Marco Tagliafierro

  • picks March 26, 2012

    Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder

    An endoskeleton of sorts traverses the interior of Milan’s Giò Marconi gallery, appears to continue right through the gallery’s wall, and reemerges in the interior of the Kaleidoscope art space a short distance away. The structure is created via the superimposition and juxtaposition of various “vertebrae”—portions of panels used to create temporary walls, reassembled in the form of shelving. On these shelves at Marconi are paintings on Mylar by Kerstin Brätsch; their analogs at Kaleidoscope support Adele Röder’s scraps of thick fabric, installed in a way that exhibits their structural rigidity

  • picks March 02, 2012

    Daniel Silver

    Marble busts sit on vertically stacked tree trunks in Daniel Silver’s current solo show. The exhibition occupies a room that the gallery has previously used as an office. Here, the London-based artist also presents a bronze bustlike sculpture resting on a pale wooden base, and a long white sculpture made of plaster and rubber that seems to depict a dying figure or, from further away, the lid of a sarcophagus. This monument seems to participate in a transformative process unfolding slowly over time.

    Indeed, it seems that the London-based artist is not concerned with making work that offers a

  • Flavio Favelli

    Entering the gallery, one came across a series of three-dimensional collages, assemblages of found furniture, dismantled and reassembled lamps, old majolica, glassware, and memorabilia of the recent past, including gadgets and posters. Flavio Favelli drew upon an extensive range of materials for this solo show, but most common were home furnishings identifiable as belonging to a style widespread in Italy from the latter half of the 1920s to the late ’40s and still present in the homes of Italian grandmothers at least through the 1970s. The style is known as Novecento—twentieth century—because

  • picks January 20, 2012

    “Make Up”

    Allegory may well be the underlying theme of “Make Up,” the group show at A Palazzo Gallery. If the exhibition’s title can mean “to apply cosmetics” or “to reconcile,” it can also mean “to invent”—and indeed, over the course of the eighteenth century, allegory became an occasion for inventing innumerable linguistic artifices. It is no accident that Mariuccia Casadio, curator of this show, has set the exhibition within the splendid frame of the eighteenth-century palace housing the gallery; her decision demonstrates a critical awareness and philological spirit that is unusual in our time.

    In many

  • Massimo Bartolini

    What seemed to be a parcel of earth, a sixteen-foot-tall fragment of a plowed field occupying a surface of roughly forty-three square feet titled Basement (all works 2011), proved on closer inspection to be made of bronze. Upstairs was an installation spread out on the floor, covering an area of about thirty-five by twenty-one feet, composed of three layers of lighting decorations of a type frequently used in southern Italy during religious festivals. The hundreds of colored lights that blink on and off in this piece, La strada di sotto (The Street Below), were attached to a white-painted wooden

  • picks December 16, 2011

    Igor Eškinja

    The works in Igor Eškinja’s current solo show, “The Day After,” evoke an impressive postindustrial building in Milan that long ago housed the Officine Meccaniche Riva Calzoni factory, and was more recently the home of the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro. This past October, the Croatian artist was scheduled to have an exhibition in the project room of the latter institution––an installation and a series of large-scale photographs depicting ephemeral, site-specific pieces in the space. Viewers were not intended to have direct access to the installation; on the light-gray floor of the Fondazione,

  • picks October 20, 2011

    Mauro Vignando

    The word enigma has its origins in the ancient Greek verb ainissesthai, which means “to speak obscurely” or even “to speak in riddles.” Used literally, ainissesthai described incomprehensible discourse, while figuratively it referred to any sort of mystery. Given that the text accompanying Mauro Vignando’s solo show is titled “Enigma,” one wonders what the mystery in question might be. It seems, perhaps, to have something to do with the phenomenological issues raised by the works on view. In Base irregolare di una piramide (Irregular Base of a Pyramid), 2011, Vignando plays with perspective:

  • “East ex East”

    Visitors to “East ex East,” a group show organized by the British critic and curator Jane Neal, could not fail to be drawn in by the kaleidoscope of signs that characterize the artistic expressions of an idea of the East seeking to free itself from cliché. The very concept of “East” was articulated in a surprising way: The exhibition’s first room featured Asian artists living in the West, while the following spaces were dedicated to artists from Eastern Europe, Israel, and Russia.

    Near the entrance, a tripod supporting a truncated pyramid, like some sort of telescope or binoculars, aroused the

  • picks August 19, 2011

    Linda Fregni Nagler

    In Japanese, shashin no shashin translates to “photographing a photograph.” Linda Fregni Nagler, born in Stockholm and now living in Milan, has taken this concept into consideration for a series of works she recently developed. “Shashin no Shashin,” the exhibition’s title, provides a theoretical summary for the project, seen together here for the first time. Fregni Nagler has reconstructed a number of mise-en-scènes, whose significance may be difficult to discern. The artist has chosen to restage photographs of Yokohama Shashin, a Japanese tradition of portraiture from the late nineteenth and

  • picks July 15, 2011

    Andara Ritorno II

    Andata-Ritorno II” (Return Ticket II) makes surprising links between seemingly diverse artistic approaches. For example, Stefano Arienti’s Trefili, 2006, is a tangle of polychrome rope created from newsprint—a technique that makes the sculpture appear surprisingly soft—from which torn illustrations emerge. Acting as a backdrop to this work is Laura Owens’s painting Untitled LO 370, 2007, where vivid flowers, leaves, and an explosion of energy express the gestural activity she employs in all of her work.

    The energetic register changes with the second room, but the exhibition does not lose its

  • picks June 01, 2011

    Alessandro Roma

    In his latest exhibition, Alessandro Roma demonstrates that collage is primarily a concept, not a mere artistic practice. Collage, for him, represents an opportunity to place various spatiotemporal dimensions on the same plane––to make them coexist. The sculpture E chi in questo luogo è un eremita? (And who in this place is a hermit?) (all works 2010), supports the proposition that collage is not only two-dimensional; made of resin, polyurethane, and enamel, this work is like a concretion of memories of distant experiences, tied to matter and translated into synthetic materials.

    General references

  • picks May 24, 2011

    Talia Keinan

    Riccardo Crespi’s new location is in a neighborhood that embraces the sedate architectural beauty pursued by the Milanese bourgeoisie in the early years of the twentieth century. Talia Keinan’s three-floor exhibition show complicates this beauty through a range of expressive works. The top level’s various rooms contain a grouping of pieces that utilize photography, painting, engraving, and etching: The artist constructs sedimentations of symbols, onto which she then applies material that seems to have undergone the torment of distress and manipulation. One of these works, Opera House, 2011,is

  • Alessandro Ceresoli

    Alessandro Ceresoli’s recent exhibition opened with a group of drawings that evoke the tradition of grotesque ceramics as much as that of grotesque drawing. These works, from 2009, combine images executed in black felt-tip pen and gold leaf with fragments of texts, all relating to a trip the artist made to Eritrea, which turned into a six-month stay in the capital, Asmara. The catalogue that accompanied the show also includes the story, dreamlike in part, yet not fictional, of the artist’s arrival in Asmara and his first impressions of the city. These are visionary and hallucinatory impressions

  • Claudia Losi

    Claudia Losi has made the idea of storytelling central to her research. Entering her recent exhibition in Milan, one came across two pieces from her ongoing “Landscapes” series. Three more works from the same series were located in the fourth room. They had the same form and dimensions as the first two, but depict different subjects. All the compositions in the series are made using the same technique: layering reproductions of landscapes from vintage scientific publications and images taken by the artist. Each work is created by distributing nine images between ten overlapping sheets of glass,

  • picks February 19, 2011

    Alice Cattaneo

    Alice Cattaneo’s third solo exhibition at this gallery seems like a treatise on how to create equilibrium between unstable forms. Six sculptures, distributed among the gallery’s three rooms, are concretions of mostly white and black elements: metal rods, woven wire mesh, plastic, foam board, and nylon strings. These are assembled into compositions that are made possible by a single catalyzing agent––the artist’s hand––although one might wonder whether the sculptures are actually held together by something else, perhaps a special mathematical relationship that the artist intuited.

    One might also

  • picks February 09, 2011

    “Llama”

    The llama is an extremely agile, swift member of the camel family that moves with great ease over impassable terrains; it usually grazes during the day and, at dusk, retires to sleep with the herd. I believe that Lisa Oppenheim’s title for this group exhibition, while indeed odd, probably goes back to this Andean animal’s aforementioned qualities, which likewise relate to the capacity of certain artists to extricate themselves from labyrinths of language––an ability that becomes quite noticeable in this enlivening exhibition. Amid the twists and turns that characterize the gallery, a postindustrial

  • William Cobbing

    Since Viafarini moved to its new space in 2008, this nonprofit art organization has often presented shows that mine the expressive potential of the building, a former tram depot. The first thing that caught the viewer’s eye in the English artist William Cobbing’s exhibition “Man in the Planet” was an extremely long orange pipe made of PVC; it ran across the space, seemingly passing through both the building’s supporting columns and the head of a life-size cement cast of the artist’s body—an untitled work originally made for a group show in Rome in 2006. As the curator of the Viafarini

  • picks December 28, 2010

    Rashid Johnson

    Near the entrance to “25 Days After October,” Rashid Johnson’s first solo exhibition in Italy, viewers encounter a faded round Persian carpet spread on the floor and marked with a line of black spray paint in the middle, on top of which lies a book, open to an image of an African-American child––a page from a collection of photographs shot by Elliott Erwitt. Surrounding this untitled sculpture (all works 2010) are three large wall-based sculptures made with mirrored tiles––Left + Right, Art Ensemble, and Love Souls––which replicate the floor plans of houses owned by William Faulkner, Bertrand

  • picks October 20, 2010

    Los vigilantes de la playa

    Kelly Tippsman’s Hormone Typography, 2010, a structure made from mesh and metal posts, partially blocks access to the other works in “Los vigilantes de la playa,” a group exhibition that playfully nods to the Spanish version of Baywatch. Thankfully, an opening in the sculpture allows visitors to make their way in. Climbing through the work evokes the imagined experience—or maybe a childhood recollection for some—of furtively scaling a fence, trespassing even, to reach fruit from an off-limits tree. Visitors daredevil enough to cross Tippsman’s threshold are rewarded with a dazzling, high-contrast

  • picks July 29, 2010

    “The Historical Archive: Four Interpretations”

    “An archive has always been a pledge, and like every pledge, a token of the future.” This quote, from the French poststructuralist philosopher Jacques Derrida, is posted near the entrance of this exhibition, which was organized by the young curator Francesca Pagliuca. “The Historical Archive: Four Interpretations” inaugurates a series of shows that will feature emerging artists from around the world. All the exhibitions are scheduled to take place in the branches of the Italian bank UniCredit, in locations spread across twenty-two countries.

    The first show in the series emerges from four artists’