To Dream, to Collect

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So many things in the air! is Antonio Rovaldi’s second solo exhibition at Galleria Michela Rizzo.

The exhibition is designed as a path in stages that follows the gestation of Rovaldi’s last book dedicated to the edges of NYC, along the lines of a face of a lesser known, wilder and more hidden city, as the title of the book suggests: The Sound of the Woodpecker Bill: New York City.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the first verse of the poem Three Airs by the American poet and art critic Frank O'Hara, from the Lunch Poems collection (1953-1964) dedicated to the city of New York, to walking as an associative practice, to its rhythms and the colours of the city. This first verse translates into a blue neon on one wall of the gallery, a lightning quick conversation - like a sudden vision during a walk - with the author of the poem: "Yes Frank, so many things in the air!". Neon lights up the room where, from two stereo speakers, a voice repeats the stops of a long walk around the edges of New York declaiming names of places, streets, hours of the day, alternating and overlapping with sound fields recorded between 2016 and 2018 by Rovaldi himself. Five Walk. NYC is also the result of the collaboration between Antonio Rovaldi and the Sound Designer Tommaso Zerbini. The installation consists of five chapters – the same number as the city’s boroughs - and is a constant flow of voices and sound geographies. Like an alter ego of the artist, a voice accompanies listening along a circular sound line, passing from noisy urban environments to more interstitial, peripheral corners, where silence recovers its space to articulate the story of a journey that develops through pauses and afterthoughts.

The first room of the gallery collects photographic cycles made between 2018 and 2019. Small format photographs, like a constellation of points in the space, tell a geography that is recomposed through the time of a journey on foot and that are later reconstructed inside the pages of a book. Some sculptural interventions disseminated in the three rooms of the gallery dialogue with the photographs in the sound and liquid space of a city half submerged by water: a journey into the images and into the very same process of photography.

The top floor of the gallery is occupied by the video installation The Rest of the Images. The result of the collaboration between Rovaldi and film director Federica Ravera, is at the same time a documentation of the artist's artistic practice within his workplace and a close relationship between walking, photography (its processes and supports) and the editing of the images in a sequence. Last but not least, the relationship between the one who films and the one who is filmed. The photographs that the artist's hands move on the floor of his studio redesign geographies and the trajectories of balls that shoot in the space, fast and casual, suggest new possible directions, while the face of a city moves away and its sound is lowered.

Once again Rovaldi returns to reflect on the relationship between image and the physical movement of the body that walks, on the memory of a geographical experience that took place some time ago and the need to rethink its distances, in the belief that places are complex elastic systems which cannot be contained in one only image.

Exhibited artists

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Antonio Rovaldi

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