Comunicato stampa | Testo critico di Giuliana Benassi
Press release | Exhibition essay by Giuliana Benassi
Matèria - founded in 2015 - opens its new headquarters in via dei Latini 27 in Rome, with a solo show by Stefano Canto set to open on the 13th of February 2021.
In a time when our habitual forms of engagement with art are being reexamined, Matèria expands its gallery spaces to welcome the future and the evolution of its role, both locally and internationally.
This transition represents a significant turning point, the result of five years of activity that have seen all the gallery’s represented artists try their hand at a solo show. This initial cycle has given life to numerous projects involving artists, curators, Italian and international organisations, thus laying the groundwork for the development of the gallery.
The approach introduced and developed in Via Tiburtina 149 remains key; with the core of the overall project centered on the formation of a group of artists with whom to trace a long-term trajectory by focusing on project development through cultural and economic support. "The state of crisis puts us in front of forced choices - says Niccolò Fano, founder and director of Matèria - that once undertaken, strongly mark the progress and future of a gallery; the step we take today radically defines our future. Changing space and seizing an opportunity in a time of heightened turbulence allows us to formalise a renewed line of thought and action - one strongly focused on the city - without neglecting a selection of national and international collaborations that we intend to build and consolidate in the coming years".
The gallery's new space opens to the public with Carie, a solo exhibition by Stefano Canto (Rome, 1974), curated by Giuliana Benassi. Canto presents a new body of work, the result of a research process begun in 2009, which embodies the backbone of his entire artistic practice. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the botanical vocabulary and refers to the decomposition of plant tissues due to the action of fungal parasites, called "Carie".
The artist finds his starting point for his exhibited works from tree trunks and pieces of bark collected on the edge of the city roads. What is salvaged has decayed and hollowed out due to the rotting process procured by wood parasites - carie lignee.
It’s precisely from this void and hollowness that the artist's sculptural process is developed; tying the deteriorated tree mass to a regeneration process enabled by the application of cement grafts and by filling the cavities with stark architectural formations. Where there is absence, the artist imposes a constructive presence.
The vitality of the void triumphs, its immanent sculptural presence invades the gallery accompanying the visitor into a forest of works that architecturally redesigns the gallery as a large scale site-specific installation. As Giuliana Benassi notes: "the exhibition space seems to transform itself into a landscape, a landscape that is not idyllic, but punctuated by the constant dialogic parrhesia between nature and architecture, where one takes inspiration from the other and vice versa".
After the publication that accompanied the 2019 exhibition Sotto l’influenza del Fiume. Sedimento, the collaboration between Stefano Canto designer/curator Fiorenza Pinna is renewed with a new volume created for Carie, from which it takes its title. The publication is part of an editorial project that provides for the long-term collaboration between Pinna and Canto, aimed at examining and documenting the artist's process during the span of three solo exhibitions in the gallery.