Andrea Fogli

Galleria Erha

For this exhibition, Andrea Fogli transformed the gallery into a booklike container. As soon as visitors entered and began reading, they changed from spectators to performers in a theatrical trap. Fogli painted the gallery’s large windows with a translucent yellow color, revealing transparent stenciled letters that formed a billboardlike text running along the building’s façade. Read along the grids created by the windows, the text altered the perception of the building’s scale and the light within the space, while prefacing the exhibition by introducing Fogli’s symbolic matrix.

Above the entrance to the gallery, a golden rod pierced the building’s wall; suspended from the rod above the doorway, like an extracted eye or transparent egg, hung a melon-sized glass vessel half-filled with golden-yellow honey. Inside the gallery, a second partially honey-filled globe hung within the limbs of an inverted leafless tree coated in a thick orange wax and suspended from the center of the ceiling. There were also three iron-and-plaster tables, two of which displayed broken vases. One of these was pierced by a golden rod similar to the one on the gallery’s facade, and exposed the word “VIS”—“strength” in Latin—carved into the vase; the second vase exposed the word “AURA” and the bits of broken vase were garnished by a wreath of laurel leaves. The last of the tables hosted three golden, egglike forms and the clay negative of one of the 44 clay-stained white plaster masks that hung in the back corner of the gallery. This negative was composed of a manipulation of birdlike forms and hands that compose deformed faces. Three bronze nests hung near the ceiling in the opposite corner, implying that the birds are not imprisoned in the masks but that they can fly.

Fogli seems to believe that in order for his work to be significant it must somehow remain obscure. He knows that there is a dichotomy of appearance and disappearance in his work, that themes are evocative, revealing chains of meaning. He never explicitly names desire in this show; he obfuscates it, and then allows its hidden presence to reappear in the presence of death. Death initially distances us from this work, but, in the end, it binds us to it because in it lies the condition for all understanding. Fogli warns us that death permeates all; without a consciousness of death, everything falls into absurdity and nothingness.

Anthony Iannacci