Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Passenger

работи върху хартия | works on paper
куратор | curator 
Раул Замудио Тейлър (САЩ) | Raul Zamudio Taylor(USA)
2 -16 | 04 | 2013

откриване | opening  02 |04| 2013  18:00  
варна.шипка 22 | varna. 22 shipka st

The Passenger is a solo exhibition of paintings and works on paper by the Italian artist Gianluca Capozzi. The exhibition’s title is culled from the similarly titled film by Michelangelo Antonioni; and the curatorial framework that ties Capozzi’s works with the film is manifold and not as disparate as it may seem: the film’s protagonist, which is played with aplomb by Jack Nicholson, is an American journalist who exchanges his identity with a deceased man he finds in a North African hotel room. The transnational undercurrent of the film manifests in the exhibition in a roundabout way: the works were made in the artist’s studio in Italy and shown abroad. It is not so much that the artworks take on a new identity with each itinerary, but a work can acquire other meanings altogether by its reception in myriad cultural contexts thus engendering narratives that were not originally intended.

Although Capozzi’s works for the current exhibition were inspired from diverse sources, experiences, and musings, their polysemy multiplies as analogues to Antonioni’s protagonist. Further highlighting this are works that range from the figurative to the purely abstract; even the latter pieces are not devoid of the referential in feigning non-representational forms found in nature as well as in culture. Some works appear like frenetic topographies or the automatism of someone under trance. Even Capozzi’s figurative works trigger the imagination not only in spite of their formal exuberance, but because their titles are oblique and rife with anthropomorphic ambiguity which results in a corpus of icons, archetypes, surrogates, doppelgangers, and so forth.

In one work titled Woman (2013), for instance, the frontal quality of the figure’s pose belies the allusion to portraiture. Yet because the title only refers to gender, it is potentially the representation of all women, or no women, or maybe it is the ideation of womanhood operating archetypally. In allowing the work a degree of narrative opacity, Capozzi’s figure becomes both like Nicholson who takes on the identity of the deceased as well as the deceased himself; for the identity of Woman remains free-floating as it negates singularity in not being any woman in particular. Other works in the exhibition also underscore the conceptual strategy of ambiguity to various degrees.

With rather demure and literal titles including Man, Man at the Sea, Three Men (all 2013), Capozzi presents an iconography of images where the figures become exceedingly reduced to an almost absent presence.  Outlines of humanoid forms become shadows and shells of their former selves. Capozzi’s “portrait” gallery or phantasmagoric salon leaves the viewer with a self that is concomitantly other; it is a dialectical ontology of being/nonbeing.  But this self is, however, an existential one; for it is symbolically the deceased man in the North African hotel room, just as Gianluca Capozzi is metaphorically Antonioni’s protagonist.  But whereas Nicholson’s journalist documents the ubiquitous and the mundane, Capozzi’s artistic reportage is of a philosophical bent that reminds us that were all passengers too, in one degree or another, on our own journey filled with self-empowerment, self-doubt and occasionally feeling as if living a life of mistaken identity.  

Raul Zamudio
New York City

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