Otto Zoo is pleased to present Cronache Selvatiche, an installation by Daniele Girardi (Verona, 1977). The project room is continuing the gallery programme of shows devoted to the idea of the relationship between art undertakings and nature, a series begun in the autumn with a project by the TSSR group.
Daniele Girardi’s work is an attempt to come into contact with the wilderness, with the ideal of a nature uncontaminated by the hand of man, the very nature that so fascinated Theodor W. Adorno who described the American landscape as wild and lacking in softness.
Whether these places still exist or whether they are only semblances of a landscape abandoned by man is a doubt that is always present in his explorations. But the sense of mystery, of the ineffable and, strangely enough, of claustrophobia have, as only the great tangle of wilderness can cause, an advantage over any kind of anthropological, political, geographical or archaeological question.
His art research has mostly been carried out through the residencies, walks, bivouacs, and travels that he has undertaken in such uncontaminated places geographically far distant from Milan as America and northern Europe, but also in nearer yet incredibly fascinating places such as Val Grande: the most extensive and wild place in Italy, on the border with Switzerland.
Exploration, minutely localised geographically, is left to chance just like everyday experience, and this is the fulcrum of his work, of his performative action: a long undertaking of resistance and silence, an attempt to organise a poetic map, and to enter into what has “never been seen”. All the rest is a record of this journey into nature: objects, analogue photos, videos, drawings, maps, traces, footprints, remains.
Cronache selvatiche is an installation in which Girardi attempts to show the results of some of his most recent travels. On a long and irregular structure made from raw wood, as though it were the foundations of an improvised bridge, and that winds through the gallery space, there is placed some evidence of his experience. These objects, photos, and videos speak of a mellow, earthy, dark, mysterious, damp, dirty world, one where we feel in contact with the essence of the wilderness so loved by the artist, one that has nothing welcoming or consoling about it.
To one side of the installation are exhibited two moleskine notebooks that are part of the travel diaries (Sketch Wild Book) that Girardi abandoned and then took up again; they are marked by time and by atmospheric agents, and he has intervened on them by rearranging them until they have become sculptural reminiscences of his explorations.
Daniele Girardi lives and works in Milan. In 2006 he began his American tours with residencies at the ISCO (International Studio Curatorial Program) in New York, and in San Francisco. The relationship between experience and vision sparked off various groups of works, among them “I Road”, made in the desert between California and Nevada, and “The Great Valley Project”, set in the most extensive wilderness in Europe.
He has taken part in various shows in Italy and abroad, among which the Quadriennale, Rome (2004), and the Biennale for young artists, Moscow (2008). In 2009 he held a solo show in association with the Istituto di Cultura, San Francisco. His work is to be found in such private and public collections as MACRO, Rome, and the “Palazzo della Ragione” gallery of contemporary art in Verona. He is currently engaged on the North Way project, a series of sojourns in the forests of north Europe, in Norway, Sweden, and Finland.