VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Italian artist Gianni Piacentino. The show, curated by Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva’s director Andrea Bellini, will feature a consistent body of works, following the development of his artistic career over the last fifty years, from the monochrome compositions in 1965 to the present day. Piacentino was one of the founding members of Arte Povera, a movement he abandoned early to pursue his own individual and maverick path. Working primarily in polyester-coated and painted wood, he maintained an unwavering commitment to manual skill and highly refined industrial materials. Piacentino’s early minimal sculptures transformed themselves into new shapes that celebrate the idea of dynamism and speed, recalling the vehicles that inspired his projects—motorcycles, monocycles, automobiles, and planes. Creating these works with the same degree of care and attention to detail as industry puts into the production of these machines, Piacentino brings the highest level of handcrafted technique to his perfectly finished forms.
With or without wheels, free-standing or attached to the wall, his objects look like traces of an abandoned utopia. They may be metal plated or finished in pearlescent automotive paints; they are accented by logos made from the artist's own initials or by words related to flight and racing. His works are rich with psychological and intellectual references, making visual comprehension of space and the sublimation of everyday objects that occupy it strangely unfamiliar. Erasing distinctions between individuality and standardization; painting versus sculpture; and everyday objects versus art objects, these boundless objects are distillations of Piacentino’s lifelong disruption of the status quo.