Ange Leccia

Galleria Casoli

Ange Leccia refers to his works with objects as “arrangements.” Unlike the term “installation,” arrangement implies a nondefinitive, ephemeral disposition of elements. Leccia expresses a sense of order based on symmetries and on correspondences between elements, and this structural precision gives rise to a new universe of meanings. Indeed, one might say that by combining objects, Leccia proposes orders aimed less at establishing a new system, than at intervening conceptually with existing ones.

Whether large or small, most of the objects Leccia chooses—televisions, projectors, suitcases, motorcycles, automobiles, or trucks—refer to the sphere of communications in which we implicitly participate. The artist limits himself to dislocating these elements from their usual contexts and repositioning them within galleries and museums, or outdoors, in harmonious but unpredictable arrangements.

Moreover, Leccia’s arrangements highlight the untouched perfection of objects that are continually brand new. Frequently presented in their packing crates, these items are not referred to in and of themselves, but rather as products that point back to their status as mass-produced commodities. The arrangements themselves frequently foreground the serial nature of the product. What the artist then emphasizes is our experience of the product as he presents it; we possess it, and, in so doing, experience its uniqueness as an object, even though we know that it exists in innumerable copies.

Our experience of Leccia’s products begins with the ambiguity of their stature, which generates an effect of alienation in the viewer. In this way Leccia thematicizes the fetishistic nature of our object lust, as well as our discomfort as consumers of abstract signs. The artist clearly intends to rehumanize the fetishes; two televisions, two automobiles, or two trucks facing each other symbolize a dialogue. Much of his work is based on this simple pairing of two inanimate objects opposite one another. In this there is a certain childlike, playful quality, that Bernard Marcadé has correctly stressed in a recent article; if, in children’s play, any object can become an airplane or automobile, in Leccia’s work, any automobile or airplane can become an object.

But beyond this, the artist brings out the more subtle and captious ties between the physical object and its abstract nature as a sign invested with our consumerist desires. This subtlety dominates the recent exhibition, in which a great many large boxes were arranged on the floor like minimalist cubes, and a light box on the wall contained the image of an explosion. The viewer was able to glean from the logo stamped on each box that they were cabinets for televisions, but the televisions had been removed so that only the shell and a sheet of polystyrene remained. The “true” object had become superfluous, and the trademark sufficed to evoke its form, function, and value. This sort of symbolic exchange between things and signs is an integral part of our experience, and here, the artist ironically invites us to exchange the containers for their contents. The result is the same. Besides this, the energy that makes the technological object function, the electricity that keeps it going, is alluded to in an equally ironic fashion in the light box image of the large blaze: this magical toy is a fetish, and should be handled with care, for it is volatile and can easily explode.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.