Gallery: Pékin Fine Arts
Artist(s): Phénix Varbanov
Opening / Event Date: 28 Jul, 2023
Closing / End Date: 30 Sep, 2023
MASSIMODECARLO is delighted to present Recent Paintings, a solo exhibition by Italian artist Pietro Roccasalva. Recent Paintings makes Roccasalva’s first solo exhibition in Asia and at our Hong Kong gallery. Focusing on his latest works created in 2023, the exhibition displays new pieces from his renowned series La Sposa Occidentale and Just Married Machine.
Roccasalva weaves together intricate symbols, drawing profound inspiration from literature, cinema, philosophy, and our collective imagination. The resulting artistic repertoire manifests as a complex vernacular and deeply personal iconography. While the exhibited works are indeed recent, they are inseparable from the artist’s ongoing exploration, experimentation, and scholarly pursuits, which have been unfolding over the course of two decades.
Roccasalva emerges as an enigmatic figure on the international art scene, assembling references like pieces of a cryptic puzzle, leaving the spectator unaware of the rules. Roccasalva’s works perpetually generate new references and detours. These paintings possess a sense of endlessness, containing stories within stories, prompting Roccasalva to eloquently state, “I’d say that I am happiest when the finished work, in its completeness, continues to be potential – that is to recommence the process in an unpredictable way.”
Within Roccasalva’s realm of brushstrokes, his works unfold from a diverse range of mediums and lexicons, paying homage to esteemed authors and celebrated masterpieces of the past. Notably, in the Just Married Machine series, Roccasalca draws inspiration from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s La Ricotta, Goethe’s Elective Affinities, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.
The artist transforms photograms and narratives into a tableaux vivant that is both disorienting and thematically charged. The viewer, like a scientist, is invited to investigate and peel back layer by later to unveil the underlying themes and allegorical symbols that form the essence of the work.
Before evolving into a series of bi-dimensional paintings, Just Married Machine was originally presented as a three-dimensional installation and tableaux vivant in 2011, featuring an eclectic assortment of objects and figures, including a boat, purple balloons, and a newly married couple. The groom sits contemplatively on the boat while the bride stands gracefully, clutching a tennis racket. The figure of the bride makes a recurring appearance, as seen in Roccasalva’s La Sposa Occidentale series.
Roccasalva orchestrates his creations, continuously adding anecdotes and symbols to each subsequent work. While the bride references Goethe’s Elective Affinities, her tennis racket finds in its form in Michelangelo’s drawing of Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, a motif that has previously appeared in the artist’s earlier works and bears a striking resemblance to a dreamcatcher.
In Recent Paintings at MASSIMOSDECARLO Hong Kong, Roccasalva enchannts viewers with his artful play of meanings and perpetual repetitions. Each series of works, densely composed of others, breathes life into a third entity — a synthesis of two worlds, one tangible and the other imagined, blending real and fictitious narratives. Ultimately, Roccasalva’s masterpieces, filled with profound references, evoke poignant reflections on identity, history, and the path ahead. They invite introspection and contemplation, shedding light on the intricate tapestry of existence.