Altre voci, altre stanze
20.Jun.02 - 30.Sep.02
Via dei prefetti, 17
The solo show by Vedovamazzei at the Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, continues the series of exhibitions entitled Altre voci, altre stanze/Other voices, other rooms, curated by Cloe Piccoli, to explore the research of contemporary artists in the field of environments. Abstract and physical spaces, true architectures or virtual simulations, projects in miniature or interventions in real buildings: in recent years many artists have chosen to work on the notion of spaces. They have built rooms, houses, ateliers, studios, boats, neighborhoods, entire cities with the humanistic aim of putting man back at the center of the universe, and with the idea of creating spaces as places of experience whose precise, particular character can stimulate the mind and the senses, touching our deepest emotions.
In a period in which urban evolution is moving in the direction of the “Generic City”, as it has been defined by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in his book S,M,L,XL, in sprawling urban aggregates without history or roots, characterized by variable identity in constant transformation, artists are inventing and constructing spaces in pursuit of a precise, definite, unmistakable identity.
While the Generic City, this complex, elusive contemporary phenomenon, is “a place freed from the confinement of the center and the tyranny of identity ... a city without history ... large enough for everyone ... equally exciting and boring, without distinction, in every point ... superficial as a Hollywood studio, which can produce a new identity every Monday morning”, on the other hand artists create personal, paradoxical environments where nothing is predictable or left to chance, but in which every element interacts with the visitor.
For the Magazzino d’Arte Moderna the duo Vedovamazzei (Stella Scala and Simeone Crispino) has created a project composed of three elements: a large environmental installation, Novel 1 (2002), a sculpture, Short Sighted (2002), and a series of watercolors.
Novel 1 (2002) is a true one-storey house (230x200x55 cm) with a pitched roof, a window open to offer a view of the interior, a door that invites you to enter. A three-dimensional installation in tufa, the house protrudes from a bookcase hung on the wall. An extension of the real architecture of the gallery or instead a place ‘embedded’ in another environment, Novel 1 is simultaneously an abstract and a real space. Real, because it is a little house, an archetype of habitation and everyday life. Abstract, because the perspective is distorted, foreshortened as in medieval frescoes or children’s drawings. But Novel 1 opens an even larger store of imagery, in which the idea of everyday space spreads into the realms of history, narrative, novel, scientific treatise. The concrete space of this work coincides with mental and literary space. As a matter of fact, the idea of Novel 1 springs out of the reflections, thoughts, memories inspired by the concept and the sentiment of the house of artists and intellectuals. The most direct references of this work of art cross historic epochs and different concepts: from the Giotto’s frescoes for the Assisi Basilica, to the Buster Keaton’s movie One Week, to a photograph of Céline’s native house in Normandie placed by the writer on the bookshelves of his exile’s residence in Denmark.
The environments of Vedovamazzei, a house (Novel 1, 2002), a room (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, 2001), a mirror (Short Sighted, 2002), a truck with a trailer, containing a lake (Go wherever you want, bring me wherever you wish, 2000), a pond of genetically modified waterlilies (Armonia Meravigliosa, 2000), a square meter of ocean (Stella maris, 2001), to name just a few, are real, everyday spaces that extend into the imagination, into remote times and spaces. Projected into a cosmic dimension, as in the recording of the rotation of the earth and the sun in Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, driven toward a vision of an artificial and genetically modified nature as in Go wherever you want, bring me wherever you wish, infiltrating the history of art and literature as in the works in this show, from Novel 1 (2002) to Short Sighted (2002) to the watercolors.
While Novel 1 crosses abstract and real space, Short Sighted, a circular mirror that rotates at the speed of 3000 rpm, so rapidly it seems to stand still, reflects reality in a completely arbitrary manner. The space reflected is no longer faithful to real space, but opens a new dimension, a perspective view in which only the nearest objects are in focus, while the rest of the image is blurred.
The watercolors, an important element in the context of the exhibition, and fundamental parts of the work of Vedovamazzei, always contain a precise reference to the traditional of painting, exploring the idea of space as an arbitrary place, of perspective as an evanescent mirage open to infinite possibilities.