Marco Tagliafierro

  • picks October 14, 2015

    Giulio Frigo

    From the outset of the exhibition, Giulio Frigo demonstrates an interest in materials that have been used by man since the dawn of human history. A painterly silk panel imprinted with an image of hematite seen under an electron microscope opens the show. The microscope has read the black fragment electromagnetically, allowing for a clear and magnified view of the material. Interestingly, the etymology of the word hematite goes back to the Greek αἴματος, or aimatos (blood): Once the material crumbles, the black color turns to red. Visitors next encounter a silk-, oil-, and tempera-on-linen piece

  • picks September 14, 2015

    “Saluti da Rimini”

    A large billboard currently installed in Rimini immortalizes a man with a well-trimmed beard. Wearing a jacket and tie, he seems to look out mockingly at the tourists who have arrived in the city on holiday. Depicted lounging in an armchair, he is covered in tagliatelle romagnole (a local pasta). Another billboard shows the belly of a man who seems engaged in a test of strength with his own erection, and in yet another, a girl firmly holds a glass into which she receives a golden liquid from an unspecified source.

    The artists behind these works, Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, created

  • picks July 29, 2015

    Enej Gala

    A large window in this space opens onto a small Venetian street, from which even the most distracted pedestrians stop to look at Enej Gala’s large sculpture inside, titled Hyrach, 2015. This solo show’s installation evokes hayloft structures used in the artist’s native Slovenia for drying grass and other forage crops. Normally these are built from a series of dry poles braced by horizontal planks, but in this case the artist has used a variety of materials to fashion his—including silicone and oil paint—so that the structure in question looks like a three-dimensional painting. Throughout the

  • picks July 08, 2015

    Reto Pulfer

    Pieces of fabric floating freely welcome visitors to Dehydrierte Landschaft (Dehydrated Landscape), Reto Pulfer’s debut solo exhibition in a Swiss institution. For the centerpiece of this show, MMMS Reticulum Dehydrierte Landschaft, 2015, the Berlin-based artist has skillfully painted and soaked these textiles in pigments, with results that in some cases appear to represent a Giottoesque sky, or the clear sky of Greece, or the absolute blue of Derek Jarman. The floor is ultramarine, and it echoes the sea.

    This is painting in a state of emerging. Typically, Pulfer adopts a modest method, using

  • picks June 08, 2015

    Patrick Angus

    This impressive exhibition revolves around a group of paintings and drawings installed in close proximity, encouraging a linear read of Patrick Angus’s work. Sunday Stroll, 1978, a watercolor on paper, depicts a dazzlingly sunny California seaside populated by young people. A study for this work—a drawing in pencil on paper—hangs alongside the painting. While the theme of homosexual culture is typically present in Angus’s oeuvre, it is equally true that it can be interpreted through the lens of an extremely polished sense of irony, one explicated through means other than content. For example,

  • picks May 15, 2015

    Ull Hohn

    Ull Hohn’s debut exhibition in Italy opens with Untitled (Nine Landscapes), 1988: nine wooden boxes painted with bucolic scenes in yellow. Hohn applied the paint using brushes and palette knives, in the manner of Gerhard Richter, who was Hohn’s teacher at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. Hohn went on to participate in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York in the second half of the 1980s and showed this work for a related exhibition in 1988. It must have been one of the only paintings on view, given the fervor for institutional critique in those days.

    Throughout the show, a dialogue

  • picks May 04, 2015

    Pietro Roccasalva

    Through a process of successive condensation and rarefaction, Pietro Roccasalva is known for developing paintings that lead to three-dimensional compositions, which are then further concentrated back to painting. As the artist’s process of research and analysis gradually unfolds, the story lines in his work become denser, moving to the hypertextual. In his latest solo show, “The Wooden O,” Roccasalva presents paintings and drawings in which even an apparently long-forgotten sign can peek through unexpectedly. In the drawing Study for Just Married Machine, 2015, for example, Roccasalva transfigures

  • picks April 07, 2015

    Charles Mayton

    Visitors to Charles Mayton’s solo show at the American Academy in Rome first encounter four paintings, all the same size. Two depict an enormous bunch of purple grapes that competes with two gigantic eyeballs to dominate the pictorial space. The two other paintings, installed between these works, employ two different forms of Abstract Expressionism, one tending toward a vague idea of spatial architecture constructed through various brushstrokes, and the other with brushstrokes that come together in a strongly gestural manner. Continuing through the exhibition, one encounters several overturned

  • picks April 07, 2015

    Maria Morganti

    Maria Morganti’s four-panel painting Polittico a ritroso (Polyptych in Reverse), 2013, lights up this gallery with color and offers an irrepressible vision. In a process of reverse sedimentation, four canvases were obtained by superimposing one layer of color after another, leaving only a thin trace of the individual stages along the upper edge. Also on view is Grumi (Clots), 2013, which consists of a series of sponges hanging on a string and saturated with the same colors that are layered onto the polyptych’s canvases. There is one color for each sponge, and, strung together, they stand out

  • picks March 30, 2015

    Gary Hill

    Visitors entering the gallery’s ground floor of Gary Hill’s exhibition encounter a play of projections on a wall for the work Choir Box, 2015. As the projections and the wall are practically the same color, the building’s structure becomes the work’s subject. This would seem to create an ambiguous spatial-temporal breakthrough, though that turns out to be a hermetic perception. In reality, the walls in the projections are those of the artist’s studio, which seem to overlap thanks to the rapid and vibrant sequence of images displayed. Composed of numerous pieces, this exhibition unfolds from here

  • picks March 13, 2015

    William E. Jones

    Psychic Driving, 2014, a video projection, is undoubtedly the most significant presence in this show by William E. Jones, offering a succession of colorful vibrating lines where each frame is like an elaborate abstract painting. In the work’s sound track, a narrator describes the effects of taking LSD. Other voices that chime in about the drug seem to be those of subjects in an experiment or a documentary. Yet the viewer, who sees only successions of lines—bringing to mind American AbEx painting—comes to eventually understand that what is being discussed is the history of research on mind control

  • picks March 10, 2015

    “Le regole del gioco”

    The Studio Museo Achille Castiglioni, which became the Fondazione Achille Castiglioni in 2011, is located on the ground floor of a building in the heart of Milan. Currently, visitors encounter one of Castiglioni’s most well-known projects, his 1962 Arco lamp, at the Fondazione’s entrance. Careful observation reveals, however, that this is not an authentic model, not even an original prototype, but rather a fake by Christoph Meier: Untitled (Achille), 2014. What a strange beginning for “Le regole del gioco” (The Rules of the Game), a group show curated by Luca Lo Pinto under the artistic direction

  • picks February 28, 2015

    “Oggetti su piano”

    A texture, an arabesque, obtained by painting a wooden surface in several shades of red, completely covers the walls of the rooms of the exhibition space. The installation piece, by Flavio Favelli, evokes the chromatic experience of picture galleries from eras past, where the walls were never white but red or ocher, or otherwise painted in colors that seemed to make the art on view reverberate and vibrate in the space. Favelli also has paintings on view, but the exhibition itself seems like one gigantic still life, the paintings positioned the red walls like fruit or flowers in traditional

  • picks February 05, 2015

    Dario Guccio

    In the nine collage-based paintings on view, anthropomorphic and abstract pleather forms overlap, thrown together like layers of digital imagery, creating color contrasts that evoke the Fauves. The iconic power of these compositions derives not only from their diverging shapes and colors (blue, black, and white) but also from their arrangement in the gallery. The installation of these collages of leather fragments has been carefully conceived so that they appear suddenly and unexpectedly as the viewer moves through the space, thanks to several slightly oblique walls which meet to form unusual

  • Alessandra Spranzi

    Those familiar with the trajectory of Alessandra Spranzi’s practice might recognize her series “Obsoleto” (Obsolete), 2013–, as a culmination of several ongoing investigations; those unfamiliar with her oeuvre might simply be affected by the series’ evocative power. These conceptually complex but aesthetically cogent photomontages, which were the focal point of “Maraviglia,” Spranzi’s recent exhibition at P420, are each composed of two images: The first—a page pulled from a book or magazine on a subject such as geography, astronomy, or botany—serves as a background or frame for the

  • Becky Beasley

    Three bronze branches, each suspended horizontally from the ceiling by a brass rod, slowly rotated in the main gallery of Francesca Minini for the duration of Becky Beasley’s recent exhibition. Powered by small motors, the sculptures spun at one and a half rotations per minute—like disco balls in a dance hall. For this series, “Bearing” (all works 2014), the artist cast broken fragments of twigs in bronze, then recombined and fused them together to create longer forms. The branches incorporated into the sculptures here were collected by the artist’s father in her hometown of Portsmouth,

  • picks December 22, 2014

    Francesco Barocco

    In Francesco Barocco’s third solo exhibition at this gallery, three terracotta sculptures (all works untitled and 2014) evoke heads, and on each one the artist has added facial features, such as a nose and hair, in graphite. References to the history of art seem to be layered in these unstable compositions. Each piece is a “moment” and a comment on inexpressibility. Opposite these three sculptures are another four faces—collages on paper made with spray paint and pencil. Also on view are three etchings of more faces, and their high quality satisfies one’s expectations from Barocco.

    More than

  • picks December 19, 2014

    Marvin Gaye Chetwynd

    Marvin Gaye Chetwynd’s “Bat Opera 2” is a circuitous and fascinating exhibition of video, painting, and installation; it is dense and full of dramatic turns. A collection of small paintings and works on paper hung on the walls at various intervals is its most charming aspect and recalls seventeenth-century miniatures. A graduate in anthropology and history, Chetwynd also studied art in London and Florence. She painted these diminutive works as condensations of references, suggestions, and enchantments. All are six by eight inches, were produced in a horizontal format, and have a recurring

  • picks December 16, 2014

    Talia Chetrit

    The photographs in “Model,” Talia Chetrit’s latest solo exhibition, capture contrived, unnatural postures and seem to have given the portrayed subjects—a couple showing a touch of self-conscious romanticism—more time than necessary to get ready, to make themselves up. Moreover, they point to obvious clichés that intoxicate the onlooker in a stupor, to the point where they are inoculated with doubts regarding the veracity of romanticism underpinning the works. Here, Chetrit has portrayed her own parents, as she has done on numerous occasions in the past, inviting them to be spontaneous.

  • slant December 10, 2014

    Marco Tagliafierro

    IMPLICIT IN ADRIANO COSTA’S EXHIBITION “LA COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE” AT MILAN’S PEEP-HOLE (September 26 to November 8, 2014), was a well-timed consideration of the narrative potential we encounter through objects, actions, and environments that appear like epiphanies in everyday life. For the Brazilian artist, a thoughtful examination of these quotidian moments means a thorough look at their complexities, particularly as a totality of contradictions, which, if appropriately analyzed, break free from the visual preconceptions that hamper our interpretations. For instance, How to Be Invisible in High