With a heavy emphasis on narrative and the evocation of empathy the work of Francesca Leonardi invites viewers to sit beside the subjects in her photographs. Often contrasting architectural landscapes with intimate portraiture her camera does the work of situating the lives that she follows. When looking through her oeuvre, one constant that can be sensed is the strong mutual trust Leonardi seems to foster with those whom she has the privilege of documenting.
In her series ‘O Post Mio - My Place, Leonardi enters the building compound Castel Volturno, The Saraceno Park, located in Naples. These apartments are both inhabited and illegally occupied, the largest of its kind in Italy. Over the course of eight years Leonardi documents the life and home space of one of the residents, Claudia as well as the lives of her children, partners, and friends. Familial intimacy and domestic turbulence are positioned amongst curtains, couch cushions, and the Neapolitan heat.
MARCO LA ROSA (represented by A plus B Gallery, Brescia, IT), L’argomento del Terzo Uomo, 2019, serie of 25 pieces, resin, iron, life-size
Two verbs come to mind when considering the work of Marco La Rosa; to Form and to Reframe. His minimalist approach to sculpting allows La Rosa and those experiencing his pieces to reexamine the framework of how we see and navigate among known objects and images. Often working with familiar materials, shapes and images La Rosa’s attempted concretion of the known seeks to leave room for what is an unavoidable margin of error. Waiting in this wiggle room for mishap or chance allows La Rosa to provide perspective on the relationship between truth and perception.
In his work L’argomento del Terzo Uomo, La Rosa reduces the known image of da Vinci's last supper to solely its subjects' hands. In doing not only does the spatial dynamic of this gathering of communion become tangible but the religiously weighted image is stripped of its anglosaxon iconography becoming a more universal scape of gesture and exchange convening for the sake of collectively, sharing a moment.
S.LANTZ, Wearables, 2020 – Ongoing, porcelain, approx. 15 cm/piece
Building and fostering are acts familiar to S. Lantz. A multidisciplinary maker whose work revolves primarily but not exclusively around the three dimensional. The tangible. S. Lantz has an ear for the whispers of simplicity that form has the power to compose, their work often rests in the recognition that comes from leaning in.
It is noted that when space is made material, concretion of void, the result is visibility, value, affirmation, and legitimacy. S. Lantz’ Wearables* are created with the hope of uplifting the solidified spaces of these porcelain piece’s wearers. Actions of care are foundational in the conception, creation and interaction with, these delicate personal works. Made to rest, solely through their existing, these pieces validate the bodies they inhabit and adorn. Individual validation and collective care are foundational in the construction of home. With their Wearables S. Lantz nourishes this necessity that all of our bodies hunger for.
*Wearable: object made with intention, from a body and for that body. exists in close connection with jewelry and adornment.
MARTINA CIVARDI, Collage casa su teste, Storytelling familiare serie, 2020, mix-media collage, 18 x 14 cm"
Collagist Martina Civardi seeks to create moments of reimagining. Often using photography and image projection Civadi prods at one's sense of nostalgia by mixing images of past and present. This temporal hybrid is made possible through her incorporation of familial imagery mined from family photo albums and olden paperly materials. The images of family and the past still take center stage as subject in her works but with a newfound twist of dreamy reverence and recreation.
In Collage casa su teste we can see this reimagining of familial past as a move to solidify and elevate things of the past that we may hold dear and as a gesture a reconfiguration of the things that rests collecting dust and nostalgia.
PENG SHUAI (represented by BIANCHIZARDIN gallery, Milan, IT), PASSAGE, 2020, installation, UV print on PVC adhesive, aluminum handle, 200 x 112 cm
Moving to Italy at the age of nine Chinese born artist Peng Shuai Paolo is no foreigner to the contradictions and coexistences that accompany housing a breadth of cultures, nations and identities. His practice physically exhibits this vastness as he engages in sculptural, performance and video based modes of production. In his work he examines how technology and language have the power to both construct and expose meaning. Balancing the global and inner personal Paolo's work presents his intimate experiences as a means of challenging viewer perceptions of “self” and “other”.
Often Peng Shuai Paolo exposes the complexities that our imposed borders and bounds of nationality hide. Taking from the words written on the Berlin wall; "Your Christ is a Jew. Your car is Japanese. Your pizza is Italian. Your Greek democracy. Your Brazilian coffee. Your hairdresser is a Chinese. Your Turkish vacation. Your Arabic numbers. Your Latin alphabet... Is your neighbor just a foreigner?
Paolo has created a texture composed of this text but translated into all languages offered by google translate, thus exposing the role that language and now technology may pose on the construct of one's identity. In the context of the exhibition Paolo’s work validates the blurry notions that surround the places one comes from, arrives in, or is journeying towards. In his work passage this translation texture is presented in the form of a doorway drawing further parallels to the social, political and linguistic framework, all of which can be seen as architectures of belonging.
PENG SHUAI (represented by BIANCHIZARDIN gallery, Milan, IT), I AM, 2019, video installation, TV, HD video, 3’57”
Utilising the same translation texture as in his work Passage Peng Shuai Paolo molds his Untitled Spheres. Putting these algorithmically produced phrases in conversation with a video work title I Am. Here the artist documents himself confronting the viewers gaze with his bare skin and unabashed eye contact. Speaking the words “I Am” in a breadth of languages this work positions the self at the center of its ruminations on meaning. An intentional blurring of the focus muddies the artist towards the end of the clip, leaving the viewer to project one's own complexity on the construct of linguistic identity.
LUNA SUE, Outside of the window, 2020, series of 10 digital paintings
Curiosity and play are cornerstones of joy, all elements evoked through the aesthetics of artist and illustrator Luna Sue. Working with a heavy graphic influence Sue creates energized paintings, etchings, illustrations and films. Not to be fooled by her light-hearted color pallets and soft linework, Sue’s pieces often centralize around the weighted topics of gender, race, surveillance, solitude and childhood. Whimsical isolation and introspection are conjured up through her images that ponder the human condition.
In her series of graphic illustrations Outside the Window, Luna Sue presents ten individual scenes viewed through respectively different window panes. Inspired by personal views past and present this series of works serves as an artist's escape amidst isolation. Presenting variety as truth, Outside the Window exposes the limitations of assuming one viewpoint as the universal perspective. Exhibited as digital prints on textile, a line of wash hung to dry, nods to the home. And the barriers, like windows themselves, of interior and exterior spaces we all construct.
My Father’s Perfume- Yahya (b. 2007, Syria), plastic and glass, War Childhood Museum, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The War Childhood Museum located in Sarajevo, Bosnia has taken the invaluable act of preservation and applied it in a pioneering manner to a matter not valued or considered nearly enough in today’s world, the childhoods that are intertwined with the presence of war. Carving out space for children, and adult survivors of war whose childhood happened alongside conflict, the War Childhood Museum creates a place for reverence, grieving and recognition. It does so through the act of accepting donated objects and their accompanying personal testimonies from those who went through war as a child. The Museum also conducts research and provides education to not only address individual trauma resulting from war, but also raise awareness about the impact of armed conflict in the society at large.
With.in has the honor of exhibiting one of the Museum’s precious objects in the context of the show. The testimony here accompanies this object donated to the War Childhood Museum by Yahya (b. 2007), a refugee who fled Syria as a child.
“My father bought this perfume. He loved
its scent. He asked my mother to hide it in
the closet so it would last longer. One day,
on his way to work, a shell hit his car. He
died before he would finish this bottle of
perfume. My mother and I took it with us
when we fled to Lebanon. When one of
our neighbors came for a visit, she saw
the perfume and started smelling it.
Suddenly, the bottle slipped out of her
hands and broke. Crying, I ran quickly to
try my best to capture the rest of the
perfume and move it into another bottle.
Though this is a new bottle, you can still
smell my father’s scent.”
Memory, object, sense and smell are precious elements that compose one’s concept of home. Along with event, safety and stability. Taking example from the War Childhood Museum how can we reconcile when these things are lost, and how can we honor them when they are present?