ANTROPIA – Eduardo Secci Contemporary
Eduardo Secci Contemporary announces its 2nd summer exhibition program in Pietrasanta on Saturday 25 April, with the group show Antropia, curated by Marco Meneguzzo and in collaboration with Studio la Città. The show will feature works by international artists Donald Sultan, Jacob Hashimoto, Mikala Dwyer, and Italian artists Alessandro Brighetti, Massimo Vitali and Roberto Pugliese in an intense dialog over nature and human relation with it.
‘Anthropy’ may be defined as the science of human action on nature. With this premise, we might say that a large part of art is anthropic: it is enough to consider the three traditional major subdivisions of painting – landscape, still life, and figure painting – to understand that at least two-thirds of any image, and indeed of any notion about the image, has to do with the relationship of the image with what we call ‘nature’. One might object that those traditional divisions no longer apply, but in point of fact they return even today in sundry guises, quite simply because the spectrum of the languages of art has broadened and the tools for investigating and relating to nature are greater in number.
This exhibition is a patent example: to what are these six artists speaking – six artists whose end results and formalisations differ so widely – if not this relationship, this ‘action of man on nature’? Certainly, the first ‘action of man on nature’ is his scrutiny of it, and the artist may easily stop at restitution of what he sees; that is, at traditional representation of nature, mimesis. For example, this is exactly what Massimo Vitali’s photographs do: they show how the relationship between man and nature is defined moment by moment, even unconsciously; for example, by his bathers, who are certainly not aware that with their mere presence they are changing the look and perhaps even the sense of nature.
Donald Sultan also appears, by rights and by his own volition, in the roll of artists who have painted nature: he relies on the culture of the image, a culture which has subsided over the course of the centuries but still supports the artist as he paints a bouquet of flowers strong with all the infinite variations on a theme permitted him by the language of art.
And all things considered, Jacob Hashimoto also fits into this category of representation, even though he uses infinitely more ‘mimetic’ materials: his grasses seem to be – or are, it matters little – real blades of grass inserted into the work; as such, they further whittle away at the border area between reality and the reality of the work, between presentation and representation.
Nevertheless, the concept of mimesis of nature may not refer only to imitation of the visible form or to representation of a ‘fixed’ moment, a precise developmental instant of a natural phenomenon, but may go beyond in search of possibilities extending to the concept of ‘becoming’, an essential for any living thing (and the nature we imagine is never the inorganic, which may act at most as background, but always the organic): just as the concept of ‘nature’ – so deeply-rooted in the traditional art forms – has been transformed in the recent languages of art, the concept of mimesis has also changed and reminds us – as did Theodor Adorno in his university lessons – that the meaning of a definition or a term can change over time, and change radically.
With Mikala Dwyer and Alessandro Brighetti, despite the fact that they make use of very different tools, we enter into that branch of expression in which art is still understood as mimesis but in which mimesis concerns not so much the forms of nature – but it does, also, concern them – as its processes. Both, each in a different manner, insert the time factor into their works: in visible form, in Brighetti’s videos, and in conceptual – but real – form in Dwyer, who stages suspended plants, true living organisms which are born, live, die. Both reproduce the natural process, imitating it (Brighetti) or forcing it, highlighting it (Dwyer).
Roberto Pugliese, finally, digs into nature in search of secrets capable of explaining man’s stances and attitudes. Sound is his fil rouge and the artist looks for it where no one would think of finding it – or where no one, through sheer inattentiveness, hears it. Pugliese seems to bend nature to his obsession, an obsession so strong that it succeeds in eliciting a response.
Alessandro Brighetti (Bologna, 1978) lives and works in Bologna. Brighetti’s microcosm gravitates around the synergies between Art and Science, research and its formalisation. After having earned his diploma from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Bologna, Brighetti’s artistic career proceeded quickly as he participated in many contests, exhibitions and events. In 2007, he was a SAMP Award finalist at the Pinacoteca di Bologna and then a Morlotti Award finalist in Imbersago (CO). In 2008, in the suggestive former industrial scenario of Spazio 2bo, he presented an original exhibition project entitled Order without Border. 2012 was the year of his first solo show, at the M.A.R. Museo Arte Città di Ravenna; 2013 instead marked his first solo experience abroad with the exhibition entitled Narchitecture at New York’s Scaramouche Gallery. In the year just past, his artistic personality has shone at national exhibitions, such as Smoother Delight at the Primae Noctis Gallery in Lugano, and at international art fairs.
Donald Sultan (Asheville, North Carolina, 1951) lives and works in New York. Sultan is known internationally for his still lives and landscapes characterised by black abstract forms emerging from brilliantly-coloured backgrounds. His paintings from the Seventies and Eighties instead juxtapose traditional subjects and unusual industrial materials, such as linoleum and masonite. In 1975, Sultan earned his Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has since been awarded two honorary degrees: in 2002, by the New York Academy of Art (NYC) and, in 2007, by the University of North Carolina (Asheville). The museums which have shown his works include the Tate Gallery (London), the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth (TX), the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.).
Jacob Hashimoto (Greeley, Colorado, 1973) lives and works in New York. Since graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996, Hashimoto has shown his work at numerous exhibitions, both collective and solo. His talent is internationally recognised; among his most recent group exhibition appearances are NOW-ISM: Abstraction Today (2014) at The Pizzutti Collection in Columbus, Ohio, and De rerum Natura (2013), curated by Angela Madesani, at Studio la Città in Verona. Solo shows of his works include Gas Giant (2014), curated by Alma Ruiz, at the MoCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, Armada (2013) at Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki and the huge site-specific installation Silence Still Governs Our Consciousness (2010) at MACRO-Museo d’arte Contemporanea di Roma in Rome.
Massimo Vitali (Como, 1944) lives and works in Lucca and Berlin. After completing high school, Vitali moved to London where he studied photography at the London College of Printing. In the early 1960s he began working as a photojournalist and collaborated with many magazines and agencies in Italy and in other European countries. Following changes on the Italian political panorama, he started work on his series of Italian beach panoramas in 1995 as a reflection on Italian daily life, so-called ‘normality’ and conformism. During the last twelve years he has developed a new approach to portraying reality, shedding light on the apotheosis of the masses, expressing himself and commentating, using the most intriguing and palpable form of contemporary art: photography. He has just closed a large-scale exhibition, curated by Angela Madesani, at Verona’s Studio la Città and is currently showing at the Palazzo della Ragione in Milan at the sweeping group photographic exhibition Italia Inside Out. Inside: I fotografi italiani. He has collaborated with important museums and art collections, among which the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Fondazione Sandretto Rebaudengo in Turin and, in Paris, the Centre Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne and the Fondation Cartier.
Mikala Dwyer (Sydney, Australia 1959) lives and works in Sydney. The artist is known for her fantastic ‘playful’ installations, her explorations of matter. She completed a degree in Visual Arts (Sculpture/Sound) at the Sidney College of the Arts in 1983 and, after having studied in 1986 at London’s Middlesex Polytechnic, concluded her studies in 1993 with an MFA in Figurative Arts from the University of New South Wales. Mikala Dwyer’s works have starred at a great number of exhibitions and events; of particular note are the itinerant exhibition Panto Collapsar (2013-2014), which set out from the Project Arts Centre of Dublin, Goldene Bend’er (2013) at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Drawing Down the Moon (2012) at Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art and Divinations for the Real Things (2012) at the Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Sydney.
Roberto Pugliese (Naples, 1982) lives and works in Bologna. Pugliese earned his diploma in Electronic Music at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella (NA) in 2008. His artistic research began with sound and now moves between sound art and kinetic and programmed art. He launched his exhibition career in 2007, when he exhibited at Videoart Yearbook in Bologna. In 2009, he held a solo exhibition entitled Entanglement 2, le decisioni delle particelle at Naples’ Città della Scienza. In 2010, his art began to attract attention and mention abroad and since then, Pugliese has held various solo exhibitions in Italy in other countries, including Unexpected Machines (2011) at the Galerie Mario Mazzoli in Berlin, Ivy Noise (2010) at IED Madrid, Emergenze Acustiche (2013) at the Tenuta dello Scompiglio in Lucca and Concerto per Natura Morta (2014), curated by Valerio Dehò and Olimpio Eberspacher, at MUSE – Museo delle Scienze in Trento.
Eduardo Secci Contemporary – Via P. Eugenio Barsanti 1, Pietrasanta
25 April – 10 June 2015