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Antonio Riello's first solo exhibition in the UK opens at Salon Vert
Antonio Riello, Ashes to Ashes (detail): Ulysses, 2010-2012. Media: Book ashes, Venetian glass chalice. Courtesy Salon Vert.
LONDON.- ‘The 
devil 
in
 the 
glass’, 
is 
Riello’s 
first 
solo 
exhibition 
in
 the 
UK, comprising 
of 
two
 large-
scale 
wall‐mounted 
installations 
of 
objects 
made 
from Venetian glass.

Spending 
his 
childhood 
surrounded
 by 
books 
in 
an 
immense 
library 
compiled
 by 
his mother,
 Riello 
grew
 up
 to
 become
 a
 bibliophile–
 a
 book
 addict
 with
 a
 possessive
 instinct
 for
 holding
 on
 to
 his
 most
 treasured
 volumes.
 In
 the
 installation
Ashes
 to
 Ashes
the
 artist
 presents
 a
 new
 kind
 of
 library
‐
 a
 taxonomic
 style
 display
 of
 elegant 
Venetian
 glass
 chalices,
 each 
hand‐blown
 in 
a
 unique
 design.
Within
 the
 stem
 of
 each
 glass
 is
 encapsulated
 the
 ashes
 of
 a
 burnt
 book.
 Through
 this
 sacrificial
 artwork,
 Riello
 creates
 a
 ‘virtual
 library’
 immortalising
 his
 most
 loved
 and
 venerated
 books,
 from
 children’s
 classics
 to
 Kafka,
 Freud
 and
 Plato.
 As
 he
 puts
 it
 they
 are
 “precious
 relics
 of
 self‐inflicted
 biblioclasm“
 and
 allude
 to
 the
 historical
 tradition 
of 
burning
 books 
to 
suppress 
heretical 
religious
 doctrines 
or 
to 
keep alchemical 
knowledge 
secret.
 Like
 medieval
 reliquaries
 each
 glass
 contains
 the
 vestiges
 of
 ‘sacred’
 literary
 knowledge.
 They
 also
 symbolize
 the
 notion
 that
 books
 are
 becoming
 relics
 of
 the
 past
 with
 the
 growth
 of
 eBooks
 in
 our
 technologically 
reliant 
future,
 Riello’s 
‘library’ 
is 
an
 ongoing 
project 
began 
in 
2010.
 Presented 
at 
Salon 
Vert
 are 
the 
new 
books 
created 
specifically
 for 
the 
show
 and 
in 
the 
largest 
ever 
version 
of
100 
books.


As
 a 
material 
glass 
has 
a 
neutral, 
impartial 
quality 
that 
Riello 
finds
 ironically appropriate for 
imparting
 emotional
 contexts.
 Civil
 War
 is
 an
 installation
 that
 consists
 of
 100
 handguns
 cast
 in
 opaque
 white
 Murano
 glass.
 He
 regards
 glass
 as
 a
 metaphor
 for
 fragility
 and
 this
 arsenal
 of
 pistols
 symbolizes
 aggressive
 behaviour,
 which
 in
 turn
 alludes
 to
 social
 and
 psychological
 fragility
 and
 insecurity.
 This installation 
continues 
the 
artist’s 
fascination
 with 
the 
ambivalence 
of 
violence
 and society’s
 need
 for
 aesthetics.
 His
 work
 often
 involves
 philosophical
 explorations
 that
 draw
 on
 aspects
 of
 history,
 craftsmanship 
and 
the 
epistemology 
of 
objects.


Although
 Riello
 frequently
 creates 
installations 
it 
is
 difficult
 to
 categorize
 his
 practice as
 confined
 to
 any 
particular 
form
 of 
artistic 
expression 
since 
it 
includes 
outdoor 
sculptures, 
site‐specific
 installations,
 displays 
of 
crafted
 objects, 
drawing 
and photography.
Yet 
his 
work 
can 
be 
seen 
as 
distinctly 
sculptural
 in
 the
 broadest
 sense
 where 
it
 requires 
the
 perceptual 
and
 emotional 
involvement
 of
 the
 viewer
 to
 complete 
it.

Antonio 
Riello
‐
born 
in 
1958 
in 
Marostica 
in 
the 
Treviso 
district 
near 
Venice.
He 
has exhibited
 world-wide
 including 
at 
the 
54th 
Biennale 
di 
Venezia; 
Museum 
of 
Art 
& Design, 
New 
York; 
BALTIC 
Centre, 
Newcastle;
 NGBK,
 Berlin; 
Neuhausen 
Kunstverein; Chelsea 
Museum
 of 
Art, 
New
York; 
Kunsthalle
 Wien; 
Freiburg
 Kunstverein; Fondazione
 Pomodoro 
and 
many 
others. 
Riello 
also 
conducts 
courses 
on 
the Phenomenology
 of 
Video 
Games 
at 
several 
universities 
in 
Italy.
 Riello 
lives
 and 
works in 
Bassano, 
Italy.





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