Un letto di frasche

Solo exhibition - Giulia Mangoni

With material interventions by Valerio Panella

9th April - 6th June, 2024

Opening: 9th April, from 6pm - 9pm

ArtNoble Gallery is pleased to present Un letto di frasche, a solo exhibition by Giulia Mangoni, in dialogue with material installations by architect Valerio Panella.

For her second solo exhibition at the gallery, Mangoni continues her exploration of the memories associated with the Ciociaria (territory which extends from Rome to Naples), which began with the exhibition ‘Bits and Cream. Metabolizzazione d’Archivio’ in 2021, delving into a magical-realistic vision where the rural world and its characters come to life through material installations and oil paintings. The artist approaches this exhibition with the urgency to ‘synthesize’ the narrative while simultaneously capturing the viewer’s attention with five large canvases, encapsulating fantastical and autobiographical elements. Valerio Panella’s scenographic intervention places materials such as wood, limestone, and straw in their elemental forms within the gallery space, introducing a ‘silent’ reality that leaves no escape routes; these interventions, combined with Mangoni’s exhuberant paintings, accompany the viewer on a dynamic and unique journey.

The leitmotif of the exhibition Un letto di frasche takes inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s, when the Ciociaria became the stage for spaghetti western films due to their proximity to the Cinecittà studios in Rome. It’s amusing to note how these films suddenly gained immense popularity in these areas, thanks to an electrified and excited audience witnessing their own lands merge with the American dream, their valleys transforming into the vast and unknown Nevada, so often seen in Hollywood productions. Suddenly, Rocca Secca becomes the Mexican desert, and something light-years away takes on familiar, homely connotations. Mangoni takes inspiration from this subtle deception and reverses it: in her works, elements and landscapes from other territories are stolen, filtered, and juxtaposed with local landscapes to construct representations that stage a sort of ‘Ciociaro film.’ Instead of taking her own lands and turning them into ‘lands of others’, Mangoni takes images from everywhere and roots them in ‘her’ territory, ironically commenting on the expectation for authenticity connected to the ideal rural landscape.

This play between reality and fiction finds unexpected freedom in her paintings, which not only avoid having a heavy and judgmental gaze towards this dichotomy but somehow protect it, making it an integral part of the modernization process in which we are all called to participate. The theme of magic - always present in Mangoni’s works - suggests a kind of ‘secret vitality’ nestled in this dichotomy: the creative energy of man and nature blend, shaping each other’s forms and colours, as if the relationship between opposites is not only passively accepted but almost sought after as the cradle of these regenerative processes. Thus, Mangoni’s canvases come to life, in dialogue with material elements, and the scenography loses its functional role and becomes part of the creation.

Giulia Mangoni has been exploring the idea of rootedness in relation to a specific territory for almost a decade, focusing on narratives where the periphery, the rural, and the ex-industrial converge to create layered and rich landscapes in which paradoxes are maintained in balance. Valerio Panella studies the relationship between the cultural, and agricultural landscapes, sustainability, and socioeconomic changes, oscillating his practice between architecture, art, and design. He believes it is essential to directly experiment with different forms, languages and materials through his research which is strongly focused on the exploration of natural elements, using different techniques of building and spatial awareness.