‘In the individual’s mental life someone else is invariably involved, as a model, as an object, as an helper, as an opponent; and so from the very first individual psychology, in this extended by entirely justifiable sense of the words, is at the same time social psychology as well’ Sigmund Freud, 1921
This collective show is Galleria Marcolini’s fifth exhibition and features, together for the first time, works by Gigi Scaria (New Delhi, 1973), Giovanni Lanzoni (Fusignano, 1979) and Romina Bassu (Roma, 1982). The exhibition is named after Freud’s book on group psychology, published in 1921, where he described group-individual dynamics whilst analysing phenomena of group’s aggregation, defection and dissolution.
Following Untitled by Scaria (one of the four artists at the Indian Pavilion, Venice Biennial, 2011), Lanzoni and Bassu created two ad hoc works for the exhibition, in this way contributing a triptych. Scaria’s work features a group of empty chairs with no one sat on them; the other two artists focused on the vacant object too, a powerful metaphor of the absence-presence dynamics so closely related to the group.
Three are the works by Scaria presented here, amongst which, Who deviated first, a black and white photograph of the iconic sculpture by Indian artist Roy Choudhury, whose style was influenced by Giacometti and Moore. The sculpture describes a moment within the salt march, a pivotal moment of the peaceful revolution guided by Gandhi and a symbol of a freedom re-earned by the Indian people. The group-theme straddles Scaria’s artistic production; also in his paintings and videos, Scaria describes the urban (and social) evolutions of his country, changes characterized by antagonistic drives such as globalisation and localism.
For Group Psychology Giovanni Lanzoni presents various collages, some big- sized, all group-related works hinting at the dynamics between the individual and the site where he or she dwells, works and plays. For Lanzoni, a group is made up of birds too, as those positioned on the ladder in White House Museum. And we often experience in his oeuvre a transcendental presence, as in Bonsaii Club (Contest) where nine men are placed one next to the other and fight to win the bonsaii competition. The individuals, nearly oxymoric in their off-tune heterogeneity, are connected by a unifying principle, which in this case is the collective fervour for a recreational activity.
Same metaphysics for Romina Bassu; the Rome-born painter looks at the 1950s as her cultural and aesthetic reference, and through her retro-spectic brush elaborates a synthetic visual narrative where social truisms and gendered roles and identities are encoded into a ritualised system of group-dynamics. Organigramma (Organogram), for one thing, is a powerful representation of these dynamics, an organic group of people sharing the very same social conventions.
For the artists’ biographies please visit Galleria Marcolini’s website.