Cripta747 is thrilled to present researches and works developed in Studio by the artists Matthew Galloway, Lorenzo Monnini and Sara Ravelli during their stay in Turin on July.
THE FUTURES AS DISRUPTIONS1text by Akessandra Franetovich
The place used as artist's studio represents a defined space, nonetheless movable, circumscribed by a practice which concerns and investigates, if not the change, at least the alteration of forms and contents. From the viewpoint of a mobile society, hanging in the balance between the local context and the global, the artist's studio ceases to be only a room in a certain building located in a specific place, be it in the city center, in the suburb or isolated in the middle of thenature. It can assume several spatial coordinates and a divergent time value because it can become the core of an experience in which our personal horizons are questioned by facing something new. The artist's atelier can symbolise a particular polarity, a format, a model, an understandable concept for an ever-changing reality, from where it is possible to experience the width of a world otherwise constricted by the logics of capitalism and globalisation. Old, but not obsolete terms.
Matthew Galloway, in his second month of residency, presents the extended and final version of The Factory & its Memories, project inspired by the Turin-based Nebiolo's former factory, settled close to Cripta747. He has added three new works – a series of Starting from this reference Galloway has desumed the set up of the exhibition ideally organised following the four phases of the evolution of the relationship between mankind and industriousness theorised by the philosopher and media critic: hands, tool, machine and robot. The works are displayed by the artist without imposing an univocal, linear interpretation to the viewer, but they stand as crystallised thoughts transforming the background information of Galloway's research into visual forms. While the memories of the Nebiolo factory emerge, as the typefaces, this specific industry is thus interpreted as an example of a pattern in the history of the contemporary humankind that is the Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen, quoting the philosopher Günther Anders. Peculiar of Galloway's production is the the collecting process, that aim at gather information in order to create the whole visual apparatus, which lead the artist also in the realisation of a publication made of his reflections, the memory of a worker of the factory, an interview to Archivio Tipografico and, finally, The Factory. On the fanzine there are the same graphic signs recurring on the poster and on the flag, visual summaries of Flusser's theory reinterpreted by the artist.
If the centrality of the relationship between humankind and object is the core of the artistic researches - and so of the art-historical ones – the interpretation of the object-artwork, understood as a trace which preserves and alludes to a complex set of narratives and different temporalities, is peculiar of present time. In balance between its (often past) cultural significance and its ability to make possible future scenarios present, the artwork is a sort of synthesis of various eras. Between archaeology, post-history and utopian perspectives, Sara Ravelli's sculptures reinterpret a precise shape i.e. the spear, a weapon used since the Stone Age that still influences our daily lives in the form of gates and railings. Disguised as - presumably - harmless objects of our daily urban landscape, railings reaffirm themselves once again as demarcations placed to emphasise the separation between private and public area, and they still represent a symbol of violence and power. Ravelli overturns this cultural charge; she transmutes iron (or stone) into wax and liquefies the rigid shape of the handle making that object inoffensive, functionless, declaring its belonging to the artistic field. Nevertheless, the supposed domestication of the items is denounced by the material used by the artist, soy wax. With its milky colour and its technical features, this material lend to the pieces a sense of fragility and liquidity that is capable of transfiguring it into a work in progress. Elusive, despite being steady. Finally, it discloses to an open re-reading of the artwork, which let the viewer free to explore its possible interpretations. The orientation of the arrowheads exemplify the multiplicity of directions, as well as the incoherence of the possible narratives connected to these fragments.
The sense of composed stratification that unites figures, forms and colourscharacterises Lorenzo Monnini's paintings., together with the reflection on the relation between the canvas and the surrounding space, wether exhibition or domestic one. In the series of works realised in residency, the canvas expanded swallowing a certain degree of three-dimensionality, given by matchings of colours as well as by the inserts applied, such as the pieces of rope, which recall traditional elements of the architecture, like arches and staircases. To each layer of the composition, elements of interruption are added to blur the geography of the pictorial surface suggesting irrational, incoherent and imaginary perspectives. These combinations open-up to an interpretation of space which dialogues with the imaginative possibilities of the medium itself.In painting, the ambiguity and fugacity of the present are fossilised in a timeless vision in which the artist, acting by means, choses a traditional practice without fear of appearing inadequate to the technological and digital development and to its pervasiveness in contemporary art.
The relationship with the possibilities of painting is also exemplified by the palette of the colours and their slow and meticolous stratification, that give life to geometric and real shapes, some of which seem to recall specific characteristics of the studio itself, connoting the experience of artistic production in a precise, but still fleeting, time and place.
 The title of the text recalls, with a change, the one invented and used by Fredric Jameson for the 13th chapter of his volume Archaeologies of the Future (London, New York: Verso, 2005).
Matthew Galloway (New Zealand, 1985, lives and works in Dunedin).Galloway's research at Cripta747 is focused on the defunct Nebiolo Type Foundry. Located only 800 m. away from the Cripta747 Studio, and now operating as a local government office, the semi-derelict Nebiolo factory acts as an artefact of the industrial miracle of mid-20th Century Italy. The company’s abrupt closure in 1978 due to an inability to adapt to new printing technologies also acts as a cautionary tale of what becomes of the outmoded factory. Every factory leaves some sort of legacy of production, and in the case of Nebiolo, it is the typefaces produced by its creative studio. These typefaces act as a visual language for the social and political climate in which they were created, while also being open to new contexts and connotations as they continue to be used by designers today in digital forms. In his practice the artist uses the tools and methodologies of design to investigate issues of identity, understanding of place, and the political implications of both. From this starting point, he has collaborated with local typographers, archivists, former Nebiolo employees and academics to make a publication of writing, research and interviews titled ‘The Factory & it’s Memories’ which includes contributions by the artist, ex-Nebiolo worker Gaetano Donato, Archivio Tipografico, and a re-print of philosopher Vilèm Flusser’s essay The Factory which appears courtesy of Reaktion Books, London.
Lorenzo Monnini (Italy, 1990. Lives and works between Milan and London).Through his paintings and installation Monnini explores ideas such as the syntax of objects, the modernist movement, and the exhibition space. He is interested in the language of architecture, and the representation of reality through the lens of metaphysical thinking, in the manifestation of ideas through optical canons and visual iconographies. The artist would like to question and understand how we define and shape our public and private environments through these iconographies. In order to make work, Monnini looks into hierarchies among the objects that compose this landscape, for example the status of a painting in comparison to that of a chair, or the different ways in which the fabric of a city has evolved and the political reasons behind it. Through his paintings he tries to reconfigure the visual material that results from this research in a non-sequential way, adopting a “concrete”, sculptural approach to pictorial language, replacing the original structure with free forming constructions, ‘poetic’ associations of crafted, assorted materials, repurposed imageries, and textural experimentations. This deconstruction of the textual fabric of reality, allows him to distill cultural references and complex visual statements into simple objects. Through his work, the artist is referencing traditional making techniques such as the “stiacciato”, but he is also thinking about the way several different materials, with different densities, opacity, colours, consistencies sit one next to the other in the contemporary landscape – often simultaneously within the same object, and sometimes in a deceptive, or illusionary form.
Sara Ravelli (Italy, 1993. Lives and works between Milan and Geneva)Ravelli's imagery landscape has been related for many years to the photographic medium and its qualities. The artist always tried to build an elsewhere through her work, spanning from a topic and focusing on photography itself as a language. She didn’t produce any photographs but she appropriated existing images and built a personal archive of depictions of objects that could be enjoyed just in pictures, objects that don’t actually exist in reality. Lately she's attending archeological museums in order to examine the dimension of the discovery and she is wondering about the aspect of a future evidence coming from our present. Archeologists use discovery processes – for example georadar and infrared – to be able to find ancient objects and buildings underground and underwater. These means show the found objects as images and let them be seen and available even though they are tangibly unattainable. Archeology led the artist to think about preservation: when an object breaks, it loses its functionality. It becomes a proper object, the matter shows itself and its properties.The formal consequence of this consideration in her work has been an occasion to deeply ponder the three-dimensional: always starting with photography she landed to a more sculptural language. During the residency Sara Ravelli has gone on with her research, experiencing new various materials and their expressive possibilities. She has investigate how sculpture and photography are strictly connected, to focus on the "freezing" power of sculpture, to analyze the act of break and the further loss of usefulness.
The researches of the artists in Studio on July are accompanied by a critical focus by Alessandra Franetovich, art historian and independent curator who lives between Germany and Italy. She is currently a PhD candidate in Art History at University of Florence. Her dissertation research addresses the concept of the archive as a device to artistic self-institutionalisation, and investigates the role of archival practices in the construction of Russian contemporary art, through the case study of the Archive of Moscow Conceptualism owned by the artist Vadim Zakharov. She has led lectures, seminars, and conferences on her research in several European countries. As a curatorial assistant, she works with museums, art institutions, and galleries in Italy. As an independent curator, she has curated exhibitions and collaborated with art galleries, non-profit spaces, and festivals. She published articles and essays on art magazines, last ones on e-flux and middleplane.
Cripta747 would like to thanks the Nicholas Berwin Charitable Trust for the support of Lorenzo Monnini's residency, Archivio Tipografico, Il Letterista and Gaetano Donato for their precious collaboration with Matthew Galloway.