Critics’ Picks

Francesca Grilli, Kepler 62h, 2015, intaglio printing on paper, 11 1/2 x 1'.

Francesca Grilli, Kepler 62h, 2015, intaglio printing on paper, 11 1/2 x 1'.


Francesca Grilli

Umberto Di Marino
Via Alabardieri 1
March 12–May 12, 2015

In Francesca Grilli’s first solo show at the Umberto Di Marino Gallery in Naples the artist presents five pieces she conceived during her residency at the American Academy in Rome, all focusing on the theme of anger. Gliese 581i, Gliese 581p, and Gliese 581m (all works 2015) are intaglio plates covered in ink and bile, the fluid produced by the liver, which here becomes a metaphor for fury. When the original chemical admixture is applied to the copper plates, it corrodes their surfaces (an allusion to the caustic effects of anger) into landscapes. The fantastical vista becomes heightened in Kepler 62h, a scroll print Grilli made by rubbing seven lined-up plates with the solution so that they formed one large sheet, on which esoteric signs and shadows seem to surface.

A similar atmosphere is found in Terra (Earth), a work made from vinyl paste and meteorite and inspired by a novelty record player known as the “enigma disc.” Now in the collection of the Discoteca di Stato in Rome, it was produced in 1913 for the centenary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth; due to the contraption’s special structure, users placing the stylus on its record are unable to predict which of three tracks will play. Instead of music, though, Terra features a succession of recordings of natural phenomena we might associate with rage—a tornado, an erupting volcano, breaking ice. These moments of pathetic fallacy alternate with voices that recite I Ching prophecies, which symbolically frame the work’s enigmatic structure.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.