Charming Encounters

Giusy Pirrotta, Barbara Prenka, Elisa Strinna


from an idea by Dionisio Gavagnin

curated by Dionisio Gavagnin and Marina Bastianello


from 7 April to 5 May 2018

Opening Friday 6 April 2018, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


What happens if three young artists are compared and contrasted with the works of the same number of great masters of modern and contemporary art? What might be sparked off by such a fascinating meeting? This is what the collector Dionisio Gavagnin, the originator and curator of Charming Encounters, asked himself when he proposed the show of three Galleria Massimodeluca artists: Giusy Pirrotta, Barbara Prenka, and Elisa Strinna (from 7 April to 5 May 2018, opening Friday 6 April 2018, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Gavagnin has chosen three masterpieces from his own collection and has presented one to eaaach of the artists, asking them to translate the effects of this encounter into a new work; for each artist he has chosen the artist and the work most dissimilar to their own art: for Pirrotta Linea di lunghezza infinita (1960) by Piero Manzoni, a wooden cylinder painted black and written on; Prenka was presented with Ritratto di Raissa (1926), an oil on canvas by Giorgio De Chirico; and finally, Strinna has had to deal with Moving (1967) by Allan Kaprow, the documentation of the happening of the same name.

The project’s title, Charming Encounters, alludes to the young artists’ initial enchantment in front of the work by the artist they had before them, which opens the door to implications that might lead to studying the methods and reasons behind a work distant from the starting point of each artist, just as it might well be the stimulation for a further development of the style and thought of each one.


Gavagnin has said, “I happen to meet many young artists with genuine talent, one that, however, is not always backed by an assimilation of the lessons of the masters, to the point where their works show stylistic uncertainties and little depth of thought. However, this is not the case with the three young artists I have chosen from among those who collaborate with the Galleria Massimodeluca who have, instead, shown they have both talent and culture. Each one of them distinguishes herself for a style that is expressed through various means: Pirrotta uses video and photography, Prenka uses painting in its widest sense, and Strinna makes sculpture and sound installations. Even their thematic inspiration and range of feeling seem to be different.”


Giusy Pirrotta, again in the words of the curator, “uses video and photography as her favourite means for diverting the eye, for capturing fragments of reality that our tamed eye tends to ignore or, simply, not see. Here I use the verb ‘divert’ in its double meaning of liven up/distract and distance/deviate because, in fact, Pirrotta manages with her lens to capture unusual portions of the ordinary landscape of life, and she does so through a lucid and rational process, one enlightened by a calculation that is deviant with respect to usual perspectives.” Thanks to her encounter with the work by Manzoni, Pirrotta has developed thoughts about one of what she holds to be the fundamental dynamics that structure the world of contemporary art: the figure of the collector, and the work of art and the value attributed to it by the commercial system. The installation planned by the artist recreates in a section of the gallery part of the home of the collector, in which the work by Manzoni is juxtaposed to various and diverse objects such as lamps, ornaments, sculptures, pieces of furniture from Gavagnin’s home, and other works by the artist herself and which all play with the relationships between functional and non-functional objects, whether art objects or items of furniture.


Gavagnin writes, “When looking at the works by Barbara Prenka we perceive a patient way of working that searches to avoid representing an ordered reality and, instead, to propose representations teetering on the threshold and indicating a way of escape.” And the artist, in her encounter with De Chirico’s Ritratto di Raissa, has concentrated on the circular dialogue between the model and the painter, the tension concretised in the portrait, and the painter’s union with the object that ultimately creates the work. The result of these thoughts of Prenka is an installation in which two objects chosen and painted by the artist meld together like organic masses to make up a kind of relic that documents the painting.


Elisa Strinna, Gavagnin believes, “works with the theme of an awareness of time, as it is expressed through the material deposited within the forms of nature, and with her work/art she undertakes the promethean mission of donation: she constructs algorithms, machines, technological gadgets aimed at restoring communications between man and the inorganic world. And perhaps she does not know that, in fact, by doing this thing, just by working freely, she transfers herself onto a universal dimension.” From her experience of the work by Kaprow, Strinna has gained new stimuli for deepening her inquiry into the relationship between man and media technology, in other words into the infrastructures that regulate the transmission of information. She has done so by creating a sound installation accompanied, during the opening of the show, by a performance. In the show ceramic sculptures reproduce undersea transmission cables partially transformed into sounding boards. The music they transmit has been written on the basis of an interpretation of the graph illustrating the Stock Market crash on 6 May 2010, also known as the Flash Crash.