Paul Geelen at Barriera

Artist: Paul Geelen

Exhibition title: Chance Encounter

Curated by: P/////AKT and Progetto Diogene

Venue: Barriera, Turin, Italy

Date: June 9 – July 1, 2017

Photography: Cristina Leoncini, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and P/////AKT, Amsterdam

Turin – On Thursday June 8 from 6pm at Barriera – via Crescentino 25 – the solo exhibition Chance Encounter by artist Paul Geelen will open to the public. The exhibition is the result of a collaborative project between Progetto Diogene and P/////AKT (Amsterdam) in the context of the exchange program Drawn Onward.

Paul Geelen’s project, Chance Encounter, stems from an archaeological find a farmer discovered in 1877, when he was ploughing the fields in the countryside around Piacenza. The object, dubbed ‘Piacenza’s liver’*, is a bronze sculpture with Etruscan inscriptions depicting a sheep’s liver and was used for reading the stars.

In the display in Barriera exhibition space, the artist created his own life-size version of the Etruscan liver and opposite is an actual sheep’s liver lodged on a cooling surface specially made to preserve it. The two objects speak of two, only apparently known, realities. If, on the one hand, we know what the origin and use of Piacenza’s liver are, on the other, we may wonder how far our knowledge goes. Can we really interpret this object the same way as those who made it? And also the real liver. An organ we possess, which yet remains concealed.

To these two objects Geelen adds another ‘known’ one: for the first time, he carved two black polystyrene blocks, two parallelepipeds. In his practice, the artist indeed employs a new material he has not used before in every exhibition. And so the polystyrene solids, cut with an incandescent blade, reveal residues that are charged with meaning. Almost as if they towered over the solid mass of the two parallelepipeds, whose shape recalls the two brain hemispheres. The ‘noble’ organ, Plato reminds us, that communicated with the rest of the body through the liver’s reflecting and shiny surface; a liver, as we have seen, that is used to see into the future. The artist further evokes this concept through the sound effect of a passing train: sound is movement, the prime condition for the future.

*(a life-sized bronze model of a sheep’s liver covered in Etruscan inscriptions, II-I sec. B.C.)

Paul Geelen (1983) lives and works in Amsterdam. From 2004 to 2008 he studied at the AKV | St. Joost in Breda. In 2014 he completed his two-year residency at de Ateliers in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include: A Minor State of Flux – Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam (2017), Sliding under traces – A Tale of Tub, Rotterdam (2016), Survival Blur – Grey Light Projects, Brussels (2015), Percussive Hunter – Akbank Sanat, Istanbul (2015), Axis Mundi (Art as a healing tool) – Moinsun, Paris (2015), The Hidden Picture – Cobra Museum, Amstelveen (2014), Offspring – de Ateliers, Amsterdam (2014) and Æon Flux at P/////AKT, Amsterdam (2014).

Drawn Onward is an exchange project between P/////AKT in Amsterdam (NL) and Progetto Diogene in Turin (IT). Both organisations that operate on a non-for-profit basis, are interested in establishing a dialogue with the artist in order to support and promote his research in the contemporary art filed.

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

Paul Geelen, Chance Encounter, 2017, exhibition view, Barriera, Turin

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