NEW YORK, NY (May 30, 2012) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Ashes to Ashes, a series of new oil paintings on canvas by Sicilian artist Fulvio di Piazza, in what will be his first solo exhibition in the United States.
In a 2007 review for ARTFORUM, Marco Meneguzzo wrote, “Di Piazza’s paintings are a perfect example of horror vacui, finding an ideal setting for expression in the forest and its undergrowth; the ancient concept of the natural meets the contemporary idea of the artificial. In our contemporary culture, the proliferation of super-imposed images exemplifies current models of communication, what used to be considered background noise now becomes the message. The challenge today is to discern the individual sounds that make up the buzz, just as we must distinguish the components that compose Di Piazza’s luxuriant representations.”
Highly imaginative Fulvio Di Piazza creates whimsical paintings of anthropomorphized landscapes with an extraordinary level of detail and depth. Previous works have depicted lush woodland fantasies, revealing saturated forests filled with faces as distinct features emerge from hills, rocks and tree trunks, sprouting limbs in place of roots and branches.
In Ashes to Ashes, the artist’s work follows a dramatic new direction of fiery volcanic imagery. Twisted figures rise through mushrooming clouds of soot and smoke with faces comprised of burnt debris, their bodies as vulnerable and combustible as pyres. Smoldering peaks loom in the distance specked with glowing cinders and embers, as lava flows from black soot-covered craters like the life’s blood of the earth.
For this series, the artist was inspired by the 1980 book Entropy, written by an American economist named Jeremy Rifkin, in which he associates thermodynamic activity with sociological patterns of economic and environmental decline. Although the author was widely criticized for misunderstanding the laws of physics, Di Piazza was interested in the conceptual parallels, regardless of the lack of scientific merit.
There is an underlying pessimism to the imagery in this exhibition, yet Di Piazza finds hope in the dismal—theorizing that matter is eternally indestructible due to its ever-changing nature, constantly shifting states and transforming into different types of energy. He also points out the interesting dichotomy of ash, being the remains of matter consumed by fire as well as the beginning for a new cycle of matter. This interpretation signifies the potential for renewal beyond the end of days. Once this world has burned, perhaps the proverbial phoenix will rise.
Fulvio Di Piazza was born in 1969 in Siracusa, Italy. He studied at Urbino Art Academy and currently lives in Palermo, Italy. In 2008, Di Piazza participated in the Quadriennale exhibition in Rome. In 2011, his work was included in an exhibition curated by Vittorio Sgarbi at the Italian Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale. His work has been exhibited in galleries in Milan, New York, Los Angeles, London and more.