Spotlight: contemporary artist Francesco Vezzoli opts for baroque in his latest exhibition in London


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What would you like to know: Carlo Orsi, famous dealer of old masters and owner of Trinity Fine Art in London, invited contemporary Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli to use the gallery as a space to reimagine the world of Baroque sculpture. The result, an exhibition titled “The Odipus Complex”, links installation and conservation and explores the complex relationship between the 17th century Marquis Giovanni Corsi and his youngest son, Cardinal Domenico Maria Corsi. Vezzoli juxtaposes two busts of the father and son made by the Roman artist Alessandro Rondoni (circa 1644-1710), placing the two life-size representations on plinths wrapped in scarlet moiré silk made by the Gammarelli sewing workshop-Vatican suppliers since 1798. The pair of sculptures come directly from the Corsi family, in whose collection they have remained for more than three centuries, and here Vezzoli reintroduces them into a dramatic staging -stage.

Installation view of “Francesco Vezzoli: The Odipe Complex”, 2021. Courtesy of Trinity Fine Art.

Why we love it: This exhibition, organized in collaboration with the artist’s Italian gallery owner, Franco Noero, marks Trinity Fine Art’s first foray into the world of contemporary art, with a rural and provocative sensibility. Vezzoli operates as both artist and curator, creating a complex visual dialogue with Rondoni’s baroque busts. The busts were both commissioned in 1686 by the son, Domenico Maria Corsi, to commemorate his appointment as cardinal and to pay homage to his father Giovanni; the commission celebrates both the son’s lineage while also recognizing that his own position has elevated their family status. The two busts face each other, and between them Vezzoli placed an ancient Roman head of Janus, the god whose two faces look back and forward, symbolically embodying periods of transition. Vezzoli carved one of the faces of the statue again, while the other remains intact, in its weather-worn state. Together, these sculptures create an ongoing conversation between past and present, our history and our future. In a sense, exposure is also a recovery of Rondoni’s artistic heritage; although a contemporary of Bernini, his contributions faded over the intervening centuries. here Vezzoli presents his sculptures with a sense of glamor and energy worthy of the Baroque era.

Installation view "Francesco Vezzoli: The Odipe Complex" 2021. Courtesy of Trinity Fine Art.

Installation view of “Francesco Vezzoli: The Odipe Complex”, 2021. Courtesy of Trinity Fine Art.

What the gallery has to say: “Rondoni’s work and career fell in relative obscurity compared to those of his contemporaries, although he was a popular artist in his day. These two life-size bust portraits of the father and son stand out both for their exquisite quality and their provenance: they come directly from the Corsi family, in whose collection they have remained for over 300 years. It is a complex and familiar intellectual story. I told Francesco about these pieces and he was fascinated. So I invited him to work with them – for me it’s an exciting visual experience, ”said Orsi.

“Francesco Vezzoli: The Odipe Complex” is on view until November 1, 2021.

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