Veronica Santi

  • Jenny Saville, Odysseus I, 2020–21, oil, oil stick, and acrylic on canvas, 59 1/2 x 47 1/4''.
    picks December 21, 2021

    Jenny Saville

    Jenny Saville has invaded Florence with a sprawling multi-institutional survey, curated by Sergio Risaliti, that places her work in dialogue with the masters of the Italian Renaissance. At the Palazzo Vecchio, for example, the bombastic vortex of armored men and pawing horses in Vasari’s frescoes looks down on her celebrated painting Fulcrum, 1999, here serving as a reminder of the fragility of the body as laid siege to by Covid-19. Then there are Saville’s encounters with Michelangelo, one of her most significant influences, at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the Casa Buonarroti. The spirited

  • Filippo Berta, “Common People,” 2021, fine art print on diasec, 20 1/2 x 29".
    picks September 28, 2021

    Filippo Berta

    Filippo Berta’s solo exhibition “Common People” consists of drawings, photographs, a sculpture, and a video, all conveying different aspects of One by One, an ambitious project the artist developed over the course of 2019 and 2020. Traveling to the barbed-wired borders of Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Greece, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Mexico, the United States, and South Korea, the artist recruited a handful of locals to count the barbs on the fencing out loud. Powerless against the physical limitations imposed by international politics, the performers in the ten-minute video

  • Ibrahim Mahama, Africa I, 2020–21, photo cutouts and archival materials on paper, 37 3⁄4 × 29 1⁄8".

    Ibrahim Mahama

    Anything can happen in an empty space. For his exhibition “As the void, vali and voli,” artist Ibrahim Mahama has confronted the history and the structures of Ghana’s Brutalist architecture, built in the 1960s under President Kwame Nkrumah’s postcolonial government and subsequently abandoned. Symbols of a new era of independence, many of these buildings remained unfinished, over time becoming emblems of conflict—and, for some, shelters for ghosts and demons.

    In fifteen notebooks as well as drawings, large collages, and a video, Mahama explores how the failure of this architecture has been translated

  • View of “Nicola Samorì: Sfregi,” 2021.
    picks July 12, 2021

    Nicola Samorì

    The approximately eighty works gathered in Palazzo Fava for “Sfregi” (Scars), Nicola Samorì’s first major retrospective in Italy, offer a baroque, nonlinear journey through techniques of construction and deconstruction, ruination and transformation, skillfully developed over the past twenty years. Plundering masterpieces from the past, particularly from the seventeenth century, Samorì reclaims subjects beloved by art history and distresses, disfigures, and strips away their surfaces. The artist’s recent statement—“I breed and torture images”—captures the dialectic at play in his work: Through

  • Taoli Havini, Answer to the Call, 2021, wooden platform, carpet, felt hangings, scaffolding, twenty-two speakers, sound. Installation view. Photo: gerdastudio.

    Taloi Havini

    For centuries, the epistemic culture of Western civilization sought reliable knowledge through such concepts as objectivity, systematic method, and empirical data. This credo has been increasingly eroded in recent decades, as postcolonial and feminist studies have considered other methodologies and practices of knowledge. Taloi Havini offers us one such alternative—derived from her homeland, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea—through Answer to the Call, 2021, a site-specific sound installation. Commissioned by TBA21-Academy, a nonprofit organization that promotes a deeper

  • Latifa Echakhch, Sun Set Down, 2020, acrylic paint, concrete, vinyl, and fiber on canvas mounted on aluminum, 78 3/4 × 59 1/8". From the series “Sun Set Down,” 2020.

    Latifa Echakhch

    With her exhibition “The After,” Latifa Echakhch led us into the memory of a collective rite, transporting us, in an era of social distancing, to the scene of some just-concluded event, perhaps a concert, in a remote place, perhaps a forest. In a gallery whose walls and floor were completely covered in black, she staged an encounter between two new groups of works, all from 2020: five sculptures, After 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, which she created using theatrical lighting trusses, and three paintings of sunrises, two of them diptychs, all titled, like the series they comprise, Sun Set Down.

    In the first

  • Rä di Martino, Allunati #10, 2020, wood, gold leaf, archival pigment print on cotton paper, 16 1/2 x 16 1/2".
    picks December 07, 2020

    Rä di Martino

    During an era of flourishing conspiracy theories, Rä di Martino seems to inverts an old one, suggesting not that we never walked the moon, but that we never left. In the pictures in this exhibition, human life-forms are flung against the lunar landscape like glimmering shadows, conjuring and connecting the mythologies of space travel and Hollywood movie magic alike.

    “Allunati” (Moon-Landed), all works 2020, consists of fifteen black-and-white photographs, mostly obtained from NASA archives, onto which di Martino has pasted human silhouettes cut from gold leaf. Culled from imagery from the 1940s

  • View of “Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses). When La Biennale Meets History,” 2020.
    picks November 22, 2020

    “Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses)”

    If, in our contemporary moment, the word “muse” bears the gendered connotation of a passive source of inspiration for artistic genius, the term reacquires its original identification with active creativity in “Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses). When La Biennale Meets History.” Here, the mythical daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne become metaphors for the Art, Architecture, Cinema, Theater, Music, and Dance sections of the Venice Biennale, whose history is recounted through more than a thousand objects, obtained principally from the extensive Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC).

  • Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020, Mylar balloons, rope. Installation view. Photo: Ela Bialkowska.

    Tomás Saraceno

    Each of the nine spaces of Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition “Aria” (Air) is introduced by one of the thirty-three cards making up the artist’s Arachnomancy Cards, 2018. Previously presented at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the work is inspired by nggàm, the practice, developed by the Mambila people of Cameroon and Nigeria, of using spiders for fortune-telling. Subverting the roles of critic and curator, these cards introduce a magical element into Saraceno’s practice; the prophecy foretold by the spider and its web (an extension of its senses) guides us in our understanding of the exhibited works.


  • Urs Lüthi, Selbstportrait aus der Serie der grossen Gefühle (Self-Portrait from the Strong Feelings Series), 1984/85, diptych, acrylic on canvas, each 78 3⁄4 × 59".

    Urs Lüthi

    Over the course of the 1970s, Urs Lüthi used the photographic self-portrait to imprint his face upon the public eye. Armed with a camera and a cutting sense of humor, the artist fragmented and reconstituted his own representation until it had seemingly expanded and dissipated into infinite other identities and fleeting narratives, while still retaining the ability to deliver a gut punch: Despite the serial nature of the project, these images emphatically reclaimed an emotional space that went beyond Conceptual art and the cerebral realm.

    In the 1980s, amid the exhaustion of the unbridled rigor

  • Franco Vaccari, Sogno del 3-4-1982 (Dream of 4/3/1982), 2017, mixed media and ink-jet print on two canvasses, each 27 1/2 x 19 3/4".
    picks February 27, 2020

    Franco Vaccari

    Eyes wide-open, challenging our increasingly bland, flattened, and frenetic reality, Franco Vaccari transforms the spaces of P420 into a “cavern of memory” populated by his own dreams. Entering, viewers discover his visions one by one. In the dark gallery, lights turns on as one approaches the individual works, revealing fragmented images charged with emotion.

    Migrazione del reale” (Exodus of the Real) largely consists of photographs of notebooks in which the artist has recorded his dreams every morning since the early 1980s. Placing them at a remove and further reworking them, as if trying to