As Vittoria Gerardi unveils her new series ”Pompeii”, the young Italian artist confirms her status as one of the most promising artist of her generation and fulfills the many hopes collectors saw in her when discovering and acquiring her previous work “Confine”.

Vittoria Gerardi, Pompeii

Pompeii is the coexistence and permanence of opposites: it is ruin and city; objective existence and subjective experience; it is past and present; fossilized and moving; it is hidden and discovered..

On one hand, the natural catastrophe that brought to the oblivion of the city; on the other, the archaeological matter of the plaster casts that reveal the existential meaning of this oblivion. In Pompeii, the visual translation of this condition comes through two different mediums and two processes that intertwine. The historical memory is evoked through the plasticity of the plaster and the “return to the light” of the city emerges as metaphor through the photographic impression: urban images captured invisible in the thin space of a transparent film; then, images that lie in the interstice of latency; and finally, images unveiled in positive prints. Yet, to be unveiled is also to be veiled in Pompeii.

Plaster sculptures leaving visible only the upper edge of the gelatin silver print, hiding and revealing at the same time. The information is reduced to the space of a line to let it emerge as fragmentary, abstract, fluid. One close to the other, and each one enclosing its own memory, shaping a structure of 55 invisible cities: a geometric pattern, frail little leaves, a shattered Ionic capital, the eyes of a painted screaming man, gem-tiles, etcetera. The structure resembles that of a mosaic, where each piece is there with its own information, but part of a whole figure. VIII, 7, 8 represents the following subdivision: regio, insular, civic.

Each sculpture is site-specific: it has been coded through a sequence of numbers that identifies the section of the city in which the image it contains was taken. Pompeii is holistically conceived in a space that reverses that one of archaeology: there, space has been understood through the passage of time; here, time is drawn through space.

The sharpness is blurred, the transparency is veiled, the monochrome is further reduced. In the process of pouring plaster over the surface of the photographic print the subtle equilibrium between hidden and discovered existing in Pompeii is evoked: it is a process of unconcealment and that comes through the paradoxical action of veiling.