Salvatore Arancio: Like a Sort of Pompeii in Reverse, 2019
You can deduce many aspects of the artist Salvatore Arancio’s work from the sentence “Like a Sort of Pompeii in Reverse”—borrowed from Guy Debord1—for his exhibition at Casa Jorn in Albissola. In this exhibition, he has presented a series of ceramic works created and modelled directly on objects or on organic forms created by Asger Jorn on the walls of his house’s garden. In this way, the artist enters into a dialogue with the very rich Situationist experience, which experienced one of its most intense moments precisely in this spot on the Ligurian coast, and which expresses a sense of time that follows various dynamics. The ceramic takes the shape of the contour of things and follows this search for a space around reality, reconstructing a specific space and time. A space around the traces that fill an empty dimension; a void that also reflects a temporal dimension. The use of materials and objects recalls the concept of misappropriation typical of the Situationists. The change of context of objects and materials creates new narratives and a visionary aspect that comes close to psychedelic effects.
A continuous dialogue develops between the history of science and the history of art. The search for a common past between these two disciplines defines a space in which the difference between them dissolves. Very often with Salvatore Arancio we encounter this moment where art and science are at one; connected precisely by this kind of absence of specific time. This interdisciplinary dilemma, this search for a space of dissolution, allows the artist to create a particular moment that generates an escape from the present; an absence that allows one to see objects from an interdisciplinary point of view in a kind of temporal apnoea. An obsolete form of science almost automatically becomes an aesthetic form that is linked to the artistic imagination. It is not for nothing that the instruments and objects exhibited in natural science museums seem to derive from an artistic and not a scientific imagination. The effort of imagination that one must make in order to enter this particular history of science relegated to the past is an effort of imagination that imposes a kind of inverted science fiction; a temporal dimension in negative form, a space in which the shape of emptiness fills itself. Many of the positions in Salvatore Arancio’s works seek to develop this perspective. These are forms that constitute an absent time through the reconstruction of the negative of a shape. For this reason, the technique of reclaiming the space around the objects and the natural elements refers exactly to this inverted space that occupies an imaginary time.
Excerpt from Lorenzo Benedetti’s essay published in Pleased to meet you Salvatore Arancio (Semiose éditions), October 2019.
Photos by A. Mole. Courtesy Semiose Paris