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Frammento e Ornamento

curated by Roberto Lacarbonara

Emanuele Becheri
Max Bill
T-Yong Chung
Gabriella Ciancimino
Benjamin Cohen
Antonio Corpora
Francesco Gennari
Giorgio Griffa
Franco Guerzoni
Jean-Baptiste Maitre
Vincenzo Marsiglia
Elizabeth McAlpine
Diego Miguel Mirabella
Davide Monaldi
Emilio Notte
Achille Perilli 
Markus Saile

exhibition views at Pinacoteca Emilio Notte, Castello Ducale di Ceglie Messapica, Via Chiesa 11

August 6th – September 15th 2022


Photos by Marino Colucci


The Castello Ducale – Pinacoteca Emilio Notte hosts the collective exhibition FRAMMENTO E
ORNAMENTO (FRAGMENT AND ORNAMENT) curated by Roberto Lacarbonara. Designed in close
relation to the work of Notte, Oggetti (1969), housed in the Pinacoteca, the exhibition includes the works of contemporary, Italian, and international artists, called to investigate the always partial,
fragmentary, contingent character of the works, conceived as an element of a lost or indefinite unity.

A suggestion that seems further strengthened by the memory of the precious iconographic and ornamental apparatuses that decorated the castle, richly frescoed in the fifteenth century by the Sanseverino family, whose traces are still visible and appear on the walls of the adjacent "Pietro Gatti" Library. Therefore, the works of the artists on display, define a hypothesis of discovery, the uncovering of residual and discontinuous visual fragments, and "semi-archaeological" presences that reactivate imaginative signs of great evocative power.


Conceived in the middle of the ’60s, the work Oggetti (1969) belongs to the series of still lives and collages that Emilio Notte realized in the midst of a figurative and compositive crisis: a laceration that privileges partiality to unity, detail to wholeness. With its irregular shape, the appearance of an ancient mosaic, and the contours marked by the broken line, further accentuated by the use of zigzag frames, this canvas – together with the coeval Frammento and Composizione – is debtor to the beloved Braque and Cubism, albeit with an awareness, on the part of the artist, of gathering such fragments in the context and through the lens of new spatial requirements.

In conversation with the work of the Cegliese maestro, the works of Gabriella Ciancimino, investigate the partial and fragmentary aspect of several "maps" of hypothetical continents, the distribution of splinters and fragments recomposed into ornamental motifs echoing those of Art Nouveau, tell a story of dissemination, the scattering of "seeds of the sea." Those are migratory cells that give birth to different botanical species along the Mediterranean coasts.

In Maitre’s still lifes, the extraction of the figures from the context and the cropping of the image through digital treatment as well as through the pictorial sign/edge translate objects into stylized forms, chromatic and spatial force fields.

While McAlpine’s photographic silhouettes are prints that are produced using self-made pinhole cameras in which light, coming from multiple holes pierced on the camera, impresses emulsified paper previously folded and shaped onto the moldings in the artist’s studio.

If to Benjamin Cohen the architectural practice retrieves from childhood memory Moorish Arabicstyle elements – shelves and doorways – decorated with animal and plant-shaped motifs, in which archaic elements and industrial materials revive a legacy of objects and images, for Diego Miguel Mirabella the meticulous execution of the mosaics, inspired by the Moroccan tradition of mosaic making (Zellij), determines a uniform space of repeated, geometric, and modular patterns where some decorative flowers and some inscriptions, barely visible, are concealed in the middle of the composition. Davide Monaldi shows an unusual Carta da parati, roughly glued to the walls brings to the surface a floral motif, repeated with industrial seriality. For Monaldi, the lush decoration of domestic interiors usually achieved through the use of low-cost adhesive paper becomes an object of precious handcrafted elaboration. The terracotta sculpture, despite its modular conception, is characterized by its absolute and unrepeatable uniqueness.

Ornamental apparatuses that seem to remerge as the last, fragile finds, from the Affreschi by Emanuele Becheri – made with smoke-black pigment and left in contact with the adhesive paper only for a very short time – and from the wood paintings by Markus Saile, where traces of brushstrokes and the tonal glazes emerge from the stratified and uniformed background through signs of baroque and musical sinuosity. The circumstantial and fragmentary approach of the interventions does not even neglect the individual and subjectivity, questioning our constitutive partiality of being, the incompleteness and the mystery that bind man to the dominion of the social and of history. Just so T-Yong Chung explores the solid and compact materiality of a bronze bust by taking off a portion of its surface, in a drastic and decisive gesture which reveals the structural interiority of the subject portrayed. While Francesco Gennari observes how every living being – from the simplest to the most complex – models buildings, territories, and landscapes in its own image, through gestures that are defined as much by culture as by instinct. Architecture and ornamentation are the tools of our "poetically inhabiting" the earth (Hölderlin). In the tension of a form that escapes from its margins, from the boundaries of framing and logic to become a piece and a rest, it sometimes happens that individual formal units, geometries and cutouts, can also become a module, a component element of a new grammar of abstraction, beyond any figural dictate. Ornament and Abstraction constitute a dialogue-oriented to afterthought ofspace and depth in Max Bill who, starting from the archaic decoration, adopts geometry, patterns, and variation as fundamental components in the definition of abstract and non-representational art. In conversation with the Austrian artist, a body of works of 20th-century historical artists: Antonio Corpora researched pictorial solutions routed to the autonomous values of form and space; layering and removing, sedimenting and subtracting: those are the terms in which of Franco Guerzoni's painting practice unfolds. In Guerzoni’s painting, the surface is always the land of pre-existing geologies, a land where one can certify traces, unearth fragments, and inspect surfaces. Whereas, Giorgio Griffa‘s art takes on a processual dimension and makes a radical reduction of painting to its constitutive elements (surface, sign, color) delivering the renowned canvases of unfinished appearance, with large spaces left to the raw canvas and the traces of its folds. Exhibited the two works by Achille Perilli from 1966 and 2002 show the progression and the study of form in an attempt to “tame” an informal signicity in favor of geometry and modularity sticking to a spatial illusion, a primitive axonometric intuition that opens up the space onto a rational and mathematical depth. An observative and plastic method that finds a special solution in Vincenzo Marsiglia’s light sculptures that starting with the modular form of a four-pointed star and its variations in space, creates a two-dimensional ornamental element that is then submitted to folds and twists, and occupies the environment through geometries drawn by neon tubes.

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