“What remains of the present”, Volumnia hosts the exhibition by Gianluigi Colin

A complex and monumental site-specific installation gives life to Gianluigi Colin’s exhibition in the Volumnia gallery in Piacenza. Gianluigi Colin (Pordenone, 1956) has been working on the dialogue between images and words for many years. In particular, the center of his work is the media system, the dimension of time and the value of Memory. This exhibition, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, represents a new and demanding challenge for Gianluigi Colin: the imposing space of the sixteenth-century Church of Sant’Agostino, bravely reborn by Enrica De Micheli, in fact pushed Colin to confront himself in a hand-to-hand combat with the challenging spaces full of history and surrounded by a natural spirituality. The exhibition was also possible thanks to the coordination of Luigi De Ambrogi, the set-up project by the Baldessari and Baldessari studio and a special lighting project by Davide Groppi.

The exhibition is part of the XNL APERTO program: a project dedicated to contemporary arts born from the synergy between public institutions and private entities in the Piacenza area. Colin has created an exhibition entirely designed ad hoc for the spaces of the church, presenting two new cycles of works that are very different in terms of representation, but united by the use of the same materials and the same language of abstraction. Altogether there are 60 canvases, some even large ones, plus a monumental installation in the central nave of the Church. On the one hand, in fact, Gianluigi Colin has decided to place his abstract works (which he called “Impronte,” characterized by the fact that they are cleaning materials for newspaper or book printing presses) exactly where the sixteenth-century altarpieces: works full of memories of words and figures, here dissolved in signs, streaks of soft or bright colors that suggest an idea of ​​meditation and reflections on the fragility of existence.

Colin himself underlines the nature of his artistic intervention: “In these object trouvé I found the symbolic removal of infinite stories, a metaphor for the forgetfulness that envelops our present. It is the trace of a dissolved time, testimony of many hidden existences. Canvases taken from the heart of the world of communication on which I intervened by assembling discontinuous fragments in an arbitrary reconstruction: Removed footprints of many lives, dissolutions of infinite stories. From these considerations the title of the exhibition was born: “What remains of the present”. And Colin adds: “I have always thought that in a place full of memory like the one that hosts me, an artist has above all a duty: to dialogue with the pre-existing history, without necessarily canceling his own identity. For this reason I thought of a project, as respectful as possible, placing 10 large works in the side aisles, inserting them exactly in the Baroque frames, right where the ancient altarpieces were previously placed. In the side aisles I then placed another 50 works in the niches, while in the central nave I created an installation in which large drapes fall from above and envelop the space as traditionally occurs during special liturgical events. If museums represent the secular cathedrals of the contemporary world, here I wanted to evoke (and in some way celebrate) the aesthetic dimension of the practice of worship, with its rites and ceremonies. And at the same time, as Hegel argued, remember that the reading of the newspaper remains “the lay prayer of our time”.

Gianluigi Colin’s work stands out as a reflection on the tradition of the relationship between History, Art and the Church. A detail will appear evident to every visitor: all the statues have been beheaded. The church, in fact, was the object of desecration by the Napoleonic army: Gianluigi Colin wanted to remember this historical event by reconstructing symbolic but blindfolded heads, thus inviting us to reflect on the iconoclastic culture and on the practice, today very topical, of the ” cancel culture “. Finally concludes Colin: “All I do is build an atlas of chaos. I believe in an art that looks to the teaching of history, but that does not give answers. Rather ask questions. This is why I try not to forget the bitter teaching of Elias Canetti, when he remembers: “History teaches what you already know”. The catalog with the text by Achille Bonito Oliva will be released in October with the images of the exhibition. This is a fragment of the intervention by Luigi de Ambrogi, responsible for coordination, in the small volume – guide to the exhibition. “What remains of the present” has the support of the Donatella Ronconi Enrica Prati Foundation, as media partner Il Corriere della Sera and La libertà, Ciaccio Arte technical sponsor.

Luigi De Ambrogi, JOURNEY TO BYBLOS – Gianluigi Colin’s work has always been the world of ink, writing, printing, where typography lives, where newspapers and books are born. His whole life revolves around this universe in constant motion. The ink, or rather the inks, are present in every step of its existence, without any difference or separation between life, work, art. His latest cycle of creations also follows this path with the addition of a further step that could be defined as the accumulation of the whole: Memory. Colin with alchemical knowledge appropriates residues, scraps, rags, whose technical name is non-woven fabrics. They are materials that are used to clean printing machines and that collect all the news and images they have printed, cleaning the presses. Colin, therefore, creates a new synthesis, a new dazzling and unprecedented language. The works created apparently fall within a language of signs and forms: instead they are writing. Like the ancient hieroglyphs, we can try to decode them, but after a first, apparently easy start, it becomes impossible to continue. We must stop, we find ourselves unprepared. But Gianluigi Colin, almost oblivious to what surrounds him, continues to create this seductive and original alphabet. He does it by retouching, sewing, cutting, assembling. Thus giving life to an amazing journey to the origin where it all started: Byblos.

BIOGRAPHY Gianluigi Colin – Born in Pordenone in 1956, Gianluigi Colin has been conducting artistic research on the dialogue between images and words for many years. His work was born as an investigation into the past, the meaning of representation, the stratification of the gaze. It is a poetics full of references to the history of art and news, which tends to place memory and actuality on the same level, blurring the boundaries between the eras. A poetics with a strong civil and ethical commitment, which wants to restore strong militant values ​​to the artistic experience. An eclectic personality, Colin for many years was art director of “Corriere della Sera”, currently he is cover editor of “la Lettura” and “la Lectura” of “El Mundo”, in Madrid. He gives lectures, seminars and university courses. He has written numerous essays and articles on photography, visual communication and currently writes about art on the cultural pages of Corriere della Sera. His personal exhibitions have been held in numerous Italian and foreign cities (among his exhibitions, worthy of mention are those at the Arengario in Milan, in 1998; at the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires, in 2002; at the Manege Museum in St. Petersburg, in 2003; at the MADRE in Naples, at the Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, at the IVAM Museum in Valencia in 2011; at the Marconi Foundation in Milan in 2012, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Pordenone, in 2014; at the MARCA Museum in Catanzaro, in 2016/17; at the Milan Triennale, in 2018; at Visionarea Art Space in Rome, in 2019; at the Palazzo del Governatore in Parma, in 2020, on the occasion of the events in Parma Capital of Culture. of the world), he was invited to “Valencia09” (at the IVAM of Valencia, in 2009) and selected for the Italian Pavilion of the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. His works are present in private collections, museums and institutions public in Italy and abroad. He lives and works in Milan.

“Gianluigi Colin. What remains of the present “ opens to the public on 23 September 2022 from 17:00 to 22:00. The exhibition will be open from 24 September to 19 November, from Tuesday to Saturday, from 15:00 to 18:00 and by appointment. For information: info@volumnia.space.

“What remains of the present”, Volumnia hosts the exhibition by Gianluigi Colin – piacenzasera.it