“Industrial toxins and wastes are in the air and oceans,and buried and heaped up on the land.”
“Refuse obedience, suddenly. And you can’t either pursue it or condemn it: it is another ‘nature.’”
—Anna Maria Ortese
Ever since the title of his personal exhibition at Cripta747, Marco Pio Mucci (Benevento, 1990) projects us towards a (human) future and a personal date. The title sounds like a sort of imperative to the future and an imaginary self-portrait borrowed from a 1996 movie by the Neapolitan director Antonio Capuano, a movie with different narrative plans and with an ambiguous and contradictory script. It could be the scene of a crime, of an injustice repeatedly shown from different points of view, different perspectives, but always with a determined suspense, a bitter and hopeful wait. The transpositions of the life and psyche of the protagonists, of their social and moral dramas, of their underworld and of a hypocritical candid Catholic faith are mingled in an unexpected, outwardly wrong way. The organization of narrative sequences surrenders to the toothed angles, to the raw surfaces of imagination that often coincide with reality, nourished and exasperated by it.
The drawings on display are characterized by a similar construction of coexistences, of multiple temporal and spatial planes poised between fiction and mimesis. Mostly biro on velin d’arches paper besides a series in graphite, all in the same rectangular format fixed on wood, the drawings organize, through details and figurative dedication, plausible and implausible landscapes. The daily life surrounding the artist, both in its physical and imaginary dimension, merges with the daily technique that he decides to introduce into his environment—a technique to position himself and find himself in the world.
Here too, as in the district displayed in Capuano’s film, there is a lot to be accomplished, an optical error to be modified on the sheet. Daily life can thus be altered with one’s own hands, with an immediate potential, allowing unapproachable worlds to coexist: a pirate vessel and an urban street of a former industrial city. Or the debris of an environmental disaster and the windows of an art space. Even in these images there is an insoluble dilemma, a mystery in the configuration of objects, in what they are. An ontology mutated into hauntology, covered by an unrecognizable and alienating layer, a spectral and almost organic patina.
The artist draws the urban environment that surrounds Cripta 747’s new space, in via Catania 15 in Borgo Rossini district, its transformations and its current skin. An operational absence runs through the infrastructure, through the portrayed objects and natural elements. The drawings propose a kind of portraiture that spares no aspect of the neighborhood: from the Dora river to architecture, from the Fiat cars parked next to the sidewalk to the windows of Cripta747.
This scenario, mixed with everyday objects and Mucci’s subjectivity, shows how space is the result of social, political, economic, cultural and environmental processes in which humanity participates. The works are presented as architectural and urban reliefs, built with processes of descriptive geometry on portions of structures and infrastructures.
The same technical process also concerns dry-point engravings, a technique used by the artist for the first time and with which, changing the colours, he repeats the same iconography. In these works we find combinations of different objects, such as billiards or a sailing ship, personal fetishes of the artist’s imagination, bursting as intruders to upset the public, showing sections of contention with and within the socio-natural hegemonic order.
The image of a shrub appears among the portraits. It is a medlar tree. And it looks like a personal and biographical epiphany of Mucci’s garden, also present near Cripta 747. The artist is pleased with this unaccountable surprise, with a pre-existing and unknowable nature which can yet be intertwined with bonds and communications beyond mechanical and human temporality. Each leaf, its details, its woody parts are elements of a language and an enchantment grammar with which to share intimacy.
From the calm portraiture of Mucci’s drawing practice emerges a merciless constellation of human conflicts with its own landscape and urban metabolism: industrialization corpses, polluted waters, urban waste marked with toxicity.
Political ecology in Turin, as in many other industrial cities, could be a working class ecology based on a twofold injustice: an ecological and a social one. A double colonialism: the exploitation of local land and of the bodies coming from the South. A flow of substances and a flow of bodies. A conflict between production and reproduction, environment and life.
The stakes are to come, as in the linguistic leap of the title that mimes the way of speaking of a child who lives in a poor neighborhood in one of the suburbs of Europe. All this is measured by images from other contexts. As in the poetics and practice of Mucci—a changeable adherence to the meshes of everyday life in which one is entangled with devotion.
at Cripta747, Turin
until June 18, 2022