Curated by Sara Fumagalli and Valentina Gervasoni
From 17 January to 24 February 2019, the GAMeC presents Hoysteria: the first solo show by Oscar Giaconia (Milan, 1978) in an Italian museum institution.
The exhibition is staged with the support of the Club GAMeC – the association of friends of the museum which, ever since 2005, has supported the activities of the Gallery – comprising the first of a series of initiatives aimed at promoting contemporary artistic research in all its forms.
The title of the exhibition – acknowledging the artist’s most recent pictorial production – is a ‘mishmash’ term, using together the words ‘osteria’ (‘inn’), ‘ostrica’ (‘oyster’) and ‘isteria’ (‘hysteria’): terms which allude to containers of various kinds, capable of housing diverse kinds of guests. The conceptual and phonetic assonance that these words share produces an untranslatable title, a linguistic misnomer and a semantic dysfunction, all embodied by the figures to be found in the exhibition.
Innkeepers, forgers, old seadogs, sentinels, ghosts and monsters are the subjects that fill the Spazio Zero of the GAMeC, featuring a contemporary degeneration of genre painting.
The exhibition itinerary opens with the diptych Master – Mother Board (2018), a double portrait with profile effigies of numismatic leanings: the Father and the Mother,‘landlords’, welcome visitors at the entrance, carefully examining and overviewing their movements.
Inside, all the space is ‘contaminated’ by bonded leather, a leather-tanning derivate created through the processing of offcuts of leather fibre of bovine origin, of which the best-known application is that of trengthening/filling/padding: a second-class material which is produced so as not to be seen and which here, on the contrary, covers everything in sight. The colour of this product even spills onto the walls of the room, creating a material continuity, a genuine container for the works. Bonded leather attempts to camouflage the space, imitating the mimetic silhouette of The Grinder (2015): anamorphic blotches that stand out against a light background, full of crossings out and simulated second thoughts.
At the centre of the exhibition space stands what appears to be the massive taxidermy of a sewer pipe – Calabiyau (2018) – and the reconstruction of a wooden shack, also coated in the same ghostly material. A hut-cum-armour inhabited and surrounded by strange figures, already to be found in embryonal form in the exhibition Green Room
(BACO, 2016), when the artist was transformed by the prosthetic makeup artist Vittorio Sodano into a series of paradoxical characters – Commander, Exterminator, Monomaniac and Fisherman – destined to collapse into one another. While Green Room was the pretext to activate a series of processes of which painting is the final purpose, the ensuing pictorial elaboration of the mutation undergone led to the creation of The Grinder (2018), here grafted and housed inside the shack.
The itinerary leads to a setting that hosts the projection of Sexual Clumsiness, a 16 mm video showing offcuts from the filming of a prosthetic makeup session. Around the makeup artist’s table, we may also see works from the series Sexual Clumsiness of Amphibious Machine (2017) which in turn allude to metamorphosis, recycling, decomposition, the moment of undressing which, psychotically, follows that of dressing up.
Giaconia’s maniacal linguistic aspect is expressed through his use of heterogeneous materials such as silicon, vulcanite, nylon, neoprene rubber, bonded leather and elastomers, showing the doggedness and empirical obstinacy of both his research and his pictorial practice: visual thought animated by artificiality.
Psychotic accumulations of objects, plastic obsessions and machinic automatisms offer the terrain to develop the work on himself, a compost heap of images to browse through or dissect, giving rise to the synthetic biological creatures that constitute the backbone of his works.
Saturday 23 February 2019 the two times Oscar nominated prosthetic makeup artist Vittorio Sodano will transform Giaconia once more as part of a performance hosted in the Spazio Zero of the museum, which in turn will trigger the new painting mechanism behind the upcoming work of the artist.
The work will be accompanied by a monographic bilingual catalogue published by GAMeC Books, with contributions from Gian Antonio Gilli, associate professor of Sociology at the University of Western Piedmont; Antonio Rezza, actor, director and writer, winner of a Golden Lion for the Theatre at the Venice Biennale in 2018; Stefano Raimondi, director of The Blank, Bergamo; Andrea Zucchinali, a PhD student currently investigating Theory and analysis of artistic-literary processes, and a conversation between the artist and the exhibition curators.
Opening: 17.1.19, h. 19:00
GAMeC, Spazio Zero
Saturday 23 February 2019: Performance with Oscar Giaconia and the prosthetic makeup artist and two times Oscar nominee Vittorio Sodano
Oscar Giaconia (Milan, 1978) lives and works in Bergamo.
Among his key solo and collective shows: Green Room (Bergamo, BACO Arte Contemporanea, 2016); Happy Ending (Reims, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, 2016); Peintures (Troyes, Musèe Saint-Loup, 2014); Alea (Bergamo, Thomas Brambilla Gallery, 2012).
His works may be found in numerous private collections and are part of the permanent collections of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims; BACO Arte Contemporanea, Bergamo; UBI – Banca Popolare di Bergamo; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem.
Shortlisted for the 2018 edition of the Cairo Prize, this year GAMeC dedicates to him his first solo show in an Italian museum institution by way of recognition of his meaningful artistic career.