in “Maurizio Pellegrin - Works 1990-1994”
catalogue of the exhibitions:
edited by Jonathan Turner, L'Aquila, 1994
“L’ultima notte”, Il Ponte Contemporanea – Roma;
“Your Glance”, Valentina Moncada – Roma;
“Forze della passione”, Piano Nobile – Perugina;
“Segnare il vuoto”, Eos Arte Contemporanea – Milano;
“Arizona Series”, Studio Tommaseo – Trieste;
“Wall Sculptures”, Museo Revoltella – Trieste
What is a dark lantern? A dark lantern is a light which keeps the person holding in the shade, something which is not very different from today’s electric torch.
Of course, it makes sense that the person holding the torch hides his own actions and instead investigates his surroundings by placing them in the light. Nevertheless, the real world fades away and the attention is focussed on the light shining on a individual object, holding back its internal energy. This takes it to a new, contemporary dimension as it is redefined through a constant rethinking of its own origins.
The objects which make up Pellegrin’s works are always displayed in confrontation to contradictory images. This accentuates the development and transformation of the original meaning of each object. It does not imply that the meaning of things change, but rather, that Pellegrin stretches the horizon beyond its earlier limits.
The artist’s constant reference to Venice, a place where he grow up surrounded by artistic masterpieces, becomes a familiar, common image. He places the spectator at the cross-roads of perception: history of the order, in combination with how this object conditions the art in its presence.
Maurizio Pellegrin wraps, or more correctly, blindfolds things in black cloth to signify the object’s symbolic passage of energy through reality, while presenting the effort that each object makes to retain its own force.
Each object is created with an internal structure which regulates its, establishing precise connection between the various parts and particles which hold it together as a complete historical image. The wrapped objects appear to be in a state of rest, protected by their own inertia, but giving the atmosphere that they have just been used or are ready for use. Therefore, the work takes on an intermediate dimension between one period of action and another; the state in which objects appear is part of their identity and not their function.
Every object seems to belong to Venice, inseparable from its origins, the place where it was created to carry out some normal daily task. And yet despite this extreme sense of locality, each fragment is open to the world which receives it. The origins are witnessed through its identity. Pellegrin circumscribes the elements which keep him in contact with his own origins, in the same way that the Taviani brothers make their films, defining geographic places which reflect a universal mode of symbolism precisely due to their specific nature.
This is because such a vague yet pleasing concept of the world cannot exist if it is not related to local and specific images. A land which forgets these differences is an uprooted land. A voyager travelling through this land loses his energy to search.
He merely becomes a pathetic wanderer in a land where any place of hospitality becomes dark shelter.
Thus Maurizio Pellegrin’s force is dedicated to keeping each object in its own special place, acting as a host to its original meaning and giving to the world the symbolic vision of provenance. However. Its identity is never relegated to that of a souvenir or a mere plaything. The artist does not wallow in the past but accepts the force of contraddiction impose by the basic concept of here and now. Venice, a city steeped in history, entirely in love with the present day which in turn renounces the city, where each mundane, daily act is transformed into a symbol, a despicable souvenir, a devourer of energy through the unreality of its colours.
While the bells of St. Marco further deafen Sunday’s din instead of celebrating the religious of a feast, Maurizio Pellegrin protects the importance of his objects from the squalor of the Kodak which would otherwise devour them. Grouped in such a way, the objects lose their character as reminders, and instead become perpetually link to the unravelling of the day. Once immersed in the daily truth of numerous, inter-twined stories, both great and simple, they trust themselves to the sensuality of the traveller, who may leave them behind, though he never abandons them.
Pellegrin arranges his work and prepares it for a long wait. He works in such a way in which everything has its place and is set firmly in the present, though naturally in relation to unknown images which may have been observed nearby. Maurizio Pellegrin knows that in order to understand the profound essence of things, to see the light inside the shade, it is enough to let a veil fall over his own face, masking his own relationship with the present, yet prolonging in the darkness the strong light of the dark lantern.