THE CUT, THE GRAFT, THE CASTLE
Solo exhibition at Museo Civico Castelbuono, August 4th 2022 / October 31th 2022.
Mangano & Van Rooy have focused on engaging with collectivity, community and the natural environment, through which they implicitly confront social and ecological themes. Their practice has been based on an artistic experiment in the working of ceramics: the infusion of manna, a resin extracted from incisions in the bark of the Madonie ranges ash trees. Technical factors aside, the medium of ceramics imbues the artists’ method with a ritual and mythic character. The objective of transforming and reforming matter lends an alchemical quality to their process, not least in terms of spiritual discipline.
Mangano & van Rooy have developed a complex experimental process around the use of both organic and inorganic waste materials, whether to fabricate sculpture varnishes, to produce the wall painting intrinsic to this project or to give birth to a range of fantastical forms. Animals are spliced with anomalous beings; liminal spaces hover between rationalist architecture and the warrens of forest creatures. This series of imaginary elements continually recalls both archaic and modern forms, from the anthropomorphic objects of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights to avant- garde architecture of the nineteenth century.
To enter the artists’ environment is
to be inducted into a physical and sensorial experience, one beyond the merely visual, not only by merit of the works’ immersive configuration, nor only for their performative aspect, but also for the introduction of intensely- scented organic materials: the sweet scent of manna, the odour of sap or that of the wooden logs used in the works’ execution. Just as alchemical processes also transform the spirit of materials, visitors can abandon themselves to “fusion” with the artwork, passing through a door that the artists have unlocked for them, reaching for a new and harmonious union with Nature, with its rhythms and its breath. What else, then, but to transform oneself, to be reborn and to transform the world?
Text by Valentina Bruschi.