• Space, The Void on Which Everything Lies

    Spotlight and interview with the artist Cristiano Carotti and the Gallerist Giacomo Guidi about the solo exhibition in Rome

We have built a society that unfortunately often rewards mediocrity and marginalises outsiders, which lacks constructive criticism and love for past knowledge

What is a contemporary cluster? Defining this space through simple categorisation wouldn’t be correct; it’s more appropriate to consider it as the visual embodiment of a revolutionary artistic drive. Founded in 2016 by Giacomo Guidi, this project begins with the restoration of Palazzo Bravaccio, deep cultural value for the capital, symbolising a future artistic blossoming from a historic ground. 

It’s not merely an exhibition gallery but rather a true synergy of elements and factors, a fluid interaction among arts, space, creation, and contemporaneity. It’s structured into different “sectors”: a long corridor, a floor dedicated to exhibitions of younger artists, a café area, and a high-content bookshop.The note of multiplicity and metamorphosis of expression doesn’t just stop at the diversification of these spaces but continues with the addition of a residency service for artists. This bridge connected to tradition and a taste of the past serves as an incentive for creative support. In the apartment arranged on the 6th floor and designed by architect Giorgia Cerulli, artists have the opportunity to stay for a certain period to focus on their artistic production. Every corner and centimetre of this space bends and promotes collectivity and collaboration among elements of different origins for purely artistic and creative purposes: a continuous synergy and a pulsating vital sap.
At the core of the project is Giacomo Guidi, founder and artistic director of the gallery. A multifaceted figure, with a lively life full of exchanges and interactions with some of the greatest names in this field, he’s himself an example of the combination of different elements. Giacomo puts his thoughts into action; every word is the embodiment of a spirit that for more than 20 years has known how to break free from imposed frameworks, a revolutionary spirit fighting for artistic fervour.

The choice of a specific contemporaneity that resides within his space doesn’t follow a scheme but is dictated by a framework of elements such as his background, cultural formation, attitude, and melancholic vision. His artists, as he himself cites, are <<knights of time>>,  protectors of a past awareness and skilled artisans able to reshape tradition for the formation of a new future. <<To stay in your own time, with time, you must be a healthy bearer of tradition>>. This is what lies behind the choice of artistic content for the gallery; the talents he promotes are figures endowed with defined intellectual capacity: ethics, morals, literature, respect for masters are indispensable qualities. The rock and powerful essence of the exhibitions derive from the fact that the mood of the artists in question is serene; they have pure awareness and knowledge of the past, <<feeling cradled by history>> and departing from it to elaborate new visions.

What makes a gallery fertile ground is the significant connection with related elements. Artist and gallerist must be connected by a circular and binomial relationship. The gallery is a tool, a means through which the creative can express themselves, discovering new territories. Progress is linked to the ability to step out of one’s comfort zone. <<The quality of work comes from putting oneself in crisis>>. From the beginning, Giacomo absorbed from great intellectuals and made his own the continuous questioning, not settling for what we see, the need to investigate: the depth of thought, pathos, temporality, and the acceptance of our precariousness. <<We have built a society that unfortunately often rewards mediocrity and marginalises outsiders, which lacks constructive criticism and love for past knowledge>>. Strongly discussing this, Giacomo expresses the need for young voices, talents capable of producing and making art with purity, capable of seeing things with a spherical circularity, of creating an artistic community, participating in it, and remaining faithful to their instinct.

As a visual embodiment of this intertwining of themes, Contemporary Cluster hosts from Thursday, March 28th, ‘SPAZIO, the void on which everything lies,’ Cristiano Carotti’s solo exhibition, curated by Domenico de Chirico, visitable until Saturday, May 4th.

Cristiano Carotti, as the gallerist announces, is an alchemist of forms, with the skilful ability to confront matter courageously. Following the concept <<We are the appearance of our destiny through technique>>, he brings to life what wasn’t there before through a vision that finds comfort in technique. In this journey, part of a discourse initiated with the exhibition “Between Dog and Wolf” at the museum of Terni, the artist traces ethereal boundary lines between great extremes. There is a whirlwind of concepts and impulses delving into the unconscious and reasoning about the dichotomy of life and death with the aim of preserving perfect balance and the correct progression of the life cycle. After a profound crisis, man seeks to conquer the pinnacle of knowledge through spiritual refinement; he reclaims his qualities and energies and manages to elaborate a new communication and relationship between space, time, and causality. The essence of this exhibition is indeed a physical and conceptual shift, emphasised by curatorial choices, transitioning from the horizontal to the vertical. The theme of space is approached with the transition from the Anthropised Ecumene, a portion of land traversed and therefore known, to the ascetic Hermitage, the most inaccessible part that detaches from the earthly world.

The overall core of the works features as its main subject the “bare machine,” that analogical vehicle assuming the role of a similar prosthesis in the artist’s life. It is the extension through which he moves between dog and wolf; the essences and souls of the works. In this metamorphic and dynamic journey, where there is a progressive shedding of the outer shell in favour of an inner investigation; the machine is also a visual representation of the intricacies of life and the celestial vault in becoming. Indeed, in each work, the element of spirituality and the symbolism of constellations are concealed. Through the first work, “Venus, the Morning Star,” whose semblance resembles a votive candlestick, themes such as love, passions, and light are explored, drawing also from a spiritual matrix investigating the symbol of the candle as body, soul, and spirit.The luminous note plays a very important role in this initial encounter; indeed, as Cristiano explains, <<coming from a long dark corridor, it incorporates the additional conceptual function of “orienting” and contextualising the observer, providing a fixed point>>.

With the subsequent four works, one delves increasingly into the artist’s esoteric quest and addresses a path that revolves around and connects: man and machine, earthly roots and gravitational absence, eternal life and death. Throughout, there is this exploration of the path and the road, the line between extremes and the passage that emerges in between; there is a sort of metamorphosis of matter and the use of external elements as symbols and totems. The process of crafting behind the works assumes the role and significance of ritual and new rebirth. Through the continuous psychic investigation of the ego and the unconscious, one gradually arrives at a conclusion where light and darkness, origins and present, dog and wolf reaffirm themselves as the artist’s most personal transpositions. Therefore, Cristiano Carotti is a courageous alchemist who, following his instinctive creative flow, is capable of modifying and manipulating matter to arrive at the physical representation of his most abstract concepts.

Contemporary Cluster / Space, The Void on Which Everything Lies


Artist: Cristiano Carotti / @cristiano_carotti
Curator: Domenico De Chirico / @domenico_de_chirico
Venue: Contemporary Cluster/ @contemporary_cluster
Gallerist: Giacomo Guidi / @giacomoxguidi
Words: Annalisa Fabbrucci / @annalisa_fabbrucci
Editor: Maria Abramenko / @mariabramenko

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