September 26 - November 9, 2013
Sculpture, sound and performance are explored by Franco Arcieri in a rigorous and playful manner. The artist is interested in fibre as a conceptual support structure - covered in "granny squares," he casts himself as a phantom of sorts. Knowledge of craft is not present, the artist has hastily laced together a suit in what appears to be DIY aesthetics. Here, swathed in fabric, the artist sets the stage with sound, movement and voice as a contemporary archetype. His exploration of the technical, conceptual and creative aspects of the unconscious is intuitive, displaying a natural criticality that draws upon the cross fertilization of ideas, techniques and technologies of several recent pasts.
A possible influence on Arcieri's work is artist Joseph Beuys. In I like America and America Likes Me (1974), Beuys flew to New York, where he was picked up by an ambulance, covered in felt, and transported to a room in the Rene Block Gallery. For a period of eight hours a day over three days, Beuys stayed in the small room with a coyote and little more than a felt blanket as a cloak-like garb. While in the room, the artist engaged as a phantom-like form with symbolist gestures and slow movements, including striking a metal triangle for a musical sound and tossing his gloves to the coyote amidst muffled whispers. At the end of the three days, the coyote, who had grown quite tolerant of Beuys, allowed a hug from the artist, who was then transported back to the airport via ambulance. Beuys operated in the intuitive, the spiritual and the liminal space of sculptural performance.
Similar to Beuys, Arcieri is interested in embodying space as an archetype. Covered in amassed and recycled yarn, accompanied by a boom box emanating a haunting sound, the artist slowly sways and strives to move beyond the length of the rope that holds his form hostage and as a viewer, I am unable to look away. Arcieri's work reminds me of what Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung terms the "collective unconscious," an area of the human psyche that contains all of knowledge and experience of humanity. This is the space where archetype reside, and why Arcieri's featureless form feels both familiar and unsettling. As a viewer, I somehow find myself becoming a participant in Arcieri's hypnotic movement. I believe in what I am seeing and somehow have been converted and I want to learn more about the artist's cosmology.
An emerging artist, Arcieri has a wide future in which he can refine his technical expertise, explore further critical thought and create a personal body of work. Given the experimental territory to which the artist has already committed himself, I am excited to see how his work develops. The AGM is pleased to bring such talent to the city of Mississauga, and I encourage you to keep this artist on your radar. I believe he will continue to raise visual and critical concerns related to sculpture and material practices, and I look forward to discovering how he will take the conversation further.
Director | Curator
Banner image credit: Franco Arcieri, Astral Noise Costume, 2013, performance, 4 ft x 6 ft x 3 ft