Lello Lopez

Lello Lopez—who was born and raised near the mythical Phlegraean fields, just outside of Naples, an area rich with history that has seen landslides as well as social upheaval—is known for creating work that addresses the conflict between tradition and social change. His recent show, entitled “Al di là del dove” (Beyond where), consisted of a harmonious arrangement of cases with copper frames that were hung on the wall like laboratory cabinets or placed on the floor like minimal furnishings. The show also included a number of slightly larger than life-size heads formed out of blindingly white wax. The heads were wasted and somewhat sinister, frustrating associations with classical statuary, but they also seemed ephemeral, as if in a state of continual metamorphosis. One had to constantly readjust one’s position to make out their uncertain contours.

The aseptic cases containing sheets of stark white, embossed paper evoked the effort to contain history, to preserve its artifacts. The paper seemed to have been endowed with life, contradicting the estheticization and containment suggested by its placement within the copper frames. The cases were constructed out of sheets of frosted glass, as well as copper, and the glass was marked with irregular scratches, shadowy and primordial shapes suggesting amoebas or magmatic rivulets that seemed to have been frozen in mid-movement. These scratches crossing the surface of the glass appeared to exceed and undermine its protective and insulating function, creating a paradoxical relationship between the void that was “protected” and the continually changing universe outside.

The show concluded with yet another large case on the wall, also framed in copper, inside which small pieces of obsidian had been arranged to form an oval. At once a prehistoric necklace and a stylized face, this enigmatic form remained suspended somewhere between the iconic and the transitory. By creating a pervasive sense of mutability, Lopez pointed to the continual metamorphosis and instability of both nature and history.

Mario Codognato

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.