3 Ludwig reflections and one horizont, NoguerasBlanchard Gallery, Madrid.
NOGUERASBLANCHARD Francesco Arena / 3 Ludwig reflections and 1 horizon, November 15th through January 17th 2015
NoguerasBlanchard is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Spain of Italian artist Francesco Arena (1978, Torre Santa Susanna, Italy). The exhibition consists of four sculptures and performance.
The historical and the personal constantly overlap in the work of Francesco Arena. Employing his own body as a unit of measurement Arena consistently establishes a factual relationship with his person-hood to address and represent historical events, showing that stories and history, memory and oblivion have their own physicality, a material side. The frequent use of the artist's anthropometric data - his weight, body mass, height, distance reached on tiptoe or distance from the ground to his eyes - emphasizes a number of crucial aspects of his work: the relationship of history to the individual; the quantitative difference between different approaches to history; the relationship between the human body and its environment; the use of data as irrefutable evidence of a quantifiable history translated into numbers. A vision of existence dominated by concepts of "quantity" and "density" and the idea that history is acting on and in bodies.
Appealing to sculpture, installation, perfomance, process and conceptualism, his works mine the tension between the apparent simplicity of objects, and the complexity of the histories to which they are bound. With regards to his choice of historical references Arena comments: “
3 Ludwig reflections and 1 horizon, is centered around an investigation around the cabin built by Ludwig Wittgenstein on a fjord in the remote town of Skjolden (Norway) in 1911. In a space barely measuring 7 by 8 metres the philosopher lived in exile to think and meditate for long periods of his life and it was where he wrote his seminal work 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus'.
The main work in the exhibition 'Cabin around the studio around pillar' (2014) consists of a metal bar 30 metres long - the length of the perimeter of Wittgenstein's hut - that has been bent to form a rectangle of 5.32 x 3.95 meters corresponding to the perimeter of Arena' studio. For the duration of the opening, four performers will rotate the rectangular structure 360 degrees around the central pillar in the gallery. A seemingly simple movement that becomes tiring and arduous because of the weight and shape of the structure and the tightness of the space available for such maneuver. Arena's installations usually incorporate performative components that require time, effort and patience, the perception of fatigue becomes a metaphor of identification. 'Cabin around the studio ...' highlights two other aspects of Arena's practice, the convergence in the present of two situations or objects distant in space and time; and on the other hand, the use of measurement as an element that legitimizes the existence and veracity of the facts.
doctor fourquet 4 firstname.lastname@example.org 28012 madrid www.noguerasblanchard.com telf +34 91 506 34 84
choose a fact that informs the work, I’m not doing it to try to discover truth, but to grasp a truth
that, starting from the fact in question, becomes a tool for looking at everything else.”
The concept of family portrait is one of the recurring themes in Arena's work. 'Family Portrait (Eyes) (2014) consists of a slate engraved with the first three sentences of Wittgenstein's 'Tractatus' the height of each sentence corresponds to the distance from the ground to the eyes of the artist, his wife and daughter respectively. A second portrait 'Two Looks' (2014) points to the mathematical accuracy in Arena's practice, a sculpture consisting of a brass cube embedded in a cube of clay. The length of the edge of the bronze cube - 10cm - is equal to the exterior distance between the eyes of the artist while the length of the of the clay cube - 12.5cm - corresponds to the distance between the philosopher's eyes.
Metal, slate, clay, bronze, are some of the materials used in the exhibition. Speaking about the specific characteristics of each material: "A key part of a piece is the approach one has towards material, the process to arrive at a finished, closed object into which information is embedded. Etching an inscription in stone is different from engraving it on clay, the materials as well as the people involved are different, as are the stories that each material brings with itand , of course, the meaning it has in itself"
Finally referring to the piece 'Brackets (Madrid horizon)' (2014). Two galvanized metal brackets attached to the wall mark the length of the artist's open arms. A number of objects found on the streets of Madrid are . As a readymade work 'Brackets (Madrid horizon)' provides a new perspective on the use of the object, the significance of the material and the creative processes found throughout his works.