Renato Calaj at Kunsthalle West Lana / BZ, IT

There's a World Going on Underground
Site-specific work by Renato Calaj

September 17 - October 13, 2021


Kunsthalle West - Eurocenter Lana
Industrystreet 5/1 (second floor)
39011 Lana (BZ)
Italy








 

Full list of artists:
Cecilia Borettaz | Renato Calaj | Massimiliano Fabbri | Igor Molin | Nicola Samorì | 
Thomas Scalco | Alberto Scodro | Mattia Zoppellaro 
 
Curated by di Gabriele Salvaterra 
 
 
The subterranean dimension is simply not permissible. What can be seen is already exhibited, it is expressed in appearance, in exteriority, in visibility. This is coming from someone who is particularly sensitive to the surface of things: everything on which the perception of reality is based is a skin of illusion, a perceptive peel, or a cloaking veil that can never be totally scratched. Nevertheless, there is always the idea that, by unveiling that external epidermis, next to it, underneath it, a fuller truth is hidden, that of the unspoken and behind the scenes, where things happen integrally. But if we really set out to uncover the reality as it presents itself, digging to bring to light its intimate structure, what we get is a subterranean that automatically becomes a new outer surface, a new bulwark to infinite other new subterranean spaces that move away from us relentlessly. 

As in a game of Chinese boxes or in the reflections of two mirrors placed in parallel, we can never put an end to an unveiling of the world as incessant as it is sterile. This dynamic is not only physical, of course, but also symbolic. It is enough to name "what lies beneath" - underground, subterranean, or underground as you like - for it to emerge in visibility, becoming other than itself, taking the limelight,  and becoming evident. We must then ask ourselves if this dimension has in itself characteristics of presence. That is, if there is any difference, for example, between an empty closet and the same closet, visually identical, but crammed to the brim with materials. 

Do the invisible objects inside modify it to some extent? Is it possible to sense them? Or, in other words: is there a different quality between a printed image and the same image made by accumulating subtle pictorial stratifications and veils that are not visible but somehow resonate with the eye? These are some considerations on the peculiarities of the invisible dimension of the underground. What, then, is at stake? 

That, perhaps, of admitting that something may exist which, even today, continually eludes knowledge and vision, something that goes beyond the finiteness of our cognitive capacity but without addressing the absolute of what is outside - the universe, open space - preferring, instead, the concrete matter on which we tread. It is a new limit to the human condition but very different from the divine and the absolute. It is concrete and carnal, so close to us that it would seem easy to conquer, yet so elusive that we run away every time. The cosmos, in fact, amplifies and inspires because of its expanding extrovert dynamics, while all that lies beneath the mystery is enclosed in finite substances, fragments of bodies, and subcutaneous tissues. 
 
 
 
My reflections are serious, 
but if you don't want to pay attention to me, 
I won't be begging you. 
I have the underground. 
 
Fyodor Dostoevsky 
 

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