgeois notion of banality, playing with feelings of familiar and unfamiliar, personal and impersonal, facing the feeling – at times calming, at times oppressive – of emptiness.

The artworks merge mental landscapes, be them real or imaginary, of different nature: the tractor, archetype of the country life; the fish, immersed in a liquid and muffled existence, such as sound under water; the ear, a recurrent presence in the symbology of Perrone’s work, a cavity where fullness and emptiness alternate continuously, the threshold which allows us to sink, from the outer world, into rarefied and ever-changing times and spaces.

Albeit their monumentality, Perrone’s glass works resemble holograms rather than statues, screens rather than reliefs. They drill space, rather than filling it. They move away, in fact, from the distinctive traits of sculpture to take the appearances of images, ambiguous visions, pictorial and immersive.

Sussi e Biribissi, the title of the exhibition, refers to the eponymous 1902 children’s novel by Nipote Collodi – pseudonym for Paolo Lorenzini, nephew of the more famous Carlo Collodi. As the protagonists of the novel undertake a journey to enter the subsoil of a general Italian city which will transform deeply their behaviours and looks, there is a disclosure of a light and fascinating excursion into the deepest meanderings of Italian popular culture, and of our being part of it.

The exhibition opening period envisages two public talks with critics and curators, aimed at exploring Perrone’s work in the context of the art scene in which it was born and has developed, and an original workshop for children, held by the artist. A contribution to the current geography of art in Italy, and to the outline of the project of the new Centre for contemporary art and culture of Bari.

The exhibition is completed with the publication of an artist’s book – the first in a series which will be produced by the Centre – entirely conceived by Perrone, who designed it along with the graphic designer Tommaso Garner.

Diego Perrone was born in Asti (Italy) in 1970, he works and lives in Milan. His solo exhibitions include: Herbivorous Carnivorous, Massimo De Carlo, Milan (2017); Self-portrait, Casey Kaplan, New York (2017); Void-Cinema-Congress-Death, Massimo De Carlo, London (2014); Scultura che non sia conchiglia non canta, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York (2013);  La mamma di Boccioni in ambulanza e la fusione della campana, CAPC Musèe d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux (2007); Totò nudo e la fusione della campana, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2005). His work has been exhibited internationally in prominent institutions: Curated by (?), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2016); The Shapes of Space, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007);  Perspectif Cinema 2003-2004, screenings, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2004); Animations, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2001). Diego Perrone participated in the 53rd Biennale di Venezia – The Encyclopedic Palace (2013), and in the 50th Biennale di Venezia – The Zone section (2003), both curated by Massimiliano Gioni.

The Exhibition
Sussi e Biribissi, sculptures and drawings by Diego Perrone
14 July - 10 September 2017
Spazio Murat 
Piazza del Ferrarese, Bari
The Book 
Diego Perrone. Glass Sculptures
Graphic Design: Tommaso Garner
Texts: Barbara Casavecchia; Florence Serieux in conversation with Diego Perrone
Published by: Municipality of Bari
Edition: 300 copies, Italian and English
Two volumes wrapped in a PVC envelope. Dimensions: 279x390 mm