Marta Silvi

  • View of “Cyphoria,” Rome Quadriennale, 2016.
    picks December 14, 2016

    Rome Quadriennale

    The sixteenth edition of the Rome Quadriennale responds to strong expectations with energy in kind. With eleven curators, ten exhibition projects, ninety-nine artists, and 150 works, the show features a title, “Altri tempi, altri miti” (Other Times, Other Myths; a phrase borrowed from the writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli), that laconically summarizes the state of art in Italy. The decision to involve many different sets of eyes is both appropriate to the fragmentary and unstable state of today’s art languages, and suggestive of curators’ current roles as crucial mediators. In the exhibition segments,

  • Bedwyr Williams, The Gulch (detail), 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks November 22, 2016

    Bedwyr Williams

    Bedwyr Williams’s installation The Gulch, 2016, transforms this institution’s Curve gallery with a path that unfolds in stages, recalling the experience of traversing a theme park. Each environment is a chapter in a narrative that disorients the viewer, annulling the previous segment and simultaneously presaging the next one. Every passage is a reversal of perspective, a transfiguration of the glance. The mise-en-scène of a full moon over the sea—with the noise of breaking waves, the nearly imperceptible sounds of gently rippling water, reassuring background music, the crackling of a bonfire,

  • Adriana Varejão, Azulejão (voluta) [Big Tile (volute)], 2016, oil and plaster on canvas, 70 7/8 × 70 7/8".
    picks November 04, 2016

    Adriana Varejão

    For “Azulejão” (Big Tile), Adriana Varejão has covered the gallery’s curved walls with enormous pieces inspired by traditional Portuguese tilework. Square tiles of enameled terra-cotta have served a dual function since the Middle Ages—they’re ornamental but also practical for cladding and waterproofing buildings. Here, Varejão, who is interested in the history and culture of Brazil, employs the highly recognizable material to represent her native land’s ties to Portugal, ties established through the vicissitudes of trade and colonialism. She allowed a layer of plaster on each of her large canvases

  • View of “Jana Schröder,” 2016.
    picks October 05, 2016

    Jana Schröder

    In her first solo show at this gallery, Jana Schröder proceeds nonchalantly through a strongly performative pictorial practice. Her large canvases appear like monuments of automatic writing—in this case, notes and doodles—of the type one might imagine psychoanalysts encouraging patients to make in order to gain access to repressed memories. Schröder’s activity is a tribute of sorts to the paintings of Albert Oehlen, the artist’s professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 2005 to 2009, who combined abstract and figurative elements in response to the neo-expressionist aesthetic that reigned

  • Left: Dealer Federica Schiavo, curator Ilaria Gianni, dealer Paola Capata, and Delfo Durante. Right: Performance of Rä di Martino at Granpalazzo.
    diary June 08, 2016

    Roman Holiday

    ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY. And likewise the local contemporary art scene is not the result of a mere few years of professional effort. The city’s art world is now more scintillating and festive than ever, and in late May a meritorious group of exhibitions forced us to run a marathon course just to keep up.

    Fast on the heels of strong openings in May of Alessandro Scarabello at The Gallery Apart, Rob Sherwood at Federica Schiavo, Camille Henrot at Fondazione Memmo, Brian Eno at Valentina Bonomo, and Tomaso De Luca at Monitor, more and more offerings left no respite for the art-going public.

  • View of “MM – Mundus Muliebris,” 2016.
    picks May 30, 2016

    “Mundus Muliebris”

    MM (for mundus muliebris, or trousseau) is the acronym for a brand conceived for this occasion, an experiment curated by Nicoletta Lambertucci that relates the worlds of art and fashion. The spaces of Basement Roma have been transformed into a laboratory of sorts, where clothing, furnishings, and accessories absorb the uniqueness of art, playfully taking its place. Viewers are welcomed by a multicolored environment that itself becomes a site of creation as well as an unusual showroom. Two mirror-image rooms by Patrizio di Massimo face and refer to each other: One features a majolica floor and

  • View of “Goshka Macuga,” 2016
    picks May 10, 2016

    Goshka Macuga

    Goshka Macuga’s work envisions the apocalyptic fate of a human species whose demise is hastened by a robot takeover, the robots being instances of a “man-made man” (as exhibition didactics put it) whose processes of learning and execution improve. Her practice encompasses various disciplines (sculpture, installation, photography, architecture, and design) and synthesizes the art world’s various roles (curator, artist, collector, researcher).

    An android with human facial features and a scrambled body that gives the show its subtitle, To the Son of Man Who Ate the Scroll (all works cited 2016)—a

  • Nicola Samorì, San Pietro all’inferno (Saint Peter in Hell), 2016, oil on linen, 118 x 67".
    picks April 15, 2016

    Nicola Samorì

    Nicola Samorì’s work pays homage to painting while also representing a rupture in its typical trappings. In his first solo show at this gallery, the artist explores different expressive possibilities: oil paintings (both small and large in scale), sculptures, and installations. With a shrewd execution of subjects from a predominantly Flemish and Baroque repertoire, Samorì reproduces isolated content, reprising historical vocabularies with consistent skill, only to sabotage the pictorial plane, incising it, opening it up, burning and transfiguring it.

    In his process, sometimes coolly calculated,

  • Bryony Roberts, Primo Piano, 2016, adhesive vinyl on existing stone floor, dimensions variable.
    picks March 18, 2016

    Cinque Mostre” (Five Shows)

    For the final exhibition of Rome Prize winners and invited artists, curator Ilaria Gianni, with the assistance of Saverio Verini, conceived and curated a group using the idea of memory and the past as resource and inspiration. The implicit protagonist is Rome, with its thousands of contradictions that continually emerge and recede, like groundwater from an aquifer.

    In the atrium, Bryony Roberts has temporarily modified the configuration of the floor’s patterning with Primo Piano (First Floor), 2016, using adhesive vinyl to evoke the Cosmatesque decorative stonework floors of Roman basilicas. The

  • View of “Teoria ingenua degli insiemi” (Naïve Set Theory), 2016
    picks March 07, 2016

    Teoria ingenua degli insiemi” (Naïve Set Theory)

    Inaugurating the gallery’s space, “Teoria ingenua degli insiemi” (Naive Set Theory) was curated by Cecilia Canziani and Davide Ferri and comprises two overlapping exhibitions, with a total of twenty-three works, some from the long career of Paolo Icaro, in dialogue with others by three younger artists: Bettina Buck, Marie Lund, and David Schutter.

    Icaro’s Cardo e Decumano, 2010, made of modular elements in tarnished steel, seems to sew the space together, extending the viewer’s glance from the first to the second room. The piece’s geometric forms highlight the compelling presence of all the works,

  • View of “Chiara Camoni,” 2015–16
    picks February 04, 2016

    Chiara Camoni

    Chiara Camoni’s solo exhibition, curated by Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni, offers a space of meditation. Creating a sort of extended self-portrait, the show gathers together works from different times in the artist’s life, as well as newer installations, ranging from video to sculpture to painting and drawing. Like a paleontologist, the artist excavates the origins and nature of creativity and of her many media.

    La neve gialla (Yellow Snow), (all works cited 2015), a performance staged at the show’s opening for a limited audience, told a story inspired by the artist’s childhood. A magic