Eugenio Espinoza, “Walk in Progress” at San Giuseppe delle Scalze in Pontecorvo, Naples

View of “Walk in Progress” at Chiesa di San Giuseppe delle Scalze a Pontecorvo, Napoli 2017
Courtesy Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Napoli
Photo credit: Danilo Donzelli

 
On  Saturday October 7 2017, a performance by Eugenio Espinoza was presented by Galleria Umberto Di Marino at the church of San Giuseppe delle Scalze in Pontecorvo, Naples. 

The was part of the programme of the gallery which, over the last two years, has started collaborations with other organisations and institutions at both a regional and national level, experimenting with alternative readings of exhibitions held in its own gallery or setting up initiatives designed to explore individual research projects. Site-specific works and performances are designed as occasions in which the public can become immersed in the artistic process and the artists themselves can engage in direct dialogue with the extraordinarily rich historical and social fabric of the city of Naples.

As a foretaste of the artist’s first solo show in Italy, entitled Unlocking something (which opened in the gallery in via Alabardieri on Thursday 12 October), the church of San Giuseppe delle Scalze provided the exceptional setting for Walk in progress, a new performance created specially for the premises. Beginning with an initial reading of the architecture of the nave, the artist goes back to the invention of the grid which Brunelleschi used for his experiments with perspective during the Renaissance and identifies it as the primary structure of action used by mankind on nature. The constant search for balance between order and chaos, geometry and the organic whole, in the history of the conquest of living space, has always involved the rational schema of orthogonal lines. All cities originated, first horizontally and then vertically, with a system of perpendicular lines which have become a paradigm for regulating the conflictual and unpredictable nature of public space.

On this occasion, however, the black and white of the grid was desecrated by visitors who were invited to break the rules and contaminate it with colours, smells and life. Unlike the historic installation Impenetrable (a work of 1972 in which the entrance to a room of the University of Caracas was blocked off from passers-by by the installation), the public was encouraged to walk on the gigantic canvas, soiling it, ripping it, and regaining the freedom to interpret the space through a complete natural gesture.

Eugenio Espinoza’s aim is to distance himself from participatory or playful art. Instead, he wishes to focus on the concepts of affirmation, definition, activation of processes, going beyond his initial denouncement of the exclusivity of the art system in order to restate, with greater conviction, the need to abolish the paradigm because “art cannot exist without freedom.

As a key figure in the Venezuelan art scene for the development of the international debate and the critique of Modernism, Eugenio Espinoza has continued to modify a corpus of works created during the 1970s up to the present day: it is the development of a perspective that is consistent with his own research, marked by a vigilant and critical look at the art system.

 

View of “Walk in Progress” at Chiesa di San Giuseppe delle Scalze a Pontecorvo, Napoli 2017
Courtesy: Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Napoli
Photo: Danilo Donzelli

 

View of “Walk in Progress” performance at Chiesa di San Giuseppe delle Scalze a Pontecorvo, Napoli 2017
Courtesy: Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Napoli
Photo: Danilo Donzelli

 

View of “Walk in Progress” performance at Chiesa di San Giuseppe delle Scalze a Pontecorvo, Napoli 2017
Courtesy: Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Napoli
Photo: Danilo Donzelli

 

Eugenio Espinoza‘s solo exhibition Unlocking Something is on display at Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Napoli, through December 22 2017.