ALFREDO ACETO / Endemisms
March 10 - April 15, 2017
Bredgade 28, Copenhagen
March 10 - April 15, 2017
Bredgade 28, Copenhagen
Andersen's is pleased to present the gallery's first solo exhibition of the Swiss based, Italian artist Alfredo Aceto. The exhibition will be shown in both Andersen’s Amaliegade and Bredgade locations and will be on view from March 10-April 15, 2017.
Employing sculpture, film and sound, Alfredo Aceto creates spaces suspended between fiction and reality. Aceto's immersive environments are places to live, in which one finds a sort of melancholy, artificial time alteration and image saturation. As described by Cedric Fauq in his recent essay The Knight, the Alien, the Alliance (A guide for time-travel), “the timeline – more than time itself – is precisely Alfredo Aceto’s primary obsession. Concerned with the way stories are narrated, his exhibitions are always finding a way to tell a story without telling one. The first missing element being characters. The human is never present in the artist’s work, but always suggested.”
For Aceto, the objects he produces are traces -- blurred boundaries between his personal timeline and the collective one. His work arises from the will to create a place in which the various strata of a linear form of time are mixed, turning into a platform from which signs of different ages emerge.
In his exhibition at Andersen’s, Alfredo Aceto uses sculptures, furniture pieces, a video and a seriesofwatercolourstore- interpretStevenSpielberg’s Duel(1971)whichwasshotduringthe early years of the car-chase in cinema. L ike the chase in D uel, Endemisms can be read as a journey, and the exhibition is place to be alone or with others along the way.
The exhibition opens in an ambiguous space -- a black desk made by design factory TECNO in the 1970’s has been covered with partridge feathers. It is neither a painting nor furniture. The desk begins the journey, and is present again in the video in the next room.
Watercolors in each room hark back to some of Aceto’s pictorial gestures he has repeated for years. The show has been advertised with Edward Hopper’s watercolour “Jo In Wyoming”. By using the Hopper image, Aceto shows both the deconstruction of the structure of his watercolours.
The sculptures are objects of this world, but exist in multiple realms. Like sculptures one might see in a passing glimpse from a train, leaving a trace of an image on one’s memory, Aceto’s sculptures allude to the anonymous and its contrary. The works are thus given a utopian and ornamental function, but also exalt the pieces ambiguous position as an art piece. The shapes come from a more mechanical world, but also allude to archeological artifacts or to random urban sculptures.
In the first television version of Duel from Spielberg the truck is personified thanks to the roar of Godzilla. In Endemisms, the roar of Godzilla, meticulously recreated by the artist during the last two years, personifies the TECNO desk, seen multiple times throughout the video piece. Covering the desk in the same grease and tar Spielberg used to cover the truck during filming, Aceto uses the desk as a guidepost along the viewer’s journey. However, unlike the truck in Duel, the desk in Endemisms is tarred and feathered, perhaps reminding us of a fictional monster.
Alfredo Aceto (b. 1991) studied at ECAL in Lausanne and MSA^, Mountain School in Los Angeles. In 2015 he was the recipient of Kiefer Hablitzel Prize in (Basel,CH). His work has been shown in institutions such as Centre d’Art Contemporain (Geneva, CH), Kunsthaus Glarus (Glarus, CH), Museo del 900 (Milan, Italy). He is a Professor at ECAL and lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Knight, the Alien, the Alliance (A guide for time-travel)
Cédric Fauq February 2017
There’s a kind of child who doesn’t get so easily satisfied by the stories that are given to them. Alfredo Aceto must have been one of them. And trying to imagine what his relationship to classic childhood narrative was is not that uncanny, since most of his gestures take that stage of his life as a point of departure. More precisely, they exploit particular details that became, with time, obsessions: we’re talking about Sophie Calle, Pripyat, Whales, Godzilla, or cars (and specifically some models). Those are the components of a cosmology that the artist is permanently reconfiguring for every project, building up a world full of symbols and events, where the timeline is unclear – meaning non-linear.
The timeline – more than time itself – is precisely Alfredo Aceto’s primary obsession. Concerned with the way stories are narrated, his exhibitions are always finding a way to tell a story without telling one. The first missing element being characters. The human is never present in the artist’s work, but always suggested. That state of absence of any identifiable characters doesn’t mean there’s no one. Like Pripyat-the-now-ghost-town, his works are full of traces. The human presence can be tracked, but seems to escape. This manifests itself in Aceto’s gestures, which often have the particularity to be undetectable, his work reaching a state of quasi-readymades (if reaching is the right word?).
This was already the case for most of of his early works. Take the clocks series, pieces that are made out of a wall clock which is not running. Their heavy shiny frames show the impact of bullets whose origin is unclear: is the artist responsible for the shots? The story surrounding them wants us to believe something else. The artist recalls, talking about them, that passage of Walter Benjamin’s On the concept of history (1940), recounting the French Revolution:
« During the evening of the first skirmishes, it turned out that the clock-towers were shot at independently and simultaneously in several places in Paris. »
Harking back to this anecdote, Alfredo Aceto replaces the work in another time-frame. However, the temporal tensions are pushed to their extreme: the clocks used for this series also have a story – they are Aldo Rossi’s clocks, and, more precisely, the enlargement of the original « Momento » design Aldo Rossi created for the first Alessi’s wristwatch. The clash between the product, the history of this very product, and the violent intervention arising from a historical event blurs the lines between the author, the maker and the artist.
Even in the pictures Alfredo Aceto produces, his intervention can be questioned. Subverting the classic idea of style, the artist often borrows codes to different genres to draw and paint. The comic for Alfredo was a little boy, Sophie was a charming woman, Paola performed an act of magic, 2013, t he engravings for his Re-Mental Landscapes, 2016, and, for his last series of drawings ( Untitled, 2017), the technical drawing and the amateurish landscape watercolor painting–a sdepictedinEdwardHopper’sJ oinWyoming(1946).
Deliberately avoiding any essentialisation of his work, Aceto’s solo exhibitions often give the feeling to be group exhibitions. The inclusion of works he’s made as a child offer a counter-point to his most recent productions, creating, again, a temporal distortion in his own biography, while making the bridge between different narratives – the ones he used to believe in, the ones he still wants to believe in, and the ones he’s trying to make the witness of his works create by themselves. These layers of stories belonging to the life of the artist overlap with already written histories, giving birth to an unresolved mythology.
Coming back to his solo-show at Bugada & Cargnel: E veryone Stands Alone at the Heart of the World,P iercedbyaRayofSunlight,andSuddenlyIt’sEvening,whosetitle,athree-verses poem by Salvatore Quasimodo, could be read as a tale, a statement and a protocol for the exhibition, it is interesting to underline the presence of different portals – both temporal and geographical. The first one ( S.L.A.V.1, 2015), a theatre backdrop style painting, represents the entrance of the gallery in Torino where the artist had his first solo-show. The second, ( Loyal Sauce B.C. - Noisy Whitish A.D., 2016), a large semi-opaque PVC strip curtain, marks the passage between two temporalities (and more), as suggested by the title, but also two places (and more).
Ononesideofthisportalisstanding(alone)T heThinker(2016),theenlargedreproductionofa statue from the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (c. 5200 to 3500 BC – Eastern Europe) which Alfredo Aceto discovered during his quest of Prypiat’s past. On the other side lies down the replica of an horizontal window belonging to Sara Winchester’s house, also known as the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, whose story itself is a modern myth (1881 – 1922). The dialogue that exists between these two works, made stronger by the portal that separates them, can only be resolved through an epic mental time travel – weaving the elements of the show as a detective would do.
But what matters in Aceto’s practice is not the solution. The jump in between times and places which would appear, in the first place, impermeable, is what profoundly interests him. It is about disrupting the timelines and geographies that help us read the past and pave the way for a future, thus providing us with new ghosts, new aliens, and new knights, breaking the boundaries of a current epistemological endemism. Modesty or Surprise (2016), produced at the occasion of an exhibition at Museo Pietro Canonica in Rome, represents another attempt by the artist to travel through times. Obsessed by the roar of Godzilla since his childhood, Aceto recently had the desire to re-create the sound by himself. Among the sculptures of the museum depicting christian scenes or renown soldiers, the sound of the fictional monster resonates to the bones of the bronzes and marbles.
For his latest project to date, Endemisms, Alfredo Aceto is, through urban sculptures, furniture pieces, a video and a series of watercolours, re-interpreting Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971), which was shot during the early years of the car-chase in cinema. For the first time, the artist is using moving image to build his « to be continued » epic and boundless mythology.
Cédric Fauq February 2017