Maria Rosa Sossai and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi
Meltingsun is the first solo exhibition in Italy of Christine Rebet, inaugurating the new space for contemporary art owned by AlbumArte, in Rome. The exhibition is the culmination of an artist-in-residence programme, during which the French artist has worked in close collaboration with the curatorial duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi.
After a long process of exchange and research which began in Paris at the beginning of 2014, the artist and the curators – together with Maria Rosa Sossai, Artistic Director of AlbumArte – are finally meeting in the new space of AlbumArte in Rome in order to give birth to Meltingsun: a blazing but artificial sun that came to life in a series of drawings, and evolved into a monumental and sculptural object. The exhibition presents the artist’s studio conceived as a post-colonial maison de luxe, with a totally anomalous production line consisting of sketches, casts, metal machines and three dimensional volumes, in which the traces of a rather unlikely collection of jewels can be seen. These decorations for the body proliferate and reemerge, stripped of their original sensational shine and yet somehow transfigured. A regal set of jewellery created by Mellerio dits Meller – the oldest family of jewellers in Europe that has been supplying royal families all over the world since the 17th century, when the firm was founded under the patronage of Marie de’ Medici – thus loses its veneer of vanity and is transformed into voodoo amulets, chains, medals, shields and armour.
Alongside this reinterpretation of royal dress codes, Meltingsun further explores the language of the privileged elite by appropriating its most typical manifestations and expressions. As with the prototypes and models of a fashion collection, the titles of Rebet’s works resonate in the spaces of AlbumArte with attractively gracious irony, evoking fantasies that are by turns exotic, colonial, industrial and military, while artfully combining fashion with the imitation of nature: Meltingsun, Carat Drap, Trousseau, Chrystal Tale, Facet A, Twinnings, Symphony of a Satin Chiffoneur, Heaven Infused, Blue Maiden, Plain Air, Duet Solomite, Duchesse on Tortoise Escape, Boudoir, Romulus Breeze…
The process of spatialization of the drawing leads to the construction of increasingly cumbersome volumes. The flat velvet lining of Royal Dailies is dotted with plaster casts of everyday objects, which take on the form of cameos, while Battlefield blows a jewellery bag out of all proportion, enlarging it to the dimensions of a Renaissance triptych. Meanwhile, the two red flames Carat Drap 1 and 2 seem to be a prologue to Javary’s Pit, a sculpture that defies gravity and that looks like of a solidified lava flow. All of these continuous changes of state will culminate in a performance on the occasion of the exhibition opening, in which two porters will put some previously hidden drawings on display during a mechanical fashion parade accompanied by announcements made by a pre-recorded voice.
This performance aspect of the show will be continued with Meltingsun Live, a morning show presented by AlbumArte on Saturday October the 11th on the occasion of the 10th Day of Contemporary Art (Giornata del Contemporaneo) promoted by the AMACI association of contemporary art museums. At 11:30 a.m., the philosopher Emanuele Coccia will start a conversation on the connection between ornamentation and the perceivable forms of power. It will then be followed by a pre-recorded sound performance by Matteo Nasini on the theme of artificial fusion. Meltingsun Live is curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi and Maria Rosa Sossai in collaboration with Nero Magazine. The event will be continued on the website of Nero.