AB ORIGINE: Amy Cheung, Alessia De Montis, Tamara Repetto, Elisa Strinna, Anna Tuori

z2o Sara Zanin Gallery opens the new art season with the group show Ab Origine featuring works from artists Amy CheungAlessia De MontisTamara RepettoElisa Strinna and Anna Tuori.
The Latin expression Ab Origine – literally “from the origin” – becomes a metaphorical interpretation to analyze the researches of the exhibiting artists, who, despite being different, are all characterized by strong evocative power and great imaginative capacity. It is a backward route that attempts to explore perceptively, mentally and culturally the relationship between human and natural dimension, by tracing possible continuities, overlaps, dyscrasias.
The Chinese artist Amy Cheung – Hong Kong Pavillon at the 52th Venice Biennale 2007 – presents “Imagine Hero” (2013) which is the result of a collaboration with the American psychologist Philip Zimbardo, creator of the legendary Stanford Prison Experiment, who also found Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) in 2010. HIP is a non-profit association that – through scientific approach and using social psychological strategies in research and education – tries to develop a new concept of heroism, intended as a daily exercise to encourage positive actions. In this way, HIP wants to overcome the human natural inclination that tends toward a passive observation of the surrounding events. “Imagine Hero” was created to contribute to the fundraising campaign promoted by HIP and the proceeds of the sale of the artwork will be entirely donated to HIP association. “Imagine Hero” is composed of a triptych showing the scans of the brain waves of the artist and Prof. Zimbardo while they were imagining heroes: for the artist – a Chinese Hero, and for Prof Zimbardo an American Hero. In the central panel there is a combination of both brains while they were absorbed in the construction of an ideal Platonic Hero, understood as the positive essence of a new form of heroism. The engraving was made directly onto the wooden panels from the fMRI data yet the “active areas” of the heroic action in their thoughts were revealed to us through the artist and Prof. Zimbardo’s blood, as they believed in the extreme case, heroes give their blood for the cause.
Alessia De Montis’ multimedia installation “Still Life: Seasons” (2007-2013) focuses on the study of changes in perceptual and emotional landscape. A series of alternating exposed and unexposed, unvoiced polaroids, on which ‘polavideo’ are shown using the projection mapping. Over time, the projection light generates an inevitable metamorphosis on each photo, establishing a profound correspondence between the faded visions of the exposed polaroids and the others, that remain unchanged, apparently neutral surfaces where one can metaphorically try to engrave memories, through the video.
Tamara Repetto presents the centerpiece of a new work that, like the previous ones, through a close bond between art and technology and a multi-sensory installation, dimension seeks to immerse the viewer in a perceptual world triggering – as stated by the artist herself- moments of heightened awareness. The installation “Castanea” (2013) reflects on the fragile balance between human action and natural macro / micro cosmos, through a delicate and hypnotic swirl of fragments of chestnut, very common in the Piedmont woods (where the artist lives) and at risk of extinction due to the gall wasp, an external parasite that has spread in Italy because of the growing business of the importing and selling of various plant materials.

Elisa Strinna presents previously unseen re-editions of two projects displayed in 2011 at the MACRO in Rome, the outcome of her artist stay 6ARTISTA, between Rome and Paris. Both in the video “The apple girl” (2011) and in “Variations on the Basket of Fruit” (2011), the artist creates narratives and, working on several registers, focuses on a few key elements to reflect upon distances and continuity between human culture and the natural dimension. “The apple girl was inspired by the folktale collected and transcribed by Italo Calvino in his Italian Folktales (Favole Italiane), by modernizing characters and scenarios. The variations retrieves the style and the iconography of the famous Caravaggio’s still life, by using contemporary materials. In both works the fruit – a natural element – assumes the role of a  narrative and symbolic vehicle to reflect on the change of customs, on the evolution of cultural history.
The pictorial research of the Finnish artist Anna Tuori belongs to a Romantic tradition that explores the resonances between nature and human inner world. Her works draft magical and mysterious landscapes where –  even though there is not a horizon that sets the measure of all – the depth is given by broad brushstrokes and bright colors. Anna Tuori  investigates the relationship between the authentic and the inauthentic, between reality and illusion, exploring possible rifts to find spaces to escape, personal utopias.