Critics’ Picks

Bruna Esposito, Restituire al mittente (Return to Sender), 2014, rescue blanket, box, shoes, fan, dimensions variable.


Bruna Esposito

Federico Luger (FL GALLERY)
Viale Sabotino, 22
October 2–November 14

For many years, Bruna Esposito’s art has generally reflected on the social, yet more recently, her research has concentrated on receptivity—namely, the ways individuals manifest an interest in other living beings. Her latest solo exhibition is striking in how it addresses this challenging subject with grace and poetry. Twenty-eight works from 2014 made with simple materials and everyday objects are endowed with an unexpected aesthetic quality that contrasts with their conventional utilities. For instance, in the sculptures All’aria aperta (Outdoors), Orizzonte (Horizon), and Cielo (Sky), the tables often used by street vendors form compositions that are linear and nearly minimal but capable of evoking imaginary natural scenes. Other works use metal rods covered in sharp wires—the kind normally employed to ward off pigeons—producing a similar effect. These seduce the viewer’s eye and at the same time violently repel it.

Also on view are many golden thermal blankets, typically used as protective coverings in emergency situations, which Esposito translates into more pictorial surfaces (as in Trittico [Triptych] and Home). Rescue Blanket evokes a flower, an image that brings to mind the other mundane objects in the show—footwear, stones, a broom, mirrors—that make the exhibition as a whole come off as neo-Dada, alluring and dramatic. The most notable of such pieces, however, is Restituire al mittente (Return to Sender), wherein a pair of shoes emerges from a blanket-covered box, a movement that seems to have been generated by a gust of wind coming from an adjacent electric fan—a tragic allegory for the figure of the immigrant, whose fate is presented in terms of a gift.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.