To Dream, to Collect

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Eve Leibe Gallery is pleased to present a virtual exhibition co-curated by Domenico de Chirico and featuring the works of Casey Jex Smith, Giulio Malinverni, Hayley Arjona, Josiah Ellner, Julie-Ann Simpson, Lorenzo Bonechi, Lorincz Aron, Matthew Bainbridge, Tom Poelmans and Valerie Savchits.

Regnum Lúminis is a virtual and esoteric journey focusing on the power of light and symbolism.
The aesthetic of Regno Luminis clearly references Étienne-Louis Boullée, a French architect theorist of the neoclassical period, whose projects consist of elementary volumes, monolithic and colossal scale. Based essentially on two fundamental stylistic terms, that favour the establishment of a direct relationship between nature and architecture and the accurate play of light and shadow.

The virtual show inspired by the above precepts, is going beyond the mere technical representation to enhance the idea of both role-play and religious ritual, to brilliantly accentuate all allegorical meanings traceable in the works on display. The virtual show invites the visitor to embark on a journey with an esoteric and initiatory flavour, in which pure geometric shapes such as pyramids, trunks and spheres - otherwise called corps bruts to use the definition of the same Boullée - and so-called eloquent spaces able to relate affably with the viewer, arouse in the same acute emotional tension. Passing through fantastic landscapes, encountering mythical beasts and envisioning angelical forms, turns out to be fundamental to represent real-life scenarios where the individual prostrates himself to seek meaning and purpose in life. He is manipulated, controlled and then crushed by all those higher and occult forces that mark the complex relationship between dream and reality.

In Regnum Lúminis, light, the undisputed protagonist of the proscenium, radiates in this way:

Between masterful engravings, elements of art history, Dungeons & Dragons manuals, isometric turn-based video games, scripted narratives, Where’s Waldo? and comics, Casey Jex Smith’s drawings are both mere simulations of fantastic powers and narratives that exist at the intersection of fantasy games and religious rituals. and religious rituals. The m armoreal b rushstrokes o f G iulio M alinverni, s trongly i nfluenced by symbologies and stylistic accents of the pre-Renaissance genre, focus on the everyday narration and at the same time on the iconographic repertoire of the art history, to such an extent that they seem to whisper purely Kafkaesque metamorphism. The paintings by Hayley Arjona are abstract narratives that gravitate around the relationship between the human being and the natural world, captured through his personal experiences and particularly interested in those poetic moments, they perfectly embody the feeling of successful fusion with nature. Her works combine psychological self-portraits, sacred sites, and archetypal symbolism. The results in awkward figures and environments that are cartoons and fluorescent carefully-masterfully modelled. Josiah Ellner, who grew up in a Chinese city with over nine million people and with few green spaces and very limited wildlife, has always felt disconnected from the natural world. Despite these feelings of alienation, he found himself strangely attracted to the natural world. From his personal experiences of meeting and involvement with nature, Ellner weaves playful narratives that capture intimate moments of this connection. Almost citing, Lorenzo Bonechi declines the use of figuration and inspiration from the masters of the past through a singular sacred iconography, set among the hills and cypresses of the Valdarno, where the figures are elongated and silent, completely immersed in nature. In his works Áron Lőrincz, chooses all those religious and social themes that have been accompanying us for hundreds of years and for which, it seems, there are answers and solutions generally accepted, albeit with sloth.

One reason for this could be that the scientific world has never been free from ideological influences and the explanations that this world provides are not necessarily eternal and satisfying. And this is how the proliferation of sceptical and unscientific thoughts arises, undisputed sources of great artistic inspiration. Lőrincz tries to bring these tensions to the surface for later redefining them. Matthew Bainbridge’s emotional and cryptic drawings are predominantly made up of imaginary worlds and characters. Cartoonish landscapes as deep as they are dumb, excessively saturated and impossibly plastic. Collective longing is found in the drooping of a flower, and melancholic boredom in the bending of a root. Always present is an all-seeing moon, sometimes an eye that appears to see everything. Every time Tom Poelmans begins to paint, a pervading innocent and spontaneous thought that he can freely paint whatever he wants to arise in him. Each painting he creates inevitably translates into a confrontation of an illusionistic free will that he gives to himself. The final painting is undoubtedly the result of this struggle. It is a process characterized by endless possibilities, starting with a drawing and ending with an unpredictable pictorial image. Poised between reality and illusion, between ideology and ethics, with a dreamlike vocation and loaded with symbols, allegories and metaphors, Poelmans’ work shows an exceptional and intricate heterogeneity, characterized by both precise compositions and confident and materialistic brushstrokes, covering every centimetre of the surfaces used. The multifaceted Valerie Savchits links her stories with an essential corollary made of emotions and fragments of memory, to reflect on her personal mythology. The textures, lines and the typical colours of the surrounding landscapes have greatly influenced her style and her ways, both in sculpture and in painting. The objects and characters depicted in Savchits’ recent works are generally inspired by astronomy and Greek myths. Also, Savchits recently reintroduced the theme of Slavic mythology in her work as it plays an important role in the formation of her language visual. - Domenico de Chirico

Domenico de Chirico is an independent curator from Italy. Born in Bari in 1983, he lives and works in Milan. From 2011 until 2015 he was a professor in “Visual Culture” and “Trend Research” at Milan’s European Institute of Design (IED). He collaborates with a number of international artists, galleries, institutions, art fairs, art prizes, and magazines worldwide. He has been artistic director at DAMA Fair, Turin (2016-2019). He was also a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths, University of London (2018) and a member of the Network Event for Young Curators, LISTE - Art Fair Basel, Basel (2018). Upcoming projects and researches (2020/21): Swab Barcelona Contemporary Art Fair, Barcelona (committee member); Roma Arte in Nuvola: Fiera internazionale d’arte contemporanea, Rome, Italy (advisor); Lecture at the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague; Guest curator at Swiss Institute, Rome (visiting tutor); MIA Art Fair, Milan (curator). Upcoming exhibitions in various venues and cities, among which: Milan, Antwerp, Rome, Caserta, Bologna, Timișoara, Turin, Naples, Budapest, and so forth.

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