For a good use of ruins.
Curated by Davide Ferri
14 Sep 2017 – 04 Nov 2017
Franco Guerzoni’s first solo show at Monitor, For a good use of ruins, covers a long stretch of the artist’s practice, as it aims to establish a dialogue between the present and the past, so that various moments from Guerzoni’s research could shine a light on each other.
The period explored in the show is marked by a ‘snodo’ or ‘junction’ (to use the artist’s term) whereupon Guerzoni gradually abandoned photography to turn to painting, a medium which he has continued to use over the past three decades.
These years of transition, between the 1970s and 1980s and later following the collaboration with his friend Luigi Ghirri (where Ghirri’s photographic prints were used by the artist as a support upon which he then applied fragments of assorted materials that appeared to belong to the very images which were being scrutinised), are fundamental to grasp certain underlying themes of Guerzoni’s oeuvre today: his attachment to ruins, intended as a monument to a mute and immeasurable time which for the artist could ideally belong to antiquity but also to a closer, autobiographical past made up of ruins of homes and recent archaeologies. Guerzoni’s practice consists of a series of gestures and simple actions – scratching, finding, digging, printing, subtracting, adding, drying, sanding, and ripping – which often preclude the use of a paintbrush, inviting instead the artist to inhabit a seemingly undefined position, always held in check by an image and subordinated by its provocations.
Just as Statues as stones, stones as books are delicate and minimalist drawings of statues and imaginary sites which appear to develop from potsherd, real or forged, placed on their surface, Spies is a series of works in which faces, or even only eyes, blossom in between the cracks of a slab of plaster, traced in charcoal and inspired by ancient paintings.
In his Travel Maps, realised in between the 1970s and 1980s, the movements of colour emerge from the cracks and folds of paper which often acts as a support as it strains, rips and creases.
Finally, Guerzoni’s recent paintings are imposing for their material presence and are ‘almost monochromes,’ surfaces where wounds, lacerations and rays emerge from underlying layers onto a monochrome surface. Each work is an instance of a ripped frescoes, a technique developed by the artist in the 1980s which brings together two key moments in his paintings: a construction, based on a site, as a process for the formation of a support; and a reluctant walk (of a fake restauration) in the memory and the material history of the painting, of deconstruction, subtraction, a kind of intimate and forged archaeology, where a re-emergence of an unexpected fragment in the shape of clay, mosaics or shred (of colour or material) can become the focal point of the whole painting.
Palazzo Sforza Cesarini
via Sforza Cesarini, 43a