Marta Silvi

  • picks March 12, 2021

    Stefano Canto

    Since 2009, Stefano Canto has been embarking on urban excursions in search of abandoned tree trunks drained of life, slowly consumed by fungal parasites, the outer casing often left intact. Once transported to his studio, the artist fills the husks with reinforced concrete, which quickly solidifies to generate a perfect impression of its cavities, or carie, the word that titles this precise, poetic exhibition curated by Giuliana Benassi. Sometimes, using a process similar to the indirect lost wax technique, Canto sections the bark into blocks that he uses to replicate the cast numerous times,

  • picks January 16, 2021

    Pier Paolo Calzolari

    In the midst of the pandemic, with museums closed and private spaces operating with reduced hours or by appointment, gallerist Sara Zanin has transformed an apartment in the San Saba neighborhood into an intimately domestic exhibition space and artist’s residence. The house, our constant visual, territorial, and mental horizon during this difficult year, becomes a place for experiencing and talking about art. The inaugural exhibition is devoted to Pier Paolo Calzolari, a key Italian artist who—while linked for many above all to his sculptural installations that arose in conjunction with arte

  • picks November 12, 2020

    Namsal Siedlecki

    “Nothing grows on diamonds / flowers grow in the dung,” goes a 1967 verse by Fabrizio De André, one of the most beloved Italian singer-songwriters of all time. Mvaḥ Chā, the word that provides the title for this exhibition by Italian American artist Namsal Siedlecki, refers to the compound of clay, cow excrement, and pula (a casing made from rice grains) traditionally used in Nepalese foundries to protect the wax forms that make way for bronze castings. This rough mortar, extracted from waste, constructs a coarse and resistant layer that adheres to the wax core, imprinting sinuous, abstract

  • picks September 25, 2020

    Caroline Achaintre

    In Caroline Achaintre’s one-person exhibition, watercolor, ceramic, bamboo, and wool are the protagonists of a narrative that seems to emerge from the viscera of creative expression. The French-born artist’s works take possession of the gallery space like three-dimensional biomorphic entities, even when simply hung on the walls like paintings. The porosity of their materials (paper, wool, clay) absorbs color, returning it to the gaze already digested, transformed. The viewer who enters the show is drawn down a meandering path that encourages the eye to continually shift from distanced looking

  • picks February 17, 2020

    Alessandro Scarabello

    The title of Alessandro Scarabello’s sixth exhibition here, “I Still Paint,” is both ironic and emblematic. The artist has always immersed himself in the language of painting, pushing his practice to engage with the medium’s myriad possibilities. In recent years, alongside a move from Rome to Brussels, Scarabello has begun to abandon his interest in the human figure (evident in his scarecrows and masks, for example). He hasn’t given up, however, the seduction of disguise, theater, mystery, or myth (see Prometeus [Prometheus], 2017); now his subjects seem to emerge from a metaphysical imagination,

  • picks December 17, 2019

    Giuseppe De Mattia

    This exhibition welcomes viewers with Frutta e verdura (all works 2019), a neon-green sign that names Giuseppe De Mattia’s ostensible subject, “fruit and vegetables.” The text’s font, created from the artist’s handwriting, “signs” the intervention as his own, while a strong odor of plants fills the surrounding green void. The next room, accessed by walking under the neon, contains Espositore di frutta e verdura vera e finta, Roma (Display of real and fake fruit and vegetables, Rome), an exaggeratedly vertical, stainless-steel display of an array of produce. Colored tissue paper printed with a

  • picks October 23, 2019

    Stano Filko

    Scattered throughout Stano Filko’s artistic production—pneumatic sculptures, utopian architectures, cosmograms, and more—are the same well-articulated conceits that defined his life. In a 2006 interview, Hans Ulrich Obrist called Filko’s house “a universe of fluctuation and instability.” It was there that the artist gave material existence to his ideas, using a transcendent, complex system that subdivided his home into five different areas designated by colors— red indicating the space of biology, green the area of social activity, white the sphere of existence, blue the dimension of the cosmos,

  • picks April 19, 2019

    Claire Fontaine

    La borsa o la vita (“your money or your life”) is a typical old-school demand used by bandits in Italy. Wordplay is nothing new for Claire Fontaine, the Palermo-based conceptual collective, and it is evident in the title of this retrospective exhibition, “La borsa e la vita” (Your Money and Your Life): o (“or”) becomes e (“and”), reminding us that borsa in Italian means both handbag and stock exchange. As if the gallery were still undergoing installation, the floor is covered with pages of newspaper—selections from the financial broadsheet Il Sole 24 Ore (Newsfloor, Il Sole 24 Ore, 2019), evoking

  • picks May 21, 2018

    Ian Tweedy

    “My Wall,” the title of this exhibition, feels like a statement. After an absence of many years, American artist Ian Tweedy has returned to Rome, the city where he took decisive steps in his art after a prolific career as a street and graffiti artist who went by the name Dephect. His return affirms an unavoidable need: to reclaim possession of the pictorial surface. Thus there is a perceptible swerve in his research. He abandons the small format he employed a decade or so ago with well-known compositions characterized by meticulous brushstrokes on old linen book jackets—works that formed the

  • picks November 20, 2017

    Mircea Cantor

    A charged olfactory environment meets visitors to Mircea Cantor’s latest show. The perfume of Aleppo soap fills one’s nostrils: a unique smell, indelible for those who have walked at least once through Syrian souks.

    In addition to the soap, water and peace lilies, which are known to purify the air, (in Disrupted Air (Still Life), 2017) fill Cantor’s exhibition. The artist seems to create a hymn to rebirth, framing it as an indispensable contemporary condition. But for Cantor, that restoration is also a consequence of ruin and loss—of heritage, traditions, sociopolitical equanimity, freedom, and

  • picks June 22, 2017

    Domenico Mangano and Marieke van Rooy

    In the 1970s, the Dutch town of Den Dolder embarked on an experimental attempt at communal living known as “dilation,” whereby psychiatric patients find healing and freedom by residing side by side with healthier people. In this show, organized by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk, Domenico Mangano’s film Homestead of Dilution, 2016—halfway between documentary and dream—portrays the legacy of the practice in a cross section of Den Dolder’s current community.

    Issues of mental health are already familiar to the Italian-born, Netherlands-based Mangano, who is collaborating with architectural historian

  • picks May 25, 2017

    Krištof Kintera

    Exhibitions of such a high caliber are rare. Marking the decade that’s passed since the Collezione Maramotti opened its spaces to the public, Czech artist Krištof Kintera has created a hymn of sorts to humanity’s abilities, the “systematic treatment of art” offered by technology (when considered for its etymological roots, technē and logia), and the detritus and waste that are now an unavoidable part of life on earth. Kintera’s show extends beyond the exhibition space into the city of Reggio Emilia. He has, for instance, replaced plants in the Musei Civici’s Wunderkammer, created by eighteenth-century