Artist: Namsal Siedlecki
Exhibition title: Integument
Venue: Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Germany
Date: November 6 – December 4, 2016
Photography: R. Trevor Lloyd, all images copyright and courtesy the artist and Frankfurt am Main, Berlin
in·teg·u·ment (ĭn-tĕg′yoo͝ -mənt) n.
1. A natural outer covering or coat, such as the skin of an animal or the membrane enclosing an organ.
The Palio of Siena is an Italian horse race; ongoing since 1238. Traditionally the only tool the jockey has is the Nerbo, a whip made through traditional means by using a bull penis, hung from a ceiling with weights and left to stretch over the course of a few months until it reaches around a meter in length and is treated to dry and harden.
During the 1970’s in the United States, Mr. Howard Dill begins to cross pumpkin seeds in order to raise giant pumpkins, attempting to beat the world record. In 1981 Dill beats the world record for largest pumpkin and patents the seeds, the Dill Atlantic Giant that today, through elaborate techniques and tons of water, can grow pumpkins in excess of 1000kg.
Both are traditions, one goes back centuries and one is relatively recent. Both have a recreational purpose, the whip used for a horse race, inedible pumpkins grown for the sole purpose of competing for size. Both are examples of the human ability to pervert and dominate natural material, a continuous effort to force nature’s hand by means of artifice, opening the possibility of improvement.
Interested in the notion of the Achilles Heel, Siedlecki developed a technique to partially coat non-metallic objects with precious metals in a galvanic bath—a technique normally used in the industrial sector that enables a non-precious metal to be plated with a thin layer of a more precious metal through electrolytic deposits—leaving part of the organic material exposed to the elements where they would eventually rot and decompose, leaving behind a metal skin in the shape of the object it once could only partially protect.
For his exhibition at Frankfurt am Main, Siedlecki has elaborated this process and presents a new series of whips and seeds which have been entirely encapsulated with a uniform layer of Nickel; Creating an armor in an attempt to preserve the knowledge of tradition by embodying them in protective wrappings, a sarcophagi destined for posterity.
Namsal Siedlecki (US 1986, lives and works in Seggiano, IT) was recently awarded the Cy Twombly Italian Fellow in Visual Arts and the Premio Moroso. His work has been shown at institutions such as the American Academy in Rome; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Villa Romana, Florence; Villa Manin, Udine; Museo Apparente, Napoli; Cripta 747, Turin.