Rosa Aiello “FATE PRESTO” at Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno
It is the privilege of Casa Masaccio to present FATE PRESTO, the first solo exhibition to be held by Rosa Aiello (1987) at an Italian public institution.
The show springs from a reflection on how ways of life and social structures are the result of a series of repetitions, interruptions, stutters and retreats, refrains, departures and returns, reproductions and cycles. This is done on the level both of time (the physicality of nature, the repetition of seasons, the succession of days) and of performance (habits, customs, work, duress, the humanity of the affections), as well on that of ideology (rituals, roles, disciplines).
People have always performed ‘refrains’, i.e. with linguistic, artistic and scientific forms, modes and rituals that give order. FATE PRESTO is the refrain of this exhibition. It is a title that makes sense in Italian as well as in English, although in the transition from one language to the other it takes on a quite different meaning. Fate in Italian is an exhortation to action, to produce, and in combination with presto, signifies ‘do it quickly’, ‘hurry up’. The English word fate means destiny, the effects of events that do not depend on will. while the word presto is used to indicate a very fast tempo in music, and by conjurers, as in the phrase ‘hey presto,’ which calls to mind something that appears so quickly and easily it could be magic.
In every room a grid of lettered “mediterranean-style” tiles make up word squares using variations of the word “FATE” as their base. Word squares are puzzles that construct a set of words in both vertical and horizontal acrostic. The first example of such a puzzle was the SATOR square, which was found in the ruins of Pompeii, and believed to have superstitious properties. The words that appear in the exhibition’s squares echo in the content of the videos, which are themselves organized by alphabetic and linguistic systems.
The layout of the exhibition –– with its loops of sound and light, alphabets and word squares, minimal decorative interventions designed to bring the domestic history of the rooms of Casa Masaccio into the space of a contemporary and personal narration –– is an exercise in the modes of construction of a world and how to set about finding one’s own place in it.
The exhibition is also the formalization of the first part of Calypso’s Way, the piece of long fiction on which Rosa Aiello is working. The narrative, in these spaces, defines the conditions and characters of the world, forces an awareness that names and shakes the nakedness of things, and undoes that stripping of the self with which structures make a false claim to be universal.
The gaze that moves in the empty space of these rooms is not prescribed by the stories, nor inscribed in the codes. It is a gaze that through scales, timbres, rhythms, glyphs, and compositions, through fragments and their proliferation and repetition, finds substance, assesses material and its relations, perceives form and its developments, and shows the capacity of entities, processes and systems to unfold, to change, to stretch and to reach beyond themselves.
at Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno
until 31 December 2017