Bernardi Roig

20 Mar - 28 Apr 2007

© Galleria Cardi
"Lightness Exercises"

From: 2007-03-20
To: 2007-04-28

We are pleased to present a selection of the most recent drawings and sculptures by Bernardi Roig with the title LIGHTNESS EXERCISES, works which represent a reflection on the “lightness” discussed in the first lecture (also called “Lightness”) planned by Italo Calvino for Harvard University during the academic year of 1985-1986; sadly this was never held as he died a week before the lectures were due to begin. The Spanish artist Roig has created his “narrative plot” as a humble homage to Calvino’s suggested concept of lightness: this dealt with the thoughtful character who figures in one of the tales in the Decameron in which the Florentine poet, Guido Cavalcanti, presented as an austere philosopher who walked in meditation among the marble sepulchres, placed his hand upon the cover of a tomb, only to leap up freeing himself from the worldly weight of the Florentine jeunesse dorée. This is the symbol of artistic agility which stands above the oppression of the world. The excess of light causes the figures to dissolve before our eyes, becoming lighter and losing their heaviness. According to Calvino’s story, the character of Cavalcanti is weighed down by the pains of love which are expressed as sighs and luminous rays. Mainly based on the symbolism of light and on the metaphor of human blindness, the works shown in Milan outline an imaginary world that is fed by literary, artistic, and cinematographic obsessions. Bernardi Roig has related this to contemporary isolation, using “blindness” and “invisibility” as a metaphor for the loss of stability by people today, persons without guarantees for stabilising their own certainties. Before our eyes he parades white and light bodies, blinded by an unknown illness, and with an expression of unease while, at the same time, he reveals his fascination for the figure itself. Brutally subject as they are to intense light they aspire, as in the case of Cavalcanti, to lighten the structure of the tale. In this latest series of works by Bernardi Roig it is light itself that stops us from seeing, that decidedly blocks our view; and this blocked gaze is an extension of symbolic breakdown and dissolution, the substratum of which is, in fact, the real aim. “All the figures have closed eyes resulting from the weight of their stone eyelids and the intensity of the light. A retina blinded by light reduces the eye to a milky cataract. I realise that the eye is the deepest wound from which, in the place of blood, there flow white tears that evaluate a whole heritage worn down by light. This is why we never arrive at the depths of our vision; however, there are moments in which this vision becomes condensed and acquires the solidity of a body. This is how images are born.” Light is never used in these works in order to illuminate them but, rather, quite the reverse: it is a light that does not allow us to see them: it blinds the viewer. This though is not a question of an absence of vision but, to be precise, of representing something removed from sight and that configures interior sight. And this is the limit of resistance to that hyper-sensibility which is today the definitive form for eliminating the courageous act of looking. If refusal of reality, or the wish to prolong it, marks the arrival of the “ghostly duplicate”, in other words, of all the images created by the hand of mankind, Roig’s duplicates also bear the mark of mankind’s stupidity and madness. In Bernardi Roig’s view, two situations are superimposed: an obsessive and extremely subjective view and, on the other hand, one resulting from literary intensity and visual covetousness: these unite the tradition and symbolism of art history with what is in close proximity to them: an awareness of contemporaneity. Roig’s sculptures, drawings, and videos reflect this state of infinite tension between a crumbling world and its duplicate, something that can never be pinned down but that is embedded in our soul. On March 24th Bernardi Roig will be exhibiting at PMMK (Musée d’Art Moderne de Oostende) an important show of a selection of his works created over the past six years and which, earlier on, had been seen at the Bonn Kunstmuseum (from June to September 2006); at the Domus Artium Museum in Salamanca, again in 2006; and at the Kampoa Museum in Prague (January and February 2007). Roig is one of the artists chosen by Demetrio Paparoni and Gianni Mercurio for the TIMER exhibition which will open at the Bovisa Triennial in Milan on March 30th.
© Galleria Cardi

Tags: Bernardí Roig