Fabio Viale: Volumes

21 March - 16 May 2019

“Volumes” an exhibition by Fabio Viale
Private view: Thursday 21 March 2019, 6.00 pm - 9pm
Exhibition: 22 March - 16 May 2019‚Ä®
Senesi Contemporanea‚Ä®
25 Dover Street W1S 4LX - Mayfair- London

Senesi Contemporanea is pleased to present the exhibition Volumes, showcasing a selection of sculptures by artist Fabio Viale. Recognised as established figure in the Italian art world the artist currently lives and works in Turin. In addition to his relevant exhibition history his upcoming participation in the 58th Venice Biennale will further affirm the artist’s outstanding talent as sculptor, as well as his unprecedented conceptual approach. Through an outstanding sensibility for the contemporary, Viale allows for a persistent representation of the antique in light of modernity by calling for an urgency between what has significance and what is of significance.

The range of recognisable motifs in his sculptures depict well-known classic sculpture such as the Aphrodite of Knidos and the Venus Italica, based on the creation of a mimesis they are sculpted after the original. Since a young age, Viale has appropriated marble as his choice of material, or rather as his canvas. For the artist the possibilities that the material has to offer are limitless and Viale’s creations emerging from blocks of marble overthrow every common perception of what is within the realm of possibility when working with the material. Additionally, the works are subjected to further transformation at the hand of the artist. The embellishment of the full-body tattoo for example, such as the traditional Japanese irezumi design pattern onto the sculpture, introduces a renewed condition of the classic sculpture. Through the same approach, Viale achieves a semantic acceleration when a copy of the Torso Gaddi, sublime example of Hellenistic sculpture and source of inspiration for Michelangelo, is imprinted with the biblical scenes of the Last Judgment. Taking advantage of the recognisability of the classical medium and their universally accepted beauty through Eurocentric art historical ideals, the artist enforces the viewer to confront the altered recreation of the sculpture with their added ornamentation, acknowledging symbols and materiality in a contemporary context.
In his practice Fabio Viale additionally addresses contemporary socio-political issues. With the recreation of one of the most important and holy classical Italian sculptures Pietà, Viale recognised a tense political moment in Italy, in which a continuing aggravated discussion concerned with the terms of immigration into Italy and Europe is a constant presence in the contemporary Italian political landscape. A marble version of the Pietà created by Viale, is shipped to Lampedusa where the performance Souvenir Pietà (Madre) is taking place on a beach oriented towards Libya. Viale’s Pietà is noticeably distinctive as the lap of the Madonna is empty, presenting a white rough surface.

Following its performance in Lampedusa, the sculpture is exhibited in the Galleria Poggiali in Milan in juxtaposition with a large photograph depicting the Pietà together with Lucky Eh, a christian Nigerian immigrant who was forced through religious prosecution to flee his homeland and finally arrived in Italy after an excruciating journey. Viale’s decision to stage Lucky Eh to lie at the place of Christ symbolises the christian notion of maternal love and altruism, furthermore outlining a hypocrisy within Italy's political and religious values the artist successfully elevates his marble recreations or copies to trace non-visible connotations.
The disassociation of the original from the copy is activated further in his series of conceptual subjects that subvert the notion of materiality by constructing a type of oxymoron: a marble tire intertwined with another tire, unable to function by its juxtaposition as well as material; a marble reconstruction of a winged sculpture with a patina reminiscent of styrofoam; the illusions created challenge the viewer’s perception and expectation of firstly the subject itself and secondly its true material. Their actual substance and meaning is relocated to a meta-level, accessible through a more profound encounter with the work. Appearance, perception and reality is only illusion, as the heavy marble sculptures appear lightweight as if carved from styrofoam and a marble balloon appears bloated as if physically twisted into a knot. Fabio Viale subverts the physical attributes to merely be a symptom of his artistic practice. Their actual essence, the volume of the object, is almost hidden. Complementary to the situationist’s détournement whereby the discounted hendiaduo material-form is absent, an avant-garde approach calls for the assertion that the truthful meaning lies exposed. Here the sculptures almost appear as objet trouvé, as readymade, as if for example the tire would be a tire and the rubber would be rubber, but instead the artifice is a means of uncovering a new awareness of the subject’s condition. The classic notion of artistic practice is reconsidered from the “making” to the “thinking”.

For all press enquiries, contact:
Ginevra Russo, Carla Schöffel +44 20 74936179, info@senesicontemporanea.co.uk

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