Diego Perrone’s (b. 1970, Asti, Italy) work fuses personal narrative with provincial history. His wide-ranging practice incorporates the traditional techniques and visual language of post-war Italy, expanding upon a rich lineage of Italian art movements, such as: Futurism, Arte Povera, and Transavanguardia. Using a wide range of media, including sculpture, drawing, photography, film, and installation, Perrone’s work thematizes the very process of art-making through the transformation of materials, while also questioning art’s ability to visually represent the subconscious.
SENZA TITOLO, 2016
86 × 80 × 30 CM / 33 5/6 × 31 1/2 × 11 4/5 INCHES
33 × 33 × 16.5 CM / 13 × 13 × 6 1/2 INCHES
SENZA TITOLO, 2016
62 × 78 × 28 CM / 24 2/5 × 30 3/4 × 11 INCHES
“Untitled” (2016) continues Perrone’s exploration of a time-honored technique of casting glass. As molten glass solidifies within its plaster mold, individual fragments are heated and fused together to produce distinct yet amorphous shapes and imagery. Pigment-infused minerals and oxides form gradations and clouds of color that filter through the translucent glass, each layer caught between crystal and soil. Curing for months on end, immiscible liquids are paused in a forced interaction within each glass sculpture. This tumultuous phase, resulting in the irregular contouring of diverging planes, is captured in a single object, picturing the artist’s profile within the awkwardly rounded shape of an ancient Roman coin.
Perrone’s distorted self-portrait obscures more than it reveals. The artist’s profile is only decipherable by the curvature of his left ear. Ears are a constant in Perrone’s work, symbolizing a dichotomy of interests - simultaneously empty and full, representing both depth and surface. Seemingly grounding Perrone’s self-portrait is an image of a tractor, representing the activity of imagining, “man thinking of a tractor” ploughing through the epidermis. “Tractors work the skin and render it fertile like soil,” states Perrone, “What happens in these two different kinds of landscapes happens in the intermediary space between the epidermis, as in how someone who is underneath a blanket still allows their volume to be seen externally.”