Signs of the times
Apalazzo Gallery, Italy
:mentalKLINIK, JOEL ANDRIANOMEARISOA, ANDREAS ANGELIDAKIS, ROMAIN BERNINI, THOMAS LELU, LIN ZHIPENG, MIKA ROTTENBERG, LUNA PAIVA
Group show from November 2021 to February 2022, curated by Jérôme Sans
Recent events that plunged the world into a state of global uncertainty have proven that there is definitely no such thing as a universal truth. Our societal model, which seemed to be unanimously accepted, turns out to be a fragile chessboard that can be shaken at any moment. If, after the pandemic crisis, the world appears to have returned to its usual course and former appearance, the core of everyone’s thinking has inevitably changed; signs have shifted too. It is no longer the individual who constructs his or her environment but the environment that defines us as human beings.
The exhibition Signs of The Times intends to put into perspective the territory of these plural questionings. How to decipher and appropriate from now on the new signs emitted by our environment under this uncertain horizon? As the collision between our civilization and the limits imposed by nature becomes more and more visible, how can we reconcile the lightness of the simple pleasures of the present moment with the global consciousness of our time?
By demonstrating critical thinking, the artists gathered in this exhibition address these existential, political, societal questions that drive our experience of the world today with radical imagination. Under the sign of the mirage but also of the semantics and the power of reproduction to infinity, the exhibition proposes multiple universes flirting in a relaxed way with the anguish of an uncertain future. Beyond their immediate expressive power, the works tackle in an underlying way some of our most pressing current issues: global warming, the rewriting of history, the growing number of people left behind, the challenges of the younger generation in the face of a consumerist society, the flood of information messages, and unbridled individualism… If it is not a question here of giving solutions or answers to these problems, the works approach in a frontal way this mutation of signs currently taking place. And, in our world of images, they are, in fact, an acting force.
By confronting us upon our consumer habits, :mentalKLINIK dislocates mundane materials to create a new aesthetic form that is seductive. Their universe can be experienced as festive and glamorous, yet surprising and abrasive, violent and nostalgic as a bad after party. A whole work of encryption suspended between the true and the false, as in Luna Paiva’s work that gilds or casts in bronze everyday items and popular objects. She transforms the low in the high, conferring to the banality of common objects a new value and identity as shimmering markers of our time. The issue of production of value is developed in the uncanny video narratives by Mika Rottenberg, driven by the inequalities of our global economy, absurd labour conditions and the fragility of the human body, through humour and confusion.
A leading figure of new Chinese photography, Lin Zhipeng (No.223) reflects a certain spirit of the millenial unconventional Chinese youth. Mixing love and chaos, fantasy and eroticism, his photographs act as a poetic diary of that generation wishing to escape social pressures and to aspire to life’s pleasures in an indifferent and ever-changing society. Also inspired by utopian ideals, Thomas Lélu’s statements on cardboard reactivate the protest’s spirit of fusion between art and life, when art takes to the street. With irony, he diverts these counterculture attitudes with slogans proper to our era, impregnating himself with everyday life and our individual and social behaviors.
A metaphor of fragility as an essential life force, the elegant paper collages and meanderings by Joël Andrianomearisoa form monochrome landscapes in permanent motion that become a total opera of ethereal architectures. From one story to another, Athens by Night (2021) by Andreas Angelidakis transforms a journey through the remnants of the ancient city into an immersive environment, querying the history of Athens against other possible futures. Like so many archeological fragments of Greek marble, foam cushion modules are multiplied into copies of themselves, movable, stackable and lend themselves to the free interpretation of visitors as if in a collective construction game to rebuild a common world. A world in mutation that is in motion in Romain Bernini’s paintings: between wandering, shifting and trembling, his psychedelic paintings are the beginnings of contemporary mythologies between symbols and spiritual worlds. His search for an ecstatic relationship with nature starts with his Trees whose iridescence remains unclear: is it a proliferation of chemicals, pollution, or a self-generate irradiation as a substance for their survival?
Thus, the exhibition, bringing together French, Turkish, Greek, Chinese, Argentinean artists … is like a cultural mosaic, a reflection of our contemporary era, beyond borders, fields of creation, but also generational differences. By means of all these new images of mankind affected by doubt, these artists very rightly assert that uncertainty is a driving force to collectively prepare for the future.
Joel Andrianomearisoa, The Labyrinth of passions, 2021, collage, silk paper, 400 x 280 cm exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia (2) © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Andreas Angelidakis, ATHENS BY NIGHT, Post Ruin, 2021, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Joel Andrianomearisoa, The Labyrinth of Passions, 2021, collage, silk paper, 400 x 280 cm, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Lin Zhipeng, mentalKLINIK, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Luna Paiva, Thomas Lélu, mentalKLINIK, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
mentalKLINIK, DISASTROUSLY BRILLIANT, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia (1) © Melania Dalle © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
mentalKLINIK, PUFF OUT M, 2101, 2021, detail, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
mentalKLINIK, PUFF OUT M, 2101, 2021, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
mentalKLINIK, Thomas Lelu_exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Romain Bernini, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia (1) © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Romain Bernini, exhibition view Signs of the Times, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia (2) © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio
Romain Bernini, Him (II), 2022, oil on canvas, 250 x 200 cm © Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio