Raffaele Di Vaia

28 October – 17 November 2016
Raffaele Di Vaia,
Srisa Gallery of Contemporary Art

“Be patient, for the world is broad and wide “
Edwin A. Abbot's Flatland

The drawings of Raffaele Di Vaia affirm with a wry smile the limitations of people and their inability to understand the whole. Even the artist's attitude towards the works exhibited in FLAT is to test and probe the physical and the mental by pursuing a line of enquiry where impossible seriality and endless cataloging aim to prove that nothing is more inscrutable than that which is always with us.

Di Vaia’s works might best be described as wound around themselves. They cling to a self-referentiality that almost cancels out the scientific nature of the artist’s working method – a situation, which constantly puts the viewer in a kind of crisis with images that, thanks also in large part to his literary references, always reveal a dual nature. The new works differ from previous works by focusing more on the real (as there is a focus on both sky and earth). Though he definitely maintains the strengths that have always characterized his works in the medium of drawing by depicting representational subjects.

The biggest challenge in his new work is the attempt by Di Vaia to catalogue the stars – a paradigm of an impossibility that over time has stimulated people to make new discoveries regarding our consciousness. Bodies (2016) is a work that was initially inspired by the constellations and the legends of stories pertaining to women who realized over time how to associate the color of the stars to their old age. The works consist of a single mark on a void – a black sheet of paper. This mark is accompanied by the name of the star according to the artist’s cataloguing technique, which was inspired by Johann Bayer who was a German astronomer and author of the first star atlas between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. One question that results from analyzing Di Vaia’s process relates to the relationship between cartography and the human experience. Which one comes first? And what is the relationship between plane geometry and the three dimensional world? Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926) attempts to give an answer to such questions in the mathematical fairytale titled Flatland (1882) in which he describes a revealing encounter between a pentagon and a sphere. This description resembles the way Di Vaia transforms a place into a language and an abstract space with its own laws. This formal exercise carried out by the artist represents the visible and is thus a means and an agent that provides the ability to track, like in a game for children, endless new constellations. New drawings and new stories are born from this illusory scientific study.

A point, the minimum degree of representation, is the zero from which everything is generated and departs. It is the primal drive that reveals its true nature through painstaking technique and observation. Zero (2016) is the scanning of one of the stars that make up Body (2016), a point that shows its internal explosion. Similar to that of an atomic structure, which also reveals an explosive force that opens the field to new speculation, to a new infinity that one can fathom.

Every series, every attempt, even if unrealistic, emerges like a speculative journey. A situation that is similar to that which happens in Da Plaza Constitución verso calle Garay (2016) which is a work by Di Vaia inspired by L’Alph. The work, made up of sections of a map of Buenos Aires (Plaza Constitución in calle Garay), traces a path on the wall that the viewer is invited to follow, one that separates two points of the city, which is only permissible to imagine - a path that by synecdoche attempts to represent a map of the entire world. The starting point being a starting point from which all things are returning and to which all things end as in The Aleph by Borges: the beginning, the whole thing, the end.

An interesting coincidence occurs, therefore; between the point and the infinite, between the minimum and the universal. The more the artist underlines the incapacity to generate something new and to understand the whole, the more his trust in reducing the artistic gesture to a minimum allows one to contemplate the infinite possibilities of drawing. And once one has accepted the illusionistic rules of illusion and language that govern the game of representation the drawing has the possibility of becoming another universe. Every work is in relation to one another in an continuous and swirling concatenation that leads us deeper and deeper into the infinite. Every vision, every repetition is like an anchor in a wall, which is also akin to an enless imaginary phrase where Di Vaia entrances and traps us with no way out.

28 October – 17 November 2016
Raffaele Di Vaia,
Srisa Gallery of Contemporary Art

Raffaele Di Vaia presenta nello spazio di Srisa Gallery of Contemporary Art una serie di tre nuovi lavori che rappresentano al meglio la sua ricerca, ed in particolare il suo peculiare utilizzo nel medium del disegno. Nella mostra FLAT il disegno diviene lo strumento che consente all'artista una riduzione ai minimi termini della rappresentazione, come viene riecheggiato dal titolo.
Fulcro del percorso espositivo è la riflessione sui limiti dell'esperienza umana, in termini di conoscenza, quando siamo chiamati a relazionarci con ciò che è infinito o difficilmente numerabile. Come spesso accade le opere di Di Vaia hanno il loro punto di partenza nell'idea di sfida e nella volontà di evidenziare l'impossibilità di una azione: reiterazione e serialità sono i concetti attraverso i quali viene declinata questa lotta senza possibilità di lieto fine. Anche lo spettatore viene inserito in questo gioco essendo continuamente messo in crisi da immagini che, seppur nate da un approccio prettamente scientifico, rivelano sempre una doppia natura.

Raffaele Di Vaia è nato a Torino nel 1969, vive e lavora a Prato. Dopo gli studi presso l’Istituto d’Arte di Siena, nel 1994 si diploma presso l’Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. Negli anni in cui frequenta l’Accademia lavora come scenografo e costumista per il Laboratorio 9 di Siena. A metà degli anni Novanta inizia la sua attività; si ricordano le personali Antropologica, 2004, a cura di Fiammetta Strigoli, presso Ridotto Palazzo Medici Riccardi; Omnia Vanitas, a cura di Francesco Funghi, presso lo Studio Chimera, Vinci (FI), 2009; Effimera presenza, a cura di Serena Trinchero, La Bottega Instabile, Bologna, 2013; Vicolo Cieco, a cura di Alessandra Acocella, LATO, Prato, 2014; I ricordi degli altri - Progetto Opere aperte 01, MUMAT, Vernio – Prato, 2015.
Tra le collettive a cui ha preso parte: Giovani, giovani!, a cura di Antonella Soldaini, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, 1994; Mixed-Media, a cura di Daria Filardo, Galleria Neon, Bologna, 2000; Gemine Muse, a cura di Marco Bazzini, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo di Prato, 2004; Il giardino immaginato, a cura di Bruno Corà, Giardino di Palazzo San Clemente, Firenze, 2006; The summer issue,
a cura di Lucia Giardino, F_AIR Florence – Firenze, 2011; Senza, a cura di Giuliano Serafini, C2 Contemporanea, Firenze, 2013; Images-in, Galleria NINNI ESPOSITO arte contemporanea – Bari, 2015. Nel 2010 partecipa al progetto OPEN STUDIOS a cura del Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina.

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