28 September – 21 December 2019

CONWITH Salvatore Falci


Solo exhibition by Salvatore Falci

Opening Saturday 28 September 2019 | 12 noon -7 p.m.

The CASOLI • DE LUCA gallery is pleased to announce CONWITH, an exhibition devoted to the work of Salvatore Falci, which will be held from 28 September to 21 December 2019 in the splendid spaces of the Palazzo Albertoni Spinola in Rome.

CONWITH is a bilingual play on words that embodies the core principles of Falci's forty-year studies in the world of the visual arts: the need for the other in the act of artistic creation, and con-presenza – or presence with – as a key element in a work of art.

"His theory is based on the principle of non-direct intervention by the artist in the work", wrote Roberto Pinto in his introduction to the artist's work in 1994. "He studies and puts into effect projects in which he intervenes only in the preparatory stages, so that it is never he who brings about the final result. The end product is created in a completely spontaneous and natural manner by ordinary people as they go about their everyday activities. This is what the artist is interested in: gathering testimony of everyday life – gestures that may be small and seemingly insignificant, but that speak of the true nature of the individual, when he or she is free and unaware." What matters for Falci is making the other visible, witnessing events brought about by chance and that come about through the unsought encounter between individual and object. This is why the artist needs to formulate processes that, at first sight, might appear to be aseptic, and far removed from the normal idea of a work of art. It is only later, after the external intervention of man, that they can truly be referred to as Art. It was this idea that led to his artistic research with Pino Modica and Stefano Fontana and, later, with Cesare Pietroiusti, creating the artistic association that became known as the Gruppo di Piombino in the early 1980s. In 1983 they together designed a work in the form of an environmental investigation, which analysed the relationships between people and objects through everyday action. The SOSTA 15 MINUTI experiment, which was later shown at the Giardini at the 1984 Biennale, invited passers-by to sit down on chairs – even though these chairs were at once a limit and objects to be contemplated. This was the start of a sort of "urban conversation", in which the artists entered into the flow of communication between the inhabitants of the city, recording their responses in normal places of social interaction.

The focus of Salvatore Falci's interest is not sensational behaviour – his aim is not to pick out the extraordinary, but rather to note down "mundane" actions. This area of research led in 1984 to his Vetri studies, in which panes of glass were placed on tables used by the public, and painted black to record the scratches and wear. In 1986 came the need to introduce also the lower limbs into his considerations: in his Pavimenti ("floors"), in place of glass, Falci used platforms with coats of paint. On the occasion of the exhibition at the CASOLI • DE LUCA gallery, the artist has reappraised the places of his artistic investigations, installing his work Pavimento Oro Liceo Lorenzo Lotto (2019) in a school in Trescore and his Pavimento Argento Smerigliatura Stillegno (2019) in a factory: two different spaces for very different worlds, illustrating the life of the place without intending to recapture it, and changing the perspective in order to experiment with new outcomes. The Pavimenti are designed to reveal only abnormal or peculiar scratches – such as those caused by rubbing, falling or scraping – while the normal impressions made by walking do not appear. The end result constitutes a form of expressionism involuntarily brought about by the public.

Dotted around the space there are also "packing crates" – Casse di imballaggio – works in wood, masonite and wax that constitute a variant of the Pavimenti: they consist of 5 pieces that were used in 1988 to pack the works that Stefano Fontana sent to the Venice Biennale. This creative and behavioural line then led to the first "beds" – Letti (1988) – in synthetic sponge and velvet. These sensitive works faithfully record even a fingerprint and make it possible to add one action on top of another. Installed in a discotheque, in a bachelor pad and in a gym, they also appear in a Puff variant (1989). For CONWITH, the artist has decided to revive his Erba del Ponte di Sant'Eufemiaa work shown at the 1990 Biennale. This regeneration of the work comes from a need to combine the experiences of the traces, quite apart from the physical presence in which a verifiable memory remains. This consideration originates from the Ponte di Venezia (1980), which came from a wish to create works that would give visibility to the process of dissemination and dispersion. Sheets of Forex with a mixture of sawdust and seeds were placed on the bridge of Sant'Eufemia in Venice for twenty-four hours. This mixture was scattered and dispersed by passers-by and the artist later retrieved the panels with these markings, and took them to a greenhouse. He then watered them until the grass grew, creating a visual display of what had happened to them.

Salvatore Falci's long career has become a special observatory of human behaviour: habits change from place to place, from people to people. He thus started analysing the mutations of these mundane habits and shows them in a video installation called Silent Communication (1998), which is on display in the exhibition, putting a seal on his constant, silent research. The artist has always promoted meetings and seminars, in which he tries to involve the audience to make them aware of the active role they can play in formulating artistic theories and thus in helping society evolve.

Salvatore Falci, is a lecturer of Visual Arts at the Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti in Bergamo, for years at the Libera Accademia di Belle Arti in Brescia, and he teaches Methodology and Techniques of Artistic Experimentation at the University of Bergamo. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and was the coordinator of a number of editions of Oreste, an initiative on relationships between artists put on at the 1999 Venice Biennale. A resident artist in 1998 for the IASKA International Artist Program in Perth, Australia, he created a work on the incommunicability between the Aboriginal peoples and those of Anglo-Saxon descent, exhibiting it in both Australia and Milan. He has put on solo shows in Italy and abroad at the Studio Casoli, Fondazione Mudima, Milan; Galleria Nazionale, Bologna; Galleria Alice, Rome; Otis/Parsons, Los Angeles; Galleria Il Milione, Corso Viafarini, Milan; International Art Space, Kellerberrin, Western Australian Museum, Perth, Australia; National Art Gallery, Tirana, Albania; Centro Luigi Pecci, Livorno; Spazio Oberdan, Milan; and PAC, Milan. At the same time, he curated the ARTE E LUOGO project, with educational and artistic work on interculture, in Cameroon from 2005 to 2012, and from 2019 in Kathmandu in Nepal.

The following have written about him:

C.C. Bakargiev, D. Nardone, A. Vettese, G. Ciavoiello, G. Di Pietroantonio, R. Barilli, E. Coen, A. Mammì, R. Pinto, M. Senaldi, T. Snell, D. Bromfield, P. Laud, P. Cavellini, and A. Pioselli.


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