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Artists: Tamy Ben-Tor / Marnix de Nijs / Mark Formanek / Marzia Migliora / Julius Popp / Reynold Reynolds / Jens Risch / Michael Sailstorfer / Arcangelo Sassolino / Fiete Stolte

Exhibition view at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra


Exhibition view at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra


Arcangelo Sassolino
Photo: CCCS, Firenze; Valentina Muscedra


Dilatazione pneumatica di una forza viva, 2010
Acciaio, vetro, gas
Courtesy l’artista; Galleria Continua, San Gimignano /
Beijing / Le Moulin; Galerie Feinkost, Berlin
Photo: Fausto Caliari, Federico Perezzani


Dilatazione pneumatica di una forza viva, 2010
Exhibition view at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra

Sassolino's machines are marked by a high hazard potential. Some are almost weapons, as is the case with Afasia 1, for instance, which is not far from a bazooka, and Afasia 2, which is somewhat like a defused explosive device. Sassolino's work Dilatazione pneumatica di una forza viva (Pneumatic Expansion of a Living Force), which has specifically been created for this exhibition, features a bullet-proof glass structure with a surface of 1.5 m3 enclosing a glass bottle, which is set on a tube attached to some nitrogen cylinders. Passing through the tube, the gas slowly fills the bottle, which explodes with a shatter of glass when its maximum capacity has been reached. This is a cyclical process, for after every explosion the glass bottle is replaced. Viewers thus witness a transformation that takes places so rapidly that it cannot be perceived by the naked eye. What remains is the transformation of a given material through a drastic process that destroys its original form. As a gaseous element that is unperceivable to the naked eye, nitrogen implies mutually paradoxical connotations that are nevertheless linked to the very notion of existence. The Italian word for nitrogen, azoto, derives from Greek and means 'lifeless'. In biology, however, nitrogen is a constituent element of proteins. As such, it represents a fundamental component of all living beings. It is nitrogen that is the living expanding force that leads to the destruction of the rigid body of the bottle. The real meaning of this installation is found not in the final moment of the explosion, but in the waiting for this event to occur. The work engenders a feeling of expectation in viewers for an event whose precise moment of occurrence is impossible to predict. Viewers many never witness the actual explosion, or only hear its noise. This cold space, formed by materials such as glass and steels, was not created merely with the fleeting instant of the explosion in mind, but to help viewers 'see' themselves as they await, fearful or wishing for this moment. The language of the artist makes no narrative concessions; rather, it establishes the conditions for us to face an existential experience. While consciously rejecting any explicit use of metaphor in his installations, Sassolino illustrates change and the transience of things. His works represent a modern memento mori: a visualization of the human inability to transcend the expectation of an event or-vice versa-its end. It is the artist himself who describes his work in the following terms: "Neither a creation of energy nor a destruction of matter, but caducity. The existential question remains the cornerstone of all my works. And caducity is all-pervasive. In the meantime, what we have is only a reminder of memory and an aesthetic expectation."  


Arcangelo Sassolino (Italy, 1967)

Arcangelo Sassolino's installations consist of closed systems within which mechanical processes take place showing the effects produced by extreme forces. Sassolino does not conceal the single components of his works, but makes them visible. Processes continuously take place in these installations, although they are only perceived when matter bears concrete traces of their effects. Attentive viewers will be able to deduce the causal relations between various events that constantly repeat themselves. Through his installations, the artist explores the effects of energy on matter. In some of his works, these processes take place at such a high speed that only their final-and often destructive-outcome can be grasped. In others, energy exercises a violent yet constant influence, enabling viewers to concentrate in waiting for the final moment.



 
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