Curatorial: Reflection - Mattia Casalegno
Mattia Casalegno: Reflections, Opening Reception and Art Talk
Guest Curator: Tansy Xiao Hosted by Frank Yefeng Wang
Chazan Family Gallery September 13 - October 12, 2018
Chazan Family Gallery is pleased to present Reflections, an exhibition of multimedia installations by Mattia Casalegno, a New York-based Italian visual artist working in a broad range of media. Influenced by both post-conceptualism and digital art, his works are known for their relational, immersive, and participatory nature, with an introspection on the contemporary human condition and our relationship with technology.
One of the most visually attractive pieces in the show is a 3D-printed bird twisted in front of a plexiglass board and two antennas wrapped in LED lights. The board and antennas represent a television in such a ridiculous way that it becomes a brilliant mockery of outdated technology—a fascinating analogy to how we treat and are treated by the mediated experiences from numerous screens in our life. The Internet never seems to be the liberation from the dictatorship of televisions, nor do interactive artworks let the viewers be in control. But the illusion that technology would rescue postmodern human life from the sufferings of technology per se are precisely addressed in this piece. Optimism and absurdity are present at the same time. With the help of 3D-printing a physical bird is present, but rather than a real bird, it is the reproduction of the living creature’s digital model.
The exhibition also features Casalegno’s 3D-printed reproductions of classical sculptures with the material of Soylent, which is also the name of a popular powder food that doesn’t require chewing but contains 20% of the nutritions required for an adult. Food/dining is in fact a recurring theme in his oeuvre. The relationship between dining and human bodies represents something human about his works in a classy and almost old-fashioned way that is rarely found in other new media artists’ work which are often odes to technology. The notion of body, as well the symbolistic and aesthetic criteria that come along have been redefining the identities of mankind over time, both culturally and physically. At the same time, the intuitive and the rational ways of thinking never stopped questioning each other. The exhibition gives a glimpse into Casalegno’s take on such philosophical subjects with a playful approach.
Casalegno has been featured in publications such as “A Touch of Code,” Gestalten Books, “New Media Design,” Sometti, and “Deleuze and Audiovisual Art,” Manchester Metropolitan University. As well as on media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Art Tribune, the Creators Projects, Hyperallergic, Digicult, and Art F City. He has received various grants and fellowships from the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, the Center for Cultural Innovation, Young Italian Artists Network, NYFA/NASCA, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and the Chronus Art Center in Shanghai, among others. Casalegno has exhibited internationally in various festivals and museums, such as Mutek Festival Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), MACRO (Italy), Nuit Blanche (Belgium), Optronica (UK), Le Cube - Contemporary Art Museum (France), OFFF (Spain), AVIT (Germany), and LACMA (US). Casalegno currently teaches at Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute.