Carl D'Alvia & Christian Caliandro / The Idea of Realism-L'Idea del Realismo / Show-Mostra American Academy in Rome/Jan.30-Feb.27/ Opening Jan. 30, 6-9:00 PM
“The liberation?” Berta said. The old man seemed as if he were looking for the best answer, looking in front of himself with happy eyes. “Of every one of us” he answered. “How, of everyone?” “Of everybody, in his own life.” “And our country? And the world?” “Obviously” the old mansaid. “Let it be of everybody, and it will be greater in the world.” ELIO VITTORINI, MEN AND NOT MEN (1945)
The question of realism has re-positioned itself in recent months at the center of both the attention and the discourse of the public: in the territory of contemporary art, it is still an object of misunderstanding and conceptual superimpositions. The representation of the real is defused, by too much time, by the same common fear that should set it free: it’s trapped between escaping and the removal of uneasiness. Instead of thematizing this unease, this extraordinary culture in fact continues to dedicate itself to the elaboration of a parallel life utilizing nostalgia ( “the beautiful times of yesteryear”) and consolation (“look, it’s not really that bad”). Rediscovering realism means, for example, means finally adopting a point of view diametrically opposed to that which for years we’ve been accustomed to define as “self-referential”. This has meant essentially negating the existence of external reality (societal, historical, imaginary, economical: the whole life). The difference is in the concepts of responsibility and experience: you are disposable – as an artwork, as an author – to the reality that surrounds you and to critique it; or you are totally compliant in front of it, to the point that you exclude it from your gaze. That which changes radically therefore is the approach, the “disposition” towards the world: trusting in the ability to understand it, and that through this understanding one might produce a change.
The artists included in this group show articulate in different and personal ways this attitude towards reality. Carl D’Alvia has worked for years on the subtle blurred edge between reality and representation, between object and simulation, between permanence and ephemerality, suggesting new effects and states of reality. In the painting of Pesce Khete, on the other hand, materials—pictorial, cultural, autobiographical—don’t collide, but rather blend and condense in an intimate and emotive narration. In Jackie Saccoccio's Portraits, the result initially conveys a human head, or at least a central mass, but finally suggests exactly the opposite - a void, a system dragging over emptiness. The creative world of Ward Shelley is dominated by the hierarchical organization of materials: the potentially infinite archive of information, dates, names, cultural phenomena, temporal sequences, historical processes and the territory that his artistic Infographics choose as a zone of action and space of intervention. Giuseppe Stampone, has been working for years on his project “Global Education”: an ambitious work of collective re-education, in which spectators become transported from the realm (safe, protected, sterilized) of contemporary art to the “outside” of the mediatized reality. The work of Gian Maria Tosatti is a continuous attempt to fasten on to and capture the fleeting and indefinable unease that affects us all, and that is the true heart of the contemporary, the zeitgeist. Nari Ward composes his installations through a system of gathering and transforming objects and materials from his urban neighborhood.