Vittorio Santoro AMBIGUITIES/AFFIRMATIONS
Vernissage Saturday April 15 2023, 5-8 pm
Exhibition from 11 April to 13 May 2023
Book launch, Saturday May 6, 5-7pm
SATURDAY 6 MAY, Exclusive conversation on the artist’s work with Mihaela-Smaranda GHERGHESCU, Head of Research and Scientific Programming, Bibliotheque Kandisky/Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Daniel KURJAKOVIĆ, Curator of programs, Kunstmuseum Basel.
From 11 to 15 April—on the days leading up to the opening of the exhibition —the artist will be present each day from 5 to 6 pm to work on situ.
For this exhibition Vittorio Santoro will present all new works, mainly time-based text works that were initiated six months ago in Brussels and will have concluded on the very day of the opening. A selection of his publications will also be on view.
Santoro’s time-based text works involve the daily writing of the same set of words, in pencil, on a single sheet and in the same place, during a particular period. At times, he essentially folds them—sometimes but not always uniformly—for ease of handling when the work is in transit. But the crease also appears to function as a compositional device, dividing characters and creating breakaway factions of word-clusters within sentences. Choices are made about how and where
each statement sits in the grid (or other linear origami-like device) and the impact this will have on its reception.
The artist creates statements that resonate with a poetic or philosophical seriousness, yet also connect us with everyday social moments that might barely register on the life-experience inventory. The tone of each expression—given the means and modes through which he articulates it—is open to question despite the ritualistic, almost clinical rigor of his process and its ideation. In every case the scrubby evidence of physical and time investment— aesthetically more CSI-forensic than white-page proof—makes the content appear as if hovering above the paper ground, casting a mineral shadowlike fine cloud of ballistic residue on the wall. Retraced over and again (mostly for an established period of six months, sometimes more, sometimes less), the words begin to loosen from their original form, becoming something closer to imagery. Taking in the reverberating words is akin to being a child and saying the same thing over and over again until it makes no sense.
Santoro’s process, as a repetitive practice, speaks less of obsessive adherence to a system and more about absurdism as a potential force for good. His process also speaks of insistence: a means of breaking down preconceptions and encouraging new readings. Say each statement in your head or out loud and it scans well, scrolls fairly easily past the mind’s eye, offering a mixed set of phonaesthetically pleasing sounds. But Santoro’s semiotic play alerts the viewer to the oddities of words as things, carriers of meaning through time, and how attuned we are to the particulars of their display. As with all of Santoro’s projects, we are encouraged to consider an idea, a thought, a feeling, in the round, from multiple human perspectives.
- Rebecca Geldard
Vittorio Santoro lives and works in Paris and Zurich. In 2017, he was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp. His work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions including A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam (2023); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2022); Kunstmuseum Luzern (2020); Biennial of contemporary art, Anafi (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017, 2012); Kunstmuseum Bern (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, MoCA Pavilion, Shanghai (2015); Kunsthaus Zurich (2015, 2023); 1aSpace, Hong Kong (2013); Fondation Ricard, Paris (2012); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2011); CAPC, Bordeaux (2007) and Tate Modern, London (2007), among other venues. www.vittoriosantoro.info