Critics’ Picks

View of “Alice Ronchi,” 2014.

View of “Alice Ronchi,” 2014.


Alice Ronchi

Francesca Minini
Via Massimiano 25
January 29–March 15, 2014

For her debut exhibition at the Francesca Minini gallery in Milan, Alice Ronchi has created an enchanted landscape of wooden forms that—like a film set that comes to life when used to shoot a scene—becomes animated when viewers are present. The viewers activate and vitalize Ronchi’s “urban garden” as the artist’s biomorphic and bucolic forms conjure the emotional states typically evoked by the natural flora and fauna that her stylized objects depict. This is seen in the four groupings of works in the show. All from 2014, they unfold discursively throughout the gallery’s rooms, together making up the virtual park that Ronchi has conceived. Particularly clear, concise language characterizes two of the series, “Kilimanjaro” and “Flora.” The former consists of five common garden stones supported by steel pedestals that, in keeping with the logic of the readymade, elevate portions of the rocks to the status of sculpture. In the latter, which pursues a similar strategy, three photographs sublimate a water tank, gas pipes, and a TV satellite dish into fanciful arboreal and lacustrine zones.

Meanwhile, “Colazione sull’erba” (Luncheon on the Grass) is composed of a group of sixteen elements made of metal, corrugated cardboard, and bamboo, and is characterized by lines that are sometimes geometric, sometimes organic, whose elegant rigor seems inspired by the linear elements embraced by the Abstraction-Création and the Cercle et Carré groups in the 1930s. As a whole, the work’s parts give rise to a well-structured installation that, like its title (which approximates that of Manet’s famous painting), symbolically recreates a setting of delights to be admired or physically experienced. Similarly rejoicing in its materiality, “Turchino” (Turquoise) is a sequence of graniglia tiles (made using an ancient technique in which marble is mixed with limestone) that suggests fluvial depths and the fauna that populate them—such as, in one moment, when two of the tiles resemble a pair of squarish fish caught in the act of kissing each other.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.