Critics’ Picks

Patrick Tuttofuoco, Evan and Athena, 2016, coated steel, ink-jet print on PVC, ceramic 82 1/2 x 59 x 102 1/4".

Patrick Tuttofuoco, Evan and Athena, 2016, coated steel, ink-jet print on PVC, ceramic 82 1/2 x 59 x 102 1/4".


Patrick Tuttofuoco

Schiavo Zoppelli Gallery
Via Martiri Oscuri,22
November 24, 2016–January 19, 2017

Patrick Tuttofuoco’s first solo show at this gallery features five new works. The artist has long been interested in the impalpability of reality—the possibility that the past cannot be historicized and the future is the new present—and in this show, titled “Pretty Good Privacy,” he underscores a contemporary existence increasingly split between actual and virtual experience. As soon as visitors cross the gallery threshold, they catch sight of a work on the floor, A Better Place (all works 2016), a scrolling LED screen that both reproduces and parodies the extent to which cutting-edge technology influences and facilitates the world’s evolution. Two of the four installations in the space mirror each other, as if industrially reproduced. Differing only in color and subject, they seem to address the contradiction between anthropic uniqueness and manufactured multiplicity—an issue the artist often addresses. In Sheryl and Augustus, 2016 and Evan and Athena, 2016, two large, white ceramic pieces depict classical busts of Augustus from Meroë and of Athena, respectively, in fluorescent hues that differ only on the inner surfaces. Erected on dark metal tripods, they direct the viewer’s gaze to large, vertical PVC-printed panels, where it is possible to detect the eyes and mouths of Sheryl Sandberg and Evan Spiegel, the CEOs of Facebook and Snapchat—their features disfigured by saturated, psychedelic-looking magma. The tension between classical and contemporary symbols continues in the rest of the gallery, where Sundar and Athena, 2016 and Marissa and Augustus, 2016 echo the aforementioned works, with depictions, in different color schemes, of Sundar Pichai and Marissa Mayer, the chief executive officers of Google and Yahoo. The result encapsulates a range of concerns: from fear of oblivion to the immateriality of everyday life.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.