Cosimo Veneziano “Petroleum/Notes” at Galleria Alberto Peola and “Petroleum” at MEF – Museo Ettore Fico, Turin
The Alberto Peola Gallery is pleased to host Cosimo Veneziano’s second solo exhibition.
Exhibited here for the first time, these works conclude Cosimo Veneziano’s investigation of the role of sculpture in the public space of contemporary society, as well as of the iconographic and symbolic value of images in political propaganda. In particular, the artist addresses the process whereby a community construes its iconography by selecting some facts and personalities and disregarding others, before the symbol is placed in the public space, be this physical or virtual.
In the two works of the series Petroleum, the drawings on canvas of two sculptures, one representing an androcephalus bull and the other a religious subject, are partially covered by felt to suggest the recent destruction resulting from the conflicts in the Middle-East. This work invites reflection on the import and the effects on people’s imagination of the loss of their collective cultural heritage.
The set of ceramic sculptures titled Membrane comprises reproductions of parts of Greek and Roman statues which Veneziano has deformed through a process of stratification of matter, in which the original exterior of the statue is opposed to what the outside of the cast supposedly looked like. In this case, too, the concealment from sight corresponds to the idea of the loss of a cultural identity over time.
Monochrome II relies on the observer’s gradual faculty of perception. The series of drippings of silicone rubber has been accomplished starting from a template consisting of paintings on canvas representing iconographic symbols from western as well as eastern cultures throughout the ages.
In the last room of the gallery we can find four large-scale canvases on which Veneziano has drawn four human figures armed with hammers. In this last work, Days From a Past Future, the artist recycles images from propaganda of past political revolutions and engages them in a dialogue to highlight the emphasis on the act of destruction underlying the processes of disruption and change in human history. The shocking force of the act and the monumentality of the representation suggest a celebratory intent, as opposed to the censorship which takes place even in times of political stability.
at Galleria Alberto Peola, Turin
until 1 April 2017
Cosimo Veneziano’s works investigate the wide universe of images of the social, architectural and urban patrimony of our time. Within this line, the investigation into the nature of the monuments and their contemporary identity has become a central point of his research, continuously stimulated by the many destructions worked by terrorist regimes and economic changes which have unexpected amazing repercussions on the urban landscape.
Assuming that the installation of a monument on public space involves the selection of a historical fact or a character considered crucial for the community, the artist wonders how important can be the destruction of a patrimony recognised as collective. What can be for our imagination and our posterity’s imagination the consequences of the “cancellation” of monuments as a result of destructive acts such as those happened in Syria, Libya or Iraq? And how can we live in a context characterised by buildings suddenly become true example of ghost architecture?
The artist poses these questions and express his thoughts through the works of the series Petrolio (Petroleum) – specifically created for the spaces of the Museo Ettore Fico – a corpus of drawings intended to partially cover the image of the monuments, and a new set-up of Crash, whose subject is the Banca d’Italia building in Massa – which once was a true icon of the city and its economical power, but nowadays is an abandoned facility.
In order to broaden the discussion, the artist places side by side these works and a new nucleus of ceramic sculptures, replicas of the statues housed in the Musei Capitolini which were covered up on the occasion of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Rome.
Therefore, cancelling, concealing, covering up or decontextualising the images is the machinery that Veneziano uses to experience and share such matters with the city and the public of the museum.
at MEF – Museo Ettore Fico, Turin
until 16 April 2017