On Lake Orta an exhibition of leading contemporary artists dedicated to the theme of water

At Villa Nigra in Miasino on Lake Orta, the exhibition "Like Fish in Water" is staged from June 5 to July 18, with works by leading contemporary artists reflecting on the theme of water.

From June 5 to July 18, 2021, the Villa Nigra in Miasino, on Lake Orta (province of Novara) hosts an exhibition of contemporary art featuring important names on the Italian scene: it is titled Come pesci nell’acqua (Like fish in water), a title that indicates familiarity and naturalness, a phrase borrowed, ironically, from a well-known statement by Mao Tse-tung from the 1970s. There are no popular masses or political avant-gardes here: instead, there are exponents of the latest Italian artistic trendswhohave made the ductility and adaptability of their works a distinctive feature. Pliable as a language, always multiform and varied, and adaptable to exhibition spaces.

The exhibition is curated by Giorgio Verzotti, a well-known art critic and curator who teaches at the Catholic University of Milan. Verzotti has been chief curator at Castello di Rivoli and MART in Rovereto, as well as director of Artefiera in Bologna. Promoting and organizing the exhibition is Asilo Bianco, an association rooted in the Lake Orta area that has made contemporary art one of its strengths and points of reflection for years. At the center is the theme of water, which becomes a timely metaphor that is well suited to describe the artistic works presented. They are configured by space, as water takes shape from its containers. And like water that makes everything unstable, the works are difficult to assign to precise patterns and categories, they are sculptures but also photographs, sound installations, drawings, neon lights, leaves, rose thorns, videos, scrap metal, common objects, ceramics.

Fifteen artists are exhibiting: Francesco Arena, Stefano Arienti, Gianni Caravaggio, Alice Cattaneo, Massimo De Caria, Carlo Dell’Acqua, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Sergio Limonta, Gianluigi Maria Masucci, Yari Miele, Filippo Manzini, Luca Pozzi, Luca Trevisani, Fabio Roncato, and Shigeru Saito. For many of the participating artists, water is not just a metaphor, it is a reality, however elusive as precisely the liquid substance, and thus photographed, captured in videos, drawn, brought into the exhibition as such, or alluded to in the plastic configurations invented by the authors. Among their works, some were made especially for the occasion and bear “site-specific” aspects, inherent to Lake Orta and its history. The layout was designed to keep in mind the specificities from the exhibition spaces and was conceived as a continuous conversation between the environments and the works.

“The exhibition,” the curator explains, “was born from an idea of sculpture opposed to the traditional one, a deconstructed sculpture, a plastic body where voids prevail over solids, a work that is formed in relation to the environment that hosts it. We could also say: a fluid sculpture. When Asilo Bianco proposed water as the theme of the exhibition, the artists willingly agreed to try their hand at it, because the concept of fluidity with all imaginable correlates (relativity, elasticity, fragility, pliability) is already intrinsic to their work. Alluded to in practices, from ceramics to marble sculpture to baking, or explicitly represented or recalled in photographic images or videos, water also implies messages related to nature and environmental and ecological issues as well as to everyday life and corporeality. Here, then, is food that becomes painting, sugar in sachets that becomes sculpture, or the blackness of an ebony log contrasted with the blackness of exhausted automobile oil, as nature opposed to anti-nature. And so for rose thorns, dried leaves versus LED light, or cardboard treated with industrial resins. As is always the case in contemporary art, the themes and resulting works are polysemic texts, open to multiple meanings, not to mention those that the public can freely ascribe to them.”

The opening day on Saturday, June 5, will be an opportunity for a guided tour of the exhibition with curator Giorgio Verzotti and some of the artists. Appointment at 2:30 p.m. at the Tornielli Museum in Ameno and at Villa Nigra in Miasino at 5 p.m. It will be possible to reach the second exhibition space with an easy walk surrounded by greenery in the company of a nature guide. The full program for the day is available on Asilo Bianco’s website and social media. The exhibition is free admission and will be open to visitors at the two locations Thursday through Sunday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Like Fish in Water was created as part of the Fondazione Cariplo-funded project “Villa Nigra. Culture and enterprise for the development of a liquid territory” and the Italy-Switzerland cooperation project “Di-Se - DiSegnare il Territorio.” Thanks are expressed for the support VA Albertoni.

Pictured: Shigeru Saito Ripples in Rings (2021; brass, stainless steel)

On Lake Orta an exhibition of leading contemporary artists dedicated to the theme of water
On Lake Orta an exhibition of leading contemporary artists dedicated to the theme of water

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