Not yet titled – Q&A with Marco Strappato
The Gallery Apart presents Not yet titled by Marco Strappato, the second solo exhibition dedicated to the artist following the exhibit La ripetizione, qualora sia possibile, rende felici hosted in 2011 in the former gallery spaces in via Monserrato, Rome.
Marco Strappato makes his comeback to Rome with an exhibition of his new works, after several meaningful artistic and educational experiences, including his recent admission to the ‘MA programme in Sculpture’ at the Royal College of Art in London, where the artist has been living and working for a few years now.
Strappato further reflects on the themes addressed in his research, starting from the common visual and linguistic codes that he consistently challenges and calls into question through the selection, manipulation and alteration of the images. Among the wide variety of material and visual information available in our everyday life, Strappato prefers a particular category of images, which Michael Jacob defines as landscape-images. A category that may be used to understand the aesthetic experience in our contemporaneity, amid the rhetorical discourses about the authentic and inauthentic, the exotic and familiar, the artificial and the natural.
For the project Not yet titled, Strappato has developed a new series of collages, an installation and some in-situ performances.
As highlighted by Claudio Musso, one of whose article on Strappato’s work also elevates and exalts the exhibition, “From a certain point of view, we may read the evolution of art as the construction, life and metamorphosis of images. This is partly due to the human need to take in (and understand)the surrounding environment. Hence, the reproduction of reality has soon internalized the limits imposed by conventions and defined them with words that may all be synonyms of constraint (frame, framing, painting or screen).
Today, undertaking a research on the image implies the immersion into a continuous flow, where, sometimes, the selection, the modification or the touch-up are more effective than the ex-novo creation. Marco Strappato carries out a material analysis of the representation, oftentimes he enters into direct contact with the image-objects (photographs, prints, slide films, pages, films) found along his path and that he treats as a living body. His main goal, at first sight, is the landscape in its multiple representations. Although evidence may seem to prove the contrary, his paintings do not represent natural landscapes, but they are far-away places or places of desire, film settings for stories whose plot has been roughly outlined or yet to be written, where it is easy to spot some familiar features and which, however, it is hard to link to the right place they belong to.
More than joining the pictorial art, some kinds of Vedutism, Strappato provokes and evokes interior visions, shifted onto the outside world, or rather onto its depiction. Images are explored through their own perception and, mostly in the artist’s more recent artworks, through exhibition systems wherein the meaning of landscape may be confused and interchanged with that of portrait (and viceversa).”
Below you will find a brief interview with the artist about his new show, Not yet titled:
Can you describe the new project you are presenting at The Gallery Apart?
On display will be several bodies of work. Some have already been exposed, while others have been produced for the occasion. I could define all the work of the project Not yet titled as inner visions shifted to the outside world. Images are investigated through their own perception. The most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the transition to the most recent production, where the meaning of landscape is confused with that of portrait (and vice versa).
How did you come up with the name, Not yet titled?
All of the works on display are untitled, or better yet, just have an acronym in parentheses after the word Untitled, which serves to identify one from the other. So despite being without a title, they potentially have a title. Plus I liked the idea of not having a title for the show until the day of the opening. Maybe I will decide on a title the day of the exhibition, or I will whisper a different one in the ear of every visitor that enters into the gallery, or maybe the show will remain forever without a title.
What is the relationship between the images and the sculptural way in which they are presented?
I first studied painting and then film/video, so I always worked with two-dimensional images. At a certain point I felt the need to confront the space three-dimensionally. I wanted to do it step by step, which is why I did not dedicate myself to sculpture in the classical sense. The same images that were previously treated in a certain way – superimposed, juxtaposed, handled, reprinted- after a bit of time in this stage are declined in the third dimension. They are the formal features of the printed image that indicate to me the way to define the final sculptural form of the same.
Is there a connection between natural landscapes and their often manipulated form of presentation?
The formal game is entrusted to geometry. Primary structures such as angles, triangles, and squares are the basis of the work of bending to which the landscape images are subjected. The geometric rigor holds an ambiguous relationship with the shapes and natural colors, where formal elegance and dynamic roughness collide and come together.
Have you always used collage in your work? How come?
Yes, it is a technique that I’ve used from the beginning. I think that collage is a practice that represents our contemporary world, a way to interconnect portions of different views as we often do in our daily lives. It is the practice of re-use, recycling, recirculation of existing material that is central to my work.
Where do you find images? Do they have sentimental value, are familiar, or are they unknown, anonymous?
The images I use are literally “stolen” from magazines, film, web and documents of various nature. For me it is a kind of “encounter” that takes place in everyone’s daily lives. We live in an uninterrupted flow of images (flow is different from rhythm, rhythm assumes pauses, which we have lost), in which sometimes the selection, editing or retouching are more effective than creating from scratch. In my works, the image is always re-mediated, reprinted, twisted, treated, subverted and manipulated. It’s origin is cleared, every reference canceled. It becomes part of a new imaginary personal and collective, sharp and blur, alien and habitual.
You are now attending the Royal College of Art in London for an MA in sculpture, are you interested in exploring new mediums or concepts?
I’ve started my MA since about a month, enough to realize that these will be two very intense years. The comparison with my colleagues from around the world and tutors who are artists of international fame is already changing my way of understanding art. I am absolutely interested in experimenting with new techniques. The last week for example I was in the foundry, until some time ago a place unknown to me. I do not know where I’m going and what will happen, but it is all very exciting.
The Gallery Apart – via Francesco Negri 43, Rome
22 November 2013 – 9 January 2014