Michele Gabriele

In front of an unexpected event, but also in the presence of new and unknown shapes, objects or situations, the human brain can adopt two strategies: in the first one, it receives visual inputs, elaborated by the entorhinal cortex, and compares them with memories of similar past experiences contained in the hippocampus. From this comparison, it identifies a single and minimal detail that can be traced back to a familiar memory, on which it builds a totally subjective image of reality. The novelty is automatically traced back to something already known, something already seen.

In the second strategy, the brain registers the novelty as an error or as a traumatic event, and simply prevents us from seeing it. It makes it invisible to our gaze, and our ability to perceive it becomes similar to a mirror that has momentarily lost its ability to reflect.

In “The Vernal Age of Miry Mirrors” Michele Gabriele uses abstraction and figuration as tools to evoke, and at the same time confound, these primordial shared mental mechanisms.

The exhibition presents a dialogue between the recent series of sculptures entitled “I’m sitting here on the ground so I’ll remember it as a nice atmosphere / The difficulties of a form to move away from the stereotypes it evokes” (2021-2022) and a new production of video works that arise from an investigation into our way of observing, partly inspired by the variety of diverging reactions to the changes that have recently affected society on a global level.

The eleven sculptures in the exhibition outline hypotheses of what happens to a form when it is observed, taking inspiration from the postures, gestures and attitudes that our bodies assume when inhabiting the spaces of an exhibition. Eager to express nonchalance, they clumsily attempt to mask insecurity and social anxiety, revealing themselves as the sum of all the negligible details and distractions that an image can contain.

The four videos, “Without a place to return to” (2022), focus on the investigation of the ways in which, in the cinematographic context, the core of the narrative message is expressed through settings, revealing uncertain landscapes and portions of dreamily evoked places, halfway between filmic memory and premonitory dream.

The reference of the artworks to the subjective portion of space and time that separates the observer from the object of observation, and the concomitant assimilation of the observer to that object, is also reflected on the staging structure of the project, which is presented, conceptually, on two parallel levels of fruition: on the first, the group of sculptures attends, as a spectator, an exhibition of video works by Michele Gabriele entitled “Misty Wavelength Sonata”; on the second, the human audience moves through an exhibition of sculptures and videos entitled “The Vernal Age of Miry Mirrors”.

Michele Gabriele’s artistic research focuses on that particular area that lies between the second and third spatial dimension. The artworks, mainly sculptural, arise from experimentations on the concept of distance, intended as the divergence between representation and physicality, between digital and material, and in full between space and time that exist between observer and artwork. Michele Gabriele’s work, which we could define as post-digital hyper-materialism, explores the sense of inadequacy that arises from the comparison between the progressive vision of an eco-sustainable future, which contemplates a solution to the problems posed by capitalism and climate change, and the ruinous disenchantment given by the impossibility of its concrete and complete realization.

Images courtesy of the artist and NAM – Manifattura Tabacchi. Photo: Flavio Pescatori

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