Art review

Responsive proximity

Synesthesia­ at Galleryske (July 23 through August) has works by Andrea Anastasio, Luigi Anastasio and Avinash Veeraraghavan who share kinship or friendship along with a teacher-student relationship and, within individual styles, certain deeper aspects of their preoccupations.

The exhibition successfully visualises those connections in a display where relevant pieces of diverse media by different artists are often placed close enough to notice the same. The main thread here is the feel of life as duration towards an only apparent direction that actually fluctuates between various, even contradictory states while what one sees may reveal something else. If many contributions finely blend visuals with enhancing sound and the tactility of the materials with their handling, one would find it difficult to recognise classic qualities of synaesthesia which assumes that a work based on one sense evokes intuition of other senses.

If its meaning was intended to extend to the results of the artists’ interaction, this again hardly materialises. If an oscillation between reality and art underscored by evidence of the artistic process does pervade the whole, as stated in the exhibition essay, it may not be clearer than in most accomplished contemporary art anyway. Otherwise the show draws one’s attention, especially the videos of Veeraraghavan.

The constant showers of water on a stained, almost fluid wall, as a stray dog tries to free itself and gives in, bubbles dripping into old ones on a convex base, exhaled and reabsorbed into a man’s mouth thanks to the amorphous, layered permeability of the images conjure a premonition of living as a fragile, throbbing condition whose activity is self-constrained and perhaps doomed.

The impact continues in the very different, clean, architecturally aesthetic video with fragmented sails rippling in the wind without being able to proceed. The sculptural installation seems less convincing. Andrea Anastasio deals with the verge or hybrid character of the urban world where organic beings alter in a reconstructed symbiosis with objects and substances of popular culture and commerce, approaching the phenomenon more conceptually and at the same time with references to design in his torn and reassembled photographs of plants, in fake fur trophies of opened packaging and eerily breathing fabrics.

Whereas those may be too aesthetically design-based, one appreciates the more minimalist images, ones with tiny, rough bits of ceramic or the contours left by cut out T-shirts as well as the video with a sculptural-painterly bundle of clothes in a washing machine. Luigi Anastasio is a painter whose virtually abstract works reach for a tactile intuition of life’s multiple strata in a dense-loose tissue permeating or clashing and impacting one another, while he layers translucent and palpably opaque pigments and real materials or objects, then carefully abrades and sometimes burns them. Very consummate, they however carry a little of the déjà vu, as do the more concept-reliant instances that include written words. A spectacular, recent development belongs to the large images in thick but translucent, opalescent enamel. As though half-arrested in the midst of forming, they suggest some immense, cosmic forces that are reflected and immersed in a sensitivity and matrix of today.

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