Equorea – 6/12. Gaspare
03.06.2023 – 03.07.2023
From June 3rd to July 3rd 2023, BUILDINGBOX presents the artwork Corpus Vitrearum by the artist Gaspare (Terlizzi, 1983).
Destruction and regeneration. The philosophical current that developed around Heraclitus’ Fragments held that fire was the primordial transforming agent that gave rise to water, which in turn brought the earth to life, before returning to fire in an eternal cycle. Although the origin of water on our planet remains unknown, it is our star, the Sun, that ensures its presence on the Earth’s surface. And increasing the temperature of water by boiling or sublimation is what triggers its transition from a liquid or solid state to vapor. Gaspare’s work Corpus Vitrearum evokes the cycle of changes of state, capturing in particular the transformation of matter by heat, combustion. While producing works on canvas or paper, all done by “layering” a variety of black materials such as tempera, India ink, acrylic, and charcoal, the artist keeps the water that is stained black during the process. He subsequently burns each creation, then takes the “black” water and ash from each work and puts them into a glass bottle, sealing and signing the stopper. Each bottle contains a work of art, symbolizing an attempt to destroy and renew matter, time and memory. As a distillation of the artistic process, and the residues left by the work, the liquid in each bottle has a different consistency and composition, depending on the materials used to create the original piece.
For the project Equorea (of seas, ice, clouds and other waters), presented in BUILDINGBOX, Gaspare presents a set of ampoules from his series Corpus Vitrearum, which are an image of metamorphosis and the cyclical renewal of the states of material, and metaphorically, his own practice too.
The exhibition is the sixth 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.