Galleria Anna Marra is pleased to present the exhibition “Invisibili", curated by Donatella Mezzotero. The group show brings together five gallery artists, Veronica Botticelli, Claudia Peill, Perino & Vele, Daniel Rich and Chiara Valentini, tracing a common thread that picks some of the key issues addressed in the exhibitions of last years.
Focusing on the figure of the contemporary human being, the exhibition develops along a path that tells the humans, offering the viewer some food for thought on key issues related to our society. From the most intimate and familiar aspects, to the typical alienation of the big metropolises. From the uniqueness of the individual to the collective consciousness. Each of the artists exposes different points of view to tell humanity.
The spectator is welcomed by the interactive environmental installation “Presenze" by Chiara Valentini. The work is composed of a group of scarecrows that the artist has created as part of the "Passaggi" project, promoted by the McZee Cultural Association, in collaboration with CRI Italian Red Cross - Macerata committee, and with the sponsorship of ICOM Italy. Collaborating with the asylum seekers hosted by the CRI, Chiara Valentini built a dozen scarecrows, puppets with human features used by farmers since ancient times to scare and keep birds away, thus preserving the harvest. The face of each of them is the self-portrait of one of the guys who have joined the relational art project, introducing a trace of personality and vital energy into anonymous and inert mannequins. The scarecrow, in this choral work, becomes the representation of people suffering prejudice, which is offered to the viewer with the hope that it overcomes the initial fear towards these enigmatic figures. In fact, only by approaching the scarecrows it will be possible to hear the voices, activated by an electronic system that makes the work sensitive to the movements of the surrounding users.
The works by Daniel Rich continue the exhibition, portraying buildings and exteriors in a detailed and meticulous way. Although lacking in human presence, Rich's artistic research is focused on individual. In fact, the artist investigates how architecture and urban space are an expression of the way we live and of the different political and social structures. In a labor-intensive process, Rich works from Google images, newspapers, and photographs, translating them into paintings with hand-cut stencils, hundreds of colors, paintbrushes, and a squeegee to create smooth surfaces. The result is a lively and brilliant composition, which however tells of an alienating world, which incorporates man rather than welcoming him. Structures and buildings chase each other and crowd the streets in a suffocating way, the cities become unnatural beehives characterized by a horror vacui that leaves no room for human being. Contrary to this vision are the works by Veronica Botticelli and Claudia Peill, which instead show more intimate settings centered on the individual's uniqueness. Veronica Botticelli picture is gentle and melancholic, made of personal experiences, familiar and domestic objects immersed in dreamlike, evanescent and abstract backgrounds: Botticelli repeats endless series of sofa, bicycles and sewing machines, as if they were fetishes of memory, and thus make them real archetypes capable of awakening the memories of the spectator. Each of the objects portrayed appears suspended in time, as well as in space, and seems to be waiting for getting again into motion, to “come back to life”. A temporary quiet that makes the human presence perceive through a kind of evocation, without ever representing it directly.
Claudia Peill, who blends photography and painting into a constant perceptive deception in her works, presents a work from the series dedicated to the Portico of Ottavia, a monumental complex of ancient Rome. Characteristic of Peill's research is the juxtaposition of abstract chromatic backgrounds to photographs of architectural elements, also rendered unreal by the manipulation in postproduction of images. In this way a known and habitual place becomes unusual, and the viewer is caught by contrasting and perturbing sensations that keep him in the balance between a sense of familiarity and strangeness at the same time.
The exhibition ends with papier-mâché sculptures by Perino & Vele. Two series are featured: Kubark and Elpìs. Kubarkbag looks like a bag containing untidy sheets. The reference is to the Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation, a practical manual aimed at CIA agents that illustrates interrogation techniques in the military sphere. Top secret until 1997, the text describes in detail the coercive methods to obtain information from prisoners. The pages of the Kubark, metaphorically illegible through the maceration process of papier-mâché, and reduced to leaflets ready for distribution, become the symbol of the affirmation of personal freedom, of the victory of democracy over violence. In the Elpìs series, the papier-mâché is no longer used as a destructive technique, which crushes materially the newspapers and metaphorically the everyday news, but as a material that instead aims to disclose the hope of a better future. The term "elpìs" derives from the classical Greek and literally means "hope". The series is inspired by the myth of Pandora and is composed of papier-mâché sheets stacked in large amphorae. The social denunciation is always present, but mitigated in more reassuring and colorful forms of sincere optimism.
Cover image: Chiara Valentini, Presenze (2019)