Flavio Favelli: CARDI BLACK BOX

Article excerpt

Entering the gallery, one came across a series of three-dimensional collages, assemblages of found furniture, dismantled and reassembled lamps, old majolica, glassware, and memorabilia of the recent past, including gadgets and posrers. Flavio Favelli drew upon an extensive range of materials for this solo show, but most common were home furnishings identifiable as belonging ro a style widespread in Italy from the latter half of the 1920s to the late '40s and still present in the homes of Italian grandmothers at least through the 1970s. The style is known as Novecento--twentieth century--because the designers and artists who conceived it thought of themselves as interpreters of the century's spirit, which they believed demanded a return to order, formal purity, and compositional harmony; the style has a lor in common with Art Deco and its volumetrically aerodynamic, turgid, and opulent forms. Favelli seems to have a preference for the kitsch mannerisms of Novecento, as evident in the image of luxury he presents: one that is false but imbued with memories, ready to be activated by the com-plicitous viewer. He proceeds through an accumulation of objects, which he then sorts and reassembles according to a method that is emotional rather than philological, as he reconstructs past visual experiences that were almost always shared by his contemporaries (he was born in 1967) or by anyone who experienced Italy in the 1960s and '70s.

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From a visual standpoint, Italy, during this period, was host to a mix of eras and styles that managed to coexist in tension. As this was the era of Favelli's childhood, it is no accident that his compositions bring together rationalist furniture with orientalizing friezes and modernist fonts; the show even included a family-size glass bottle of Fanta orange soda--a Futurist if not futuristic design. …