Galleria Continua presents a new solo exhibition by Arcangelo Sassolino. Pursuing his lifelong interest in the limits of shape, matter and movement, on occasion of this exhibition the artist once again explores some materials that have always characterised his work, achieving unprecedented results and new creations.
After his solos at Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Macro in Rome, 2016 is the year that celebrates Sassolino’s work on an international level with two solo museum exhibitions: one at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, with a retrospective character, the other at the historic Frankfurter Kunstverein.
Arcangelo Sassolino challenges matter, pushing beyond its physical limits and drawing the unexpected from it in the form of shape and sound. There is a constant reference to the industrial world in his choice of basic tools to work with. His dynamic sculptures present themselves as systems having a deep psychic impact, like experimental models of emotionality with respect to the sense of destruction and reconstruction. Being existential metaphors of vital and physical processes, his works lead the spectator to experience a state of psychological tension and direct confrontation with the risks of a work activity where real physical forces, stress, friction and pressure between materials and surfaces, masses and structures are put into motion. Emblematic, in this respect, is Canto V, the work that lends its name to the solo exhibition by the artist at Arco dei Becci. Overcoming the static concept of sculpture, Canto V belongs to the group of works that the artist defines as ‘inorganic performances’, machines that come to life and express their point of view on the world. The sound produced by the old trunk, an allegory of human experiences, reminds us that the battles we face in life are indeed what give us our humanity. Our thoughts then turn to the second circle of Dante’s inferno, offering us a vision of that dark place, where a stormy wind blows incessantly, and where the damned souls, victims of passions, are flung from side to side, without end.
The issue of time and human transience are recurrent elements in the artist’s poetics. “I’m interested in the unfolding of the phenomenon, something that is lost forever… there is something deeply vulnerable that I want to communicate… there is a transience of the material that interests me, and I can say it is the underlying theme of my work”, states the artist. The ongoing relationship between life and death, in the human existential debate, leads Sassolino to convey the ephemeral of our condition of constant precariousness through works and mechanisms that play with time. In Piccole Guerre, or Small Wars, one of the works specially conceived for the exhibition space of the gallery, the spectator witnesses a transformation so rapid that it is not visible to the naked eye. The work ponders on the act of waiting, the unknown, uncertainty, and how a real object as solid as glass can shatter in the blink of an eye.
In Sassolino’s works, opposites cannot be reconciled in a pacifying synthesis, but retain a strongly differential tension. This is one of the fundamental keys to interpreting the work by the Vicenza artist, who continually renews his creative tension by moving between opposite poles: liquid and solid, heavy and light, smooth and rough, full and empty, whole and fragment. In this exhibition, cement, his material of choice, is presented as a glossy and evanescent pictorial fragment. The artist affirms, “Mine is not a eulogy to cement. What appeals to me is its workability and social value. The action of throwing it irreverently on deformed plastic sheets is physically cathartic. Once the material hardens, the plastic support is stripped away. The shape/surface that results from this action is the final one”.