Double V, Marseille / Paris
For its second participation in Art-o-rama, Double V is pleased to present a new focus on the work of Ugo Schiavi.
Born in 1987 in Paris, the artist lives and works in Marseille (FRA).
Graduated from the Villa Arson (Nice) he develops his plastic research around the notions of sampling and archaeology. He multiplies residencies in France and abroad, and participates in numerous institutional projects including Nuit Blanche, or Le Voyage à Nantes. He is also dedicated solo exhibitions at the Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Orléans, the Musée Réattu in Arles, the CAB Grenoble…
This year Schiavi will participates in the Lyon Biennial with a monumental installation at the Museum of Natural History – Guimet.
Extract from the text of Ingrid Luquet-Gad :
“The blood of the Medusa” exhibition – Paris, 2022
What remains of a body after the evidence of all that once enveloped it is gone? Is a solitary limb, a petrified fragment, or a disemboweled shell enough to conjure its essence? What about an unnatural crystallization of disparate elements, a quivering and energetic germination, or a veiny network knotted up like a ball of yarn? Ugo Schiavi’s sculptural vocabulary examines the crisis of totalizing systems of representation and their treatment of bodies, whether human or non-human, whether presented in a manner that facilitates prehension or left open to fabulous interpretations through the lens of enduring mythologies. While the artist’s first works incorporated traditional gestures such as molding, imprinting, or subtracting, the more recent pieces embrace a syncretic amalgamation of materials or images, notably using 3D scanning or photogrammetry.
Extract from the text of Lucia Longhi :
“Leviathan” exhibition – Grenoble, 2022
Like many cosmogonic myths, Ugo Schiavi’s story begins with water. All forms of life originate from the sea, and the artist, like a modern demiurge, also extracts his molding matter from the sea. The Gorgones emerge from water: they resemble rocks or thousand-year-old shellfishes whose fascination dwells in their mysterious and garish bodies. In medieval bestiaries, creatures born from the encounter of fantasy and empirical experience have hybrid features, derived from the combination of various natural or imaginary parts. Similarly, the Gorgones are curious, charming sea creatures in which sadly familiar artificial elements like plastic bottles blend with natural organisms such as shells and gorgonians – the corals that take their name from the myth of Medusa. In this visual calembour, Ugo Schiavi plays with a suspended archaeology, presenting the fossils of a toxic present. To build his creatures, the artist has used the objects – including a large amount of plastic waste – deposited by the sea on the shore of Lavéra (Martigues, Marseille) where the biggest petrochemical plant in Europe is located. Indeed, the Gorgones are parts and emblems of the paradoxical loop of plastic which originates from the seashore and eventually returns to the seashore.
As if to give a chance of rebirth, Ugo Schiavi retraces the evolution of mankind through glories and mistakes, by means of a fictional, and at the same time frighteningly powerful narrative. In his previous works he mainly confronted real history, borrowing effigies of heroic figures, symbols of courage and glory – and yet also of human hubris. Now the artist turns his gaze to nature and passes from history to legend, as if to seek a parallel path, a possible alternative. Thus, the Gorgones are both archaeological finds from the past and souvenirs from the future – fragments of dystopian ecosystems.
Schiavi’s work speaks to our current moment of social and environmental crisis and our desperate need to imagine a different future, while also quietly embracing the monstrous one that we forged.