Exercises for lazy eyes – The Gallery Apart

The Gallery Apart is proud to present the latest project by Mariana Ferratto, an Italian-Argentine artist who has forged a long-standing and important relationship with the gallery since its beginnings. Esercizi per occhi pigri (Exercises for lazy eyes) represents a further step in the research conducted by Ferratto, which has always been dedicated, also on grounds relating to her biography, to the definition of the personal identity as an instrument of social relationship, a research that takes its roots in her belonging to those second generations that in every European community are frequently affected by personal stories and environmental factors, thus making integration more challenging.

Conceived during a period where the artist was also involved in the development of the video Il capo sono io (I’m the boss), presented at the end of January in the Careof spaces in Milan, Italy, as the last stage of a creative journey alongside Elena Bellantoni during an artist-in-residence programme in the Milan’s art centre, Esercizi per occhi pigri represents a conceptual architecture that involves the viewer’s active participation, encouraged first through some mechanisms of perceptive displacement to pass then through a real physical and mental effort, although in playful terms.

Ferratto partly relies on her traditional medium and creates two complementary videos. The gallery is invaded by screens showing a young female figure performing and repeating everyday and domestic activities. Once the initial dismay is over and as images are focused, the viewer realizes that they actually are six different persons though closely resembling, six doppelgänger who remind us the difficulty in keeping our own original personality in a society that, if only out of a desire of control and of massified consumption, forces us towards impending models of cultural and behavioural levelling.

If, on the one hand, the contemporary world finds some homogenizing models useful, on the other hand, conditions of existential precariousness are taking hold, forcing everyone to play different roles, obliging from to time to time to different attitudes and behaviours based on multi-polar schemes. It is the theme of the other video presented by Ferratto, a polyptych of roles this time interpreted by characters only apparently different and yet , after a more careful examination, they turn out to be the multifaceted representation of the same personal identity forced to a modern, though alienating, multitasking.

For the second part of her project, Ferratto relies on drawing, already practiced in the past for the development of some video animations and that now the artist uses again as a means of explicit invitation to fight lazy eye. The syndrome evoked in the exhibition title recalls a disorder of sight that can be corrected only with specific exercises which inspired and influenced the drawings of the artist. As in the two previous videos, the artist tries to draw the viewer’s attention to correct the initial false and biased impression caused by any distracted vision. At first sight, the drawings by Ferratto appear to be the close representation of images related by intuitive links, however after a more careful examination (again), we realize that the most evident link lies in the fact that an image is clearly and naturally intended to receive and contain the other. This is the point where the artist’s work triggers the relational and participatory mechanisms, encouraging the viewers, through an emotionally involving recollection of children’s ludic activities, to push the limits of their lazy eye by overlapping the view of the drawings so that one becomes the content of the other.

Responsibility is an effort, the ability to recompose disintegrated fragments is a requirement in order to contribute to build up, with justice and equity, the social architecture, the reductio ad unum (reduction to oneness) here is a synonym for willingness and integration by respecting differences, searching for the supportive other, despite the forces pushing for the separation, despite the erection of any possible dividing wall.

The Gallery Apart – Via Francesco Negri 43, Roma
Opening 13 February 2015 – 11 April 2015