Saturday 22 February
18:00 - 20:00
Text by Hector Campbell, Art Historian, Writer & Curator:
Daniel Benjamin Gallery presents ‘The Accidents Maker’, the second solo exhibition of London-based Italian artist Marco Piemonte.
In the ‘The Accidents Maker’ Piemonte presents a new body of work that celebrates art-making and places the artist front and centre through a series of stage explorations into different genres and mediums.
The exhibitions playful title is taken from a series of self-portraits realised previously by Piemonte that investigated the many artistic personas including, amongst others, ‘The Circle Maker’ and ‘The Line Maker’. The role of the artist as ‘Accidents Maker’ is at once humorous and unnerving, evoking not only the happy accidents we experience on a daily basis but also the more grave and life-altering accidents that thankfully occur much less frequently. When applied in an artistic settling the position of ‘Accidents Maker’ recalls perhaps the purest form of artistic creation we all experience as infants, and the first incidents of artistic endeavour that would inevitably have come about by accident. This innocent approach of accident making as art-making is highlighted by Piemonte through the autobiographical investigation of his own upbringing, when he would employ an unused cardboard box with one side removed as the theatre within which to create fictionalised scenes often involving the artists favoured toy cars. In this new body of work, it is these, now vintage, toy cars that take centre stage, used as the device through which to examine and caricature traditional artistic genres, often set against an abstracted brown background suggesting the cardboard box that is no longer needed.
Piemonte’s first forays into landscape painting are punctured by the unsettling and whimsical hanging of toy cars from the bows of tree branches; surrealist portraiture sees the cars approaching abstraction as they dissolve towards the bottom of the canvases while anthropomorphically positioned akin to classical sitters; realism positions the retro muscle car upon a tabletop - knife adjacent - with an absent section supposedly sliced away. The titles of selected works, such as ‘Should we walk? It's really beautiful out. No’ and ‘You've been in a funny mood lately’ echo the banal, absurdist nature of the artworks themselves, which exist seemingly without purpose, purely to commemorate the pointless beauty of painting.
Elsewhere in the exhibition, a tiger is weighed down with two toy cars, atop which a circle rendered from gestural white marks sits to foreground the presence of the artist’s hand, often lost in the pursuit of a realised fiction. This simple mark-making reappears in other works, forming either theatrical curtains or childlike fencing that frame the unfolding unrealism, acknowledging yet again the act and accident of art-making.
Finally, Piemonte tackles sculpture through the production of a replica, concrete-cast, toy car presented prominently upon a plinth, while countless outwardly identical reproductions are strewn across the floor of the adjacent room having been assumedly deemed unworthy of proper display, and instead act to memorialise artistic futility and exertion.