Quartz Studio presents the exhibition “The Water They Dwell In”, the first solo exhibition in Turin of Salvatore Arancio (Catania, Italy, 1974), organised at the end of his residency at the factory La Castellamonte.
Arancio took inspiration from the form of shells, he had noticed several years ago when visiting Casa Mollino in Turin. A natural element that had enchanted and inspired the famous architect. Arancio started from the idea of a closed space that transcends the earthly realm, rendering Quartz a perfect mental environment as the shell is to the mollusk that dwells in it. While horns, fangs and claws of some animal species are close to the shape of the golden spiral, specifically a mollusk, called the Nautilus, represents the union between nature and mathematical perfection, as the cross-section of its shell is a perfect logarithmic spiral. The golden ratio in mathematics and art is a geometric proportion based on a specific ratio, in which the greater part is to the lesser part as the whole is to the greater part. This geometric proportion is also known as the “golden mean”, “golden section,” and “divine proportion,” representing the perfection and harmony sought in art, both architecture and painting, but that originates in nature.
Key elements to Salvatore Arancio ‘s conception of the show, includes: the shell found in Casa Mollino in many species of varying sizes, the esoteric interpretation possible for most of the objects in Casa Mollino as well as the design itself of the entire private apartment of this brilliant yet enigmatic architect from Turin. Mollino had a double interest in mollusk shells. While he saw the shell as a perfect architectural form, a prototype of utopian architecture, its form also has an implicit reference to the female sex, even appearing in some of his sensual photographs of women, studied in meticulous detail.
Arancio explains that the title, “The Water They Dwell In”, refers to the transformation of Quartz’s space into a place of transition for these organic forms, and to the fact that shells are perfect homes for mollusks, but are always moving. The word “dwell” means stopping somewhere, residing, referring to the place where you live at that moment, not implying that you have lived there long or that you expect to live there long in the future, although it does not suggest that you don’t want to. It is merely statement about the place that you consider “home” right then. The word implies more a temporary condition and less attachment to the place where you “live.”
Starting from his own archive images Arancio through the use of different media, manipulated the original organic forms turning them into a vibrantly colored vinyl applied on the glass of the entrance, creating something of a visual limen between inside and out; a work on paper on the wall, on which the black and white image of the shell is double and symmetrical, seeming to come from space more than from water; and then ceramic sculptures of different sizes with iridescent surfaces and forms vaguely suggesting those of a shell. In Arancio’s intention, entering the exhibition space is like crossing a threshold that lets you access another dimension. The items on display become part of a disorienting landscape that is at once archaeological and lunar.
The exhibition opens concomitantly with Salvatore Arancio’s first solo show in Switzerland at Kunsthalle Winterthur. We would like to thank the artist and Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome. We would also like to thank Roberto Perino and Silvana Neri de La Castellamonte, Castellamonte (TO), and Napoleone and Fulvio Ferreri of Casa Mollino, Turin. The exhibition will be open from May 12 to July 16, 2016, by appointment.