Vincenzo Cabiati: Romantico Terragni
The juxtaposition of a word like 'romantic' (used and abused for centuries, and often associated with something morbid and/or tepid, not to mention languishing and even a little overloaded) with the name of Terragni is unheard of and perhaps shocking for many. But things change when the artist making this startling associate is Vincenzo Cabiati, who is well accustomed to combining in the briefest space possible - a few centimeters in the case of his paintings, or a few meters in his installations, and always the smallest space needed for a glance to grasp the whole - the most disparate and incongruous elements, such as the port of Savona at dawn with a carriage traveling through a 18th century English countryside, or one of Ledoux's architectural utopias with a ping-pong ball.
In some of the works, presented here for the first time by Cabiati, in his first solo show for some years, and created specifically for e/static, Giuseppe Terragni, the modernist architect active between the two wars, appears as the author of the Casa del Fascio in Como, a bright, almost white building, that is dry and clearly traced, and set against the burning colours of an irrupting sunset, emblem of the 'romantic' esthetic.
The use of antithesis, which is common in much of Cabiati's work, is present in all four of the pieces on show at e/static. The artist features at least two elements, if not three or four, allowing the viewer to observe them individually or together - superimposed and juxtaposed. The result is at least three, if not a multiplicity of ways of seeing the works on offer. There is a visual trick at work here that one can observe, that one is forced to observe on taking, say, a few steps to the side, from where the spell of the frontal view vanishes. Take a step back and the spell is recast, according to the rules of a game that the author has clearly established, but which then requires the viewer to put into practice, guided by a lucidness which also has something ludic about it.
With a playful and affectionate irony, Cabiati's work once more presents us with something that appears light but is also serious. That is, a carefully assembled work that engages the viewer, and lends itself to being played with, involving both the viewer's eye and his or her mind, which, in turn, aided by such a vision is able to take flight.