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'BLIND DATE#4' by Alessandro Di Pietro and Mathias Pfund at Sonnenstube, Lugano

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January is the month of Janus, an archaic deity dating back to Roman times, described as the guardian of the doors and passages. A look at the past and at the same time a continuous change in the eye that also sees the future.

A passage that the exhibition BLIND DATE #4 confirms thanks to its tradition as an exhibition form and its formula that evolves from place to place. BLIND DATE #4 is in fact the first exhibition that Sonnenstube officially organizes within its new industrial context: MOREL.

Alessandro Di Pietro and Mathias Pfund develop their meeting, inside this new venue dedicated to contemporary art, modifying the space and adapting to it. The work of the two artists deals first of all with the architecture of the room, which foresees a modification by Di Pietro in its structure, filling the windows, which open onto the large parking lot below, through the use of polystyrene panels. These multi-featured walls, in addition to adding a visual effect a bit ‘muffled to the building, open up views of illuminating its industrial forms.

The softness diffused by the grey intervention is filled with the sound produced by Pfund’s work which, thanks to the noise of water, creates another space: the sound space. Both artists add to their installations a silent component that speaks to the audience through its mimicry. In the case of Di Pietro, we have a thin sheet laid out in the installation in the polystyrene structure, in which a designed mirror by the title ORION_Blow is embedded.

A red reflection of images that remain almost locked, as in the rearview mirror of your car, second after second the image remains motionless. As we approach, in fact, we glimpse physiognomies intent on blowing, or holding our breath, from the features of a previous story with a burnt taste. Flaming eyes that observe trying to understand in which time and space they have arrived and what is being reflected in their gestures. The temporal component related to a story, to an inheritance that can be traced back to a video editing software, is in fact found in the form of the box that traps these elusive narratives.

If, with Di Pietro, we deal with the images, realizing their fragmentary presence, with Mathias Pfund, the narrative component is typical of a tradition of control devices with a grotesque and stealthy flavour. In fact, during the period of the Inquisition, it was the Bocca di Leone that collected the secret reports for the magistrates. Exhibited for the first time at Sonnenstube, the work of Mathias Pfund Ruga di Leone can be reached by following the sound of water to it’s source, where we find forms of masks whose features recall the aesthetics of the Serenissima, extracted from their context and reproduced by the artist to vomit transparent words, almost leaving us to choose the moment when our secret will flow.

The Bocche di Leone were scattered among the calli and framed by an inscription “denontie secrete, contro chi occulterà, grazie et officii. O colluderà per nasconder la vera rendita ad essi”. The water of the three faces, characterized by a wrinkled expression, ends its course in a transparent basin, thanks to the plexiglass, evoking its archaeological appeal from the museum taste.

With this exhibition with a techno-archaeological flavour, Sonnenstube invites you to take part in its 2019 annual program, which will take place in this space and will branch out within MOREL, involving its architecture.

— Giada Olivotto

26.1.19 — 22.2.19

Photo by Muriel Hediger

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