The Paper Medium
Despite the growing spread of digitalization, it is not time to imagine our everyday lives without paper. Though paper has had a long tradition as the bearer of art works, be they drawings, aquatint etchings, reliefs or print works, paper has actually freed itself from its shadowy existence as picture medium for studies and sketches. Today, paper has emancipated itself as a medium for an autonomous art language, holdings its ground amongst other materials.
ARTQUISITE has dedicated the exhibit “The Spirit of Paper” to the topic of paper as a medium concentrating on works by four prominent Italian artists. The focus of the exhibit is on works by Gillo Dorfles, Carlo Bertè, Sandro Martini and Jano Sicura. These artists take very diverse approaches to paper using very different techniques in their works.
Paper, with its very specific properties, develops a distinct aesthetic during various artistic processes like drawing, aquarelle, and print graphics or tearing, folding and pasting as collage material and can only then be consciously recognized and experienced as paper.
Various contemporary manifestations are on display in this exhibit, which only features paper works spanning drawing (aquarelle, charcoal, chalk or pen) and print graphic techniques (reliefs, aquatints and etchings).
Sandro Martini, paper collages “Veve” (2004) & “Rati” (2002)
Sandro Martini always resorts back to paper for his material pictures because its properties allow it to combine particularly well with other materials. Depending on how it is handled, paper can be fragile or stabile, transient or permanent, flexible or resistant.
Sandro Martini, Cage, 2006
Gillo Dorfles prefers to capture his imaginary, supernatural world on paper. Fascinating, fantastic robots, curious cybernauts, proboscides and snail-like creatures, insects and bats, anchorites and moon men tumble around in a surreal metaphysical space guiding the viewer through a mysterious, hermetic, self-contained inner world.
Gillo Dorfles, aquatint etching (2008) & relief print and aquatint (2011)
In his first theoretical work, «The Technical discourse of Art» («Il discorso tecnico dell'arte», 1952/2003 Marinotti), the art critic Gillo Dorfles draws attention away from the predominantly contextual analysis common in Italian art theory to an interpretation of the art work based on its technical and material aspects. Art is first made real and brought to life through its material. In his analysis of forms of expression and structures in music, painting, sculpture and architecture, Dorfles searches for art’s structural units in order to uncover their relation to time and space. He comes to the conclusion that there are no structural rules but that any possible laws or norms are only evident a posteriori and that they are, either way, in constant flux. (B. Fässler, “Seismograph of the Present” (“Seismograph der Gegenwart”)).
Carlo Bertè, Battistero, graphic 2008
The scenes devoid of people that Carlo Bertè creates on white cardboard are part of a very unique creative process. He is interested in the catastrophe of mankind’s existence and is inspired by nocturnal settings, dreamscapes and enigmatic and at times burning ruins of the fantastical architectural structures of Baroque painter Monsù Desiderio.
Jano Sicura, Untitled, acrylic on paper, 2015
Jano Sicura uses paper to present his world, one characterized by powerful symbols of knots. The knot in Jano’s paper works is never interpreted negatively. Instead, it unravels a new repertoire and value system. The knot serves as a symbol of bonds and the perfection found in the natural cycle of life.
The paper works in this exhibit afford extraordinary perspectives through a constant shift between extremes like immediacy and reflection, process and memory, spontaneous artistic expression and calculated investigative methods, and this shifting allows them to enter into dialogue with one another.