Salvatore Arancio: Oh Mexico!, 08 May 2016 — 17 Jul 2016

Salvatore Arancio: Oh Mexico!

Wherever you send Salvatore Arancio (b. 1974 Catania, lives and works in London), he will uncover strange facts, things and stories. Arancio’s exhibition harks back to a trip he made to Mexico in 2015, the original purpose of which was to visit the Cave of Giant Crystals. The caverns located below the Naica Mine in the Northern part of the country, contain the biggest natural crystals known on Earth. The site however was closed in 2009 due to security reasons and despite several efforts, no exception could be made for the visiting artist. Although the cave was only found in 2000, Jules Verne, in his book Journey to the Center of the Earth, published in 1864, speaks of a cave filled with massive crystals; his tale reads now almost as a premonition of the Mexican cave discovered more than 100 years later. Arancio’s own fictional reading of the cave became the leitmotif for part of his exhibition at Kunsthalle Winterthur, extended by a video investigating an old Mexican fertility rite called Danza de los Voladores.

The cave inspired Arancio to a new installation comprising of more than thirty individual ceramic works titled These Crystals Are Just like Globes of Light. Also part of Arancio’s exhibition is his video El Mago (2015), which depicts the inside of a cave in various light hues. The sequences, filmed by Arancio himself, are superimposed with animations extrapolated from Turning a Sphere inside Out, a 1977 American educational film that features basic three-dimensional organic grid structures or nebula-like light bodies. The strategy to use the most basic forms as representations for an intelligence superior to mankind is often found in science fiction: in Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris (1969), a whole plasma planet is one gigantic conscious entity; in an early Star Trek episode dating back to 1969 and titled The Lights of Zetar, a light nebula similar to those found in Arancio’s video manifest a superior intelligence.

Most of Salvatore Arancio’s works combine his own filming with found footage, often using cross-fades, multi-frame and multi-channel techniques. A similar strategy of collage is employed in the sound rendering, with a careful sampling of both existing and new sounds, tones and tunes. A second video in Arancio’s exhibition, also entitled And These Crystals Are Just like Globes of Light, is no exception and is based on the 1973 cartoon La Planète Sauvage, combining the subject of the cave with organic forms that seem to be the results of a mysterious creation.

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