Marcelo Moscheta, 218 a. C.

Preview 23 September 2015, h. 6.30 pm
24 September - 14 November 2015

Riccardo Crespi gallery presents 218 a. C., the second exhibition in Italy by the Brazilian artist Marcelo Moscheta.
Unlike in his previous experience in Italy, where it was the land that provided the starting point for an attempt to retie the threads of a remote family origin, the artist made use of a more general cue here: beginning with a period of residence-study in the province of Piacenza, Moscheta has investigated the local territory, exploring the natural landscape and sifting through the region’s museums to find out everything he could about a particular event in history. In 218 BC, during the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hannibal defeated the Romans on the banks of the river Trebbia, in part thanks to his celebrated crossing of the Alps with 37 elephants. The specific episode becomes – as often happens with this artist who operates at times with the eye of the archaeologist, at others with that of the geographer or the biologist – the point of departure for a series of considerations on the relationship between humanity and nature, as well as on the perception of time and memory.
The Trebbia Valley has preserved the traces of a past that is remote and yet still alive: in the stones of the Trauma series it is possible to hypothesize a memory of the events of that ancient war. The locally collected pebbles, patiently polished by the river, have been shattered by Moscheta, putting on stage – and in fact the cataloguing is divided into five “acts” – the eruption of human brutality into the natural process, disrupting the slow course of change through a violent and immediate destruction.
The aspect of archaeological cataloguing is also present in the works Fossil #1 and Fossil #2. Composed of the remains of trees found on the banks of the Trebbia, they recall fossils of animals trapped in slate, but also living shoots in the stone. And we find it too in Trophy, a drawing in graphite on black PVC in which the tusk of an elephant recalls the booty of war and Linnaean taxonomy.
The exhibition is completed by several mixed-media works from the Revolution series. Taking a photograph as his cue, Moscheta has used paint and collage to allude to the relationship between chaos and order: the wilderness that takes back the space once inhabited by human beings. The artist’s classificatory intent find expression through the insertion of spurious materials – Pantone cross-references, sheets of graph paper, cuttings from old registers – and refers directly to the attempt to regularise and control natural “revolution”.