Iron, lead, engravings and burnisher
Dimensions: 140 x 90 x 230 cm

curated by Riccardo Vailati

PLUMBEA pulses with a soft core: a sheet of lead is a flap of skin cartography, a sentient relic of an emotional journey in perpetual metamorphosis. Lead, here considered as the signifier of an extended section of feeling, is a metal in which various qualities coexist; a bold insulator, it absorbs radiation and resists the corrosiveness of many acids, but at the same time is generously soft and scratchable. In the alchemical disciplines, however, it was regarded as the ultimate imperfection, the first, most impure stage in the process of transmutation into precious metals. Subject to the influence of Saturn, the planet of weights and responsibility, it has historically lent itself to multiple negative meanings, even being used in the production of bullets, tombs, or used in foils on which to engrave scratched invoices and curses. The ambivalent nature of lead stimulates hardening and mineralisation, simultaneously generating and exuding a revitalising fire, giving the tactile sensation of being pregnant with latent heat, and spontaneously titling itself as a vector of both transience and rebirth.

Lead was also used to suture statues and vases, amphorae and idols, filling in the marks of wear as a scar prosthesis. Sensitive to heat, it readily reaches its melting point; close to this temperature it acquires a state called “lead bloom”, losing its opacity and acquiring lucidity. Inscribed in an iron exoskeleton, as a bluish-grey metallic skin it is stretched to mockery and glory, displayed as a trophy, or as a warning. In the chest, the grooves of a scar neatly enunciate: “Everything I still don't know”. And from here springs and flows the essence of a vital urge, of a stinging necessity, of a fact that is the projection of the dimension of home, unstable, transforming, struggling to assert itself and spreading through the emotional growth of our being. We are more what we do not yet know, rather than what we are certain of. We are shaped not by the fullnesses, but rather by the voids that sculpt the space that surrounds us, by the absences that reveal themselves, like fractures constantly fulminating the integrity of the ground, cracking it into a thousand crevices. [...] The work organism can become a messenger, an occasional hut, a hermit's hut, a memorial, a moving memorial.

Collimating the architectural forms of this small construction site, Edicola Radetzky, the intentions of the composition find a further amplifier, in a building that has been, during its presence beside the Navigli in Milan, a minute temple of dissemination and commerce, at a point that has embodied a fundamental junction in the metropolitan network of the urban ecosystem, as well as a meeting place and mundane and carefree exchange of this entrepreneurial and chaotic city.  The leaden skin also lives on as a manifesto, fleshed out, shouting, teasing, glittering, rampant in the round of the surrounding biosphere, encompassed in the aesthetic saturation of society in motion. In the restlessness of an advancing world, existences unfold and are the cracks themselves, and we are the absences themselves, the individualities we will never meet in person, celebrating the opening of a dark rock; commemorating our consummation, we multiply and annul time as we construct a journey that is the same non-existent destination we seek, the same oasis we deserve. We are the furrows, we are the world that opens up. During the duration of this public exhibition, the intervention and constant care of the artist will ensure the corrosion of this autobiographical shared skin, keeping alive the living allegory generated by the aforementioned emotional traits and experiential furrows.

Text by Riccardo Vailati