TETRACONTAMERON focuses on a 14th Century Italian text The Decameron, by Giovanni Boccaccio, in order to re-establish a practice of artistic or literary common property and open source usage across the artworks displayed. Investigating notions of authorship and the production of surpluses of creative content from existing works of art, the exhibition addresses works that have in their own right been taken directly from the text, such as Botticelli’s quadriptych depiction of the story of Nastagio degli Onesti and Pasolini’s film Il Decameron.
This exhibition brings together a number of threads invoking dynamics between fine and applied art making and will consist of four main works including an industrially hand-tufted carpet produced by Newby and designed together with invited artist/designer Drew Liverman from Austin, Texas. Depicting two out of four of Botticelli’s panels the carpet will be presented alongside another collaborative work comprised of nine glazed ceramic silhouettes depicting examples of ancient Iberian pottery. Produced in collaboration with artist Ana Martínez Fernández these works discuss the fluidity of how, from region to region, decorative motifs are exchanged before the public sector asserts to establish an index of associated characteristics—perhaps stifling its natural current as an ever expanding vernacular of techniques.
Further works appropriating political and ornamental themes aimed at uncovering mechanical elements behind art and design include stock characters from the Commedia dell’ Arte and the woebegone clown Pierrot, rendered by the 19th century political cartoonist Gustave-Henri Jossot for an early Cointreau liqueur advertisement. These works employ the concept of ‘open source’ as an operative model; emphasizing invention and authorship as fugitive parts of a larger, collective surfeit of art-historical tropes and techniques.