Ash Works | GASPARE

Galleria d'Arte
Raffaella De Chirico

TORINO: Via Barbaroux, 16
MILANO: Via Carlo Farini, 2

Ph +39 392 89 72 581

Ash Works | GASPARE

Art News Turin

Two squares of ash, one realised directly on the wall, the other spread freely on the floor, corresponding to one another, presenting contemporaneously as installation, painting, drawing and environment. The creative process follows a very precise protocol that consists of the production of the ash that will form the very material of the work. Artist, curator and art historian, Gaspare is naturally aware of the historical icons invoked (rather than evoked), but when asked about his major influences he mentions artists who consider art as a “mental thing”.

While belonging to this strand of research (with antonymic pairings such as drawing/colour or conceptual/expressionist) Gaspare's work nevertheless has a material and autobiographical aspect. The dimensions of the work (170x170 cm) are those of the artist himself while the ashes derive from his daily labours. Those on the floor derive from earlier works the artist has burnt in recent years, while those on the wall are ashes obtained from burning pages of his own notes. His humanist education and his work as an art historian imply an historicizing of his artistic practice. In 2008, he established one of the protocols of a number of cycles of his future works, implying a retrospective rereading of his past works. He therefore conceived of a work that will be the first (entitling it Opera Prima, mixed media on canvas, 30x30 cm, from the series Opera 2008-2015) and burnt those that came before. He today uses the ashes of the burnt works for the creation of new works present as stratified deposits of his own past, in a cannibalistic and reflexive process. This is without doubt how the artist is to be interpreted when he defines his work as “self-critical”.

As a counterpoint to the “first” work the artist created in 2008, this ensemble would appear to be the “last” work, an artistic and biographical testament. It distils the very essence of Gaspare’s work in which each piece presents as first and last, in that each puts forwards a concept and at the same time concludes it. Each work has the ambition of being a definitive discourse, one that is found in the attraction to simple geometric forms and the choice of the colour (or non-colour) black. Gaspare uses black not for its chromatic power (and its metaphysical or expressionist potential), but rather as a “scriptural” and “conceptual” instrument. This is why rather than a specific black, he uses a concept of black, with its multiple variants from deep black to grey.

While in the cycles of earlier works the ash was used as a material that was at times stratified on canvas and at others photographed or bottled in liquid form, with the exhibition Ash Works 2013-2014Gaspare is using ash for the first time directly in the exhibition space, offering it without mediation to the spectator, as the survival from the destruction of his earlier work and as a substance for a possible renaissance.

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