curated by Marcello Smarrelli
Pesaro, Centre for Visual Arts Pescheria 7 July – 1 October 2017
In 2017, the Centre presents Nicola Samorì’s solo show La candela per far luce deve consumarsi (A candle must burn to shine), curated by Marcello Smarrelli and promoted by the Town Councillorship for Beauty together with Sistema Museo. The title is a reference to Saint Charles Borromeo, who embodied the idea of a luminous decay, a concept that is poignantly reflected in the works on view. Guided by the beauty of the location of the Centre, the artist’s project plays on the original functions of the former fish market and the adjacent chiesa del Suffragio (church of Intercession), which together make up the Centre, through an original dialogue: a conversation between the works of the artist and sacred images from the impressive collection of the Musei Civici of Palazzo Mosca. It is infact in the Musei Civici that Samorì first found inspiration for this body of new works conceived for the Centre.
In 1944, during the Second World War, the right wing of Palazzo Mosca was destroyed and around twenty artworks disappeared, including Giuseppe Maria Crespi’s Cristo e un manigoldo. The painting was rediscovered when the building was being cleared from rubble: its damaged surface revealed a perfectly preserved eye on an otherwise ruined surface. Its metallic glean recalls the oil on copper paintings by Nicola Samorì, whose practice investigates the reversal of painting through a careful removal of the painted film. Starting from this damaged image, included in the exhibition, the viewer perceives a confusion between the action of time on the works from the Musei Civici selected by the artist – either coming from storage or waiting to be restored – and the signs that sistematically unsettle Samorì’s paintings and sculptures.
In the space of the old fish market, the Pescheria, Samorì works on two simple trajectories: one horizontal and one vertical, evoking the sea and trees respectively. Five wooden anthropomorphic sculptures, over three meters tall, run parallel to the stone columnade and draw a vertical line juxtaposed to the horizon, suggested by a collection of local seascape paintings from Palazzo Mosca’s collection aligned on the wall. The sculptures appear almost threadlike as though eroded by the sea they are seemingly surrounded by.
The symbolism of water is further alluded to in the second exhibition space, that of the former chiesa del Suffraggio, where it takes on a more overt symbolism of ablution. The church, built on a dodecagonal plan, was a gathering space for believers to entrust souls from Purgatory to God. It was deconsecrated in 1888. Here, Samorì has reimagined the church as a ‘martyrs’ basin’, where saints agitate, graves are opened and bodies are stored, in an arrangement of postures which includes paintings by Samorì, one of which appropriates a heavy seventeenth century frame manufactured in Naples, the aforementioned painting by Crespi and
Nicola Zafuri’s Cristo deposto. A five metre sculpture stands erect in the centre of the room, and, like a huge candle, polarises the movements of the works.
The project across the two spaces, reimagined for contemporary art, reveals how today art museums can revive religious images more so than places of worship. In the dialogue with the local collections that runs through the exhibition, the artist confronts a recurring theme in the history of art: the relationship between nature and artifice. And the choice of installing, in the Bellini room of Palazzo Mosca, a Carrara white marble sculpture by Samorì opposite a Renaissace masterpiece such as the Incoronazione della Vergine by Bellini, is a clear reference to this historical question.
A cura di Marcello Smarrelli
Pesaro, Centro Arti Visive Pescheria 7 luglio – 1 ottobre 2017
Il 2017 è la volta della mostra di Nicola Samorì – La candela per far luce deve consumarsi – a cura