Bortolami is pleased to present the gallery’s second solo exhibition of works by Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani. The show focuses on his Delocazione series. Translating literally to “delocation”, the artist creates these works by igniting a controlled combustion at close proximity to a panel mounted with objects. Parmiggiani coaxes the flames for several hours, and the fire covers everything in its reach with diffused smoke and soot. When the blaze is extinguished, he removes the objects, thus leaving a shadow behind. For this exhibition, the artist made imprinted panels of a violin, an hourglass, classical figurative sculptures, and shelves populated with bottles, all with his signature process.
Parmiggiani has been superimposing these evocative images onto real spaces (walls, corners) as well as standalone panels since 1970. The shadowy outlines in his work signify the existence of concrete objects linked not just to human presence, but also a specifically Italian concern with classical, secular humanism. The paintings, sculptures, and books that appear in his works are made and used by man, and connote the fundamental basis of Greco-Roman intellectual traditions. Though these emblems have disappeared, the memory of their presence remains.
Georges Didi-Huberman, a devoted interpreter of Parmiggiani’s work, defined the imprint as the “dialectical image:” “something that speaks of both the contact (foot sinking into the sand) and the loss (the absence of the foot in its footprint).” Indeed, each of Parmiggiani’s Delocazione works establishes both a dialectic and a dual nature of time within its layers of smoke and soot. They are indices of objects no longer present, and objects in and of themselves.
Parmiggiani is concerned with memory, nostalgia and ephemerality. His work is melancholic, but not in a subjective sense that suggests bereavement or suffering. Rather, it subtly intimates the deep and indelible structures that, after every loss, continue to exist.
Claudio Parmiggiani (born 1943, Luzzara, Italy) worked as an assistant for Giorgio Morandi in Bologna between 1958 and 1960. He had his first major exhibition at Líbreria Feltrinelli, Bologna in 1965. Parmiggiani has since exhibited widely, including six presentations at the Biennale di Venezia (1972, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1995 and 2015). A retrospective of his practice between 1960 and 1995 was held at the Musée d’ Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (1995). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Galleria d’ Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna (2003), The Grand Palais, Paris (2005), The Musée des Beaux-arts de Nantes (2007), the Collège des Bernardins, Paris (2008) and the Palazzo del Governatore, Parma (2010), and Accademia di Francia Villa Medici, Rome, Italy (2015).