Paolo Bini – Dinanzi all’Oceano / Brink of the Ocean
In collaboration with the Centro Di Sarro in Italy, the Italian Consulate in Cape Town and SMAC Art Gallery, Italian artist Paolo Bini presents his first South African solo exhibition entitled Dinanzi all’Oceano / Brink of the Ocean. Bini chosen by the Centro Di Sarro presents a new body of work completed during his one month residency, facilitated by the Artist Residence Project, in Cape Town.
This exhibition will be hosted at the Provenance Auction House in Cape Town and runs concurrently with the program of the 13th Week of Italian Language in the World under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic.
Dinanzi all’Oceano / Brink of the Ocean continues Bini’s experimentation with lines and colours while incorporating the unique South African geography that permeates into the fabric of this new body of work.
An artist deeply inspired by geographical forms, colour and abstract landscapes, Bini has acknowledged that the context of this residency has had “an important impact on the directions and gesture of [his] art,” remarking that he can see a transformative difference in what he has produced during this period.
In response to his new environment, Bini searched across his own personal colour palette and points of reference. Bini believes that colour directly reflects emotion, which he dubs as “emotional chromatics,” citing the influences of Neo-Expressionism and artists such as Julian Schnabel.
The effect and significance of rendering “the line” is part of the artist’s vision as well. Affected by the unique landscapes that he absorbs, from the winelands of Stellenbosch to the rugged terrain of Cape Point, Bini has created spontaneous paintings of a fluid and transcendent nature.
The materials used are of importance to Bini. Monochromatic and fluorescent paint is applied to various surfaces ranging from canvas to long stretches of paper tape on wooden board. When the tape is covered in acrylic, the work acquires a new dimension, highlighting a “transformation” of his materials. The artist feels free with paper as he finds the medium “poetic, soft yet textural, and able to take colour passionately,” creating abstract compositions with a vibrancy of colour and line in response to the landscape and sights he encountered in South Africa.
Jake Aikman – Confini Velati
5 – 20 giugno 2014
Aikman’s paintings remind us that we are living and working in the conditions of the ‘post natural’ or the end of nature– notions that are rapidly becoming a stark reality. Painting and its tropes have been said to belong to a previous conception of the world, as much as nature does. Thus, the ‘natural’ is nothing more than a ghostly presence in Aikman’s paintings. The veiling he deploys, gives an eerie sensation of the image (Nature) withdrawing, along with the sets of codes that were once embedded in our culture to assure us that our assumptions about the natural cycles of life and the existence of God were real and true. The irony is that this is conveyed by the tradition of easel painting, in a culture where nature has been reified and we are saturated with either glossy photographic images of ‘nature’ as something healthy and whole (and ultimately artificial) or sensationally cataclysmic images (documentaries) of our destructive exploitation of the ecological balance of the earth. Cunningly, painting is deployed to point to the gap between these two, contradictory sets of representation, leaving an uncanny sense of suspended meaning behind or in the veils of paint.
The original turn to the sea as a subject matter for artists and writers was that it remained an untamed territory, a last bit of wilderness on which to project and imagine and record our wild longings. Aikman’s work paints the sea (or water free in Nature, n.d.r.) as a failed utopia, a raided wilderness, a plundered subconscious. In its place we have the cold reminder that our modern, urban utopias have failed us too – that perhaps our human striving toward getting to paradise, to wanting paradise, to reshaping it with each epoch, no matter what the cost, is a failure of human imagination at its utmost and becomes a frantic devouring in the ultimately pointless pursuit of happiness that has been so effectively manipulated in a capitalist economy.
Aikman takes the project of the Romantic artists and reshapes it within the coordinates of contemporary experience. Today, those images that conveyed the Sublime then, would be considered to be sugary, kitsch and unreal now. Aikman’s paintings from 2013 speak of the Sublime, but like the curious withdrawal of Nature that we encounter in this work, the Sublime too, seems reluctant to reveal itself, instead lurking in the veils and mists, the deep waters and deafening silences found herein. We are asked to acknowledge that Truth or any notion of the Absolute is fugitive and that the Sublime only exists in the eye of the beholder, in the mind and in the conventions of art. These things are neither solidly embedded in something ‘out there’ nor in Nature, but are rather the perpetually shifting horizons of our death drive, of the anxious pursuit of an endlessly deferred Nirvana. Nature, with a small ‘n’ rather than the subject Nature, is vastly indifferent, brute and busily going its own way. Julia Teale – extract from “At the quiet limit”, 2013