Giulio Saverio Rossi: Un’immagine ci tiene prigionieri

Giulio Saverio Rossi: Un’immagine ci tiene prigionieri

Quartz Studio

Giulio Saverio Rossi, Scientific Paper (Butterfly Wings), 2023. Oil on linen, 180 x 160 cm (detail). Courtesy of the artist.


November 3, 2023
Giulio Saverio Rossi
Un’immagine ci tiene prigionieri
November 4, 2023–January 20, 2024
Quartz Studio
Via Giulia di Barolo, 18/D
10124 Turin

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Quartz Studio is pleased to present Un’immagine ci tiene prigionieri, the first solo show in Turin by the Italian artist Giulio Saverio Rossi (Massa, 1988), curated by Alessandra Franetovich. The exhibition reflects a new chapter in Rossi’s thinking on painting as a device of critical investigation on the status of images in our current era, which is the hallmark of his poetics.

Un’immagine ci tiene prigionieri (“A picture holds us captive”) pairs two theoretically distant imaginaries: scientific illustration and the everyday observation of the urban landscape. This association reveals the coexistence of many possible views—reflected in the presence of an animal eye, the use of optical instruments, and the role of human sight—speaking to an expanded conception of the act of seeing. The eye of an Odontodactylus scyllarus (peacock mantis shrimp), the wings of a butterfly observed under a microscope, and a knife stuck into wooden boards in a city construction site. While these images are also the object of study on an iconographic level, they manifest as different forms of the gaze’s subjectivity and an equal number of opportunities to rethink the proximity and distance between the observer and the object of observation. The result is a complex interplay of references in which the viewer’s presence—only seemingly external—is also defined, becoming an active part of the exhibition’s context.

The title is a loose translation of a Ludwig Wittgenstein quote (“The picture held us captive”). The exhibition contextualizes the role of painting starting from shifts in meaning posited by the philosophical theories of post-structuralism and linguistic criticism. In the original literary source, the idea is in the past tense (“held” and not “holds”), Un’immagine ci tiene prigionieri dialogues with today’s conditions of observation in which we live as users submersed in a positivist maze, still central to the institutional forms of control over reality, stifling us by the over-production and over-exposure of visual content. The current condition of the painting medium becomes an interpretative key that reveals the processes of image construction, which in the digital age, proves increasingly problematic because of the dynamics that govern the formulation, production, circulation, consumption, and possible response to establish new forms of the ecology of the gaze.

Giulio Saverio Rossi (Massa, Italy, 1988) lives and works in Turin. He studied painting at the Academy of Venice and the Albertina Academy in Turin. As an artist, his work reconsiders painting as a counterpart to the domain of the digital image. At the center of his work is the idea of the “ecology of the gaze” a condition suspended between image, materiality, and the temporality of its use. His work has been featured in group exhibitions and events in museums, galleries, and artist spaces in Italy and abroad. Among his solo exhibitions are: Rodopsina (Ombrelloni Art Space, Rome, 2022); De-clouding (M.A.D, Florence, 2021); Il giardino di notte (Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, 2021); Prima di un’immagine dopo di un quadro (CAR DRDE, Bologna, 2021); Nuova Scuola delle Nuvole e della Nebbia (Sichuan Fine Arts Institute,Chongqing, China, 2019); Chiasmo (Giorgio Galotti—Alley, Turin, 2019); Ogni cosa rappresa (CAR DRDE, Bologna, 2018); No Subject (Localedue, Bologna, 2017). The artist is represented by CAR DRDE, Bologna.

Alessandra Franetovich has a PhD in Contemporary Art History and is a critic and curator.

Quartz Studio would like to thank the artist and the curator. The exhibition will be open from November 4, 2023, to January 20, 2024, by appointment.

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November 3, 2023

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