Critics’ Picks

View of Diego Marcon’s, La Miserabile, 2018, pre-spaced black vinyl sticker applied on the wall, neon tubes, dimensions variable.


Diego Marcon

Triennale di Milano
Viale Alemagna, 6
July 20–August 26

Resembling a page from a twisted children’s coloring book, the site-specific work that comprises Diego Marcon’s debut institutional solo exhibition begins at the bedside of a sick little girl. The wall composition, curated by Edoardo Bonaspetti and titled La Miserabile (Wretchedness), 2018, unfolds into a highly involved vigil starring sixteen enigmatic figures—other adolescents who try to brush up against the afflicted girl, scrutinize her, or distract themselves with meaningless actions such as looking under the bed or playing with a doll. The room delineates an ambiguous space between sanctity and discomfort, or even danger: In the background, a door and two windows reveal, in menacing chiaroscuro, adults isolated from the pathos of the central tableau, their poses vaguely transactional. A white neon line applied to the wall illuminates the work from above. Its harsh light drains the scene of any romance, and those imprisoned in its glow almost appear to belong to a virtual dimension (the white wall somewhat looks like a massive computer screen). The stripped-down aesthetic is also reflected in the material the artist uses, an adhesive vinyl film that faithfully reproduces graphite and ink on paper in filament-like vectors. The process allows the artist to preserve the freshness of the analogical stroke while creating a conscious authorial detachment. This is a formal strategy deployed to reinforce a philosophical signifier of reality. La Miserabile is the latest of Marcon’s animations to plumb the existential melancholy of childhood, this time set in a liminal zone between life and death, reality and nightmare.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.