MAYBE THERE IS A BEAST... MAYBE IT'S ONLY US.
14 December 2016 - 4 February 2017
MAYBE THERE IS A BEAST...
MAYBE IT'S ONLY US.
14 December 2016 - 4 February 2017
Opening: Wednesday 14 December, from 7 pm
The artist will be present
Via Enrico Nöe 23 – Milan
from Tuesday to Friday / from 3 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Saturday from 11.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Also by appointment
RIBOT is pleased to present a solo show by Lorenza Boisi (Milan, 1972): a selection of recent works, oils on canvas and ceramic sculptures, made by the artist specifically for the exhibition.
The title, “Maybe there is a beast… Maybe it’s only us” alludes to a crucial moment in the famous novel by William Golding The Lord of the Flies. In Simon’s remark, the prophesy of Shim’on (he who listens), the shy, inspired, soothsaying boy tries to give both a logical explanation and an interpretation of the possible existence of the “beast” that menaces the survival of the group.
A beast that might exist or not… that could be within the boys themselves: the projection of their dark side, a physical or imaginary embodiment of their fears, their ancestral need to reify the Unknown, and their Loneliness. Times being what they are, Lorenza Boisi hints at a world that is the very home and body of Apprehension. A personal, extensive, social and historical apprehension that is metaphorically close to Golding’s novel.
The paintings on show tell of the almost sociological possibilities of one or more existential figures, the artist’s alter egos, and narrate, through the use of synecdoche, her universe and its incurable partiality, its subjectivity and, by extension, much more.
The ceramics, sculptures, and installations contain an aesthetic reference to her questioning of the media, of known techniques that the artist keeps her distance from, and the works generate a small segment of life, an indistinct place, by attributing a historical meaning to that vague territory that is tale-spinning memory.
A place of abandonment and desertions, of transits as adolescence. A place of mystification and of undecipherable moral qualities in face of the arrival of irrationality. A generic and/or highly personal place/time where there remains the mystery of the precise nature of narrative aims and dynamics.
Precisely here where the Beast is to be found or not to be found or We, above all, are the Beast.
DI AMICI, DI UOMINI E DI PONTORMO
19 may - 16 july 2021
DI AMICI, DI UOMINI E DI PONTORMO
essay by Damiano Gullì
19 May - 16 July 2021
Exhibition Opening on Wednesday 19 May from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The artist will be present
RIBOT - arte contemporanea
Via Enrico Nöe 23 – Milano
Opening hours: from Monday to Friday / from 3 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Saturday by appointment only
“In one of the corners where the Four Evangelists are, naked with books in hand, it does not seem to me , in any place, to see either historical order or measure or time [...]: but it is full of all naked things”.
Thus Giorgio Vasari in his The Lives of the Great Architects – the second edition of which, enlarged and revised with respect to the first edition of 1550, dates from 1568 – with regard to the series of frescoes by Jacopo Carrucci, aka Pontormo, for the church of San Lorenzo in Florence, now lost. Pontormo also spoke of that series in his Diary, written during the last three years of his life and left incomplete when he died on 31 December 1556: a precious autographic source for knowing many aspects of the personality of this difficult, hypochondriac, saturnine, and arrogant artist, one who was perennially unsatisfied with his own work, “melancholy and solitary” from his youth, as ever according to Vasari. An extraordinary precocious talent , misunderstood in his maturity – for his audacious and unreal use of perspective, unnatural gestures, artificial draping of the figures – who was only rediscovered in the early years of the twentieth century.
Pontormo greatly fascinates Corrado Levi who, when interpreting the work does so in a psychoanalytical manner, and who – so the anecdote goes – gave a reading of the diary while standing during a 1968-like students’ protest and for this was awarded with a professorship at the Milan polytechnic by Paolo Portoghesi, at the time the head of the architectural faculty who had been intrigued by this episode.
In the journeys and meetings of Levi we find all the uneasiness of living and thinking that we find in Pontormo. And Pontormo is redrawn and reproduced by Levi in Undici volte col Pontormo (1982): a “multiplied” original, crossed by brushstrokes of different colours to cover the genitals, a sneer against the nudity that Vasari so insisted on. Corrado Levi undertakes an operation that at times has a Pop Art matrix, a process of development of the same themes and schemes – recurrent in his work – aimed at highlighting repetition through the difference. In 1987 Levi returned once more to the silhouette of Pontormo’s drawing, making it abstract, stylising it and adding a mirror to the right foot to give life to an amused Ce l’ho in un piede, a kind of “Modulor-desurrealising” of Le Corbusier.
Corrado Levi – for Beppe Finessi the “transversal master” – works in an interstitial dimension, the passage and sliding between disciplines and techniques. He has stated, “To be a painter, architect, and writer means diverse disciplines that ask for dedication and fatigue, however they have the same mental methodology. When you pass from one discipline to another, with different techniques and in different ways, it happens that you learn something about yourself and about things. You become aware of the specific modalities of each discipline”. Animated by the will to develop an art through contaminations and receptiveness to non-artistic experiences. Levi pinpoints and redevelops everyday and banal elements on which he acts with small gestures, loading them with a new meaning, without giving up lightness and irony, and with a constant allusion to the personal sphere and his own experience.
The solo show at the RIBOT gallery, Milan, concentrates on a body of works made by Levi between 1982 and 1986, crucial years studded with journeys, meetings, and fundamental shows. Among the main shows for Levi in these years: La Spezia, New York, and Milan. In La Spezia, from 1982 to 1983, Levi was the assistant to Mario Schifano who lived in Ansedonia, and who was to say of him “Habemus Pinctor” – a definition used for the title of the canvas by Levi dating from 1982 – instilling in him a “frenetic wish to paint”. Between 1983 and 1984 Corrado Levi was in New York, one of those places that “change your life”, the crossroads of unrepeatable artistic, philosophical, and aesthetic experiences. He returned to Milan in 1985 where he began to curate some shows in his studio and in cultural associations, amongst which the seminal Il Cangiante of 1986 at PAC, an idiosyncratic picture of the contemporary art scene.
For Levi the male body is central. A body that is often paradoxically invisible, evoked by its absence. In the large-scale acrylics on canvas Tracce di nudi and Serie Autunno (1982) – flowing with a suffused and diffused, delicate, and poetic eroticism - the body is translated into speedy and clotted marks and in rapid and nervous gestures, with a fluid slide of the figuration into abstraction, under the aegis of his ideal tutelary protectors Jean Cocteau, Filippo de Pisis, and Osvaldo Licini, as well as Schifano (Levi has written of him; “I admired his dripping of paint, his burring of the painting just done, and his indifference to preciousness”). From the canvases there bloom traces and fragments of everyday life, the bodies of friends, loves, and fellow travellers, whose evanescence induces us to question ourselves about the idea of the body and its perception.
Such an abstraction of marks is to be seen again in A Roberto (1983), a spray on canvas that is probably in debt to Levi’s near
ess to graffiti and the vivacity of the East Village cultural scene (“I poisoned myself with sprays” Levi has said about the years he spent in New York).
The Uomini di Corrado Levi, a site-specific intervention made in 1985 in the former Brown Boveri firm, are a phantasmal presence. Levi, through the simple addition of the writing “di Corrado Levi” on the door of the men’s toilet, plays with the idea of the artist’s signature and completes the gesture of appropriation, suspended between desire and humour.
A body that is only hinted at – even malicious and suggestive, ingenuously sensual and brazen – is the one photographed in Radio Amico (1986), the poses of which seem to echo many of the nudes and torsions of Pontormo, as do Levi’s inks on paper Operai in riposo and Eroe seduto del 1948. The radio is another recurrent element, just think of 5 Philips accese (1986). Here the human figure disappears to leave space for five radios switched on at the same time, subtracted from everyday life in order to become an acoustic interweaving of unexpected harmonies and cacophony derived from the continuous superimposition of sounds, words, and music. A metaphor for the complexity. Variety, and fertile mixture/confusion of languages and visions sparked off by the union of diversity. That diversity – “a political fact” – is exalted by Levi in all his art and life. It is not by chance that Arte come differenza, Art as Difference, was the title of the preceding solo show by Levi in 2017 at the RIBOT gallery. Because difference is riches and, like art – “the bearer of bets” and not “the bearer of truth” – is also a gamble. And this is confirmed today as one of the main teachings of Corrado Levi.
Corrado Levi is an architect, artist, intellectual, cultural agitator, critic, curator, and collector. Born in Turin, Levi lives and works in Milan. During the Nazi-Fascist period he was hidden for racial reasons by Felice Casorati, one of his pupils at the Accademia Albertina in Turin. A student of Carlo Mollino and Franco Albini, he was later professor of architectural composition of the Milan polytechnic where, to his courses, he invited such highly different personalities as Richard Long, Alighiero Boetti, Rammellzee, Ringo, and Nicola Guiducci. From the 1980s Levi began to curate various shows hosted in his studio in Milan and in such cultural institutions as Il Cangiante.
As an architect he has undertaken his professional activity in Turin, Milan, and Marrakesh, and has published Trattatino di architettura (Tranchida, Milan, 1993) and Tiro al bersaglio su problemi di architettura (Tranchida, Milan, 1994). About his work as an artist he has published Teoria e lavori. Arte 1982-1996 (Giancarlo Politi Editore, Milan, 1996) and Vedere l’arcobaleno con la coda dell’occhio (Charta, Milan, 2002). For his activity as a critic of art and architecture he produced Una diversa tradizione (CLUP, Milan, 1985) and È andata così (Electa, Milan, 2009), while his linguistic experimentation had its moments of greatest intensity in Canti spezzini (Chimera, Milan, 1986) and Marrakech Teoria (Cadmo, Florence, 2004).
He wrote, with his deep knowledge of the world of contemporary art, Mes amis! Mes amis! (Corraini Edizioni, Mantua, 2007). With Corraini Edizioni he has published Come ti quando? Am I a gymnast or an artist? and Novità in casa. He was awarded the In-Arch prize in Piedmont for architecture. His works have been exhibited in private galleries, museums, and institutes in Italy and abroad. His solo show Tra gli spazi curated by Joseph Grima and Damiano Gullì in the Milan Triennial dates from 2020.