Carlo Galli

‘Hipnotic mirage’ series 2019/2015. Danger tape on wall. Karachi Biennale Karachi / Sehsaal, Wien /Alternate access residency,New York

As is the case with some of the other suites in Carlo Galli’s oeuvre, time and time again he raises a discussion about the idea of borders. His evident aversion to territorial demarcation and its underlying consequences are given special treatment in Hypnotic mirage (2015-2019), an installation that has been set up in a wide-range of different geographical regions, such as Pakistan, Austria and the USA. The artist takes control of the space and its volumes in order to build new structures and paths in the manner of visual labyrinths. The piece employs a sensorial approach that allows him to fully explore the disenchantment of barriers, whether physical or invisible.

Cozy mesh (2014-2020)

is one of Carlo Galli’s key artworks, in which you can get to the core of the Italian artist. The bond between concepts and media is crucial in his oeuvre. It provides him with the perfect setting to provoke a reaction from the spectator and, at the same time, to convey a series of historical issues and, most importantly, sociocultural ones. For Cozy mesh Carlo Galli appropriates two-colour warning tape –a material he often employs in his productions– which he weaves together to create the resulting installation: a net-like structure held in place by fixing its corners from four columns. The artist deconstructs a material used to delimit, protect or to prevent access and transforms it into a structure that incites interaction – meeting, relaxation, play and, basically, coexistence. This apparently simple act has allowed the artist to explore the malleability of borders and to raise discussions about interculturality and freedom of movement rights.

‘Rem phase’, 2018. Adhesive vinyl on forex panels. Milan, Italy

Devices such as distortion and an interplay between fact and fiction crop up quite frequently in Carlo Galli’s productions. In Rem phase (2018), the Italian artist delves into the complexity of human brain activity, stopping to examine so-called REM sleep and some of its most common traits, such as spasms and waking states. Galli places a soldier at the centre of his composition, thus generating a parallel between the armed forces and their perpetual obedience, as well as dealing with secondary themes such as submission, discipline and the body spirit.

‘Water gun’ 2020. Adhesive foil and duct tape on wall. Klister kunst festival, Køge

Clearly, Carlo Galli’s work cannot be fully understood unless one appreciates his humour and his double entendres, of which Water gun (2020) is a good example. While at the Klister Kunst Festival in Køge (Denmark), the artist made a 10 metre-long, water gun out of his distinctive duct tape, to broach the subject of a corrupt system that prevents one in every three people in the world from having access to drinking water. By using wordplay, a strident colour scheme and a glitch-like distortion of the image, Galli aimed his message at the violence and lack of transparency that permeate this discrimination affecting thousands of millions of people.

‘Hipnotic mirage’ series 2019/2015. Danger tape on wall. Karachi Biennale Karachi / Sehsaal, Wien /Alternate access residency,New York

As is the case with some of the other suites in Carlo Galli’s oeuvre, time and time again he raises a discussion about the idea of borders. His evident aversion to territorial demarcation and its underlying consequences are given special treatment in Hypnotic mirage (2015-2019), an installation that has been set up in a wide-range of different geographical regions, such as Pakistan, Austria and the USA. The artist takes control of the space and its volumes in order to build new structures and paths in the manner of visual labyrinths. The piece employs a sensorial approach that allows him to fully explore the disenchantment of barriers, whether physical or invisible

‘Hipnotic mirage’ series 2019/2015. Danger tape on wall. Karachi Biennale Karachi / Sehsaal, Wien /Alternate access residency,New York

As is the case with some of the other suites in Carlo Galli’s oeuvre, time and time again he raises a discussion about the idea of borders. His evident aversion to territorial demarcation and its underlying consequences are given special treatment in Hypnotic mirage (2015-2019), an installation that has been set up in a wide-range of different geographical regions, such as Pakistan, Austria and the USA. The artist takes control of the space and its volumes in order to build new structures and paths in the manner of visual labyrinths. The piece employs a sensorial approach that allows him to fully explore the disenchantment of barriers, whether physical or invisible

Carlo Galli by Adonay Bermúdez.

 

Culture does not begin as play, and it does not begin from play. It begins in play.

Commencing this exploration of the art of Carlo Galli (Pietrasanta, Italy, 1981) with the words of Johan Huizinga taken from his well-known book Homo Ludens is, without a doubt, a declaration of intent. Galli desecularizes the forbidden, he ousts it from its antiquated historical throne and he adds a playful, though not necessarily real, connotation to it as if it were a child’s game. He speaks to us frankly and with a trace of severity, yet resorts to a vibrantly-coloured, seductive, hypnotic and strategic scenography; eliciting a smile from the spectator thanks to his use of humour; or employing devices socially (re)cognized as being popular on which to build a strong connection with his audience. Similarly, he encourages us to scrutinize and take the hegemonic processes inundating our society apart, and, moreover, he provides us with tools, or at least new paths, for interpreting, and subsequently, disarticulating the moral and cultural boundaries that shape us as individuals.

Getting to the bottom of his fascination for play and theatricality proves to be highly revealing. His first creative steps, while he was still a student at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara (Italy), were marked by the Carnevale di Viareggio, which he took part in for a number of years by making enormous papier-mâché set designs, employing strident colour schemes and showing a proclivity for satirical and grotesque scenes. Taken all together it had an important influence on his artistic output, seamlessly interweaving the sacred and the profane whilst, moreover, retaining an underlying coherency in his installations and volumes, even when it came to creating simulated three-dimensional visual effects in his two-dimensional works. It is worth mentioning, as a continuation of this transmission of the legacy of set designs, that from the onset he was interested in carrying out analyses and interventions on uninhabited or ruined city spaces, as places already possessing a predesigned atmosphere. It is relevant to draw attention to his artistic activity in these early stages, which he subsequently disengaged himself from completely, because the process of change was reflected in the growing maturity of his work, paving the way for greater consistency, and allowing his language as an artist to cease being local and to attain a more global interpretation.

This global language accessible to all kinds of audiences, regardless of place of origin, sex or age, is primarily noticeable in Galli’s choice of stock materials, which in themselves contribute to the message the Italian artist seeks to convey. A surveillance camera, barricade tape and  barrier fences are laid out as elements typical of, and applicable to, State-exercised control. The collective imaginary rapidly identifies the meaning of these repressive objects, and this consequently leads to perplexity when they are placed in unusual spaces or arranged in unconventional ways. Carlo Galli plays on this, on the cracks that are opened up by confusion, especially if we bear in mind that the aforesaid objects ironically possess double, contradictory uses: being designed for control but also for protection.

Semantic and chromatic fluctuations, geometries, pattern-like repetitions, allusions to Norman Wilkinson-style dazzle camouflage, humour, cultural (re)mixes, trompe l’oeils and architectural scale. Carlo Galli bewitches and entices his audience with striking forms and colours only to continue by slapping them across the face with hard facts. He is able to fully capture the violent, negative charge oozing from objects, to dismantle and put them back together with new meaning, thus transforming them into devices of sensorial delight and, subsequently, of intellectual delight. All the above, yet always mindful that culture is no more (nor less) than a game.

BIOGRAPHY / CV

BIOGRAPHY

21/11/1981  Born in Pietrasanta (ITA)

2023   Lives and works in Milan (ITA). Currently  @ViaFariniWORK

EDUCATION

2000   Fine art High School, Lucca (ITA).

2005   University degree, Accademia di Belle Arti, (Sculpture), Carrara (ITA).

2008   Post degree specialization (Sculpture), Carrara (ITA).

SOLO EXIBITION

2020   Cozy Mesh  Alkatraz Galerija, Ljubljana (SLO)

2019   Out of order Question Mark Gallery, Milan (ITA)

2018   I JO ME, Sehsaal, Wien (AU)

2015   I sleep well AdhocPAD, Wien (AU)

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2022   This is Not a Curated Exhibition III, Galleria Ramo, Como (ITA); Tape art convention 2022 Berlin; Visoni (S) Velate ViaFarini, Milano; This place is full of love, Mista Mostra Spazio Lock, Milano. Open Studio in VIR ViaFarini Residency. Milano.

2021   The artist statement, (Turbine Art Fair) Johannesburg; Street of mind OZMO NEVE GALLI, Ex Marmi Pietrasanta; Vetrina, Piazza del Duomo, Pietrasanta.

2020   Klister Kunst Festival, Koge;  MT Art Project, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo.

2019   KB19-Karachi Biennale, Karachi; ‘Not only cigarettes’ Green cube Gallery, an IRL/URL exhibition.

2018   Tape Art Convention, Neurotitan Gallery, Berlin; ‘Qui dove tu vivi’ Casa Murabito, Casoli; Bau Out GAMC, Viareggio

2017   ‘Sincerity’, SHARE Festival, Torino.  ‘La conmociòn emocional ’Espacio Dörffi, Lanzarorte; ‘Vetrina’ Pietrasanta.

2016   ‘Dress Codex’ GAMC Viareggio; ‘House Guests’ SHARE Festival, Torino.

2015   ‘Cattivi natali’ Dadaboom, Viareggio; ‘Last Grexit to Brooklyn’, Centotto Gallery, New York; ‘Trasgressioni’ Dadaboom ,Viareggio (ITA).

2014   ‘From sea to you’ POCA gallery, Bilbao; ‘BRIDGED’ Bag Factory, Johannesburg; ‘BAU3D’ GAMC, Viareggio; FuoriCorso, Villa Bonaparte, Viareggio; ‘Questa strada è anche la mia’, Viareggio.

2013   ‘Insetti Inetti’ EXP, Carrara; ‘Inconvenzional-mente’ Palazzo Paolina Bonaparte; Marble Rumble, EXP, Carrara; Bau Dieci GAMC, Viareggio; ‘OVOQUADRO’ Palazzo Ducale, Massa

2012   ‘Il museo illuminato’ GAMC, Viareggio; ‘Bau nove’ GAMC,Viareggio; ‘TRANSITO’ Studio37, Las Palmas.

2011   ‘Pimp mi casa’ Viareggio ;

2010   ‘Sculture in Giardino’  Ristorante Lombardi, Torre del Lago Puccini; ‘Un quadro per rinascere’ GAMC, Viareggio; ‘Exteriors’ SMS, Pisa; ‘Pimp my mary’, Carrara.

2009   ‘VAP’ Villa Bonaparte. Viareggio.

WORKS / PROJECTS / RESIDENCIES

2022   VIR ViaFarini Residency. Milano (
2019   Art residency Studio17 Gran Canaria;  ‘Don’t forget to go home’ Live Performance, Millesuoni collective, Mian (ITA); ‘Binario10’ Public artwork, Via Ponchielli memorial Viareggio.
2018   Public Installation ‘Kulturschiene’, Salzburg.
2017   Residency program Espacio Dörffi, Lanzarote; Tape of meditation, curated by Lorenzo Mazza, Grimm Lab, Viareggio.
2016   ‘Safe Coffee’ Make Munich Fair, Munich
2015   Art residency  ‘Alternate access’. New York; Art residency in AdohcPAD, Wien. Schmiede Festival , Salzburg.
2014   Art residency in Bag Factory, Johannesburg; HENROUX Prize, Pietrasanta; Schmiede Festival, Salzburg.
2013   SCHMIEDE Festival,Salzburg; L21 chiama 6 artisti, Viareggio; ‘White night’ public Installation, Gambacorti Palace, Pisa; Pneumatic Circus/Trasmediale Festival, Berlin. “Carlo Galli 2011/2013”, curated by Gaia Querci. Ugo Guidi Museum, Forte dei Marmi.
2011    DRAWING(A)LIVE festival. L21, Viareggio.
2010    SLAM! L21, Viareggio.
2009    Humanitarian project ‘Quadro ONU/PNUD’, Havana (C); Kunstwollen L21, Viareggio.

PUBLICATIONS

Street Art guide Vienna, Wien (AU)
ART (inter) Paul D’agostino New York (USA)
Los Dictadores, Editorial Vortex (ESP)
Lanzarote Arte y Temporalidad, Adonay Bermudez (ESP)
Las instalaciones urbana de Carlo Galli JUXTAPOZ LATINO AMERICA
Carlo Galli y el robo de lo espacio publico, diariodelanzarote;
3D walls on tuscany, muralismomorte