Equorea – 2/12. Fabio Marullo
04.02.2023 – 06.03.2023
From February 4th to March 6th, 2023, BUILDINGBOX presents a selection of works from the project Figuration Plants by the artist Fabio Marullo (Catania, 1973).
There is currently no established scientific explanation for the origin of water on Earth. Whether generated by shattering comets, or meteorites crash-landing, or volcanic explosions in ancient times, in the collective imagination its presence evokes the mythological moment of creation that in our mind’s eye contains infinite potential, the potential for everything to exist. The paintings in Fabio Marullo’s project Figuration Plants visually evoke this element of unpredictability, creating a seemingly monochrome world inhabited by mysterious forms and traces; clues that hint at a unique path between stasis and dynamism, tension and metamorphosis. These opposing forces can be observed in the artist’s ambiguous clay sculptures inspired by the plant Puya Raimondii Harms, native to Peru and likened to a living fossil. In his visual and formal research in the arena of general biology, with forays into mycology and entomology, Marullo explores the possible existence of other primitive forms capable of modifying the environment, and their own capacity for transformation.
For the project Equorea (of seas, ice, clouds and other waters) presented in BUILDINGBOX, Marullo presents a painting, Nebula (2019), accompanied by a sculpture, Ciò che di misterioso è palpabile [The Tangible in the Mysterious] (2016), presented in a display whose form recalls those in natural history museums.
The exhibition is the second appointment of Equorea (of seas, ice, clouds and other waters), a project curated by Giulia Bortoluzzi, which involves, from January 7h, 2023 to January 9th, 2024, twelve Italian contemporary artists invited to explore the topic of water in twelve monthly solo shows, scheduled in a sequence that follows the lunar calendar.
The title references Eugenio Montale’s poem Falsetto (1923), published in the collection Ossi di Seppia (1925). The poem revolves around a girl called Esterina, described as an ocean creature (“equorea creatura”), and frames the sea as a metaphor for life and the wonder of living without worrying about the future: “The power that tempers you is water, in water you find and renew yourself.” Montale’s work picks up on the way we habitually associate water with life, a notion echoed by Mircea Eliade in A History of Religious Ideas (1949), which describes it as the total of all “virtualities”, the matrix for all potential life, the foundation of the whole world. Water is at the origin of all cosmic manifestation, symbolizing the primordial substance from which all forms arise, and to which they return, by regression or cataclysm. Water lies at the beginning and end of every historical or cosmic cycle. It will always exist, and never be alone, because it is germinative, encompassing the virtualities of all forms in its own undivided unity. In cosmogony, mythology, ritual, and iconography, water performs the same function: it precedes all forms and sustains all of creation. A symbol of life, it gives universal becoming a cyclical structure.
Following the cyclical pattern of the astronomical tides (which occur when the Moon, Earth and Sun are in alignment), at each full moon in the year 2023, BUILDINGBOX will play host to the work of twelve Italian contemporary artists, who have been asked to explore the theme of water: Ludovico Bomben (Pordenone, 1982), Jaya Cozzani (Mumbai/Kanchipuram, 1982), Barbara De Ponti (Milano, 1975), Gaspare (Terlizzi, 1983), Michele Guido (Aradeo, 1976), Silvia Mariotti (Fano, 1980), Fabio Marullo (Catania, 1973), Elena Mazzi (Reggio Emilia, 1984), Ignazio Mortellaro (Palermo, 1978), Fabio Roncato (Rimini, 1982), Michele Spanghero (Gorizia, 1979), Virginia Zanetti (Fiesole, 1981).
The works presented in Equorea (of seas, ice, clouds and other waters) are site-specific (some are being exhibited for the first time, others are reworkings of previous pieces) and conceive of water as an emblem of all natural elements, and more generally as a form of life and creative potential. As a topic, water not only intrigues and inspires, but also elicits specific reflections on the future of our planet. Indeed, the life of all organisms on Earth depends on the presence of water and is shaped by its mutations: when it deteriorates, life becomes unsustainable.
There is as yet no proven scientific explanation of the origin of water on our planet. Whether generated by comets or meteorites crashing to earth, or volcanic eruptions in distant millennia, in the collective imagination it is associated with the mythological moment of creation, which contains the potential existence of all forms of life.