Nicola Samorì's relationship to the sources of his pictures is suffused with a continuous grappling with the history of visual art–not didactic, but substantive. His work as a painter and sculptor necessarily implies confrontation with this legacy, which nowadays is all too often regarded as unwieldy ballast. Samorì has no fear of the past or of his predecessors. He takes possession of them as role models and uses them to traverse the necessary path of knowledge and self-knowledge, using them as instruments to deconstruct their language and to found his own poetics.
The suggestive power of an art-historical icon can be so great that it is reworked again and again over the centuries; each work becomes a building block that gradually loses every component of recognisability, increasingly becomes one with its respective creator, and moves ever further away from the original work. (...)
In the exhibition's painterly works, Nicola Samorì works with the natural flaws in marble and onyx slabs, with cavities, geodes, and aggregates in the material. The figures in his pictures fit these flaws, rather than hiding them; sometimes these imperfections are repurposed as eyes, sometimes they dissolve into blossoms or faces, and sometimes they imitate nipples. The motifs develop out of a physical defect or deficiency and often point to the martyrdom of biblical or art-historical figures: Lucretia, St. Lucia, or St. Jerome. And when the raw material is flawless, as in the case of Santa Lucia in white Carrara marble, then it the artist who, with his processing, inserts a disruption or anomaly: as in a surgical intervention, he implants natural geodes in the material's eye sockets. The act that blinds the picture opens the gaze of those who view it–for new interpretations of the canon.
Excerpt from a text by Chiara Stefani
Translation from the Italian by Sabine Heymann
Press release courtesy Galerie Eigen + Art.