Secret of the Landscape

23 Feb - 6 Apr 2018 Soho Square

Curated by Rita Selvaggio, Secret of the Landscape is an exhibition of works by Isabelle Cornaro, Giulia Piscitelli and Jessica Warboys.

The 'secret of the landscape' consists of physical, mental, tactile and spatial passages, implying a journey from one place to another. Here emotional geography is expanded, fractured and then reassembled.


Orgon Doors V (2018) by Isabelle Cornaro brings to mind the mythical process of petrification – the gaze that turns to stone. Yet these objects seem animated, presenting as they do an ongoing chain of events, or rather, of mutations, from masks and castings of body parts to rocks, stones and coins. Intuitive connections and juxtapositions reveal a secret language between things in the world. The sculptures flow from material to abstraction, from fetish to image, from object to subject, from subject to object, and back again. These solid rubber castings recall the chaotic structures of 16th and 17th century Mannerist grotto design and their title Orgon Doors refers both to an open textual description from Edward Kienholz’s Concept Tableaux Series (The God Box), which Cornaro has come to realize in several iterations, it also refers to Wilhelm Reich’s concept of 'Orgon' as energy source.


Jessica Warboys’ Sea Paintings are made below the high water line at the sea's edge. After immersion, the sodden canvases are pulled from the sea and laid out on the beach. Mineral pigments are thrown directly onto the sea beaten fabric; its folds and creases catching the grains of colour. The process is then repeated with the canvas returning to the sea or being left to dry on the beach. The sea, wind, and sand along with the pigment and the artist’s hand create forms through the movement of colour. The place and date of making is given in each work’s title, emphasizing the mirroring of location and time.


These unstretched canvases engulf the gallery space, responding to the architecture in which they are installed, maintaining a continuous and open-ended approach to their interpretation. This approach to painting relates to both performance and gestural improvisation, and is parallel to the way Warboys makes her films, in which narrative is gradually revealed. In a material sense the lengths of painted canvas could be interpreted as analogue film; the sea painting pigment / image could be seen to relate to gesture as the grains of film relate to light and time.


The landscapes that Giulia Piscitelli presents take the form of geographical maps overlaid with gilded saintly halos. In her works the connection between maps and halos lies in a system of proportions. A map’s scale and function is closely bound up with earthly, political reality; the basis of territorial boundaries identified over the course of history. While the halo, an iconographic symbol that has historically represented the divine, is reproduced using gold leaf in proportion with mediaeval paintings, illuminated manuscripts and frescoes dating from between the 11th and 15th centuries. These pieces are a stroll in space and time; space is determined by the maps, which date from 1930 to 1957 while time is represented by the images of halos borrowed from Art History. All are linked by absence: that of the bodies of the subjects, visible only by their golden aura, and that of political geography with its changing and evolving borders.



Isabelle Cornaro (b. 1974, Aurillac, France) lives and works in Paris and Geneva. Major solo exhibitions include Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); LAXART, Los Angeles (2014); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2013); Le Magasin, Grenoble, France (2012). Selected group exhibitions include Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2016); Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris (2016); Musée du Louvre, Paris (2015); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2013); Tate Modern, London (2010). Cornaro was the recipient of Prix de la Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, France, in 2010.


Giulia Piscitelli (b. 1965, Naples, Italy) lives and works in Napoli. Selected solo exhibitions include Live the Dream, Galleria Fonti, Naples (2015); Wide Rule, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles CA (2013); Intermedium, Museo MADRE, Naples; CUBITT Gallery, London; (2010). Selected group exhibitions include documenta 14, Athens (2017); Sleepless, 21er Haus, Wien (2014); 54th Bienale d'Arte di Venezia (2010); Strange Comfort (Afforded by the profession), Kunsthalle, Basel (2009).


Jessica Warboys (b. 1977, Newport, UK) lives between Suffolk and Berlin where she works with film, painting and sculpture. She was selected for Artists Film International, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in 2013, and participated in dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, 2012. In 2013 she participated in 9ª Bienal do Mercosul Porto Alegre, Brazil and had a solo show at Spike Island, Bristol. More recently in 2015 she had solo shows at Museum M, Leuven, Belgium and State of Concept, Athens. In 2016 she participated in the British Art Show 8 and had solo shows at Kunstverein Amsterdam, Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy and Kunsthall, Stavanger, Norway. In 2017 she had a solo exhibition at Tate St Ives.

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