polystyrene, wood, plastic cube, nails
23.02.08 | 19.05.08
courtesy the artist, Ikon Gallery, London and Suzy Shammah Gallery, Milan
The works that Alice Cattaneo created for the Ikon Gallery of Birmingham, now on display on the ground floor of the Madre, are fragile and ephemeral architectures, just like the set of a stage or a theatre wing. These works earned the artist a mention at the VI Furla award for Art in 2007.
Assembling pieces of polystyrene or plastic, wood sticks, electrical wiring straps, nylon thread and nails by adhesive tape, Cattaneo creates lightweight and minimal sculptures that are almost invisible while expressing an unequivocal environmental concern. They are everyday objects, poor or discarded materials that have drawn the artist’s attention since 1999 and that she has learned to break down, put back together, assemble in always different ways, discovering their magic potential of turgnin an empty space into a one full of opportunities. Cattaneo’s working style and materials are those of model making lovers and bric à brac markets, which she adopts to create temporary arabesques that redesign the space, building structures standing in an unstable balance, for which even a sneeze could be fatal. With a skilful use of twisting, balancing and counterweighing she adds the elements that make up the work one by one, so that it takes up any shape made possible by the surrounding space. The work thus appears like a fragment of an endless proliferation, capable of suggesting the image of an imaginary architecture or, in the case of the hanging sculptures, of a small embroidery woven in the air. This makes them temporary, but paradoxically also very concrete, suggesting an original reflection on the transient nature of things. A metaphor of the frailty of existence, these constructions owe much to the criteria of dismantling, breaking and shifting elements that are typical of Gordon Matta-Clark’s Anarchitecture (in the 1960s this artist had explored the possibility of a ‘rebel architecture’ capable of undermining the ‘protective haughtiness’ of western metropoles, bridging the gap between art and architecture). Unlike him, Cattaneo has an ironical vein, resembling in some way that of the humour cartoonists who use paper and wit to fight against the immobile heaviness of emphatically celebrated and passively repeated concepts.
Alice Cattaneo was born in Milan 27 February, 1976. She completed her studies at the Scuola Superiore d’Arte Applicata of Castello Sforzesco, and continued her education ...
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