“The Shape of Gold”, Rä di Martino, “Allunati #19 “, 2020
Rä di Martino
Allunati #19, 2020
gold leaf, archival pigment print
on cotton paper
134 × 118 cm, with frame
BUILDINGBOX dedicates the 2021 season to the theme of gold in contemporary art with the annual exhibition project The Shape of Gold curated by Melania Rossi. The exhibition aims to offer an overview of the use of gold in contemporary artistic research by presenting the works of twelve artists who allude or use the noble metal in different ways and practices. The installations will be visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the window in via Monte di Pietà 23.
The third artist, featured from March 10th to April 8th, 2021, is Rä di Martino (Rome, 1975) who will be presenting a single work specifically created for BUILDINGBOX.
Allunati [Moon Landers] is the title of a series of works that Rä di Martino began in 2020, featuring golden human silhouettes that stand out against a tranquill, silent lunar landscape, captured performing domestic tasks connected to daily life on earth. The artist uses visual contrasts and reversals of meaning to raise questions about what is imprinted on our memory, and plays with mechanisms of reminiscence and reference, uncovering the elusive nature of our mental processes.
Di Martino often takes inspiration from mythologies fueled by cinema and television, mixing reality and fiction in a poetic, ironic and unsettling way.
Humans have always fantasized about setting foot on the moon, and well before astronomers, engineers, physicists and scientists got to work, artists used their intuition and imagination to envisage “lunar reality”. Just think of the director Georges Méliès, whose 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune predates by almost seventy years one of the most famous and exciting images in human history: the earth seen from the moon.
In front of Allunati #19, which the Roman artist created specifically for The Shape of Gold and the BUILDINGBOX window space, we see an image that we can immediately identify with (a man walking, just like the people in the street walking past the window), but which also evokes the layering up of visual memories, created by the collage of photographs of lunar soil published by NASA.
This work taps into a collective imagination that mingles everyday life, extraordinary events and cinematic fiction, subtly highlighting the paradoxical nature of so-called “normality”. The gold leaf emerges from the black and white background, creating a contrast: this precious metal covers and protects the lonely/bewildered passer-by, like a sort of poetic spacesuit for everyday life, now less predictable than ever.