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Gabriella Ciancimino

Via Giovanni Ventura 3
March 17–May 10

Gabriella Ciancimino, The Flow of Flowers, 2016, mixed media on paper, 35 x 27 1/2”. From the series “The Flow of Flowers,” 2016.

Gabriella Ciancimino’s current solo show, “La Stanza dello Scirocco” (The Room of Scirocco), curated by Daniela Bigi, unfolds like a dream of Mediterranean splendor, becoming redefined by references to political uprisings and to the survival adaptations of various plants. The artist takes as her inspiration the titular rooms—beautifully furnished spaces beneath “aristocratic eighteenth-century country houses in Sicily” (according to the press release), where the wealthy would keep cool during the summertime.

In Paesaggio dello Scirocco (Scirocco Landscape, all works 2016), bricks are used to create a sort of parlor screen. However, the elegance of the object is tested by all manner of graffiti, such as paper cutouts that feature revolutionary propaganda. For Ciancimino, art is about conflict. In her meticulous drawings, we get to witness a struggle between extraordinary technical skill and a desire to upend it. One piece from the artist’s series “The Flow of Flowers” features a gorgeous rendering of a closed fist. It functions as a gesture of resistance as well as a decorative motif.

One of Ciancimino’s favorite flowers is the Red Morocco—a hearty and attractive annual that grows in abundance throughout Turkey, Italy, and its eponymous nation (indeed, it is notoriously difficult to control). Perhaps one can take this flower as a symbol of the artist’s psychic peregrinations as well as hopes: that beauty and freedom can grow, weed-like and unabated, regardless of condition, for everyone to enjoy.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Francesco Lucifora

Francesco Vezzoli

Piazza Piero Siena Platz 1
January 30–November 6

View of “Francesco Vezzoli: Museo Museion,” 2016.

There are two related exhibitions that have taken over this institution: the first retrospective of Francesco Vezzoli’s sculptures, which are on view through May 16, and a show the artist has curated of historical works from the museum’s collection, which runs through November 6. Collectively titled “Museo Museion,” the double exhibition begins with a large wallpaper installation that blows up a painted Roman vista by Giovanni Paolo Pannini (Gallery of Views of Modern Rome, 1759). Sandwiched between two burgundy velvet curtains, the work seems to exist in a state of continual unveiling, and it has been revised in postproduction to allow figures such as Nicki Minaj to peek out, among many painted by the eighteenth-century artist. It is no accident that Vezzoli has chosen Pannini; also working in Rome, Vezzoli too has devoted himself to restoring, copying, researching, and evaluating works by past masters. Indeed, the very Italian and very international artist sometimes recalls Aby Warburg; Vezzoli always finds taxonomic reasons for combining his historical sources with modern and contemporary subjects. See his series of sculptures here, some twenty in all, where, for example, he associates Carla Accardi’s Labirinto (Labyrinth), 1957, and Titian’s Fête champêtre, 1510–11; as well as Sophia Loren as the “muse of antiquity” with Giorgio de Chirico. In all, this is a personal staging of part of the museum’s collection by an artist who is a living contradiction. But in a literary more than a visual sense, he seems to always express a reasonable foolishness.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro