Galerie Mario Mazzoli is delighted to announce the exhibition “Souvenir de Voyage” by the artist duo Spazio Visivo. The works in this show, which consist of objects made by Paolo Cavinato and soundscapes created by Stefano Trevisi, can primarily be understood as a modern interpretation of the diorama, those incredibly precisely-wrought miniature worlds which, since the early 19th Century, can mostly be seen in museums, portraying scenes of historical importance: Paris of the Middle Ages, the campaigns of Napoleon, Lincoln’s assassination. Scenes that are intended to entertain and educate. The works of Spazio Visivo, however, appear to refer to something else, something that is closer to us. Something that is always a risk to explore.

We approach the works of Spazio Visivo with the certainty that their worlds are at the mercy of our observing eyes. The way that Cavinato and Trevisi appear to capture something in the box-shaped works underlines the object nature of the work and thus, ultimately, the separation between the observer and what happens inside the work – as if they were only material to look at. We dare to get close to the works, though, because we believe we can discover something about them without being discovered ourselves. The central moment in the works of this artist duo, however, comes when we realize that we’re mistaken. Those scenes that we dared get so close to are strangely familiar to us, like the almost everydaylike arrangement of the room in the work Souvenir de Voyage – a work that orients itself on René Magritte’s series of paintings of the same name. Like Magritte, Cavinato and Trevisi also work with moments of dreamlike alienation. Yet despite the unreality of what is depicted, the sceneries and soundscapes also reference a plane of the here and now. Intuitively, we understand that our gaze is not falling on anything remote or foreign, on no bygone scene that can’t have anything to do with us – never so remote that we could simply distance ourselves, never so foreign that we don’t have to wonder whether what we saw doesn’t also affect us.

The works often seem as if they want to tell a story and capture a moment in which something appears to be suspended in the air. Here is where the soundscapes by Stefano Trevisi come to the fore, by turning the work into a locus of action. The works then challenge us to penetrate the implied, still vague stories; to deduce what is hidden. The risk – we suspect – consists in the fact that we discover too much in the mysterious spaces of Spazio Visivo. How close, then, do we want to let this world come to us? How much do we want to penetrate the scenes and explore their independent existence? And so, each curious glimpse into the works of Spazio Visivo is, first of all, a play with our expectations, a challenge to us.

If we understand the diorama as a materialized form of memory, then we can also find the echo of a memory in the works of Spazio Visivo – only more personal. Like one’s own memories, the works of Spazio Visivo are always enigma and solution at the same time, always the preservation of something and its disguise, always fluctuating between the real and the unreal. And we confront their worlds like a blurred memory, where we can never be sure if we can comprehend it in its entirety, or if we even want to. The narrative of a diorama is always clear, that of a work by Cavinato and Trevisi, never.

In the works Threshold and Into the Object #1 – Table, the idea of the diorama is carried to its dissolution: the spaces delineated by the works are no longer clearly separated from our own. Thus, the arrangement of chairs and a table in Into the Object #1 – Table is no longer to be seen as a disconnected miniature as in Souvenir de Voyage, but as part of the space in which we also move. In keeping with this, physically entering the work Threshold creates a complex moment of tension within the exhibition: the construction of the work enables us, both symbolically as well as very tangibly, to have a form of direct access. The fact that we always only encounter ourselves and instantly also lose ourselves is no coincidence. On the contrary, here is where we find the almost logical conclusion of an exhibition that challenges us, time and again, to trace in its works the complex architecture of our own memory and the struggle for its interpretation.

Paolo Cavinato was born in 1975 in the province of Mantua. He participated in the Istanbul Biennale in 2006. In 2008, he won Third Prize from the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation, Milan. He is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors of London and was recently selected for “The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Guest Artist Program” of Shanghai.

Stefano Trevisi was born in 1974 in Mantua. His works, published by RaiTrade, have been performed at RaiNuovaMusica, Traiettorie, Biennale Musica (Venice) MATA Festival (New York), Alte Schmiede (Vienna), and have won awards at various competitions, including the 29th and 33rd “International Competition of Electroacoustic Music” Bourges (Honorable Mention), the Gaudeamus Music Prize 2002, Prize Franco Evangelisti 2003 and 2006.

In 2006, Cavinato and Trevisi began their collaboration with “Spazio Visivo”, a project where the sculptures of Cavinato come into dialogue with the music of Trevisi. The objects created by the duo make use of heterogeneous materials, electronic instruments and multimedia. Their installations have been exhibited at the Royal British Society of Sculptors in London, Il Palazzo delle Arti of Naples, Egmont Park in Brussels, the Rosenfeld-Porcini Gallery in London, the CIAC Museum in Rome, the Palazzo Libera in Trento, Festival della Creatività in Florence, the Palazzo Te in Mantua. The exhibition “Souvenir de Voyage” is the second solo show by Spazio Visivo at the Galerie Mario Mazzoli in Berlin.

Text by Manuel Wischnewski and translation by Laurie Schwartz.

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