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The evanescent flash of identity

By passing through time and space, the artists Azzadine Saleck, Andrea Liberni and Samantha Passaniti rediscover the expanded university of physics and its principle according to which everything changes, and they reaffirm the authentic value of identity drowned in the evaporation of borders and specificities.

The concept of identity cannot help in the flow of a temporal hyperbole which is destined to change with every second of its spatial experience. On the contrary, the issue is subjected to such a profound metamorphosis as to inevitably decree its own end. Its value -still sought by the human being- is not lost; instead, its very essence and the forms it assumes disappear in a fluid reality since they are forced to constantly mutate to reconnect with the vital spirit of their time. In this horizon, the saturation of the infinite and of interminable compositional possibilities, fielded by the identity process, produces the effects of a prevailing depersonalization capable of putting everything it encounters to fire and sword. However, in the context of the neutral imperative, the transformative process that reveals the true essence of things can take shape through a dynamic research by making its way through the thousand possibilities of being and choosing only those that are closest to its imagination. From this point of view, the path of research becomes the remedy against the monotony of a reality that in self-censorship has forgotten not only its appearance, but also its soul. In this respect, the artistic research of Azzadine Saleck, Samantha Passaniti and Andrea Liberni, that coincide transversally in their three personal Roman exhibitions, hosted during spring season in the spaces of the Curva Pura gallery and the AOC F58 gallery, are indicative.

L'evanescente lampo dell'identità - Azzadine Saleck - Long Distance

Azzadine Saleck, Long Distance, Curva Pura Gallery, Rome, 2021.

In the first case, in the Long-Distance exhibition at Curva Pura, Saleck reveals the most hidden and paradoxical implications of depersonalization, and he finds in the adaptive force that emerges from it that longing for life, profoundly human and capable of challenging the conception of cancellation.
Although the desert absorbs the identity of those who find themselves crossing its liminal territory in an all-encompassing dimension, Azzadine’s works do not disperse in the immensity from which they emerge and the individuality of the character is not annulled in the absorption; instead, both, by passing through the experience of depersonalization, become something else, redefining their own self in the flickering of vision. In this sense, Giuseppe Armogida’s letter, which accompanies the exhibition together with Audrey Gutman’s poem, is illuminating. It is the dimension of distance that creates the gap in which identity can reinvent itself and find the reality behind its appearance; a specular distance that is reflected on every spatial and architectural surface. By revealing itself in the silhouettes of ancient ritual constructions, architecture becomes a trace and a testimony of a past claiming its incisive action on the identity of the present. The palm and plastic arches transform the landscape of the gallery, and they expand its limits beyond the physical and perceptive boundary; the extension towards the outside, this symbolic opening to possibility, allows the acquisition of that veil of intimacy that can touch in depth those who come across the place of transition. In the act of physical and mental crossing of the passage, the emotional response generates an ongoing transformation such as to reconfigure the concept of being and belonging in the categories of otherness and freedom. The transformative potential as much as an opposite conception of the limit are investigated by the artist Andrea Liberni in the Eden exhibition, curated by Diletta Borromeo at the AOC F58. In this specific case, the subject of research is the construction of an identity starting from the loss of bodily fragmentation. Limbs of disjointed bodies stagnate among the rubbles and debris inside containers, reminiscent of the cauldrons used by alchemists for their experiments. The analogy with the alchemical discipline is expressed in the unraveling of the red thread that reconstructs the alchemical circle, the heart of the transformative process in which the transmutation of matter takes place. However, the formlessness of the bodies immediately suggests the reference to those simulacrum beings of the human being that are called homunculus according to the alchemical tradition. The sutural grafting of human features operated in these creatures is internal to the carnal envelope. It is the drive relegated to the constraints of the body that seeks out those features of the human personality, trying to appropriate a bodily configuration, and rejecting it in the moment in which the gap between idea and intention occurs. Failure produces deformation and incompleteness, and it reveals the fragility of the possibility of resurrection. A melancholy feeling of loneliness emerges from the remains of the experiment; unlike Long-Distance in which it was a sign of creative induction, here instead it sharpens the sense of frustration for the powerlessness concerning both the internal self-realization, in the definition of one’s own identity, and the external sense of fail of establishing a direct contact with reality outside own’s protective boundaries. The uncertainty, which fills the pause between stasis and action, writes the DNA of that evanescent identity that, thrown into the contradictions of a world in constant revolution, constantly discovers itself, its doubts, and fears.

L'evanescente lampo dell'identità - Samantha Passaniti - Confidance in the Uncertain

Samantha Passaniti, Confidance in the Uncertain, Curva Pura Gallery, Rome, 2021.

Immersed in the instantaneity of a life’s changes, the fleetingness of identification cannot help; instead, it reverberates in the trend of uncertainty, as demonstrated by Confidance in the Uncertain, a solo show by Samantha Passaniti curated by Giorgia Basili also in the Curva Pura spaces. Treated in the elegance of a refined emotional rationality, identity is rediscovered through a direct contact with the experience of the uncertain, which can bring out the resilience and flexibility of its original construction due to its insensitive touch. The metaphysical suspension, caused by the candor and precariousness of the works, induces a state of dynamic reflective meditation, which frees itself from the barriers of arbitrary control. The combination between instability, formlessness, and ephemerality of the wooden boards from which tree sprouts bloom recalls the typical human awareness that recognizes the mortal condition of the living being in the total lack of control over life. In this perspective, identity cannot maintain its constitutive unity, but must rather know how to abandon itself to the unforeseen circumstances of time; as an essential entity of the truth of real, it appeals to that flexibility that allows it to rediscover itself day after day in the incessant oscillation of becoming. The neutrality of white becomes a condition of passage for another stage of transformation of the identity of the artistic object, which learns to recognize itself in the heterogeneity of the infinite possible forms. In the three exhibitions examined, the transformation seems a constant in the visions of avant-garde artists such as Saleck, Liberni and Passaniti, each with its incomparable stylistic delicacy and its unique way of dealing with the drifts of depersonalization. Their artistic narration highlights how fragility severs the existential stability of the entity, acting discreetly at the end, in which the time of metamorphosis is intertwined. In a reality dominated by the extremization of the second law of thermodynamics, where everything is predestined to pass from one stage to another and in a solution of constant continuity, the desire to be can rediscover its potential by crossing the dichotomies of reality, and it can even come to the discovery of its most authentic identity.

Translated into English by Elisa Goi.

Cover: Eden edited by Diletta Borromeo, Galleria AOC F58 © credits Andreea Nedelcu.

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Freelance journalist, graduated in Multimedia and Technology at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, she was born in 1994 in the heart of the Roman capital where she graduated from the Ripetta Art High School, while studying Japanese at the Japanese Institute of Culture. Passionate about art, cinema and photography, she opened the contemporary art blog in 2015. From 2017 she collaborates as editor for the figurative arts section of the online magazine, while from February 2019 she starts writing for the art magazine “Titolo”.
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