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Paolo Novelli/Sabrina Mezzaqui

La notte non basta/I quaderni di Adriano

30.06 - 24.09.2016

And now, to wind up a season of so many adventures—six fairs (Paris, Turin, New York, Milan, Brussels, and soon, Basel), major shows (David Malkovic, Enzo Mari, John Hilliard, Sheila Hicks, Roger Ballen), the publication of four short books in a new 15×15 cm series (Stanley Brouwn, Enzo Mari, John Hilliard, Sheila Hicks), here’s a two-person exhibition to underscore our interest in the work of young artists.
Paolo Novelli and Sabrina Mezzaqui talk to each other behind closed doors. Or closed windows, I should say, looking at the photos from this new group of works by Novelli. He works by families of pictures, with a project to bring to completion, while Mezzaqui follows different impulses, trying to guide them back into a single current.
Paolo Novelli presents us with his latest undertaking, a series of black-and-white photos, strictly analogue, with traditional film and paper.
The facades of houses: no big buildings, just houses, some humble, some dignified, often old or ancient, lots of shutters, not many roller blinds. Photographed at night, with or without streetlights, sometimes with bulbs shining in the camera, sometimes with a light source outside the frame, just as the intention seems to lie elsewhere: what’s going on in there? Behind those shutters, which we used to call jalousies?
A curious, gossipy old neighbor spies on two lovers kissing outside the frame, near the streetlight, but in the shadows to be more discreet.
In the background are images of towns, not cities or metropolises. No anonymous skyscrapers, just small village houses. You sense that behind the shutters, the table’s being laid for dinner, country rice with chicken livers.
In answer, Sabrina Mezzaqui offers the memory and nostalgia of a recherche that ranges between the memoirs of Hadrian and the poetry of Simone Weil.
With characteristic gentleness, she takes us by the hand and leads us on tiptoe into one of the most beautiful dwellings ever built, Villa Adriana in Tivoli: the delicacy of paper and pencil retraces decorated floors that blossom before our eyes every time we page through her notebooks, like a story.
A subtle exhibition in which emptiness brims with poetry. Sabrina’s works are not only an elegant tribute to the beauty of writing, but the artist’s gift to each of us: a new alphabet to help see the world through fresh eyes.