David Mc Cracken
Pellegrin's Art is Imbued with Melancholy
in “Art Enterprises: Selections from the Collections"
Through bearing traces of Conceptualism’s rigor and its frequent fascination with found objects as the means of expression, Maurizio Pellegrin’s assemblages at Feigen Inc. reject its coldness, glowing instead with a Romantic spirit of ardor and melancholy […]
Pellegrin more often arranges his objects […] in a rectangular formation on a scale ranging from the compact to the wall size. Almost all bear a stenciled number, Pellegrin utilizing an original numerological system derived from Pythagorean and Kabalistic sources.
Of this he has written, “For me numbers possess magical qualities. They vibrate and transmit messages. I believe that all the most important laws of nature are quantitative expressions [...] In my work, numbers are also symbols of the radiant quantity and quality contained in the various elements which make up each work.”
Numbers, then, and their corresponding objects, represents his attempt at rationally ordering history and his own experience in personally meaningful fashion.
But despite the element of autobiography and his often abstruse systemology,
these works succeed visually and open themselves up, too, to other interpretations, each one like a personal puzzle to be worked out, in singular fashion, by each viewer according to his or her own desires.
In Agitated Red, for instance, a serial ordering of antique coat hangers suspended over red padded canvas ovals, some wrapped in black cloth or bearing sections of old news photos-establishes internal correspondences of shapes between tennis rackets, ovals, hangers, masts. Similar underlying historical ideas seem to run through the photos, too.
But ultimately, each assemblage retains just enough of its autonomy and the stamp of the artist to remind us of the tenuousness of our own interpretations.
In that they remain as enigmatic as they are elegiac.