23.Oct.04 - 12.Jan.05
Via dei prefetti, 17
The Magazzino d’Arte Moderna is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of drawings by Massimo Bartolini and Nedko Solakov. In a period in which many artists, including Bartolini and Solakov, use non-traditional artistic means of expression, drawing continues to play a central role in contemporary artistic production.
The sense of space permeates much of the work of Massimo Bartolini. Using a variety of production strategies that include installation, video and photography, he creates environments in which the spectator becomes an active participant and their experience becomes a process of understanding or interpreting forms and structures. The artist’s environmental installation Tamburo, a site-specific work created for the gallery in March 2002 exemplifies this research.
Yet Bartolini continues to investigate space even in his drawings, as seen in the series Alberelli when he first drew on folded paper. With this technique, the piece of paper changes form and through the fold the two-dimensionality of the drawing reverts in space to three-dimensionality.
For the current exhibition, Bartolini presents six small-scale works on folded paper, a 1x1 meter drawing on paper; and a 2x2 meter drawing on plexiglass. The subject is always the same: the oleander hedges in the artist’s garden. Here we find another common theme in the artist’s oeuvre: work developed and created around the artist’s own home. The works on paper are drawn with blue ink. The 2x2 meter drypoint drawing is scratched directly onto the plexiglass, thus becoming invisible if not for the shadow that is projected on the wall.
Like Bartolini, Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov moves easily between a variety of expressive forms. Through sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, installation and performance he examines everyday life, language and people’s behaviour. A common element in his work is his unique and often subversive sense of humour.
Several of the artist's most well known works examine or make critical reference to mechanisms of the contemporary art system. In the performative installation, A Life (Black & White), presented at the 2001 Venice Biennial, two house painters continuously applied new layers of paint to one of the halls at the Biennial, one using white paint, the other black. As spectators watched the painters obliterate each other's work, they themselves became participants in an absurd situation in which not only the institutional context of art, but the very meaning of human activity was brought into question. In A (not so) White Cube, 2001 at P.S.1 in New York, the viewer entered into a seemingly empty exhibition space. However, details and idiosyncrasies in the room's architecture and technical equipment sprang to life, called attention to by witty comments written directly on the walls by the artist. The viewer once again became a participant in a situation they had to react to, while the impossibility of the white cube ideal was laid bare.
Since the late 1980s, Solakov has also used storytelling - both in large-scale installations and small-format drawings - as a specific tool of artistic expression. On view in the gallery is his most recent drawings series, “Phenomena”, fifteen 19x28 cm works of sepia, black and white ink and wash on 850 gr. paper. Delicately drawn images and poetic, yet ironic texts subtly question systems of authority, perception and the human existence.