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LE TEMPS THÉORIQUE - Spazio E_EmmE, Cagliari, Italy.
June – September 2024.

 

Curated by Anna Oggiano, exhibition text by Shoshana Walfish.
 

LE TEMPS THÉORIQUE - Spazio E_EmmE, Cagliari, Italy.
June – September 2024.

 

Curated by Anna Oggiano, exhibition text by Shoshana Walfish.

How can we find the sublime and the eternal in today’s world, when we look around to see so many colliding realities? Dirty streets, rampant gentrification, class division, incoherent politics of heritage preservation, and a general apathy towards aesthetic cares. Le temps théorique is at once an observation of the throwaway culture of our times and a search for beauty amongst the ruination. Which images of today will become the celebrated images of yesterday? In this new suite of paintings, Brussels-based Sardinian artist Elio Ticca confronts this key paradox: an aesthetic formed by classicism versus the reality of daily life in Brussels, his adopted home, the city itself becoming a local and a universal backdrop for this research.

The journey begins with the door handles of the quintessential‘80s vintage orange and chrome metro, a fixture of daily life for commuters in the city of Brussels. The handles are unwieldy, requiring a forceful grip to open, an uncomfortably intimate gesture in this public place rife with germs and bacteria. The metros are outdated by today’s standards, and represent a daily grind, grimy and out of place in this high-tech world yet holding on to a sort of post-industrial optimism. Each work is titled in reference to a metro station in Brussels, referring to a unique place in the psyche of the city.

The images of Roman mosaics, alluring relics from antiquity, are playfully nestled in the aforementioned handles, creating an obstruction to the utilitarian nature of the form. In contrast to the door handles, they are elegant, softly painted with Ticca’s signature attentive brushstroke, and harken back to a classical grace not found in today’s common objects but yearned for in our sentimental collective memory. Are they searching to highlight the beauty that can be found in the dirtiness of everyday life, or rashly showing how far we have gone astray? Roman mosaics often represented still lives, remains of eaten fruit, portraits, theatre masks, or sex scenes, embellishing, warning, or advertising, blurring the lines between memento mori and memento vivere. Perhaps these works are meant to interrupt our daily motions with a moment of awe, to jolt us out of our everyday comings and goings. The images block the handles and are delicate, precarious: if you were to pull open the doors the mosaic would fall and smash into a million pieces. This precarity reminds us of the chance nature of our place in this world, the arbitrariness of geography, class, and time in culture.

In contrast to the metro mosaics, we have what the artist refers to as “snapshots”- close up images of scenes from around Brussels: a vitrine near the train station filled with old mannequins and trash bags, abandoned playing cards in a flowerbed, forgotten corners of the city, seemingly immune to progress or abandoned in the rat race. This is where contemporary sources for possible Roman mosaics can be found. The city offers itself to Ticca’s brush in all its ugly beauty, beheld by the artist as a love letter to the character of the place itself. The gritty details made holy by the attention paid to them by the artist. He paints them with the same reverence shown to the Roman mosaics, and with that they are elevated as subjects.

The series as a whole is painted on small format square panels which recall the tiny tiles of mosaics themselves, and can as such be seen as pieces of the scenes from which they derive. They also bring to mind the cobbled streets of Brussels, and together they form an uneven landscape in which we can wander, stumble and dream our way through theoretical time, where past, present and future collide, and we cannot be sure which way we are looking.

Shoshana Walfish 

Shoshana Walfish is a painter based between Brussels and Montreal. Her practice is driven by research and experimentation, exploring how the body relates to feminism, existentialism, phenomenology, and art history.

Elio Ticca, Madou, 2024. Oil on wood, 20 x 20 cm.jpg
Elio Ticca, Joyeyux anniversaire Clémence!, 2024. Oil on wood, 20 x 20 cm.jpg
porte de namur_le temps théorique.jpg

Elio Ticca is a contemporary artist working with painting, sculpture and installation.  His work aims to investigate how the representation of affect can be conceptually and culturally deconstructed, as well as narrated in new plastic and visual forms.

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