Massimo De Carlo presents Hétalvó by Pietro Roccasalva, this is the first solo exhibition in London by the Italian artist, who lives and works in Milan.
Even though Roccasalva’s practice involves many different mediums, painting is the constant, crucial element that channels the artist narrative, and around which all other mediums circle.
For the exhibition the artist presents a new body of work, composed of large-scale canvases and a series of smaller paintings that is named as the exhibition itself: Hétalvó. Each painting aims to embody in a different way the poetic narrative of Roccasalva’s installation The Seven Sleepers. This immersive installation, that was first exhibited in Roccasalva’s survey show at MAGASIN in Grenoble in 2013, and is now part of the MoMA collection, is a sculptural/performance-based piece from the still life / tableau vivant reversals that have become a major thread in the artists’ work.
The Seven Sleepers is composed of a room designed to resemble a recording studio: here seven students were asked to sketch a sculpture, while the pads on which their paper rested was equipped with microphones and the sounds of their pencils rubbing against the paper was amplified at high volume in another space. The sculpture in front of them was a scaled-down model of Just Married Machine (2012): a major installation/tableau vivant piece based on a film still from La Ricotta by Pier Paolo Pasolini that depicts a traditional nature morte which Roccasalva transformed into a fully realized, life-sized objects.
This exhibition is the culmination of a practice commenced by Roccasalva 15 years ago which combines disparate languages to create complex staging that always serve as source for the paintings. With the merging of the whole process solely into the two-dimensional strength of the canvas, Hétalvó marks an important step in this long-term research.
Keeping references to Roccasalva’s lexicon of imageries and iconographies, the works on view reveal his on-going process of experimentation, pointing to his deep engagement with questioning and challenging the language of painting through a very personal vocabulary, which constantly mixes and balances the traditional history of painting techniques and the recent digital practices.
Pietro Roccasalva was born in 1970 in Modica, Italy. He currently lives and works in Milan. His solo exhibitions include: The Power Station, Dallas, Texas, USA (2016); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Germany (2014); Le Magasin in Grenoble, France (2013); GaMeC in Bergamo, Italy (2007); and Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, Italy (2006). His work was part of group exhibitions at David Roberts Art Foundation, London, UK; Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (USA), MoMA PS1 in New York (USA), MAXXI in Rome, Italy, Kadist Art Foundation in Paris France, S.M.A.K. – Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent. He was invited for the Venice Biennial in 2009, Manifesta 7 in Kassel in 2008 and the Prague Biennial in 2007.Installation views: Todd-White Art Photography. Courtesy Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong