Santo Tolone

Albero della vita, 2011, ebony, oak, 68x9x10 cm Madre con bambino, 2011, mahogany, oak, 31x9x10 cm

It may be a constellation, but of celestial bodies whose color has tragically turned to brown, and whose alignment has been thrown off-center! A collapsed constellation? Or it may be a map of malignant melanomas ablated, threaded together and exhibited sequentially. Yet even this interpretation, which transfers Santo Tolone’s work from a cosmic to a more bodily sphere, is hardly credible. Too round, too uniform, well-defined contours, same color.... What is certain, however, is that, like morsels of meat, they are also consumable, and this is the only clue I am willing to offer for now. The work is based, in this case as in many others, on a process of subtraction: an object X is not given; there are only remains painstakingly arrayed in such as way as to reveal the original imprint.

The same occurs in the video, in which Tolone translates the spontaneous movement of a gaze beholding an Italian landscape – near the artist’s Heimat – into the visual grammar of a sports event. Through the camera’s movement, a key segment of the world-famous (at least for fans) 1982 World Cup Final between Italy and Brazil is grafted onto the landscape. Tolone rewrites the event with movement. More recently, and once again in the field of sculpture, he displayed, on a pedestal, African tribal objects with their surface color removed. He literally stripped them, cancelling their folkloric value and turning them into mere shapes: sinuous, sensuous, perhaps even mellifluous, but bare, deprived of any function, somewhere between the Quasi-Minimal and the Quasi- Organic. A conceptual and formal solution similar to that of his photograph Emmanuelle, in which the fruit in a classical still life have been peeled and exhibited with their pulp showing, unprotected, with no skin, humid like human orifices. The principle of subtraction – which in Tolone’s artistic approach seems to coincide with the pleasure principle – is added to and/or combined with the principle of decontextualization. As occurs in the performance News, in which a group of musicians perform outdoors the jingles to Italian TV only at the very moment they are broadcast. Or the series of Rondòs engraved and let loose to drift, so to speak, free of all spatiotemporal coordinates, on brass plates. About that initial cosmology: it was simply the precise number and arrangement of peppercorns contained in a slice of salami.

Milovan Farronato

Born 1979, Como.
He lives and works in London, UK, and Como, Italy.

Group shows

2010: Missing Link, Residency Unlimited, New York, USA
SI-Sindrome Italiana, Le Magasin Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France
Men with balls: The art of the 2010 World Cup, Apex Art, New York, USA
Low Deco, Gemine Muse, Villa Necchi Campiglio, Milan, Italy
21x21: Artisti x il 21 secolo, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy

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