“Western Promises” is the name of the first solo exhibition of Italian sculptors Emiliano Perino and Luca Vele, opened at the COD (Center for Openness and Dialogue, Tirana) on September 19th until October 31st, 2019. The exhibition is a selection of some of their most significant works (sculptures, drawings, installations; a documentary on the technique these artists work with, by Antonello Matarazzo). The exhibition is curated by Gaetano Centrone and Genti Gjikola.
The central work, “Pelle d’elefante”, (Elephant’s skin) is a huge installation sculpture occupying almost the entire floor of the space in which it is located. It is the skin of a large animal (created by the “papier-mâché” technique), transformed into a carpet, where the two iron armchairs standing on it invite you to sit. This is the artistic irony of the welfare that today’s modern man provides for himself, by exhibiting superiority over one another, thus not treading on just a skin but on human and social principles.
The hope for change, inside the exhibition, is immersed in amphorae which form an ensemble named “Elpis” (“Hope”). The amphorae themselves (as a representation of archaeological sites) externally are partially coated with layers made by the “papier-mâché” technique, layers that carry (through newspapers as a component of the subject matter) contemporary attitudes, thus approximating the coexistence of time and different mind-sets.
This ensemble of installation amphorae relates to their drawings (amphorae) at the entrance of the exhibition. Each of them (drawings) is respectively related to a philosophical expression of hope as a feeling, expressed by different renowned personalities across the world.
The closing work of the exhibition is “Luoghi comuni” (“Common Places”, 2011). The work itself is an installation made of galvanized iron poles, where adhered are layers made with the “papier-mâché” technique. This installation presents various social-political events that have shocked today’s Italian society. Consequently, the creativity of the artists in question serves as a call for attention to disturbing social phenomena, as a spiritual awakening, so indispensable in times of moral turmoil.
Undoubtedly, the moral deterioration of human society is not partial. Regardless of the type of flaw, its depth, it does not affect only one nationality, one administrative space. More than ever, thanks to geographical interaction, and not only internal-ethical interaction, the signs that human society suffers are increasingly similar and widespread. For this reason the creativity of the artists in question even though driven by contemporary Italian issues, don’t only address that. “Western promises” are an accusation of unfulfilled commitments by the “West”.
* Emiliano Perino was born in New York in 1973, and Luca Vele was born in Rotondi in 1975. Their professional journey begins in the late 1990s. They have a style of their own and well defined in the field of contemporary art. Their artistic language captures urban spaces living with cultural traditions, not only Italian traditions but with Mediterranean traditions as well. Among the most notable features of their work is the ability to recognize, select and process the material from which artwork is then acquired. Papier-mâché technique creates artistic objects that represent not only forms and objects of common aesthetics, but also social events and phenomena. Emiliano Perino and Luca Vele participated for the Onufri Award (2017-2018) during its 23rd year running in Albania.