Paolo Gioli
April 10 – May 18, 2015
Opening Friday April 10, 6-9pm

Volti_Paolo Gioli

Paolo Gioli, Volto attraverso la propria mano (Face Through Her Own Hand), 1996, b/w photographic print, 16 x 20″

Microscope Gallery is very pleased to welcome Italian artist Paolo Gioli to the gallery for Volti (Faces), his first solo exhibition in the US. Paolo Gioli, who is among the artists representing Italy at this year’s Venice Biennial, began his practice with painting and has been working with 16mm film and photography since 1969, altering and reinventing historical photographic tools and techniques to achieve unprecedented uses of light and chemicals.
“I am not against technology, on the contrary I enjoy it deeply, I observe it, nonetheless in my work the more present is the technique, the more it is dismantled.” – PG

Volti includes selections from three photographic series and two moving images works in which the face as the manifestation of the individual – a recurrent subject of Gioli’s work as well as in the Italian Renaissance imagery to which the artist was frequently exposed during his early studies – is used to investigate identity, anonymity, the corporeal properties of the image, and the memory retained within over time.

In the black & white photographic series Volti Attraverso (Faces Through, 1987-2002), the artist revisits the photo-finish technique, involving the movements of the strip camera, the film roll within, and the subject at the moment the film is exposed. By slipping film fragments of other images into the camera’s aperture, Gioli addresses the changing nature of the self merging the human with natural elements such as spider webs, beehives, letters and text, and even a branch from a work by Talbot and the eyes of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

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Paolo Gioli, Luminescente, 2010, Polaroid photograph, 12 x 10 inches

Works from Gioli’s 2007 Luminescenti (Luminescent) – large format Polaroids of statues from the Vatican and Capitaline Museums – show the stone immortal expressions in glowing green hues achieved with special florescent chemicals in the dark room and emphasize the parallels between the fixed nature of the mediums of sculpture and photography. Another black & white series on view, Sconosciuti (Unknown Persons) from 1994, finds Gioli re-shooting anonymous 1950s photographic ID plates under angled lights to expose the behind-the-scene process of manually retouching and improving the facial traits of the subject and to reflect upon the additional identities given to individuals whose names have been lost to time.

Two moving image works bookend the show: Quando i volti si toccano (When Faces Touch, 16mm film, 2012, 6 minutes 44 seconds), a cascade of unknown portraits resulting from contact printing of old plates and negatives onto 16mm film strips and Il volto inciso (The Graven Face, video, 1984, 10 minutes 40 seconds), an attempt to revive Etruscan grave statues through multiple projection and superimposition of footage of friends and other living persons.


Paolo Gioli: Volti, installation view

Paolo Gioli was born in Sarzano, Italy, in 1942. After attending the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, he travelled to New York in 1967 on a study grant from the John Cabot Foundation, where he familiarized himself with the art scene of the time and discovered the “New American Cinema”. Once back in Italy, living between Rovigo and Rome, he traded one of his paintings for a Bolex camera. In 1969 he completed his first films, commencing an exploration of photography that still continues today. Gioli’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Centre G. Pompidou, Paris, France; Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (Monaco); Musée Nicéphore Nièpce, Châlon-sur-Saône, France; Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy; MART, Rovereto, Italy; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; among others. His films have screened at San Francisco MoMA, New York Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinemathèque Francaise, Paris, France; Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin, Italy, among many others. His works are in the collections of Galleria Nazionale d’art Moderna Rome, Italy; Centre G. Pompidou, Paris, France; the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Museum of Modern Art, New York. Paolo Gioli will participate in the 2015 Venice Biennial. He lives and works in Lendinara, Italy.

Paolo Gioli: Volti is co-curated with Enrico Camporesi and Eline Grignard, independent curators based in Paris.
A screening of films by Paolo Gioli followed by a Q&A with the artist will be presented on Monday April 13, 7.30pm, curated by Enrico Camporesi.

Paolo Gioli: Volti opens Friday April 10, 6-9pm and runs through May 18, 2015. Artist in attendance on April 10th for the opening night as well as the screening on April 13th.
Hours: Thursday through Monday, from 1 to 6pm.


Sconosciuti (Unknown Persons)

Paolo Gioli, from the series Sconosciuti (Unknown Persons), 1994, b/w photographic print, 12 x 9.5 inches

Paolo Gioli: Volti, installation view

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