Come pesci nell’acqua | Where opposites meet

Posted on 15 June, 2021

Come pesci nell’acqua (Like a fish swimming in water) is a common expression to describe something that fits really well in a given situation. In this case, it’s also the title of a contemporary art exhibition taking place by Lake Orta, in northern Italy, until 18th July 2021. It hosts works by various artists expressing some latest Italian artistic trends that aim to represent a place where opposites meet.

The show’s curator is Giorgio Verzotti: art critic, a previous curator at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea and a professor at the Cattolica University in Milan. The exhibition is supported by Asilo Bianco, an active and multifaceted Italian cultural association. The event originates within the project supported by Fondazione Cariplo “Villa Nigra. Cultura e impresa per lo sviluppo di un territorio liquido” and the Italy – Swissland Interreg Project “Di-Se – DiSegnare il Territorio”. 

A researched contrast

The exhibition showcases pieces of art created by Francesco Arena, Stefano Arienti, Gianni Caravaggio, Alice Cattaneo, Massimo De Caria, Carlo Dell’Acqua, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Sergio Limonta, Gianluigi Maria Masucci, Yari Miele, Filippo Manzini, Luca Pozzi, Luca Trevisani, Fabio Roncato and Shigeru Saito. Each of them is used to working with very different materials, styles and techniques. Audio and visual and video art, stone and metal sculpture, glass and drawing, even bread and motor oil. And through this coexistence, all this finds its own exaltation through contrast.

Locations are fundamental, too. Ameno and Miasino are small villages by Lake Orta in northern Italy: the connection with the theme of water is immediate and intimate. In this case, though, more than the relationship with nature, the core of the project is a reflection on opposition and integration, starting from the chosen locations. Palazzo Tornielli, erected in Ameno during the XVIII century, hosts drawing, video arts, and sculptures in an ancient barn. Villa Nigra, a recently restored historic residence in Miasino dating back to the 1500s, has opened its first floor on this occasion. Ancient spaces, rich in historic stories and classical art, host contemporary and abstract artworks. Modern art comes alive from the juxtaposition of frescoes and granite columns, but from the dialogue with them, too. Thanks to this relationship, Come pesci nell’acqua becomes a place where opposites meet.

The theme of water itself is observed and analyzed from several points of view. From water as a natural, feeding element, to a metaphor of life and happenings. Totally abstract art from around Italy coexists with site specific works that some artists created specifically for this occasion.

A challenging, different sculpture

“It’s all matter of contrast.” explains Giorgio Verzotti, “Nature meets anti-nature. Drawings made by printing fruit merges with motor oil and industrial resin.” With the same concept, a video of a river is projected on the ceiling and reflected in a mirror. And a marble water dragon “swims” on a terracotta pavement. 

Come pesci nell'acqua
Courtesy of the photographer Francesco Lillo

“It’s something like a fluid sculpture” continues the curator, “And fluidity, of course, carries along correlations like fragility, ductility, relativity. All those concepts are already intrinsic in their works. Water involves also messages linked with environmental issues just as everyday life and substance, too. As so often happens in contemporary art, every theme and piece can have different significances. And moreover, there’s a sense of that the audience itself can find.” Deconstructed sculpture, that takes its shape from empty spaces more than from substance. 

Come pesci nell’acqua is an incessant dialogue between art and space, creating a context where opposites meet. Works of art modeled by hosting space, created by artists who choose adaptability as a personal trait. Like water adapting to containers and lands.

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