Galerie Mario Mazzoli and Neue Berliner Räume are delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Guido Canziani Jona in Berlin. The main focus of Canziani Jona’s work is the merging of sound, painting and video into one central opus. In so doing, the different elements are never placed in a hierarchical order, but are always treated as equal and absolutely necessary components of the entire work.
Thus, the visualization of the sound always stands alongside the setting of the pictorial to music. In this respect, the works of the artist must always be thought of against the background of a reading that is double and interlocking. Despite the density in the amalgamation of individual parts, however, the different fragments of the work preserve their aesthetic independence.
Both the components of painting and sound in Canziani Jona’s work tend toward a distinctive narrative quality. On this level, the artist intentionally plays with the listening habits of the audience, by conjuring up seemingly familiar sound moments, only to abruptly let them disappear again. In the visual elements of the works, too, intimations of concrete pictures frequently turn up, only to retreat into the abstract at the last moment. An additional element of the narrative in Canziani Jona’s works is the clear setting of a beginning and end. In the works N-Code and Im-Pulse, for example, the works move from a beginning to a climax and end in a way that is comprehensible for the observer and listener: In the lines shaped in the material, this narrative can be understood. Sound and video move as a story over and through the whole work. At that point where painting can only allude to, or outline, movement, it is taken up by video and sound. Light and sound come to an end together and leave the picture behind in silence and darkness. Yet, the lines of the story continue to remain visible and already point toward a refreshment of the work, toward its potential. Each silence and darkness is thus always a point of tension that is intentionally set, a precisely calculated state of keeping in wait, and a challenge to the audience’s attention: at that moment when the observer and listener begin to turn away, the work begins to tell its story anew.
The penchant for the narrative is symptomatic for the artist’s basic concerns of tracing an idea of vitality in his works. For this, Canziani Jona finds an artistic form of expression in the always stronger interconnection of video, painting and sound. The process of fusion is not concealed with Canziani Jona. Quite the opposite, his work has more to do with creating and making visible those areas of tension that arise in the merging of autonomous elements. The sound, energetic and punctuated by hard breaks, points toward this in exactly the same way as Canziani Jona’s often martial treatment of the material: only through the burning or cutting of wood, copper or other materials, does the artist generate the lines of his narrative. The cracks, cuts and engravings in the works are both the symbolic expression of and the factual reference to the physical-elemental power that the artist skillfully plays with, time after time. And just in those moments when the works fall silent and appear lifeless, a moment of charged tension arises, one that is discharged with each new loop and appears to assert itself. Only against the background of the apparent lifelessness of the work, can its power finally be experienced.
The PhoTonen series forms one of the points of departure for the exhibition, for it represents the only works that came into being without video components. We may view the work Emerge, which was originally created only as picture, as a counterpart. Sound and video weren’t conceived until later for the work. Canziani Jona recast the picture by cutting into the surface, and in this way created areas to give sound and video a space. Here, the necessity of coexistence and interpenetration is almost violently demanded by the artist of his works, and the idea of energizing what is static can be understood here in a particular way: The sound is always the complete penetration of the picture and the picture is the perfect equivalent of the sound. This total synchronicity, this absolute merging of all parts into a work that is literally charged with tension is the goal of this artistic project.
Guido Canziani Jona (*1974, Milan) lives and works in Berlin. His works have been exhibited internationally, including at the Land Art Biennial 2010 (Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery) and the Digital Art and Sound Weekend 2011 (transmediale and CTM). Last year, Canziani Jona was represented in the group show Claim. A Synthesis. Emerging as one is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Berlin.
Manuel Wischnewski, Translation: Laurie Schwartz
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