rosenfeld porcini presents Around Drawing, a themed exhibition including works by Enrique Brinkmann, Lu Chao, Antonis Donef, Marianna Gioka, Lanfranco Quadrio, Marcel Rusu, Nicola Samori, and Eduardo Stupia. The exhibition intends to feature both artists who clearly use traditional drawing methods to forge their artistic language, and artists – who although not traditional draughtsmen, have produced works which can be closely related to a vision of what does, in fact, constitute a drawing. Around Drawing is rosenfeld porcini’s fifth themed exhibition, following WOOD, which grouped four artists who all sculpt with wood, yet use the medium in diverse ways, both technically and from a narrative point of view.
Lanfranco Quadrio (Italy) and Marcel Rusu (Romania) work as traditional draughtsmen, yet both remain extremely contemporary in the formal strength and dynamism of their drawings. Marcel Rusu’s recent body of work is inspired by George Amelie’s film A Trip to the Moon. His dense and dark works reveal great power, his picture plane containing various elements of the story. The burning airship, consumed by flames, illuminates the whole composition as it acts out its tragic destiny.
For his previous solo exhibition at the gallery The Agony of Actaeon in 2013, Lanfranco Quadrio’s body of work explored the myth of “Diana and Actaeon,’ looking however not at the moment of pastoral beauty when the hunter Actaeon inadvertently catches the naked Goddess as she is bathing in the forest, but rather at the moments when Diana’s terrible revenge is being wrought: When Actaeon is turned into a stag and devoured by his faithful hounds. Quadrio’s new body of works for Around Drawing looks at Dante’s ‘damned’ wallowing in hell. These subjects are seen as metaphors for both the bloody history of Sicily – the island where Lanfranco Quadrio lives – and the endless cycle of violence which plagues the human race. Quadrio’s drawings are full of an extraordinary dynamism, particularly his most recent, which use a combination of paint and colour as well as small lithographs by him that are integrated into the whole. His intent is to push the possibilities of his medium into previously unchartered waters.
Antonis Donef (Greece) draws on rich patchworks of pages collected from a myriad of old books; this backdrop of texts in a variety of languages serves as the support. Donef’s drawings, which mix intricate geometrical inventions, strange scientific devices from some unknown planet and wildly inventive sexual imagery, combined with the elements of collage make a fascinating but in no way linear journey. Working spontaneously he creates an extraordinary juxtaposition of images. Moreover, the contemporary imagery contrasts with the yellowed pages of the old books to create a totally original landscape.
Lu Chao (China), although a painter working with oil, takes his inspiration from traditional Chinese ink drawing. His vision of Chinese society is of a great mass of people: the ones at the forefront seen with great clarity and the ones further back as mere faceless gestures; yet all completely passive and accepting their destiny determined by some unrevealed force. His vivid imagery comprises cakes, a scientific laboratory, an art fair, landscapes dominated by a single tree and an imaginary town. In all these situations, people are looking out from a wall or from the ground, or are herded together in a mass unquestioning of their fate. Apart from his rich imagination, what really stands out in Chao’s work is a startling technique where in a few rapidly executed brush strokes, he can capture all the essentials of a human being.
Eduardo Stupia (Argentina) and Marianna Gioka (Greece) are both painters, yet their language derives totally from drawing. Stupia, in fact, uses paint and an extensive array of drawing materials such as charcoal, pastel, ink and pencil to carry out his highly worked and complex pieces. His rich tapestry of gestures, which incorporates both abstraction and figuration, makes up an imaginary landscape, not in the traditional sense, but in a post-Freudian sense: a Landscape of our inner world.
Whereas Eduardo Stupia’s paintings show great strength and vitality, Marianna Gioka’s works are extremely delicate using ink and distinctly fine brushstrokes. Her earlier pieces were heavily indebted to architecture as she employed grid-like structures to form the basis of the paintings. Recently however, the works have become freer, existing alone in space; we loose ourselves in the infinite amount of delicate marks as we gaze into them. Whereas Antonis Donef lays out his rich array of pages from books to provide the surface for his drawings, Marianna Gioka paints what could pass for a delicate sky using soft pastel colours to place her marks on. Stupia and Gioka are two sides to the same coin; the yin and yang of a similar practice, which traces its roots back to drawing.
Enrique Brinkmann has always used drawing as the ground bed for his works. Since 1998, he has made a thinly wrought metal grill his chosen surface for painting. On occasions, he has used a metal wire, which imitates a drawing gesture as the sole element of his piece. More recently, he has employed the grill both to push paint from behind and to paint from the front, making his works resemble a sculptural relief. Once having created the rich bed of paint, he will cut through it with a knife in gestures which once more can be traced back to drawing. Recently, Brinkmann has returned to working on paper. However, although these works are a return to drawing, using predominantly ink, they are clearly also indebted to the gestures of a painter. These pieces, in a completely different way to Lu Chao’s work, draw inspiration from oriental practices, particularly from Japanese ink drawings.
The final artist featured in Around Drawing is Nicola Samori. Although the majority of his pieces revolve around painting and sculpture, he has recently been producing copper works where he scratches into the surface. As a figurative artist, the swirling gestures, which make up these works are an attempt to examine exactly how far he can push the image before it dissolves into abstraction. Although, at first glance, these highly original copper pieces appear to be abstractions, on closer inspection, the extraordinary resistance of the image refuses to disappear. Much like Brinkmann’s cut lines, the roots of these works are in drawing; the marks made by Samori, as he scratches the copper surface, are drawing gestures in merely another disguise.
The hope with this exhibition is to present very different practices and demonstrate that it is not always necessary to be wildly conceptual or to select strange ‘never previously used’ materials in order to be original, but rather to tackle head on traditional mediums as to make them relevant to out contemporary age.