2015

SALVATORE ARANCIO

The main interest at the centre of my artistic practice lies in the potential of images. I am interested in how images and their meaning can be re-framed or re-viewed. I tend to play with symbols always aiming to retain a certain ambivalence in my work; this manifests itself through the use of a range of media such as ceramics, etching, collage, animation and video.

 

I aim to give the sensation of a compact and homogeneous concept regardless of the fact that my practice is paradoxically composed of contrasting elements. Each of my oeuvre contains an intertwining juxtaposition of the roots and representation of images: natural and artificial, mineral and vegetable, two-dimensional and three-dimensional, scientific and mythological. Departing from their literal meaning, I create new juxtapositions that are both beautifully evocative and deeply disquieting. I look to nature and science for my sources of inspiration, while unsettling any hint of the sublime by re-framing the images and the viewer’s experience.

 

Within my practice I suggest a new organization of meanings, enquiring and investigating further my interest in the human’s preoccupation to bring order to the world around us, and the aesthetics related to the systems of classification used for this purpose. I like to think that my works function like the pages of an Atlas of confusion, like figures in positivistic scientific volumes devoid of any substantial image and left only with a vague ambiguous frame.

Cathedral, 2012, 4 mn 15

Shot on Super 8 filmed and recordedon Fingal’s Cave, supported by the Elephant Trust, London

Fingal’s Cave is a geological formation located on the island of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast ofScotland.  The cave was discovered by 18th century naturalist Sir Joseph Banks in 1772 and has since been associated with several myths and with esoteric wisdom, which is at the core of my research.  Fingal’s Cave is also known as the “musical cave”.  This is due to the peculiar, otherworldly sounds that can be heard inside it.  These sounds, which are now readably explainable through practical geological and physical phenomena, together with the cave’s unusual appearance have been the source of inspiration for many past artistic expressions.

Through my film I aim to juxtapose elements of past scientific investigations with mythological tales and esoteric studies.  I wish to combine these elements with some of his main set of interests that lay between the eschatological and the seductively beautiful, as well as the merging of myth and science.  SA

 

Birds, 2012, 7 mn

The film shot on Super 8 was recently filmed at the Zoology museum in Bologna.  The museum was founded in 1860 part of the University of Bologna and is the largest and most significant in Italy.  Rows and rows of cabinets filled with strangely shaped animals.  It traces its roots all the way back to the very first cabinet of curiosity and the collection of Ulisse Aldrovandi, who allegedly coined the word Geology and is undisputedly one of the fathers of natural history.

The film follows my fascination with the human’s preoccupation to bring order to the world around us and the aesthetics related to the systems of classification used for this purpose.  With this work the artist presents us with a subjective vision of the ornithological collection created by Zafagnini-Bertocchi in the first half of the 20th Century.  Through the juxtaposition of deep gravitational rumbling sounds by LA cosmic cult music project Expo 70 and my precise editing, still close ups and slow camera panning, the film exposes the sinister and uncanny nature of the displays, resulting in an ambiguous temporality, a visionary experience that transcends and transforms the original scientific illustrative purpose of the cabinets.

 

Sentinel, 2009, 9 min 13

While watching Stanley Kubrick’ s 2001:  A Space Odyssey I felt strongly connected to the landscapes in the first part of the film, entitled The Dawn of Man.  The sequence opens with a series of views of a dry, inhospitable region of Africa.  The settings are bleak and timeless; they could be seen as a representation of what is past, or passing, or to come, similar to the type of landscape presented in my ongoing series of etchings.  They also relate to my interest in eschatology and seductive beauty.  I decided I wanted to work with those images.  After some initial experiments, I came to the conclusion of focusing on the landscape and getting rid of the animal characters, although they seem extremely poignant in the narrative of Kubrick’s Odyssey.  So I went through a lengthy, frame-by-frame process of removing the animals through digital means, while keeping the sound and just manipulating it at times in order to suggest elements of a past presence.  The name Sentinel comes from the sci-fi short story written by Arthur Clarke, who co-authored 2001: A Space Odyssey with Kubrick.  SA

 

Untitled (Pavilion), 2009, 2 min 56, 16 mm

The film focuses on the New York’s State Pavilion, an iconic building and one of the few surviving structures of the New York World’s Fair, held in Flashing Meadows in 1964.  In the timeless abstract film, the camera slowly panning from the ground to the top end of the building, present us with a subjective reading of its architectural elements.  Shot on Super 8 in one take, the film aims to juxtapose the construction’s original utopian visionary aesthetics with my interest in apocalyptic representation and fascination for transient beauty.  SA

 

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