Milan

Giovanni Kronenberg, Dato che invecchiare solleva il giudizio dall’impazienza della gioventù (Granted That Aging Brought Forth Good Judgment from the Impatience of Youth) (detail), 2011, whale vertebra, .925 silver, 27 1/2 x 24 3/4 x 13 3/4".

Giovanni Kronenberg, Dato che invecchiare solleva il giudizio dall’impazienza della gioventù (Granted That Aging Brought Forth Good Judgment from the Impatience of Youth) (detail), 2011, whale vertebra, .925 silver, 27 1/2 x 24 3/4 x 13 3/4".

Giovanni Kronenberg

Studio Guenzani

Giovanni Kronenberg, Dato che invecchiare solleva il giudizio dall’impazienza della gioventù (Granted That Aging Brought Forth Good Judgment from the Impatience of Youth) (detail), 2011, whale vertebra, .925 silver, 27 1/2 x 24 3/4 x 13 3/4".

Giovanni Kronenberg is a collector of marvels. In order of appearance, starting from the gallery entrance, there were three sea sponges, a three-hundred-year-old tree root, and a whale vertebra: five found objects with which the artist transformed the gallery into a Wunderkammer. The sculptural presence of these objects was such that they all seemed man-made, blurring the boundary between natural and artificial realms. Chosen by virtue of their formal and plastic beauty and strangeness, these were finds fit for a cabinet of curiosities. The installation was dimly lit, with spotlights. Each element thus appeared isolated from the others, seductive and enchanting in its arcane solitude, whether situated on the wall as a “relief”or on the floor as a freestanding sculpture.

For all this, however, it is not just a sense of amazement that Kronenberg wants to arouse in his re-presentation of rare natural forms. The artist embellished his unusual discoveries with nearly imperceptible additions. He soaked the three large sponges in a scent—suggestive of the sea but obtained industrially—that permeated the space. On the polished surface of the root, he inserted a tiny piece of meteorite, and on the whale bone a silver plug that cuts into the material with its reflection like an image of the moon. The titles themselves, respectively Escoriazioni antropologiche n. III, IV, and V (Anthropological Excoriations nos. III, IV, and V), 2012; 3 oceani, 7 balbuzie, 4 vortici d’aria calda (3 Oceans, 7 Stutters, 4 Vortexes of Hot Air), 2012; and Dato che invecchiare solleva il giudizio dall’impazienza della gioventù (Granted That Aging Brought Forth Good Judgment from the Impatience of Youth), 2011, put the viewer on the wrong track, completely shifting the focus.

What should be considered instead is the rhythmic play of words, almost like imaginative exercises, or expressions of other levels of meaning not directly connected to the physicality of the works. These point toward an interpretation that deals with a system of relationships between microcosm and macrocosm, between our human dimension and the immeasurability of the universe. Giant sponges, whale bones, and tree roots are forms that surface from the depths of the sea and earth, yet they seem to emerge from another world. The macrocosm is represented by the meteorite chip, which comes from the planet Mars, with its reflection of an image of the moon. They have such slight dimensions, however, that they are almost invisible from a distance. One needs to get very close to realize that these works hide such secrets, that a fragment of the cosmos is wedged into the wood of the tree root and that the silhouette of Earth’s satellite gleams on a drop of silver on the cetacean bone.

Kronenberg reduces the enormity of the cosmos to a minute scale, thus inverting relationships between large and small, and bringing opposite poles into proximity with each other. These works confront the viewer with the dimension of time, recapitulating and evoking natural life cycles and geological transformations. Kronenberg, through a sense of wonder generated by the unusual, pushes us to consider our position in the wake of the slow and macroscopic evolution of the universe and its life forms.

Alessandra Pioselli

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.