From July 11 to September 22, 2019Casa Museo Jorn presents a solo exhibition bySalvatore Arancio: Like a Sort of Pompeii in Reverse, curated by Luca Bochicchio, artistic director of the museum. The exhibition is promoted by the Amici di Casa Jorn (Friends of Jorn’s House) Association, under the patronage of the Comune di Albissola Marina (Municipality of Albissola Marina), with the generous support of Semiose Gallery, Paris.
After his participation at the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2017) and his recent solo exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery in London (2018), Salvatore Arancio presents in Albissola a new and site-specific project, conceived and realized in situ.
Between 2017 and 2019 Arancio made numerous research visits to Casa Museo Jorn, becoming fascinated by the situationist labyrinth that the Danish artist Asger Jorn created between 1957 and 1973 together with his friend and assistant Umberto (Berto) Gambetta. More than any other element or space in the house, Arancio was impressed by the different materials and pseudo-organic concretions created by Jorn and Gambetta in the garden, where he noticed not only the poetry of their inventive play, but the imaginative and creative potential of what we cannot see.
The artist therefore, started an experimental research, based on modelling the clay directly onto the shapes, surfaces and volumes of the garden, plastically detecting its negative spaces, while reflecting on what cannot be seen but only potentially may exist. Arancio focused in particular on the elements with an uncertain origin (natural or artificial) and of ambiguous and ironic paternity (by Jorn or Gambetta), in order to establish a relationship of continuity in Jorn' s discourse on metamorphosis and imagination; a dialogue developed through the language of ceramic sculpture, common to both Jorn and Arancio, and based on the complicity and collaboration of the genius loci: the local artisan’ s workshops. Arancio has decided in fact to collaborate with two workshops: Nuova Fenice of Barbara Arto for the third firing of ceramics and Ceramiche San Giorgio to glaze the pieces modelled at Casa Jorn. This last studio was founded in 1958 in Albissola Marina and is still run by Giovanni Poggi, a craftsman who has been throwing potter for over two hundred artists in his life, including some of the greatest personalities from the 50s and 60s, (Agenore Fabbri, Lucio Fontana, Asger Jorn, Gianni Dova, Wifredo Lam, Mario Rossello among others). Casa Jorn is full of stories and traces of the collaboration between Asger Jorn, Berto Gambetta and Giovanni Poggi: Arancio with his project, aimed to trace the collaborations between the artist and the craftsman.
During the production of the project and through conversations between the artist and the curator, the title of the exhibition was chosen: Like a Sort of Pompeii in Reverse is in fact a quote from the text that Guy Debord wrote in 1972 for Jorn’s book Le Jardin d'Albisola, created by Ezio Gribaudo for Edizioni d’arte Fratelli Pozzo, Turin and published posthumously in 1974. Arancio therefore proposes his own vision, which appears to have more than one connection with the interpretation of Jorn's garden given by Debord. What for Debord was the Situationist value of Jorn's architectural approach, for Arancio it is the possibility of reimagining the shapes, volumes and surfaces of the garden as casts of a space in the making, initial moulds born from the indistinguishable combined action of time, man's work and chance. The sculptures created starting from this inspiration will first experience an integrated dialogue with the garden, after which they will be placed inside Jorn’s studio, within specially crafted cabinets that will be presented to the visitor's analytical gaze, as a way to categorise fictional archaeological findings of an invisible imaginary universe.
The exhibition will coincide with the publication of a bilingual catalogue (Italian and English), for the MuDA BOOKS series by the Vanillaedizioni publisher. MuDA BOOKS is the series of books curated by Luca Bochicchio and Leo Lecci on behalf of the DIRAAS department from the University of Genoa, School of Humanities. The catalog includes texts by Luca Bochicchio, Guy Debord and Paola Nicolin and the team of young curators of the Amici di Casa Jorn Association: Stella Cattaneo, Diego Drago, Daniele Panucci, Alessia Piva.
The show was generously supported by Semiose Gallery, Paris. The project was also made possible through the generous contribution by arts’ patrons in Santa Margherita Ligure, who prefer to remain anonymous. Salvatore Arancio's residence in Albissola Marina was sponsored by Paola Boggi from the Garden Hotelin Albissola Marina. Cabinets created by Officina 900, Albisola. Ceramics sculptures were made at Ceramiche San Giorgio and at Nuova Fenice, Albissola Marina. During his residency, Salvatore Arancio created a series of experimental works on paper, in collaboration with Alfredo Meconi from Il Bostrico art gallery in Albissola Marina. The exhibition is promoted by the Espoarte media partnership.