Magazine article Artforum International

Paolo Gioli: Peep-Hole

Magazine article Artforum International

Paolo Gioli: Peep-Hole

Article excerpt

Paolo Gioli

PEEP-HOLE

Paolo Gioli's extraordinary survey at Peep-Hole demonstrated that the artist has progressed far beyond photography during the span of his four-decade career, consistently producing work that expands and extends the limits of the medium by incorporating drawing, painting, and filmmaking. The exhibition, distributed over eight rooms, included works dating from 1962 to 2010, and reconstructed the artist's major themes and recurring concerns. The first room presented work mining classical art-historical tropes, from still life to landscape, often developed in an idiosyncratic personal manner and employing various languages, techniques, and materials. One constant in Gioli's oeuvre is the trace of the human body. A series of charcoal-on-paper drawings, "1 Gruppo delle Creature" (1st Group of Creatures), 1962-63, was notable for its power and expressive quality, and in paintings such as Grande nudo coricato sul lato destro (Large Nude Lying Down on Its Right Side), 1965, one could see the anatomical metamorphoses that were also explored in earlier drawings.

Gioli's working methodology has long been a valuable point of reference for artists of his generation. His experimentation with self-designed tools and found objects (including snaps, shells, and biscuits, which he uses to direct light as one would use a pinhole camera) has helped to safeguard his work against an overreliance on technical means. He has made unusual use of Polaroids, transferred onto a wide variety of supports such as acetate sheets, canvases, and silk screens, and he has investigated alternative development processes and photofinishing techniques. Gioli's experience in New York, where he lived for about a year, from 1967 to 1968, sparked a fundamental transition in his studio practice; since then his work has been marked by a continuous intersection of painting, cinema, and photography.

The second section of the show included Immagini disturbate da un intenso parassita (Images Disturbed by an Intense Parasite), 1970, a composition that became distorted over the course of its transfer from 16-mm film to digital media. In the third room, Trittico blu (Blue Triptych), 1966, a set of paintings of monumental dimensions, executed in oil on canvas, were varied in their juxtapositions of vast geometric backgrounds characterized by the flat applications of vivid colors. …

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