Critics’ Picks

View of “Dario Guccio: Hammer, Chewing Gum, Evasion, Destruction,” 2014–15.

View of “Dario Guccio: Hammer, Chewing Gum, Evasion, Destruction,” 2014–15.


Dario Guccio

Federico Vavassori
Via Giorgio Giulini, 5
January 16–February 14, 2015

In the nine collage-based paintings on view, anthropomorphic and abstract pleather forms overlap, thrown together like layers of digital imagery, creating color contrasts that evoke the Fauves. The iconic power of these compositions derives not only from their diverging shapes and colors (blue, black, and white) but also from their arrangement in the gallery. The installation of these collages of leather fragments has been carefully conceived so that they appear suddenly and unexpectedly as the viewer moves through the space, thanks to several slightly oblique walls which meet to form unusual corners that create illusions and play with perspective.

For his solo show, Dario Guccio references artworks by Eugenio Barbieri, especially Barbieri’sJazz, Chewing Gum, Evasion, Destruction, 1967, whose title is almost identical to the exhibition’s. Influenced by Barbieri’s unrestrained use of line, Guccio attempts to allow himself a similar freedom, here by cutting out a flexible material like pleather but also by using a sewing machine to create seams that crisscross the overlapping pleather shapes. The results recall Mirò and Matisse and echo avant-garde movements. Sometimes the layered materials acquire a three-dimensionality that makes them almost bas-reliefs, though they’re very much made with a pictorial sensibility that even harks back to Medieval artists such as Duccio di Buoninsegna or Antonio Canova, who used nails in his sculptures to individuate form and figure—a decision that perhaps inspired the enameled nails that tack down Guccio’s silhouettes.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.