Maurizio Pellegrin's Constellations of Long-Lost Love
Los Angeles, 1993
Love, loss and nostalgia permeate Maurizio Pellegrin’s elegant arrangements of faded photographs, old clothes and antique odds and ends that seem to have been gathered from a deceased relative’s attic. Like mute poems, the Italian-born artist’s evocative constellations resonate with suggestiveness without explicitly revealing their meanings.
A sense of mystery is essential to the 37-year-old’s tenderly romantic art. Made from humble materials, intimate mementos and anonymous souvenirs, his works have the presence of shrines to long-gone romances, broken-off affairs and infatuations that were never consummated nor forgotten. The five, multipart pieces at Mark Moore Gallery seem to savour cherished memories of past intrigues and to relish fantasies of how the present might be different if previous situations had unfolded differently.
Selective Corners, the exhibition’s centrepiece, consist of a loose grid of clothing patterns push-pinned to the wall and punctuated by a sexy black dress and several oval frames cloaked in black fabric.
Your Summer juxtaposes similar components with an old photograph of a sunbathing woman, a beach chair, a wooden vice and three paperbacks, all mounted on a full-size set of bed springs.
Amore nell’officina is Pellegrin’s least-sentimental and most intriguing piece.
Its leopard-skin jacket, printed inventories and boxes of valves, bearings and bolts suggest an affection for the impersonal mechanics of attraction, rather than the focused yearnings for an absent, fantasized partner. Abstract, free-flowing desire takes precedence over the object to which it is usually attached and restricted.
When Pellegrin’s pieces indulge an overly personal poetry, they risk being little more than self-involved illustrations. When his art maintains its light-handed irony and magical obscurity, it triggers a potentially wide range of memories, leaving its viewers with more paths to follow and tales to spin.