in "Antonia Contro and Maurizio Pellegrin"
Carrie Secrist Gallery
catalogue of the exhibition
Chicago, Illinois, 2000
[…] The palpable textures of objects are the key to Pellegrin’s psychological and emotional manipulations of the gallery environment. Through his wall and floor configurations of reassembled antiquarian treasures, he displays an anthropologist’s sensitivity in creating multi-layered laments for a world that has become uncomfortably smaller through technology.
Pellegrin’s prolific career has been defined by three-dimensional collages of unusual intimacy for their environmental scale. Through modifications that simultaneously emphasize and neutralize his objects’ original history and function, he elevates his prosaic, secular forms to the stature of spiritual talismans. The finished works are evocative explorations of a range of found materials – fabric, paper, leather, wood, metal. Fabric is a significant means of transformation for Pellegrin, lending ethereal and political overtones to his installations. He appears to “paint” with the sensuous material using its hues and textures to establish the distinctive mood for each piece. Black bands wrapped around photographs and suitcases appear to harness and define the unseen energy of these forms. Anonymous objects bundled in white linen are given a celestial presence, while walls and floors covered in red material become provocative atmospheres.
Redefining the gallery’s narrow, rear space, Pellegrin uses a large expanse of padded fabric to serve as the backdrop for a central black and white photograph of a gondola, and a small number of surrounding artifacts. The intensity of the fabric’s saturated red hue is physically and optically overwhelming… Metaphorically a “sea” for the photograph of the gondola, the red environment becomes an abstraction for the boundaries, real and imagined, that surround us. […]