Bruno Querci

A arte Invernizzi
Via D. Scarlatti 12
November 21–January 31

View of “Bruno Querci,” 2017.

Painting light as an energy emanating from form: This is the goal that has guided the creative progress of Bruno Querci for over four decades. That objective that also emerges from this two-story exhibition comprising seminal works from the 1980s as well as great recent works all made for the occasion. Querci’s output, particularly from those earlier years, is presented as an alternative to dominant neo-expressionist trends, focusing instead on scaling back as a means of rediscovering painting’s fundamental aspects, particularly via the elementary, dynamic relationship between black and white.

Ideally contextualized in traditions of treating visual material as pure energy—rooted in the Suprematism of Kazimir Malevich and the black depths of Ad Reinhardt as well as the spatial rips of Lucio Fontana and the luminous articulations of Francesco Lo Savio, Querci renders vision’s essence almost tangible in the light. Hence the title of the exhibition, “Energicoforma,” which hints at the indivisibility of shape from its intrinsic, almost physiological energy. Querci excavates black forms against white grounds—first irregular and later more geometric—or vice versa, as if to represent an infinite realm wherein light is a concrete and generative component of space. Polarizing these two non-colors, he intends not so much to create perceptual illusions of depth and surface, but rather to give his images almost a dense, corporeal form. Light, shape, and energy: These are the primal points of reference guiding the construction and the physical rhythms of his painting, in the alternation of white and black as energy radiating outward intermittently, as if forming interweaving strata.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Francesca Pola

Gerasimos Floratos

Armada
via Privata Don Bartolomeo Grazioli, 73
November 21, 2017–January 20, 2018

View of “Gerasimos Floratos,” 2017.

Gerasimos Floratos, who was born in New York City in 1986 and grew up in an apartment overlooking Times Square, self-assuredly fills the gallery’s space with large-scale paintings and three sculptures, all made with bold and decisive hues, and all vaguely reminiscent of street art. The paintings hint at figuration without coalescing into a linear narrative. Their emotive bodies are alter egos for Floratos, who develops his own personal language and pursues an internal investigation of sorts through the canvases. His research is protean, the bodies he depicts are in transit, and his visual vocabulary consistently seems to expand to include new terms. A careful look at the large paintings’ abstract elements reveals both reflexive understandings of the body, and an almost morphological representation of mental states.

Floratos produced most of the works on view in his grandmother’s former café in Kefalonia, Greece, which he transformed into a studio. While his process does not seem to involve pentimento, it is nonetheless a slow and pensive one. For his first solo show in Italy he has chosen Armada, an artist-run space; wanting fewer ties to canonical gallery rituals, he sought and found here a venue that would let him deploy both generosity and a light touch in allowing us to journey through his mental processes.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Michela Moro

Vlatka Horvat

Renata Fabbri Arte Contemporanea
Via Stoppani 15 C
November 20, 2017–January 20, 2018

Vlatka Horvat, Fixed Holes, 2017, cardboard, felt, adhesive tape, 1 1/4 x 59 x 57".

For her first exhibition in Italy, Croatian artist Vlatka Horvat has installed eleven works across the gallery’s two floors. “Surroundings” pays homage to the horizon, as both a spatial boundary and a goal to which one can aspire, ideologically and physically. The show’s natural path opens with two wooden tables created in 2016, titled Set Right (Table Leg) and Set Right (Tabletop). Reduced to structural skeletons, they boast delicate additions of ribbonlike cardboard, attached with white adhesive tape, as if to conjure missing parts. At Some Length, 2017, is a straight line at eye level, more than twenty-five feet long, composed of knotted rubber bands and cotton threads. Despite its materials’ fragility, the piece evokes the severity of barbed wire. Fixed Holes, 2017, meanwhile, comprises six rings of cardboard overlapping three squares of colored felt with circular punch-outs, the negative space echoing the cardboard loops’ round forms. The ambiguous composition suggests a rudimentary demarcation of territory while also conjuring some sort of lagoon.

Landscapes become concrete in the five photographs in the series “Tree Line,” 2017. Each image depicts the same fir trees reflected in a lake, but the artist’s collage interventions create disturbing filters over the pristine scenes. Elsewhere, Fractions, 2017, presents wooden doorstops arranged in a starburst pattern. And in “End in Sight,” 2017, a series of seven black-and-white photographic collages melding portraiture and landscape, the human figure is always partially truncated, even while the horizon line appears preserved across the fragmented images.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Maria Chiara Valacchi

Massimo Bartolini

Magazzino Roma
Via dei Prefetti, 17
November 29–January 31

Massimo Bartolini, Pensive Bodhisattva (detail), 2017, enamel on galvanized iron, hydraulic motor, electronic control unit, bronze, 98 x 197 x 197".

Massimo Bartolini has a history of interrogating notions of absence and presence—and here he approaches his subjects from different emotional and conceptual angles, such as the longing for a distant lover or the effacement of a writer’s identity. All of his works point to contradictions of the real and how much we invest in and identify with our beliefs.

The two most impressive works in this exhibition mix Asian and European spiritual symbols with a minimalist rationalism. The Cartesian order of Pensive Bodhisattva, 2017, a large-scale iron structure, features an antique Korean statue of a Bodhisattva sitting in meditation that disappears and resurfaces every twenty-five minutes from a central, plinth-like construction. It alludes to those awakened ones who get reincarnated throughout the ages in order to bring back the Buddha’s teachings for the liberation of all sentient beings. Two schools of thought are at play here: the assertion of a thinking, logical mind and “no-mind,” or a state of pure selflessness. This contrast causes Eastern and Western ideas surrounding identity and oneness to collide.

Bartolini’s most touching and profound work, My Seventh Homage: La Montaigne, 2016—four photographic prints retouched with charcoal—depict a flat-topped hill, described by the artist as Golgotha, against a dark, gloomy background. Seen from four different perspectives, this seemingly solid form becomes a void. The missing cross upon which Christ was crucified reveals the illusory nature of religion but provides us with a clear space for the cultivation of a more intimate spirituality inherent to all humans, devoid of icons.

Ida Panicelli

Alan Charlton

Noire Gallery
via Piossasco 29
October 18–February 5

Alan Charlton, 20 Vertical Parts, 1990/2017, 88 1/2 x 14 1/4" each.

This new, multifaceted exhibition of Alan Charlton’s work speaks to the continued vitality and richness of his production. In the late 1960s, the English artist was already pioneering a language of radical abstraction. Since that time, he has adopted gray as the distinctive and sole color in his practice––a color which embraces neutrality in opposition to representation and expression, but whose eminent urban overtones also explicitly connect his paintings to industrial culture.

The large curved wall at the gallery’s entrance offered an opportunity for the artist to stage a new installation of his monumental 1990 work, 20 vertical parts, originally conceived as a “corner painting.” Made up of twenty identical elements, the piece puts forth a dialectic of plurality and unity following a pared-down methodology: Every component has been meticulously painted to achieve the most uniform effect possible. Furthering Charlton’s rejection of gestural expressivity and subjectivity, both the dimensions of the works’ individual elements and their distance from one another are based—as is always the case in his pieces—on a 4.5-centimeter unit: the standard thickness of a stretcher frame in the United Kingdom. These same dimensions guide the other works on view, all created for the show. In the second room, the diptychs in “Light and Dark,” 2017, each have two elements of the same size, one light and one dark, seemingly contradicting and modulating serialism. The show’s final section features Isometric Triangle, 2017, paintings on unstretched canvas, hanging freely on the wall and deliberately arranged nonsequentially.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Francesca Pola

“Paranormal: Tony Oursler vs Gustavo Rol”

Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Via Nizza, 230/103
November 3–February 25

View of “Paranormal: Tony Oursler vs Gustavo Rol,” 2017.

Like the Pied Piper, Tony Oursler leads viewers through an exhibition composed not only of his sculptures and paintings, but also archival material dedicated to the paranormal from his over-15,000-item collection, as well as writings and paintings by artist and psychic Gustavo Rol. He gives form to his knowledge of paranormal worlds drawn both from his recent stay in Turin (a city full of esoterica and Rol’s home) and from his family history: Oursler’s grandfather, Charles Fulton Oursler, was close friends with both Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In this exhibition, Rol is a key point in the face-off between white and black magic. A man who crossed paths with everyone from John F. Kennedy to Queen Elizabeth II, Rol was a clairvoyant and painter who imbued his works with what he called “arrivals from the sky.” Oursler stages new installations, inspired by ex-votos from Turin’s Sanctuary of the Consolata; the dialogue he establishes with Rol is marked by spontaneity and irony, walking the boundary between profound acceptance and detachment, between well-established research and hidden mechanics. What seem to be images of disquieting, small ghosts with lively eyes lurk amid photos of nineteenth-century ectoplasm and documentation of spiritualist séances and hypnotists’ sessions. Video-paintings depict figures who ascend discontinuous stairs or appear like visions in front of a church, and video footage of mouths spouting paranormal rants appear projected on sculpture. Meanwhile Rol’s paintings of bare trees, or roses, seem to await distant spirits. You don’t need to believe in the paranormal to let yourself become involved.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Michela Moro