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EXHIBITIONS

Dario Guccio at Room East, New York

Dario Guccio cuts silhouettes of human bodies and outlines of quotidian objects out of papers, faux skins and cardboards.

He layers the cutouts and, by sewing or nailing them together, creates complex compositions in which single figures and forms are overlapped and interwoven. Through this process the artist offsets the flatness of his picture planes, much like the set designs of shadow-puppet theatre.

The exhibition comprises of a series of identically shaped oval works made of cardboard cutouts affixed to wooden panels. Nocturnal deities, pregnant women, plants, jars and the artist himself gather in whimsical tableaux, onto which a multitude of hammered nails recall the night sky. In two of the paintings, cutouts of the artist’s own profile are connected to mechanisms that rotate languidly.

Guccio belongs to a young generation of Italian artists who have turned to historically-loaded visual references in reaction to the languages of new media. The immediacy of his historical references is manifested, for example, in his use of imagery codified by Novecento Italiano (the artistic movement that translated the rappel a l’ordre heralded by Fascism); or his deconstruction of the picture plane and use of a bold color palette, both of which recall the spatialist investigations of Lucio Fontana, Agostino Bonalumi and Paolo Scheggi, among others. Guccio finds in these references a positive value at the same time that he sees them as props in the theatre of Italianness.

Precedents to Guccio’s new works can indeed be found in Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale (Teatrino) as well as Pino Pascali’s Teatrino, both created in 1964. Guccio’s nail constellations hint at the cosmic and cosmonautical imagery of the former, while his stylized figures recall the bric-a-brac object-characters of the latter. However, Guccio’s approach to narrative, visual layering and scenic design ultimately align him most with Pascali, whose fictions exploited national cultural signifiers to oppose the absolutes of Italian modernism.

While casting himself as the protagonist of his own stage, Guccio extends the concept of Italianness to a point of no return.

Michele D’Aurizio

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at Room East, New York
until 3 April 2016

Vasi, 2016

Autoritratto (referendum sull’aeroplano), 2016

Una giornata moderna, 2016

Perso nel giardino di casa, 2016

Autoritratto, 2016

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Dario Guccio installation views at Room East, New York, 2016

Courtesy: the artist and Room East, New York.

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