Gianni Caravaggio, 2009, Installationview
Installationview Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia.
© Sies + Höke 2009
Gianni Caravaggio: Out of Darkness into Night
Opening: Friday, 16 April 7-10 p.m.
Sies + Höke is presenting for the first time in Germany a solo exhibition of work by Gianni Caravaggio, who was born in 1968 and lives in Milan. Eight sculptural installations will be shown, standing in a dynamic relationship to one another and also to the spaces in which they are exhibited.
The exhibition receives the visitor with the work Attendere un mondo nuove (Expecting a New World): a staff made of aluminium pipes points with its tip through a hole in the window pane to the sky, while its other end leads to a mixture of flour, plaster and plant shoots on the ground. When it rains, the pipes conduct the water from outside into the space where, in the hard lump, a 'new world' arises. Before the stairs down into the basement, the artist has placed the work Get Out of My Light (the Truth), a stone whose one half consists of white marble and the other half of dark-grey marble. The stone is aligned in such a way with the incident light that the sharply offset dark half of marble lies exactly along the edge of light in shadow.
For Caravaggio, artistic creation is combined with philosophical thoughts. Art works are transmitters for creative demiurgic processes in which both the artist and the viewer are equally involved. In the Platonic sense, the Demiurge is both a craftsman and a mediator who enables the transfer between the sensuous and the intellectual world. Indeed, Caravaggio's paradoxical combinations of materials - bronze with chocolate, marble with sugar or plant sprouts - ignite the intellect only via sensuous experience. For Device to Create Space, the artist rubbed the plaster on the gallery wall with a block of marble covered with sandpaper, allowing it to fall onto a marble slab. Whereas the surface of the slab gains in atmospheric depth through the pulverized coating, the block of marble laid to one side is a reminder of the always repeatable action. Beginning with Witness consists at the centre of a compact heap of hard balls made of various materials and sizes placed on a silver-coated bronze plate whose form resembles a hand with which the artist throws the balls into the room. Indeed, the impressions on the surrounding walls provide evidence of the preceding action and make it seem as if the balls previously had circled through the space like planets in orbit. The action (beginning) is opposed by a black marble sculpture whose massive body seems to have been perforated by the balls. Its status as a witness seems to consist more in absorbing and storing energy rather than radiating it. Verso l'eternità, too, consists of two parts: the corner broken out of a block of Styrofoam, whose fragments have been cast into metal and preserved for eternity. Put back together to form a complete corner, it is placed in a completely different position from the more transient block to which it belongs.
Caravaggio's process-oriented installations react to the labyrinthine floor-plan of the gallery that can be walked through on several levels on which also the differing atmospheres of the rooms become perceptible: from the display-window space, through the gallery with its sweeping balustrade and the cabinet-like basement, to the upper storey with classical proportions. Lucio Fontana once pierced his canvases with cuts and perforations and in this way reflected the relations between gesture, physical space and imagined space. In reference to his Concetto Spaziale, Caravaggio engages with the idea of space which goes beyond purely physical presence and is formed by the power of imagination. His works repeatedly circle around the question concerning the artistic process, temporal becoming and imagined possibility.
Written by Carla Orthen
Translated from the German by Dr Michael Eldred, artefact text & translation, Cologne