Critics’ Picks

  • Sabina Mirri, Senza titolo (Untitled), 2019,collage and pastel on rice paper, 55 x 40".

    Sabina Mirri, Senza titolo (Untitled), 2019,
    collage and pastel on rice paper, 55 x 40".

    Sabina Mirri

    Galleria Alessandra Bonomo
    Via del Gesù, 62
    February 18–April 29, 2020

    In the four collages and pastels on rice paper included in Sabina Mirri’s latest rabbit hole of a show, “Gonna be a cult character,” an epicene and anthropomorphized white hare appears in scenes of indecent leisure. In one collage, our leporid seducer lies recumbent on a grass-green chaise longue, sporting high heels and suspenders while displaying its (male) sexual organ, puffing a cigar, and imbibing its favorite gin. In another, under the spell of a large spliff, it shows small breasts and large hips. As utterly strange as the March Hare and perhaps a cousin to Joseph Beuys’s famous dead hare, Mirri’s muse is no fluffy plaything: At times, it seems to wield the mysteries of regeneration and the underworld. Occupying a sensual realm and surrounded by its maker’s idiosyncratic studio props, sculptures, books, and liquors, the animal becomes Mirri’s alter ego, a silent witness of the artist’s inner world.

    Elsewhere, Mirri guides us through her recent output with five untitled collages on tissue paper that depict her studio floor, covered with piles of multihued scraps ready to be swept away. These meta-works seem to reach for the tridimensional illusionism of Georges Braque’s collages, in which vertiginous perspective and shadow dance together: Every tear, smear, and minor imperfection is as precious as a brushstroke. Nine small pencil drawings mix intimate stories with art references. In a habitable plywood sculpture titled Lo Studiolo, 2014—the artist’s private thinking space, inspired by Antonello da Messina’s St. Jerome in His Study, ca. 1475—Mirri stages her own mini-exhibitions of friends’ creations, in this case a trio of exquisite drawings by Sandro Chia. In the context of this show, Lo Studiolo is not only a cabinet of curiosities, but a reliquary for tender, daydreamed visions.