Lisa Parola and Giuseppe Gabellone

In the last few decades, within the field of visual arts, sculpture has been relegated to a nearly ancillary role, for a long time passed over by some reinterpretations of specific historical avant-garde and neo-avant-garde forms. Under such a redefinition of fields and perspectives, only recently, at an international level, some artists sensed a strong urgency to review the idea of sculpture in an attempt to reposition it within the complex and fluid dimension of contemporaneity.  To Giuseppe Gabellone (Brindisi, 1973) the visual research has always been a matter of sculpture.

Giuseppe Gabellone: Such an inclination towards sculpture came by itself, but its acknowledgement and acceptance helped me to clarify the borders inside which my work developed across the time. To reduce the ocean to a see can sometimes be useful. Then everyone is free to interpret it however he likes. The fact that my research can be lead back to the field of sculpture is no constraint in reading my work: I feel that talking about my work in terms of sculpture helps the definition of myself and reassures me. The definition “art” is not enough specific to describe my work, at least for me.

Lisa Parola:  Within Gabellone sculpture, practices and points of view act side by side intertwining matters, forms and media that expand inside the exhibition room thus creating a single conceit connecting the work and the place.

GG: I am interested most of all in the work of those artists who keep on expanding, destroying and bending the idea of sculpture.

LP: Many of the artist’s works, since the staircase of Periodo in 1997 and, not too differently, also the interweaving of Nodo or Fumo in 2011, seem to strive not only against the space holding them but also with the very idea of sculpture, meant as a too strictly defined territory, at times asphyxiating and impermeable.  Gabellone chooses instead to keep the form open and to rather face the frictions drawing it by putting in dialogue the sculpture encumbrance with other light and nearly immaterial elements such as light or color. Color and sculpture: a complex relationship, that, in the recent artist’s works, the two elements nevertheless withhold in a nearly contracted way. Some minimal, linear forms seem to take shape from unknown color schemes; acid green, brown, a not too customary purple, pale yellows. But when does color become matter?

GG: Color is an element that in my work developed mostly during the last few years. Even though every now and then, it was already present in the first works too. But previously I used mainly the colors of the materials, natural or industrial (so as they are released). In my idea of sculpture, I always thought of color as the element that contributes to the character of sculpture, making it vivid or dramatic, fragile or vigorous, obvious or ambiguous, maybe even something else, who knows. In this respect, I often preferred to use a single hue by producing monochromes, in order to amplify from time to time a single and only character. I rarely color coat a sculpture, I rather try to find materials that are already colored or I use pure pigments in order to directly dye the material.

LP: Many of the contemporary artistic researches are inquiring sculpture again also from an historical point of view, through some reinterpretations of the matter and the form. In an historical perspective, what artists or art movements intersect the contemporary works, what echoes and stories come back in those works?

GG: To set my work in an historical perspective? I just wouldn’t know… I only can tell that across the time I freely drew from the work of the artists who fascinated me from time to time. For sure those of Arte Povera and Conceptual Art, most of all in the beginning. But it much depends on the period too. In this moment, for example, the work of Antony Caro interests me much, because of how he uses color but also for his own way of reflecting on sculpture in relationship with space and with the proportion of whoever walks around it.

LP: It is as if sometimes the Italian artist forced himself to transform the sculpture (matter) into something immaterial (light, color, motion), where, almost always, it is the immaterial element the one occupying the environment, by attacking it. Like the stinging sculptures of 2006, in which the reflection is what fragments, cuts the space and somehow also the Japanese polyurethane bas reliefs that fragment the space by sticking out forward.

GG: They are two different types of works that because of their own nature are opposite. The sculptures of mirrors are intentionally rejecting, on the contrary the Japanese ones take you in. That inner angle generated between the two scenes (upper and lower) lead who is  watching them to get closer, to get in and get lost among the details.

LP: Maybe it’s just those fragments, those folds what pieces together an important part of his research. It is in what nearly looks like waste that we find the sculpture of Gabellone. The work now on display at Quartz in Turin and the exhibition at Zero in Milan… where do they go to? How much and in what way do the formal and poetic aspect dialogue within your work?

GG: I like the works that with their presence somehow succeed to change the space around them. This is perhaps a direction.