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Maria Elisabetta Novello, Christoph Weber | FRAGILE earth and sky, handle with care

curated by Giorgia Gastaldon


March 27th - May 25th, 2019

Galleria Anna Marra is pleased to present in its exhibition spaces a dual personal show of the works of Maria Elisabetta Novello and Christoph Weber, creating a dialogue between the works of two artists who do not usually work with traditional sculptural materials: this choice inevitably induces in the public questions as they stand and observe the works.


The exhibition title borrows the warning “handle with care fragile” materials, alluding to the paradigm of the sky and the earth, spatial and temporal coordinates within which we lead our existence: certainties of a system which has recently showed increasing signs of a structural collapse.

In fact the word “fragile” indicates the tendency in material things to break, rather than bend and this is the word that, by extension and analogy, we often use to describe people, situations, entire ecosystems and societies.  Today in this context the concept of fragile is common, referring to situations in crisis where total breakdown, collapse or fragmentation are to be expected and are from time to time linked to contexts of environmental precariousness, weakness in our current political structures or cultural conflicts.


The image of a crack in a cement surface or of the collapse of a reinforced concrete structure has always been the leitmotiv of Christoph Weber’s research.  In this exhibition his works are a trigger to a reflection which is both formal: structures and masses of cracked and crumbled reinforced concrete and metaphoric: a reference to the structural and cultural “fragility” of today’s society.  His works in cement – that, in this exhibition, represent the artificial surfaces on which we walk – end up inevitably in revealing our unshakable faith in the infinite resistance of modern building techniques.


Maria Elisabetta Novello’s research is different but complementary.  Her works develop in quite another direction when she works in her chosen material – impalpable ash – made into structures and blocks that appear solid, durable, resistant and sculptural, except that they will crumble with the lightest puff of air.  On the other hand the ambiguity of the materials adopted is the principle that orders the works of this Italian artist whose research aims to represent a celestial coordinate and interfaces with the more “terrestrial” one of the Austrian sculptor.  Her compressed ash is a documentation of the infinite and imponderability of the astral universe, while heavy celestial maps in lead contradict the lightness with which we normally imagine the sky.


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