Rome

Marco Lodola

Nuova Pesa

In this show Marco Lodola presented figures cut out of Plexiglas—a completely artificial, mass-produced material—and then painted in enamel. His silhouettes are generated from a rigorous, clear design that tends to make the outline, the profile of the image, stand out. Lodola draws his inspiration from the world of popular performance; his small figures refer to Hollywood music-halls, to interlocked dancing couples, and to doll-like figures arrayed along the stage. And while he emphasizes the figures’ outlines, their silhouettes, they seem uncircumscribed, without borders. In fact, one immediately notices that these Plexiglas cutouts were not framed in any way, were not inserted into a predetermined space that might contain them and give them visual identity. Instead, they seem like aerial cutouts, almost like the materialization of iconic stains on the wall, free from any preconceived volumetric/spatial layout. Thus they are free to interact with any type or quality of space in which they find themselves. Consequently there is an overall impression of an installation of free, aerial images in space. An iconic and conceptual system was triggered, which was slowly verified as the pieces were observed.

Lodola’s figures are repetitive, serialized, even if in reality they are concretely crafted one-by-one. But what, paradoxically, is more malleable, more open to change than iteration? It is precisely the serialized image that can be placed anywhere, because it is based on a repetitive element, it can be adapted to any space, in part reviving its specific and individual identity. Lodola’s imagination is clearly filtered through the visual language of the mass media. These flat figures—the result of a rigorous, careful drawing of outlines and an application of both shrill and toned-down enamels—deliberately recall virtual-computer icons. The small figures jump, run, play, dance, bow to the public; it is almost as if they have no consistency, no possibility of truly existing except in the viewer’s gaze, who admires their exploits and who in some way takes part in the performance they are staging.

The insistent reference to dance is crucial. In the writings and work of certain Modern artists—Piet Mondrian first comes to mind—dance appears as the Modernist fetish of rhythm, of dynamism, of thevitality that isdisplaced by every preciseand delimitingspatial relationship. It is a rhythm that involves and sways theentire environmental space within which it takes place. And in effect, the very gallery and its walls seems to follow the dance steps of Lodola’s figures. Even the titles of the pieces embody this reference to the popular vitality of the standards, of classic popular recreation: “Jumpin’ Jack Black,” Love for Sale, Miss Italia, Musical (all works 1992). Lodola’s pieces eternalize those ephemeral images; they are like electronic icons that enclose within themselves a consistent part of our own way of life.

Massimo Carboni

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.