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Gilberto Zorio, Protagonist of the Arte Povera Phenomenon, Exhibits in Spain
Gilberto Zorio, Stella di cuoio su giavellotti, 2007. Courtesy: Oredania Arti Contemporanee, Roma /Canoa che ruota, 2009. Photo: Mark Ritchie.

By: Miguel von Hafe Pérez

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA.- When accepting the responsibility of managing CGAC’s program in a extremely short period of time, I was certain from the beginning of one thing: bringing Gilberto Zorio to Santiago de Compostela, an artist whom in 1990, at the start of my professional career, had bestowed one of the most mysterious and glowing exhibitions held at the Casa de Serralves in Porto. The images of the pieces then and the sounds invading the aseptic spaces of the art deco building, have stayed with me ever since through unforeseeable manifestations.

It may have been the hand of fate that made it possible for a yearning to coincide with the effective possibility of making it happen. The fact that the MAMbo in Bologna had inaugurated in October a very important exhibition of the artist, featuring works dating from the sixties until present day, revealed itself as a unique opportunity. The exhibition evolved around a non chronological discourse, highlighting the 'organicness' constantly emphasized by the artist, conceiving each of his exhibitions by taking into account the offered space.

This is an absolutely key fact in the creative process of Gilberto Zorio. The aim is not merely to shatter any kind of historic tendency when assessing his work, neither seeking associations nor confrontations between pieces of different periods, but rather to integrate, model and incorporate the architectural space within the exhibition narrative as such. Here, in Santiago de Compostela, the spaces devised by the architect Siza Vieira have posed an additional challenge; the differences in scale and the more or less open separations are now stage for an intense dialogue with the ephemeral architecture incorporated by Zorio into the space, destabilising its proportions, creating new unwieldy paths and blocking fields of vision which the accustomed spectator would normally recognise.

The exhibition is presented as a living organism inhabiting a building, a beat whose epicentre is the colossal Torre Stella Santiago, a sort of heart irradiating all the questions the artist puts forward to the spectator through works of art.

The work of Zorio tends to confront the spectator in this permanent state of bewilderment. Also, the artist takes pleasure in controlling his past in such continuous curiosity, reflecting on the differentiated perception processes the pieces themselves may inspire in different contexts. It therefore assembles a constantly evolving present, much in the same way as some of his works alter through physical and chemical conditions that establish more or less radical and noticeable variations. Hence this is a unique moment for (re)introducing the work of this seminal author in the establishment of the creative landscape of contemporary art. It is a privilege for which I must express my deepest gratitude towards the curator of the exhibition, Gianfranco Maraniello, and especially towards the artist who has devoted himself to this project with tremendous enthusiasm. During the conversations we held, numerous times we mentioned the virtue and excellence of the worker, without whom the world would not go beyond ideas with different degrees of factuality. Seeing him wander about his constructions and pieces whilst the first distorted and amplified chords of the Internationale echo within the museum spaces, I think about the demand for a dream and the utopia as hope for a future we know as uncertain and fluctuating as the certainties and assurances imposed on us. Bewilderment and curiosity, accurate words in a time of disenchantment.

Gilberto Zorio | Arte Povera | Spain |

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