On Saturday, 26 March at 12:00, Ex Elettrofonica is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibit Of My Abstract Gardening, a new project by Agostino Iacurci and the artist’s first solo show at the gallery.
The works in the exhibit come from Agostino Iacurci’s ongoing research on the idea of the hortus, a term that provides the title for a large installation inaugurated in the spaces of the Italian Institute of Culture in Prague, created as part of the institutional project Cantica 21.
Hortus refers to the concept of Hortus Conclusus, of medieval origin, where earthly paradise takes the form of an enclosed garden with a fountain in the centre, the Fountain of Life and eternal youth. In this exhibit, Iacurci shifts his focus to the Horti Picti, large cycles of wall painting featuring gardens and landscapes.
The exhibition itinerary unfolds in a series of new works, paintings, and terracotta sculptures with live plants, where Iacurci explores garden painting, a recurring theme in the wall decorations of Roman interiors. The painters called to work on these large mural depictions showed skilful spatial and compositional capabilities, as well as careful attention to naturalistic detail. In these painted gardens, complete with fountains, busts and columns, and enclosed by architectural elements, there was an astute harmony between the elements, where plants that actually bloom in different seasons coexisted, and any allusion to the weather was lacking.
This idealised, and therefore abstract, construction, with different times and natural cycles coexisting, is captured by Agostino Iacurci and made the subject of study for his painting. Often the artist’s painting process arises from his fascination with images of the past, which to him become enduring archetypes that require a new form, a personal reinterpretation. It is the image of the underground nymphaeum from Villa di Livia, now held in the Museo di Palazzo Massimo in Rome, and the paintings of the House of the Orchard in Pompei, that Iacurci’s imagination compares with the compositional patterns Goethe researches in his Metamorphosis of Plants. The title of the exhibit, Of my abstract gardening, is taken from a passage in this same book.
In his botanical studies, Goethe was in constant search of models that could lead to a grouping of plants, hoping they would lead to the discovery of an archetypal model of all plant forms. During his travels in Italy, Goethe searched for the Urpflanze – the original plant, but his studies were received coldly by scientists and literary circles of the time. They did, however, find success among artists, lovers, and poets.
Agostino Iacurci, therefore, starting with a visual reference that recalls his experience as a muralist, deconstructing it and distorting it with Goethe’s botanical lessons, generates a new, installational and abstract experience of garden painting.
Agostino Iacurci (1986).
His practice embraces a wide range of media, including painting, mural, sculpture, drawing, and installation.
Often driven by a site-specific attitude, in his practice, Iacurci collects heterogeneous materials, reworking and manipulating them. He does this in order to generate visions and perceptions in which cultural history and personal memories, literary references and vernacular tales are freely narrated and associated.
Agostino Iacurci has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions including; Premio Termoli LXII, MACTE, Termoli (2021); Tracing Vitruvio, Musei Civici, Pesaro (2019); Talent Prize 2019, Mattatoio, Rome (2019); Gypsoteca, M77 Gallery, Milan (2018); Graffiare il presente; Trompe-l’oeil, Celaya Brothers Gallery, Mexico City (2017); Urban Art Biennale, Völkinger Hütte, European Centre for Art and Industrial Culture (2017); Cross the streets, MACRO Museum, Rome (2017); FADA, House of Madness, The Watermill Center, New York (2016); 16° Premio Cairo, Palazzo della Permanente, Milan (2015).
Since 2009 he has been creating monumental wall paintings and installations for public and private institutions. Recent commissions include Ludwigs-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen (2021); Life is Beautiful, Las Vegas (2021); Principal Place, London (2020); Yakutsk Biennale, Yakutsk (2017); Distrito Tec University, Monterrey (2016); Govind Puri Metro Station, New Delhi (2016); Istituto Mario Penna, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2014); Fubon Art Foundation, Taipei (2012).
He was the recipient of Premio New York 2020 promoted by MiBACT, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Italian Cultural Institute of New York, Italian Academy – Columbia University, and ISCP.
In 2020 he was the recipient of Cantica21, Italian Contemporary Art Everywhere Prize, with the project Hortus for Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato.