From 13 to 29 September 2007
Villa Grimaldi, Parco Tigullio, Lavagna, Genoa, Italy
Opening time: 10.00-12.00 and 16.00-18.00
Other unexpected evening openings could be possible, contact Jizaino for informations
The daedalic maze can be considered a metaphor of the human existence: each decision we make is like to turn the corner of the cosmic unknown, of which we know only the dilemmas that we encounter in the places and on the needs of the moment; because the road that we can follow is always only one.
This metaphor of the maze is valid today more than in the past: contemporary mankind faces and challenges the Cosmos with science thinking to be at one step to the victory, but it is like a blind man who makes little steps gropingly, and go forward with repetitive attempts, as much improvident as done by chance.
Surely the will is a good thing: it is the necessary ingredient to evolve, but who is gifted with it does not have to think it is useful only for our human dimension, that is not the universal purpose in the name of which to declare a post-humanist and anthropocentric war against the Cosmos.
Yes, because we’re talking of a war, since to impose oneself means to do it in detriment of something else; and the revenge of the opponent is the consequence. And as it happens in any war, turbulent periods of fighting are succeeding, and of illusion of victory, and of desperation. And soon or later, as in any war, one can win.
This exposition has been lodged at the residence Grimaldi in the Ligurian town of Lavagna (Italy), well known for its beaches. The residence is immersed in the extraordinary silence that can be enjoyed in the shadow of the pine-trees of the Tigullio park, where Thursday 13 September 2007 was held the cocktail-party of the vernissage.
The Tigullio park seen through the infrared camera of Benna
Jizaino has had the pleasure to be the curator of the project in its ideation and the texts.
Dedalo is the name of the mythical Athenian architect father of Icarus, who built the famous labyrinth of Knossos; for this reason his name, in Italian language, becomes a noun and represents what is unsolvable and intricate.
The exhibition wants to probe the sentiments of the human being that tries to give a sense to the cosmic unknown, to shed some light on the dilemmas of the human society and to search for a meaning to his own existence.
The artworks displayed in this occasion are those of the multifaceted Art of Benna
, of the photographer Anna Copello, of the scenographer and property-man Andrea Corbetta, and of the painters Elle
and Davide Loi.
The artists offer very various and distant visions on the topic, thanks also to the vastness of the theme, yet in ultimate analysis the exhibition is coherent, offering an unitary feeling of our reality.
Invitation to the pondering
As it is already stated in the introductory text, surely the will is necessary to evolve, but the humankind withdraws in itself thinking that it serves only to a human still dimension, declaring a post-humanist and anthropocentric war against the Cosmos.
To declare a war is always a vain thing, since everything changes; and if one chooses to dare the Cosmos, then one will have to fight with the change, and so much science becomes useless at every move.
The modern man attacks furiously in the struggle to prevail on the Cosmos, becoming obstinate more and more; in this battle the men enlist themselves in the batteries of the modern scientific research, trying the path of the brute force, of the systematic empiricism, ending up resembling to small and unaware components of abnormal electronic calculators.
The individual must not lose his characterizing qualities: the conscience and the spirituality, from which the ability to understand the Cosmos can spring, and therefore to know how to foresee the future, and above all to accept it.
Because the humankind is nothing but a part of the Cosmos, and to fight against the Cosmos means to fight also against oneself. One could also just remember as the humankind, with its rashness, in a little more of one hundred years, has managed to rage on the environment where it lives too, poisoning the source of its own life.
One have to pose the question if the Good were so important, when it is just for a part of the whole.
Who should win the fight? A part or the whole?
The artists and their artworks
But let us proceed now into the exhibition, and allow the artworks proposed by the artists to evoke to us their vision of Dedalo.
In the first wing of the exhibition we find Anna Copello, that since when he was a child learned the photographic Art from her grandfather Andrea and from her father Aldo. Anna is recently carrying out an anthropological research, with an interest on habit and landscape in various cultures.
There are two selections of photographic prints: one of the two proposes some prints taken from the series "Il sentiero del mondo
" (The path of the world) and it represents situations of poverty; some of these photos have appeared in various exhibitions and publications.
These subjects are pervaded of that disquietude which is a characteristic of the desperation, that is often originated from the lack of horizons caused by the intangible boundaries of the society that trap the being.
I would like to quote some words of the artist: "Eppure... foss'anche questo labirinto il più intimo - il dedalo delle circonvoluzioni del nostro cervello - in esso ci sentiamo stretti: stretti nella nostra condizione, stretti in tutto quanto pure sappiamo ineludibile; e sentiamo - noi che lo sentiamo, quando lo sentiamo - il bisogno di superare i limiti imposti dalla ragione stessa, dalla scienza, dalla tecnica: sentiamo il bisogno di gettare il nostro sguardo, un lembo di noi stessi, oltre l'orizzonte, oltre la superficie delle cose, oltre ciò che già conosciamo, oltre le esperienze già fatte."
(Yet... would this labyrinth be the most intimate - the maze of the convolutions of our brain - in it we feel packed: tightened in our condition, narrow in everything we yet also know as ineluctable; and we feel - we that feel it, when we feel it - the need to get over the limits imposed by the same reason, by the science, by the technique: we feel the need to throw our sight, an strip of ourselves, beyond the horizon, beyond the surface of the things, beyond what we already know, beyond the experiences one already had.)
The second selection proposes some experimental works entitled for the occasion "Il mondo di Dedalo
" (The world of Dedalo), of which we can see an example to the side.
In the next section we find the assemblages of Arte Povera by Andrea Corbetta.
Among the various artworks there is an enormous gecko that is grasped to the wall, still, as a bundle of bionic fibres ready to jerk and to attack the prey.
These are some of the mechanical beasts of the series "Mechanimals
They are like simulacra of a Nature extinct by now, robotic golems, motionless but ready to animate.
The cloning, the genetics, the robotics and all the sciences in the vanguard are today the point of ethical dilemmas, that are present however for a long time since the most ancient mythology.
What does drive us to give life to new creatures? In order to use them? Or perhaps to leave them to destroy us?
Continuing the visit we encounter some artworks of Benna
realized with different techniques, as one could expect from the eclectic Artist.
The work that firstly attracts the attention is an audio installation to be listened, in a distorted way, through an old telephone handset. It is entitled "Evergreen
"; here follows a brief excerpt from the descriptive text:
"Una terra originaria, preistorica, culla della nostra civiltà. Un mondo primitivo e lussureggiante in cui si ode un canto anacronistico, come fosse un'antica cantilena di cui non si conosce più il senso."
(A native earth, prehistoric, cradle of our civilization. A primitive and luxuriant world in which an anachronistic singing is heard, as if it was an ancient sing-song which sense is not known any more.)
"Evergreen" speaks (or perhaps we could say that it sings) about a frail humankind, that disperses like a singing in the atmosphere of an evergreen planet.
Just beside we find an oil painting on canvas entitled "Magic mirror
" where it is depicted a skyscraper of glass on which the face of an old man is reflected.
Relating the title of the painting with the sad face imprisoned in the surface, we can clearly deduce the reference to the renown genius of the fables, who in this case desolately stares at us.
The meaning of the artwork is well exposed in the relative description: "Lo specchio magico è quell'oracolo che dovrebbe dare una risposta ai nostri dilemmi, alle nostre incertezze; in esso è imprigionato quel genio che tutto sa e tutto vede.
Nell'opera di Benna il genio è imprigionato nella superficie specchiante di un moderno grattacielo; come Dedalo, che venne imprigionato in una torre. Il grattacielo rappresenta la presunzione umana, come fosse una moderna Torre di Babele.
Questo genio però ha un'espressione conclamata nelle rughe del rammarico, e tacendo sembra trasmetterci l'unico oracolo possibile per chi cerca soluzioni nella Torre di Babele: non ci sono più risposte."
(The magic mirror is that oracle that should give an answer to our dilemmas, to our uncertainties; in it that genius, who knows everything and sees everything, is imprisoned.
In the artwork of Benna the genius is imprisoned inside the reflecting surface of a modern skyscraper; like Dedalo, who was imprisoned in a tower. The skyscraper represents the human presumption, as if it was a modern Tower of Babel.
However this genius has an expression that becomes evident for the wrinkles of the regret, and with his silence seems to transmit to us the only possible oracle for who is looking for solutions in the Tower of Babel: there are no more answers.)
Then we encounter three large photographic elaborations belonging to the series entitled "Food patterns
"; in them some very common fruits are represented: an apple, a banana and a kiwifruit, that however after a closer examination they reveal to be constituted by a dense weft of coloured small dots, apart the label over them (see the detail in the picture at the side). Moreover on each artwork a bar code is applied, which contains some statistic data of the fruit in question.
"Benna in quest'opera, come in altre dedicate all'alimentazione, analizza la valenza dell'immagine come simulacro del cibo.
In generale il confezionamento e l'etichetta oggi spesso sostituiscono il contatto con la fisicità dell'alimento, il quale perde il suo valore complessivo di fonte di sostentamento e di connessione spirituale con il Cosmo; esso acquisisce invece altri valori: tipologia, contenuti vitaminici, calorie, ingredienti, valori commerciali e valori di status symbol ('food symbol'); il concetto di alimento viene scomposto in una galassia di particelle, rimanendo integro solo nell’estetica promozionale, nell’immagine.
Nella sua immagine il cibo diventa modello: non più mele, banane o kiwi, ma ideale di mela, ideale di banana e ideale di kiwi; si conforma un'ortodossia dell'immagine che sovrasta ed annulla qualsiasi realtà non conforme."
(Benna in this artwork, as in other ones dedicated to the nutrition, analyses the value of the image as simulacrum of food.
In general the packaging and the label today often replace the contact with the physical matter of the aliment, which loses its general value of source of livelihood and spiritual connection with the Cosmos; instead it acquires other values: typology, contained vitamins, calories, ingredients, commercial values and values of status-symbol ('food symbol'); the concept of food is decomposed in a galaxy of particles, remaining entire only in the aesthetics of the marketing, in the image.
In its image the food becomes model: no more apples, bananas or kiwifruits, but ideal of apple, ideal of banana and ideal of kiwifruit; an orthodoxy of the image takes form, overhanging and nullifying any unconformable reality whatsoever.)
Finally there is the polyptych of photographic elaborations entitled "Decrypted signs
", which you can find with a full critique, in the related file card
(artwork included in the room I
of the Collection) and also in the page of the artworks by Benna
The artworks by Elle
are arranged in a route that unfolds in five parts that express the progressive sublimation of the mental degeneration.
The polyptych route is composed by four paintings, in mixed technique as it is used by the Artist, realized on canvas and a small stele realized with an ancient piece of wood.
The titles, ordered following the established route, are: "Degenerazione (paranoia)
", "Ricerca (xyz)
", "Scoperta (chiodo fisso)
", "Evoluzione (choreus)
" ed "Evoluzione (ritorno a casa)
", ("Degeneration (paranoia)", "Research (xyz)", "Discovery (fixed idea), "Evolution (choreus)" and "Evolution (return to home)").
Elle describes to us the use she makes of visually decayed, spoilt and ancient materials, saying that "the decaying is always present in her artworks, as to remind the frailty of every living thing and that, however, it will remain to the posterity as experience"; in the picture below there is a detail that shows the use of these materials.
We can find some hints in order to interpret the displayed artworks, in the following excerpt taken from the introduction by the Artist:
"Il trasformare la natura, plasmarla a nostro piacimento, ci rende più vicini a un essere superiore, ci porta ad esigere sempre di più, sino a voler arrivare a tutti costi all'immortalità.
In mezzo al caos, alla paura, all'individualismo, si erge, comunque, la vera forza dell'uomo: la speranza nel riuscire a sconfiggere o comunque a combattere con la propria intelligenza le malattie, le sofferenze che prendono forma di patologie fisiche e mentali, drammi presenti nella nostra società e che nessuno di noi si augura di incontrare sulla propria strada."
(Our transforming of the nature, the moulding of it as we please, makes us more similar to a superior being, it leads us to demand ever more, till to the aim to reach at any cost the immortality.
In the middle of the chaos, of the fear, of the individualism, it is rising, however, the true strength of the man: the hope to succeed in defeating or anyway to fight the illnesses with his own intelligence, the sufferings that take form of physical and mental pathologies, dramas that are present in our society and that none of us hopes to meet on his own way.)
For further in-depths on the artwork by Elle you can visit her personal page
We arrive finally to the room dedicated to Davide Loi, an Artist born in Turin, and active since some years in Liguria.
Loi stands out for the great painting skill, due to the study of the great classical Masters, particularly the Flemish school.
But his paintings go beyond the technique: they show a particular intellectual sensibility, that is expressed through subjects supported by complementary hints that invite us to search for the hidden meanings of his works. The artworks by Loi are simple enigmatic situations that when they are revealed, they become pearls that are as small as amazing.
Loi have proposed to Dedalo the following artworks, all realized in oil on canvas of medium and large sizes: Noche, quiero decirte una cosa
" ("Night, i would say to you one thing"), "Concreta ipotesi di gioia
" (Real hypothesis of joy), "Incertezza assoluta
" (absolute uncertainty), the triptych "Rain
" and "Una goccia di splendore
" (A drop of splendour).
These artworks offer an estranging vision of the daily normality that is invaded by metaphysical symbols, that are tangible thoughts extracted by the meander of the psyche.
Loi after the artistic high school has begun to work as restorer at the studio of Alina Pastorini.
Successively he has collaborated with the scenographer Angelo Cucchi for several theatrical events and expositions in Turin. Besides the activity of painter he is also devoted to graphics and illustration, and he has realized drawings for the publishing of didactic books for children.
Obviously the exposition is way bigger than what is shown in these pictures; this article is not meant as a general catalogue of the exposition, first of all because it is always better to see the artworks in the reality.
Who had missed this show shall still have the chance to it in other occasions that will be announced in the future; to receive information inherent it you can contact us at the contacts page
The event has been an interesting occasion of meeting and comparison between the artists and the numerous visitors, either during the inauguration and all the duration of the exposition. In fact it has been established a two-way relationship with the public: an empty canvas has been set in the atrium of the exposition, where the visitors have been able to draw or to write freely expressing themselves.
To put a worthy ending to Dedalo, it has been organized a finissage in the evening of the last day of exposition. To the participants it has been offered a dinner party, and among the various courses there was also a remarkable and exotic sushi pleasantly prepared by Benna, who personally delights also with this Art. At the end the evening has been gladden by a live exhibition of a violinist, of whom at the moment is not possible to reveal the identity.
Continuing to incite those who have visited the exhibition to send their own comments also through e-mail, i give you regards and thanks from the whole group of Dedalo.
Different maki kinds of the delicious sushi prepared by Benna
Video of the exhibition and interviews
contribution by Jizaino, 3 December 2007
A summary view, for who had not the chance to visit the exhibition personally, to which are following the interviews of the artists Elle
and Davide Loi by Francesca Marini (resume of nearly 15 minutes, in Italian language).