The Trilogy spans drawings, video, photography and sculpture and is based on the lives of three prominent Western artists: Vincent Van Gogh, Cornelius Escher and Pieter Brueghel. Mining their personal biographies, Chiasera plays with what is factually known about them and what appears to be more legendary, sometimes inserting himself into the narrative.
Smith-Stewart is pleased to present The Trilogy, the US gallery debut of Italian artist Paolo Chiasera.
"The Trilogy" spans drawings, video, photography and sculpture and is based on the lives of three prominent Western artists: Vincent Van Gogh, Cornelius Escher and Pieter Brueghel. Mining their personal biographies, Chiasera plays with what is factually known about them and what appears to be more legendary, sometimes inserting himself into the narrative as a way of better understanding these figures and how myths are constructed and ultimately consumed.
Smith-Stewart will feature ten ink and tempera drawings, as well as a video. Rich in color and oftentimes playfully macabre, the drawings depict the three figures either alone or together in landscapes that are part historical and part personal interpretation. In each, Chiasera explores the vices that lead to each artist's ultimate downfall – Van Gogh: ambition; Escher: ignorance; and Brueghel: zealotry.
"The Trilogy: Cornelius" (2006), an approximately three and a half minute video, reinterprets symbolic elements of Escher's life. Donning a mask and dressed in the artist's signature black suit, Chiasera enters a coffin-like structure (built inside the MAMbo Museum), reappears inside a scaffolding-like construction (the interior of Hans Schabus' Austrian pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale) and resurfaces again on the roof of another museum (the Frank Gehry designed MARTa Herford Museum). Chiasera's metaphorical journey recalls Escher's life-long obsession with impossible spaces and explores the physical and psychological dimensions of the institution.
Paolo Chiasera was born in 1978 in Bologna, Italy. This is his first solo gallery exhibition in the United States. "The Trilogy" has been presented at MAMbo Museo d"Arte Moderna di Bologna, Francesca Minini in Milan and Hoet Bekaert Gallery in Ghent.
Opening reception: Friday, May 25, 7-9pm
SMITH-STEWART is located on 53 Stanton Street, between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from noon to six. The nearest subway stops are 2nd Avenue/Houston Street on the F and V lines, Grand Street on the B and D lines and Bleecker Street on the 6 line.