by Dilpreet BhullarMar 09, 2022
As the world began to crawl back to a semblance of normalcy, the global art fraternity was quick to take up the opportunity to re-establish its place through the art fairs. Art Dubai 2022 was one such moment. While we may have gotten used to viewing art through our phones and on social media, the experience of viewing a physical artwork remains a very visceral activity. Art fairs continue to be a place to encounter the works of artists. Sometimes it is simply about encountering a single artwork to then gain an interest in their entire oeuvre. At Art Dubai, such was Milan-based Italian artist Loris Cecchini’s Aeolian Landforms at the Galleria Continua presentation.
Soft dune-like waves in vibrant and monochromatic colours, the artwork that was on display is part of a larger body of work by Cecchini. Aeolian Landforms is a series that surveys the erosive effect of air and water as a phenomenon, on natural surfaces. Explored through colour, the undulating waves seen on the canvas transforms this natural occurrence into a bas-relief and graphic. Cecchini is deriving inspiration from what could be considered a natural sculpting process. Cecchini elaborated on his interest in this particular phenomenon saying, “In nature, aeolian landforms are created when sediment particles are lifted by upwards forces, causing them to roll across the surface until they land, hop from point to point or remain suspended in the air. Once this movement is provoked, it continues via the forces of gravity and momentum, the excess particles that fall out of the chain of movement then go on to dislodge further particles, creating a continuous dynamic phenomenon that feeds itself.”
The colours of Cecchini’s Aeolian Landforms have an other-worldly essence to them. This brings to mind two important facts about the natural phenomenon of the aeolian landforms. The first is the etymology of the word aeolian, which comes from Æolus, the Greek God of the Winds. The other is the fact this phenomenon is also found on the surfaces of other planets such as Mars. While Cecchini’s reference is earthbound, it speaks to a larger context that is beyond our visible world. Speaking on the materiality and the colours, the artist reveals what was the inspiration and reasoning behind that. “For me, it’s a practice that recognises the wide potential of material expression across different media, in which the surface is enhanced by a play of light and shadow on colours, the surface that elegantly fuses ornament and adornment. In order to pursue a new materialism, in visual cultures, where surface matters. The colour becomes an emotional field; the dust-like quality of the surface plays with the depth of colour thanks to the particular absorption of light in a certain relationship with the idea of the sublime, containing strata, sediments, and deposits.”
In addition to presenting at Art Dubai, Cecchini also has a solo show titled Aeolian Landforms and other Particles, at Galleria Continua’s exhibition space inside Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Located on the shore of Dubai’s largest private beach, the show sets an interesting contextual reference to its contextual surrounding. For this immersive exhibition, Cecchini developed works that address some of the key themes of his oeuvre including metamorphosis, natural phenomena and biological structures. On entering the exhibition, the visitor is greeted by a central installation. The structure titled Waterbones is made up of metallic modules and creates an interesting contrast to the vibrant colour of the Aeolian Landforms series.
Waterbones is a series of site-specific sculptural installations by Cecchini that has a similar extraction process to the Aeolian Landforms series, but a remarkably different physical interpretation. Cecchini elaborated on the ideas of modularity, place and space as explored in the art installation saying, “It is about entering the poetics and the intimate logic of modular installations like Arborexcence, Waterbones. If the modular elements appear separate to us, it’s because we are only able to see a portion of reality, at a profounder level they are not separate ‘parts’, but facets of a profounder and more basic unit. The internal microstructures of matter, although invisible to a certain degree, determine the macrostructures, the visible, measurable reality. The universe itself is connected by a network of relationships based on a fundamental concept, a sort of pre-space in which time itself is absent and the concept of field — magnetic, electric, gravitational — is produced by an even more fundamental one.”
On its physical visualisation, the contemporary artist continued, “The most evident feature of my work is the loss of a focal point. I spread several nodes on the sculpture, each central to a section of the work, which becomes simultaneous in several places. The authentic novelty of my research lies in the plastic visualisation of a sculptural system, an environmental installation or modular construction.”
The Aeolian Landforms and other Particles exhibition are on display at Galleria Continua’s space at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah until April 30, 2022.
STIR was a Media Partner of Art Dubai 2022 that took place at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai from March 11-13. See the exclusive coverage here.