“Nomadic Experiment – On the Brink of Disaster” solo show at Wunderkammern Gallery

Rome - Italy - 2015

On the Brink of the Void
If emptiness is defined in relation to its opposite – fullness – it can no longer be seen as a simple absence; from negation, emptiness becomes space, a place of dialogue or conflict, and manifests one of its dynamic potentials.
It is interesting to view this dialogue as possible shapes that that might alternate/move through an empty space. A raw, naked space exists in that it is perceived, but it isn’t traditionally recognized despite its potential as a place of action.
The relationship between physically established, but conceptually abstract, emptiness and a designed and/or painted shape that exists in theory but whose extension and complexity is open, undefined and changeable, suggests the opportunity to play with contrasts and to juxtapose, in a single actual space, multiple layers.
A stratified city such as Rome can recall a continuous oscillation between the past and the future above and below: the underground tunnels of ancient cities or the neighborhoods built right after others, can easily be seen as layers interconnected through both conceptual and physical bonds.
Walking through its streets, exploring neighborhoods and searching, finding, abandoning places, is what links a map on paper to the experience of the city itself, the individual microcosm with the public one; giving a meaning to the labyrinth surrounding us.
The individual journey gives shape to the imaginary city that, in its own right, contributes to the understanding of the collective imagination of the actual city. In this exploration of the city, empty space creates a sense of disorientation and dissociation from the surroundings, forcing us to identify the connections, to locate them and rework them in order to reacquire a general, yet somewhat modified, orientation to the landscape as a whole. This momentary separation modifies perception and therefore generates attachment and an appropriation of the individual journey. When modulating paths, intersections take on a vital importance, because like the alterations, these too represent deciding moments, potential turning points, suggesting the change of direction, path, and action.
Along with the intersections, some of the most important reference points in the individual itinerary are the facades that, being external, visible, vertical spaces have a dual nature of outlines and empty spaces.
The outlines – linear elements and borders between different areas – act as lateral references that break up the continuity of the space, perhaps altering it or physically defining it.
Though they fragment the urban environment, they are not always just impenetrable, isolating barriers, but can also have the opposite effect. When an outline separates, it creates a conflict; the absence of visibility and action, obstacles which in turn, as counterparts, activate the desire for a visual connection.
If, then, this “outline” is also an empty space, such as a windowless facade, its essence as a barrier that creates “desire” can have the inverse effect of manifesting an intersection of phenomena.
A pictorial installation on such a surface can, therefore, develop a more complex operation of reconstruction of the invisible bonds between landscape, passages, and paths; in this case, a mural installation is exterior, on the street, in a visible, public space.
It is a reference for personal movement and for exploring the urban space, and is therefore linked to the idea of the street, in the sense that we can never have just one perspective of a street, except for a perspective of movement as we move through it. Integrating the concept of multiple points of view – both implicit movement and direct action in the surroundings – the formal elements of 2501’s graphic painting style such as points, linear energies, planes and spaces, reinvent an interrupted thread between environments; the sky as the outermost edge or absolute space, the opposing buildings as intermediaries or borders, and the accidental elements as stimuli and visual solutions.
The brushes utilized are all different, both in size but also in the quality of their bristles – soft or hard – and in their combination: at times the brushes have been modified in order to have longer hairs around the perimeter and shorter ones internally, or vice-versa; other times, multiple brushes of varying dimensions are mounted, so that the effect has changing directions – these too in movement – shown by the deepest black or the whiteness that reclaims space. These facts, which could appear to be simple technical specifications, are actually a simple sign of the use of empty space in his works. In fact, the difference in hardness or in brush shape creates gaps that are transferred to the surface/wall/façade; empty spaces that are more visible when increasing the pressure of strokes or decreasing the amount of black, of ink.
2501’s visual research dialogues with context from a spatial and material perspective. The black lines abstractly hand-painted on the white wall, precisely but expressively, mean to give a kind of density to the painting that alters the perception of the two-dimensional surface.
The works incorporate the casual and architectural elements of the street, their geometric shadows or the vibrant ones of natural elements. During the changing hours of the day, and the passing of seasons, the figures are in a state of constant transformation, becoming a part of the street and its three-dimensional space.
If we were to limit ourselves to simply filling the empty, or emptying the full, constructing and demolishing accordingly, we would not effect great change but would, instead, be inclined to recycle the same conflict, created by differences. In this conflict, however, the act of painting a wall effects a rejection. Does is fill a void? Certainly not. It simply points it out, highlights it, and activates it, hence moving it. It triggers a rejection, setting off a dissonance in the very definition of “fullness” and “emptiness”. When the shape acts on the empty space and in an abstract way, the painted surface feels the need to be in the dynamic relationships that it activates between the unused spaces and surfaces, or simply present yet disconnected.
There are real shapes and empty spaces that, when compared, trigger a mix of unstable interactions and therefore open the door to action and an extension of the environment.
Nina Bassoli and G.Matta