The Chimera Complex

The Chimera Complex


We're pleased to announce our upcoming group show THE CHIMERA COMPLEX, featuring Jacopo Benassi, Benni Bosetto, Chiara Camoni, Giulia Cenci and Diego Gualandris, curated by Antonio Grulli. 

March 31 – May 27
Artists Reception: Thursday, March 30, 6pm

When the antiquities of the past begin to re-emerge in the Renaissance, it is not only a concept of beauty made up of harmony and order, proportion and pleasantness, purity and a desire for elevation that comes back to life. No: along with the great classical masterpieces, also the grotesques, wall decorations from the Roman imperial period designed to adorn the most prestigious houses, the most famous of which is Nero's Domus Aurea, also re-emerge. They call them grotesques because these dwellings were at that time buried, and it was necessary to descend underground to admire the paintings. Grotesques are representations of monsters, fantastic animals, chimeras, decorations in which the eccentric and the deformed are configured as the hidden face of the Renaissance and which are greeted with a mixture of wonder and suspicion by the artists of the period.

When we dig into our depths in search of treasures anything can resurface. For us Italians, the underground world is a reference universe rooted in the mists of time. The Etruscan civilization was able to worship and represent it like no other: chthonic forces were at the center of its rituals and art ­ – just think of the statue of the Chimera of Arezzo, unearthed just in the 1500s. There is something so contemporary about this. I have always perceived the internet explosion of the last decades as a kind of resurfacing of an endless ocean of informations, data, memories, images, not only of the present but also of the past. A kind of excavation into human knowledge in which everything is retrievable. But excavations into the deep also release our ghosts, our fears, our perversions. The Internet is both archive and subconscious, and the level of its contents overflows at a speed infinitely greater than that of the seas and oceans.

Beauty today can only then be something very much like the grotesques, an unstable and metamorphic material in which the bizarre becomes the norm, and in which nothing exists as a given and stationary entity but presents itself as continuous hybridization. When everything coexists and everything touches, when everything communicates by transcending physical and temporal distances, inevitably everything becomes infected and contaminated. And perhaps this is beauty in its truest essence. Because beauty is something difficult to define, but it always takes the form of the construction of a meaning endowed with its own internal restlessness, with a destabilizing force of all our certainties, of all our fixed points: always. And I want to use this term - “beautiful” - without fear, without guilt, because I still firmly believe in the beautiful, because I know that it still has its own strength, it has its own meaning; it is not something outdated.

The beautiful is to be understood as diametrically opposed to “pretty”: there is nothing pretty and pleasant in the truly beautiful, nothing comfortable and reassuring, nothing that comes to give us confirmation and pacification. The beautiful must frighten, albeit covertly, or beautiful it is not. And this is especially true today, when it seems that art should not and can no longer raise problematic aspects, as if the society wanted to save us from something too strong for us, making us feel like individuals not yet adult, not yet ready for pure truths, the deeper ones, the ones that hurt. As if we could only deal with a diluted, homogenized, simplified truth, administered in homeopathic mode, from which every shadowy side, every ambiguity, every mystery, every monstrous side has been stripped away.

That is why we wanted to bring a load of lava material from our land to Switzerland.

– Antonio Grulli

Rämistrasse 37
8001 Zürich
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