Critics’ Picks

View of “Privata Vanitas,” 2013.


Luigi Presicce

Galleria Bianconi
Via Lecco 20
October 9 - December 23

Near the entrance to Luigi Presicce’s latest exhibition, “Privata Vanitas,” visitors encounter five variously sized photographic prints on aluminum that show performances he created between 2010 and 2012. These images do not merely document the performances but are works in their own right that in a sense summarize the history of European painting. One image, for instance, refers to a performance Presicce produced on March 18, 2012, which is titled Atto unico sulla morte in cinque compianti (One Act Play on Death in Five Laments). The work pictures five tableaux vivants inspired by fourteenth- and fifteenth-century frescoes (by Giotto, Il Giottino, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Fra Angelico).

Presicce’s art also often results from the sedimentation of signs taken from the history of pagan as well as Christian rituals, cults, and religions, which then resonate with one another when seen through the artist’s intervention. (This process in a way recalls the underlying scheme of Sir James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough). One room of Presicce’s show offers a translation of a portion of his studio within which, just as in Presicce’s actual atelier, he juxtaposes photographs, props, paintings, costumes, and sculptures he has produced recently with some he made many years ago. There are also objects on view here from the performance Presicce created on the occasion of this exhibition, an event, L’invenzione del busto (The invention of the bust), which took place a few weeks before the show opened in the gallery’s basement. Additionally, the show includes a video that documents—but, even more, evokes—elements of that performance.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.