Opening: Tuesday 20 September, 4pm-9pm
Boccanera Gallery Milano presents Maréa, the first solo exhibition at the gallery of the work of Sebastiano Sofia (Verona, 1986).
The exhibition brings together a series of previously unseen paintings, in dialogue with a selection of drawings and watercolours, the result of research that, over recent years, has seen the artist focus exclusively on the practice of painting as well as the current conditions and potential of figuration.
Creatures with human, animal and plant likenesses are portrayed in situations of proximity and intimacy, together forming an iconographic repertoire that suggests the possibility of reading the works in the exhibition in relation to one another, as moments of a broader narrative, pieces of a tale that is as personal as it is in tune with some of the most pressing themes of our time.
At the centre of this narrative told through imagery seems to be the desire to find a space in painting in which to act on the rigidity of distinctions, to dissolve them to the point of overcoming the very categories of male and female, of human and animal, desire, protection and annihilation. From what appear to be anthropomorphic presences, for example, a fluidity of limbs and physiognomies emerges that is as much formal as it is sexual: a fluidity that makes the pictorial matter itself a locus of both visual and gender ambiguity. These figures are often portrayed in intimate poses with animal creatures in natural settings, suggesting not only the need for coexistence between the various kingdoms of the living but also an ecology of gestures, within which the distinction between domestication and abuse, between love and fusion, is blurred. The ambiguity of the physiognomies and their repetition, the emergence of similar figures between one work and the next also complicates the relationship that these images have with the genre of the self-portrait, which – while it seems to assert itself below the surface in more than one work – is never fully confirmed, and seems to elude the full recognisability of the faces.
The title chosen for the exhibition, Maréa (Tide), is symptomatic of this dynamic of immersion and emergence, of symbiotic exchange between what is identifiable as human and all that which, on the contrary, contaminates its unity. The image of cyclical wave motion, in fact, evokes a vital dynamic like breathing, a breath that transcends individuality and allows things and forms to manifest themselves rhythmically even after having been buried for a long time. In this sense, the image of the tide suggests the idea of self-discovery and self-realisation, along with the acceptance of both inner trauma and desire, and of all that which the sea returns to shore in the form of debris and incomplete fragments.
Maréa is in fact a tale told through imagery both about incompleteness and embracing incompleteness; about what we think we have to embrace and what we instead wish to banish; about instinct and desire exceeding the potential of language.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the text of a conversation between Sebastiano Sofia and Alessandro Rabottini and anticipates the monographic project with which Boccanera will participate in Artissima 2022.
All the works in the exhibition were created during the residency period at the De Iorio Collection.
Sebastiano Sofia was born in Verona (IT) in 1986. He lives and works between Milan and Verona.
He has taken part in numerous artist residencies: Collezione De Iorio, (Verona 2021-22), Collezione Palmieri (Celle Ligure, Savona 2021), Maraya Art Center (Sharjah UAE 2018), Dolomiti Contemporanee (Pieve di Cadore, Belluno 2017), Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venezia 2015) e Viafarini in residence (Milano 2013).
Sebastiano Sofia’s works are included in prestigious Italian collections such as De Iorio Collection, AGI Verona Collection, FC Fondazione Coppola.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)