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'Etica, Tecnica e Pathos' by Marco Strappato at The Gallery Apart, Rome


The Gallery Apart is proud to announce Etica, Tecnica e Pathos (Ethics, Technique and Pathos), the new solo show by Marco Strappato in the gallery spaces. True to an idea of art that cannot exclude the environment, the artist enriches his investigation on the landscape with suggestions from the natural world and with the several human interpretations given by the different cultural fields, from art to architecture, from photography to music and technology.

The title of the exhibition pays homage to an album by the Italian band “CCCP - Fedeli alla linea” titled “Epica Etica Etnica Pathos” (Epic Ethics Ethnic Pathos). This is not a coincidental homage, considering the recording modalities and the images accompanying the album. The recording was performed live on an abandoned farmhouse in the countryside of the province of Reggio Emilia. The band took advantage of the natural echo of the domestic environments, and they settled in the villa throughout the recording. This supports the main role played by the landscape, assumption that Strappato places at the basis of his poetics, also in a domestic version and at the service of another form of art, music. The photographs of the album cover, included as numbered copies, were shot by Luigi Ghirri, a reference point for Strappato who has already drawn on his photos for a series of artworks displayed in the gallery for the exhibition Au-delà.

As he gives his personal reinterpretation of the title, Strappato elides Epic and replaces Ethnic with Technique, in order to adapt the message to his own vision. To the artist, ethics is inextricably linked to the landscape that is so constantly damaged though it is so in need of care to preserve its intact beauty.  The technique corresponds to Strappato’s artistic approach, such a deep-rooted component in his art-making that it soars to an independent line of investigation, in the service of, but often parallel to, that of landscape. For the word Pathos, we can resort to the definition provided by the dictionary: the power to evoke intense feelings and sympathy, aesthetically or emotionally. Nothing could be more in line with the artist’s intentions.  

In Etica, Tecnica e Pathos, Strappato uses different media to investigate the topics. Drawing on Werner Herzog’s suggestion (We are surrounded by worn-out images, and we deserve new ones), Strappato presents This place is really nowhere, a series of photoengravings created by using conventional images (landscape stock photos originally spread as smartphone backgrounds) and reprocessed to such an extent that the subject is unrecognizable. Before the spectator’s eyes, the final - ambiguous though evocative - images morph into mental places that, though they suggest the original landscapes, bring to life mysterious fragments of lunar landscapes, imaginary waterfalls or abstractions that evoke pieces of the history of art or paths of the human psychology. The title draws on the claim of the IBM advertising campaign in 1987, when for the first time the developers created a computer-generated mountain in CGI very similar to a real mountain.

Orizzonte e altre linee (Horizon and other lines) is a series of paintings where the artist creates synthetic images generated starting from the horizon line to build the final image is built. The material used is an archive of iconic postcards and prints of Italian coastal landscapes collected by the artist. It is not a survey of the stunning landmarks; each image represents an overall view that feeds off metonymies. It is not by chance that the artworks are white, crossed only by sharp black brushstrokes. The white colour suspends any temporal reference, consistent with the spectator’s own imagery, whereas the powerful simplicity of the painted line highlights the memories that the images can evoke.  The series of works is a concentration of emotions through a path of identification and recognition in a familiar, though rare, landscape, which is at time recognizable but made archetypical by the obliterating power of the two colours and which is unequivocally Italian.

Appunti sulle marine (Notes on the seascapes) is the title chosen for a further series of drawings created on unused documents to register the entry of works of art into galleries. Besides the evocation of the passage of time expressed by the obsolescence of the documents now replaced by digital archives, Strappato invites to reflect on the mechanisms that regulate the spreading of the works of art and the relationships between art and market, underlining the force of the artwork that can convey the poetry of a landscape even when it is only drawn on a simple entry document.   

Finally, to underline the aura pervading the exhibition thanks to the gracefulness of the artist to interpret the influence of the natural over the artificial, the only three-dimensional element featured in the exhibition, a couple of seagulls made of wood and plaster and titled Seagulls, descends from the ceiling. Although they are placed in the neutral space of the gallery and not in their natural environment, the two sculptures remind us that the landscape cannot suit the needs of men only, as it is lived by creatures that represent the environmental values and should remain its beneficiaries.

30.11.22 — 27.1.23

Photo by Giorgio Benni

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