Marco Tagliafierro

  • picks July 13, 2010

    Corrado Levi

    Corrado Levi’s Motosauro (Motosaurus), 1991, seems a bit like something found in a natural history museum: It’s a spinal column of sorts, comprising motorcycle helmets hung from the ceiling of the first room in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo. To the right of this work is Punte da trenta, 1990, a group of paintings bought from street markets, works that Levi then covered with sheets of white Plexiglas, each perforated with a number of equal-size holes that afford glimpses of the underlying paintings. Pieces nearby include Case cigogna (Stork Houses), 1998, a set of

  • picks June 23, 2010

    Guillaume Leblon

    An enormous gray cube of fresh clay, wrapped in white cotton strips that resemble bandages, straddles the threshold between two different exhibition spaces in the building that houses the Centre Culturel Français de Milan, as if attempting to seal the encounter between the two spaces—and perhaps, too, between the two nations, France and Italy, that meet in this six-decade-old institution. Water rains down constantly on the clay, keeping it damp and malleable. Meanwhile, the bandages appear to contain and protect the fragile material.

    The title of this sculpture, Monumento nazionale (National

  • Jim Hodges

    What city could be more suitable than Venice for an exhibition that expresses a phenomenology of love? This is the city of water and the sky reflected within it—all elements beloved by American artist Jim Hodges, who espouses a connection to the color blue. And, indeed, the metal spiderweb featured in posters that were put up along the streets of Venice to advertise “Love, eccetera”—Hodges’s first solo show in Italy (curated by Jonas Storsve)—stands out against a blue background. The same web sculpture, Hello, Again, 1994–2003, could be seen firsthand at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa’s

  • picks May 21, 2010

    Massimo Grimaldi

    The title of Massimo Grimaldi’s solo exhibition “Surfaces” expresses a key aim of his practice, which he elaborates on in his artist statement: “to produce pleasant surfaces that initially attract but then immediately implode into themselves, leaving you on the verge of the precipice, of the loss of any possible signification, any possible justification.” The show opens with a pair of digital color prints on magnetic steel: two hyperdecorative surfaces that welcome and seduce viewers with their extreme abstraction. Observers have the impression of confronting something extremely familiar that

  • picks April 18, 2010

    Jan De Cock

    In the four years since Jan De Cock’s first solo show in Milan (and at this gallery), the monumentality of his earlier projects has given way to a multitude of individual sculptures. His latest exhibition, “Via dell’Abbondanza” (Street of Abundance), features vertical pieces—obelisks and columns—plus two dwellings of sorts, each representing a temple inspired by ancient Pompeii. Constructed of laminated chipboard ranging from pale pink to a moldy green (and in one instance even sporting a faux-wood finish), the works are set in an imaginary archaeological site evoking both past and future.

    The

  • picks March 16, 2010

    “Red Comet”

    Installed high on a wall in this group exhibition is a mysterious painting that, on close observation, proves to depict a sacred image from the Orthodox Christian tradition. The canvas is covered in black paint, with the sole exception of a hand, which recalls the act of benediction––ring finger united with the thumb, a symbol of the convergence of human and divine nature. Some threads emerge from the hand and delimit a space; they represent the perspectival lines of the original painting that the emerging Italian artist Giulio Frigo has expanded into the gallery space for this work, which is

  • “The Rustle of Language”

    Taking its title, “The Rustle of Language,” from the collection of forty-five essays written by Roland Barthes between 1967 and 1980, this group show offered a study of the relationship between word and image in contemporary communication. By necessity, the works chosen showed tremendous variety. The exhibition began with two yellow polygons, painted on the wall next to a pair of plinths, also yellow, which in turn supported two monitors showing a loop of two different moments from a 1970 Carpenters concert in which Karen Carpenter performed the hit “Close to You.” The work in question, Candice

  • picks February 18, 2010

    “Gallery, Galerie, Galleria

    On the floors, in room after room of this exhibition, are small piles of reddish powder—the result of perforating the gallery’s brick walls. The work, Nina Beier and Marie Lund’s Autobiography (if these walls could speak), 2009, evokes the exhibition history of this new Turin gallery. (The holes themselves were made in places where works were installed in the four previous shows.) In contrast to these actions, an object that seems precious––a minuscule white model of a building, contained in a drop of amber-colored resin––provides an object of wonder. Tomas Chaffe’s Lithuanian Gold, 2008, depicts

  • picks January 06, 2010

    “Celebration, Institution, Critique”

    The title “Celebration, Institution, Critique” effectively expresses the three intentions of this gigantic exhibition, which includes some sixty artists, many of whom have created work specifically to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Fondazione Galleria Civica di Trento. In this show and other recent work, Andrea Viliani, the venue’s newly named director, respecting the commitments he assumed with his title, has wisely chosen the path of direct involvement with the region. He encourages artists, and consequently the exhibition’s visitors, to learn about what it means to work with

  • picks December 21, 2009

    Marta Dell’Angelo

    Marta Dell’Angelo’s exhibition at this Milanese gallery, after a four-year hiatus, highlights previous themes in her work––namely, the body and performance––but it also focuses on her recent attention to routines and the specific gestures that they entail. Her participation in international exhibitions, including the 2009 Tirana Biennial, and the book she wrote this year with Ludovica Lumer, C’é da perderci la testa (It can drive you crazy), should be considered progressive stages in the formalization of the works in her current show. For example, in Antologia delle Posizioni (Anthology of

  • “It Rests by Changing”

    The title of this group show, conceived and curated by Simone Menegoi, comes from a fragment by the pre-Socratic philosopher Heracleitus: μεταβαλλον αναπα εται. We don’t know the original referent, but some people think it must have been “the world”; others, “the soul.” In this case, “it” connotes the structure of sculpture, the medium’s openness to infinite evolutions even in its apparently static material form. The four artists whose works were included—Rolf Julius, Jiří Kovanda, Roman Signer, and Franz Erhard Walther—all attempt to overcome the traditional idea of sculpture, reevaluating its

  • “Solaris”

    “Solaris,” named for the planet in Stanisław Lem’s homonymous 1961 novel, was a show that, while respecting the specificity of the individual works displayed, also revealed symbolic relationships between them—connecting, for instance, the melancholy of Rosa Barba’s 16-mm film Let Me See It, 2009; the desolate scenes of David Maljkovic’s collages on a Sheetrock construction, Lost Memories from These Days, 2006–2008; the fractal geometries of Philippe Decrauzat’s painting installation Fear the eye become the tone, 2008; and the multiple identities of Ryan Trecartin as seen in his video I-Be Area

  • picks October 29, 2009

    Christian Holstad

    Christian Holstad’s first solo show in Italy, titled “I Confess,” is something of a retrospective, given the large number of his works on view from the past ten years, but it also offers an additional view of his output: Every piece can be considered in light of a possible confession. The admission in question seems to be a spiritual turning point for the artist. In the first of two contiguous spaces, Holstad presents a votive, chapel-like work that comprises planks of wood nailed together to form walls. Twelve new drawings are affixed on these walls, essentially the twelve stations of a via

  • picks October 15, 2009

    “Spacioux”

    The eighteen artists in this exhibition are from various generations and countries, yet they share a propensity for viewing space in anthropological, sociological, and political ways. Of the most compelling works on view, Troels Sandegard’s Extended Mirror (Ghost), 2008, comprises oak, medium-density fiberboard, and aluminum and features a mirror that appears to be constantly steamy because of a cooling unit that is installed behind the glass. Further along the exhibition path, viewers might have a similarly perplexing experience with Gerwald Rockenschaub’s Sculpture, 2001, wherein an inflated

  • picks August 26, 2009

    “Don’t Look Now”

    “Don’t Look Now” is a group exhibition inspired by the 1973 film directed by Nicolas Roeg. In choosing the ten participating artists, curator Milovan Farronato seems to have looked for work that evinces concerns similar to those of Roeg’s characters, who all perceive the context in which they live as alien. Within the recently revived curatorial debate over the relationship between antiquity and contemporary art, Farronato seems to take an absolutist’s position, selecting works that, according to his interpretation, appear to invoke little dialogue with Venice or even with the exhibition’s host

  • picks August 16, 2009

    Luca Trevisani

    Luca Trevisani’s second solo show at this gallery offers abstract sculptures and a video titled Vodorosli (all works 2009) that vividly documents plants in the University of Genoa’s Botanical Garden. This inquisitive exhibition, which viewers might conceive of as an infinite chain of organic images, also includes La verità è che la verità cambia (The Truth Is That the Truth Changes), 2009, a sculpture made of papier-mâché and sawdust that resembles a concretion made of shells and coral. Through the holes, visitors can observe beams of light from the video that is installed behind it. “Bulwark”

  • picks July 15, 2009

    “The Young People Visiting Our Ruins See Nothing but a Style”

    Connecting an emerging generation of contemporary artists to fourteen historical works from the Galleria d’Arte Moderna is a difficult challenge that FormContent, a collective of three curators (Francesco Pedraglio, Caterina Riva, and Pieternel Vermoortel), has taken on to superb effect. Although relatively new to the field, FormContent has already had various successes; they run a nonprofit space in London, where their goal is to seek “active collaboration between artists and curators through an analysis and consequent reciprocal debate.” Here, the absence of an overall structure or theme allows

  • picks March 30, 2009

    Pierre Bismuth

    Various handpainted gold texts from Pierre Bismuth’s notebooks open his third solo exhibition at this gallery. Installed on the wall nearby is a nearly hundred-year-old mirror, from which the artist has extracted several discs that appear on the floor. A few luminous signs on the walls consist of various neon fragments salvaged from industrial scraps. In all, Bismuth presents his process, which is dictated more by chance than by laborious or specific choices. The apparent lack of meaning prompts visitors to try to identify the logical motivations behind Bismuth’s art, and yet it is only after

  • picks March 23, 2009

    Steven Claydon, Kelley Walker

    “Two Times New Horizon” is not simply the title of Steven Claydon’s exhibition but also the most plausible key to interpreting the visual confrontation and connection between the London-based artist and the American artist Kelley Walker, in their concurrent solo shows at this gallery. In Claydon’s works, shoes, eyeglasses, and other objects are contained inside tubes and atop colored surfaces that unequivocally recall both Haim Steinbach and Ettore Sottsass. Walker’s show consists of a series of large two-dimensional compositions that all have the same subject: brick walls in which one can