For PROJECT 09 Salvatore Arancio presents a new video and a series of sculptures integrated into the spaces of the Contemporary Art Society. The ceramics exhibited are the result of a chance encounter in a French flea market: the artist found an odd object that appeared to have holes drilled into its surface; Holes was originally a barnacle – a crustacean; whose unusual shape and form prompted Arancio’s research into the formation, life and myths of these metamorphic beings.
The video When the Same Organ is Rigorously Compared in Many Individuals, I Always Find Some Slight Variability juxtaposes underwater creatures –larvae, jellyfish and molluscs– to psychedelic colours, internet imagery and rhythmic sounds. The sudden appearance of a barnacle goose in this marine world is a reference to the folklore surrounding these birds. Throughout the Middle Ages it was believed that these black and white geese –similar in colour and shape to barnacles– developed from crustaceans instead of eggs. Such passages between seemingly unconnected materials and animal kinds introduce topics of nature, species and evolution as they contrast to modern technologies, musical and science fictions. The playful title, taken from a letter of Charles Darwin written in 1850, highlights the extensive history of biological research into barnacles and their fascinating transformation from floating larvae to grainy rocks.
The works displayed bear something of the transformative process of the barnacle. The colours –ordinary green or glazed metal – reference both those found in the natural world but also those that dominate the psychedelic party scene, a common indistinct dimension where polarities co-habit together. The sculpture, Fingertrips, a track by Aphex Twin –rock, spider or crustacean¬– might inhabit the landscape with A Rain Eroded Pillar Beside Black Caravels Floating on a Sea of Fire. Natural or found, marine animal or science-fiction, reality or fantasy –Arancio’s work challenges the taxonomies by which we judge, tabulate and bring a regular order to the nature of things. As Darwin discovered, the rigorous and critical comparison of objects do not always reveal stable categories but a continuous and infinitesimal quality of variation.
The works exhibited at the Contemporary Art Society were realised during Arancio’s Ceramic Fellowship at the Camden Arts Centre during 2014-15 especially for PROJECT 09. The show is part of an ongoing series of exhibitions within the Contemporary Art Society, which use the architecture of the building to draw into focus the work of the artists it supports.
About the Artist
Salvatore Arancio (b. 1974 in Catania, Italy) lives and works in London. Recent solo and group exhibitions include The First Humans, Pump House Gallery, London (Jan-March 2015), The Hidden, Ensapc Ygrec, Paris (2014); Curiosity: Art & the Pleasure of Knowing, Hayward Touring (2013-14); Cyclorama, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2013); Alternating Layers of Contrasting Resistance, Rowing, London (2013); The Little Man of the Forest with the Big Hat, Frederica Schiavo Gallery, Rome, Italy (2013). Future exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the Centre d’art contemporain La Halle des bouchers, Vienna (May 2015) and The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery (July – September 2015). Salvatore Arancio is represented by Federica Schiavo, Rome.
Exhibition dates: 17 April – 28 August 2015, opening hours Tuesday – Friday 11.00-17.00.
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