Vedovamazzei: Praz-Delavallade

By Verzotti, Giorgio | Artforum International, April 2006 | Go to article overview

Vedovamazzei: Praz-Delavallade


Verzotti, Giorgio, Artforum International


The works of Vedovamazzei (Simeone Crispino and Stella Scala) always result from an encounter with reality, either the physical reality of an object or the virtual reality of information. This exhibition, the Italian artists' first in Paris, gave viewers a taste of their multiform sources of inspiration. Two pieces in particular demonstrate how the realms of objects and of the media coexist in the work. The Swimmer (all works 2005) consists of eighty-nine lightbulbs of different sizes, arranged on a large white platform. All the bulbs are painted with bright images from the 1968 film The Swimmer (based on a story by John Cheever), in which a particularly sexy Burt Lancaster made his way home by swimming across all the pools he encountered in his path. Lancaster's character had lost his memory, and his strange behavior slowly revealed his altered psychological state and inability to regain a normal relationship with reality. Crispino is preparing to carry out a reenactment of the character's pathological performance in Los Angeles, where the artist will actually swim from pool to pool along a given route in the city, a journey he is now mapping out using satellite photos.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What a Life, Guys! is a sofa, an object the artists acquired secondhand for their studio. Alerted by the seller that a cat had scratched the back of it, the artists used this information as the inspiration for a new work. Far from repairing or hiding the scratches, they accentuated them, using knives and other means to carve the phrase of the title into the fabric, communicating a sense of gratification comparable to what a cat might feel as it sharpens its claws. To make the writing more visible, they inserted neon tubing, making the scratched words legible and haloed by light. …

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