We are pleased to present San Marco, Mauro Restiffe’s second solo show at Galeria Fortes Vilaça. The artist is occupying the space of the Galpão with ten new photographs taken of frescoes painted by Fra Angelico in the friars’ cells of the San Marco Monastery, in Florence.
Restiffe’s poetic investigation overlays a documental approach with references to art history and photography. The use of highly sensitive black-and-white analog film is not by chance; it is a formal resource that allows the artist to work with the idea of representation and of the deconstruction of the real. The graininess of the images and the gradations of gray work like paint on a canvas – his photos are full of texture.
The works featured in the show break away from the straight-on frontal framing characteristic of other works by the artist. The photographs are taken in a way that results in a dark homogeneous field in the foreground, where it is still nonetheless possible to see, by way of the subtle gradations of gray, the details of the entrance arches of each cell. The architectural question constantly present in Mauro’s work also appears here. The artist has taken all the photos from the same angle, using the arch as a repeated element in a minimalist structure.
There is a certain voyeurism present in the images that arises as a novelty in his work. The frescoes are in the background, distant, as though we were looking at them through a keyhole. But unlike what takes place in the monastery, where each fresco is seen individually, in the show it is possible to see all of them as a set, thus observing the minimal nuances and differences among the various images.
The artist has already dealt with situations of representation and reproduction of artworks on other occasions. In his Vermeer series, now being shown at Inhotim, Restiffe photographs in various ways a work by the famous Dutch painter. In Planos de Fuga, held at CCBB in 2012, the artist’s participation took place through the documentation of the works in the show.
Mauro Restiffe was born in São José do Rio Pardo in 1970 and lives and works in São Paulo. His solo shows have most notably included the exhibition Obra at MAC São Paulo, running until October 2013, with photographs made during the remodeling of the building designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Also this year, the artist is participating in the Bienal de Fotografia of MASP and the Panorama de Arte Brasileira of MAM São Paulo. His work figures in the collections of Inhotim, Brumadinho; Tate Modern, London; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, and others.