Feinkost Gallery in Berlin presents the first solo show in Germany of the artist Cristiano Mangione entitled “Hierophania,” which presents a series of works on canvas, paper and aluminum. The use of ballpoint pens in these works allow the artist to express a subtle violence; the works end up being slightly torn and mutilated by the force exerted by the artist’s hand, as each pen is used until it is emptied of its ink.
Hierophania, a modification of the English spelling “Hierophany”, is a term coined by the Romanian religious historian Mircea Eliade used to identify shamanic revelations of the “sacred”. In the gallery context the notion pairs well with artist Bruce Nauman’s iconic neon “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths”, a credo that still stands tall as part of artistic responsibility and a public’s expectations. By scraping away at the borders that structure our lives is to rupture a certain boundary of civilization and an action which, in doing so, reminds us of where those boundaries are located. For Mangione’s practice Hierophania is a direct reference to the artist’s often-unseen yet monumental interventions of working directly onto architectural surroundings.
Through a release of frenzied scribbling using ballpoint pens, Mangione brings the surface support of the canvas to an ethereal extreme, rendering abstract fields and primal forms by what would seem to be a compulsive necessity for their existence. Compositions of tangible energy can take up to a year to complete whereby the primed white linen is continually caressed into sloughing flakes of gesso and gossamer strands. An iridescent oil slick of viscous ink turns the resulting picture plane into a pure and total drawing, one that is a nearly prosthetic extension of the maker.
Works on canvas or paper are permeated with a sense of critical saturation suspended delicately in the moment before collapse. The work on aluminium is more elastic in the forces it can withstand and is thus gored with a range of instruments both homemade and common. The canvases and aluminium capture this seemingly ritual performative process, complete with sweat and fury. Each work in Mangione’s practice becomes a document of its own origins and is yet, more than anything, an abjection, a liminal zone and the remnants of a border.
Images and text provided by Feinkost Gallery
No related posts.