Eugenio Viola

  • Museo del Prado 8-3, 2005, color photograph, 55 1/8 x 69 1/8".
    picks February 22, 2008

    Thomas Struth

    This exhibition, organized by Mario Codognato, constitutes Thomas Struth’s first retrospective in an Italian museum. The show’s clean and rigorous design successfully conveys the creative path of one of the most important representatives of the Düsseldorf school. The presentation begins with the early black-and-white architectural photographs taken in Naples in the late 1970s, which are reminiscent of the “objective” and documentary photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher, and then moves on to urban landscapes of various cities. These are all serene images; Naples, for example, is presented without

  • Jonjo A, 2005, oil on panel, 35 1/2 x 27 1/2".
    picks January 07, 2008

    Steven Gontarski

    Steven Gontarski’s work juxtaposes ancient references with a contemporary sensibility in a strongly evocative and personal manner. The artist's aesthetic strategy is particularly evident in his portraits, which are characterized by a range of stylistic elements and symbols—from a veil to a lapdog—that give the works a metapictorial dimension. Nurtured by a harmonious fusion of Italian Renaissance classicism and northern realism, the compositionally rigorous paintings are learned reflections on the iconography of portraiture, dense with specific references to historical works. Gontarski’s use of

  • Martyr, 2007, stainless steel, wax, Plexiglas, human hair, Tesla coils, computer, light system, dimensions vary.
    picks December 20, 2007

    Paul Fryer

    A late-nineteenth-century Western Union lineman, John Feeks, who was electrocuted after falling onto power lines in New York, is the departure point for Paul Fryer’s new site-specific installation Martyr, the only piece in his exhibition “In Loving Memory.” The work—a naked body suspended on high-tension wires that, strung between two electricity poles, bisect the gallery—has considerable aesthetic and emotional impact. Like the better-known hyperrealist artist Ron Mueck, Fryer renders anatomical details in meticulous fashion. The expressiveness of the face is realistically conveyed, although

  • View of “Vertigo: The Century of Off-media Art, from Futurism to the Web.”
    picks October 22, 2007

    “Vertigo: The Century of Off-media Art, from Futurism to the Web”

    This exhibition reconstructs the “vertigo” that leads from Futurism to art disseminated by new media, traversing multiple modern movements that range from avant-garde syntheses of the arts and the Gesamtkunstwerk to present-day metastylistic eclecticism. The skillful installation, designed by Denis Santachiara, inserts a series of inflatable ribs into the large volume of the central hall. Through these ribs, which serve as portals of sorts, one finds Dada experiments by Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, Surrealist explorations by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, and Fluxus sound investigations by Laurie

  • Marilyn Minter, Splish Splash, 2006, digital C-print, 86 x 60".
    picks October 03, 2007

    “Dangerous Beauty”

    Western society has long approached its aspirations, moral values, and ambitions (to be famous, rich, successful) via an obsession with appearances. The mass media imposes aesthetic ideals that are often unattainable, requiring viewers to adjust to meet them: cosmetic surgery, hormones, diets and dietary supplements, piercings, and tattoos are but a few of the ways people alter their bodies, which have become mere supports for their chosen, ever-mutable identities. Artists began recording these upheavals in the early 1990s, an era characterized by a wave of body art that returned to inflame the

  • View of “Taccuini di Guerra Incivile” (Uncivil War Notebooks), Piazza G. Amendola 4. From left: Visions of the world (Catania), 2007, aluminum framework, graphics applied to opal Plexiglas panel using translucent vinyl film, neon, and cabling; Brickbats (Taccuini di Guerra Incivile), 2007, seventeen bricks, brick fragments, elastic band, laser print, and CD-ROM; Visions of the world (Italy), 2007, aluminum framework, graphics applied to opal Plexiglas panel using translucent vinyl film, neon, and cabling.
    picks May 15, 2007

    Claire Fontaine

    Claire Fontaine, a French collective that has gained critical attention for its politically engaged Conceptual artworks, here offers a project that unfolds in both locations of the Neapolitan gallery. “Taccuini di Guerra Incivile” (Uncivil War Notebooks) is extremely clear and rigorous, comprising a few simple elements thematically linked by their reference to the tragic events that rocked Italy during the anti-G8 demonstrations in Genoa in 2001. An enlarged image of a Milan-Genoa train ticket issued on that fateful day and a tourist map of Italy, its captions rendered in Arabic, both take the

  • View of “Sabah Naim,” 2007.
    picks April 24, 2007

    Sabah Naim

    Two years after her last show at Lia Rumma’s gallery in Milan, Egyptian artist Sabah Naim has returned to the gallery, in its Naples location, to exhibit poetic work that explores memory’s decisive role in the investigation of the present. Slices of life—scenes of the markets, mosques, and traffic-filled roads of Cairo—serve as raw material that the artist reworks into photographs, which she enlarges and prints on paper or canvas and then treats with an extremely delicate and refined addition of color. Symbols and arabesques typical of Egyptian art, traditionally aniconic and decorative, embellish

  • View of “Robert Barry,” 2007.
    picks April 13, 2007

    Robert Barry

    The video and wall works of Robert Barry, with his signature minimal use of language, continually keep his Conceptualism near the point of dematerialization. The artist neither creates tautological propositions nor hammers out specific meanings, but rather questions the art system through the evocative yet ambiguous power of individual words. Barry’s rigor is tempered by a disruption of causality; the words he uses make little sense and appear isolated, floating in the “mental space” that separates and surrounds them. Always chosen in the context of their specific sites, the words are derived

  • Madonna, 2006, chalk on paper, 26 1/2 x 21 1/2".
    picks February 12, 2007

    Wolfe Lenkiewicz

    In Wolfe Lenkiewicz’s work, allegories, heraldic motifs, and references drawn from classical antiquity and art history are combined with popular imagery, and ancient techniques are used to depict current events. The result is an eccentric microcosm, suspended between symbolist suggestion and oneiric imagination. This is a cultivated and refined strategy, one that destabilizes the viewer and that the artist himself defines as “emblematic psychosis.” It is precisely the tension between these contrasting elements that animates the artist’s red chalk drawings from within, destabilizing their

  • My Last Bag of Heroin (For Real), 1986, still from a color video, 4 minutes.
    picks February 09, 2007

    Michel Auder

    “Dope and Narcotica Series” is the first show in Italy by French-born, New York–based artist Michel Auder. A pioneer in the field of video, Auder began his career as a filmmaker, looking to Jean-Luc Godard and Andy Warhol for inspiration. Auder has often used the medium as a form of personal expression, and most of his works are live recordings or fragments taken from his immense archive, which he often recomposes decades later to form an “archaeology of the present.” Auder's work is consistently autobiographical and characterized by a “diaristic” approach; he has relentlessly subjected his

  • View of “Enjoy Your Travel,” 2007. Foreground: 500 Ways, 2006, rubber dinghy, coins, and wood, 25 1/4 x 102 3/8 x 65“. Background: Borders, 2006, mirrors, 13 3/4 x 94 1/2”.
    picks January 24, 2007

    Jota Castro

    Jota Castro’s past diplomatic career serves as the existential motivation for his work as an artist—including “Enjoy Your Travel,” this exhibition of new work—which has been devoted entirely to fostering critical discourse about social issues. Joining subtle humor to politically incorrect observation, the artist uses his work to mercilessly unmask imbalances and weaknesses in contemporary society. “Enjoy Your Travel” is the ironic greeting that welcomes the viewer to a vivid metaphoric journey through a series of situations that can be applied to all of Western culture despite their specifically

  • Still Life in It!, 2006, ostrich eggs and silicone, dimensions variable.
    picks January 22, 2007

    Moio & Sivelli

    A year and a half after their “Ensnaring,” Moio & Sivelli (Luigi Moio and Luca Sivelli) have returned to exhibit at Blindarte with “Still Life in It!” It’s a project that unfolds across various media and focuses on the time between conception and birth—an experience common to all living creatures. In A Million Future Lives, 2006, this period is crystallized, as thousands of fish eggs affixed to two canvases are suspended beneath a blanket of silicon, a literal and metaphorical play on the expression still life. The formal result is two viscerally material, glazed-looking monochromes. The