Man Ray Effect #2

Piero Cavellini

in “Effetto Man Ray #2”, exhibition catalogue, Spazio Contemporanea, Brescia, Edizioni Nuovi Strumenti, Brescia 2017

Silvio Wolf was already part of the list of authors for the previous “Effetto Man Ray” exhibition and here he is sort of representing a link. At the time, he was a young photographer who paid attention to the transformations that the use of the camera in an artistic context was implementing in different ways. Back then, we exhibited his artwork “Cambi d’Orizzonte” (“Changes of Horizon”), which was a diptych in Cibachrome from 1977 that was expressing the relationship between time and space, as I was indicating in the short personal caption dedicated to him in the catalogue. Logical and conceptual expressive action quite used in that period, but, because of the contents freshness and the technical expertise, it was displaying him as a real promise to deal with in order to participate in his progresses. Prediction that he proved right in a really short amount of time.

In 1989, I dedicated him our first solo exhibition that was part, amongst others, of the incipit of a newly opened space in Via Pastarengo, in the Isola district of Milan, indeed dedicated to the installation ideas of a new generation of artists that I was aiming to promote.

“ENCLAVE, progetto di fusione spaziotemporale” (“ENCLAVE, space-time fusion project”), I believe was an important exhibition both for me and for the artist, who was really committed to its great success. It was a sort of environmental recreation dedicated to the Islamic colours and to fragments of some of its iconographic aspects, the whole thing carried through the space as it was a small enclave from which just a cute notebook was left.

Since then, we started hanging out with each other, this relationship brought us, after a few group exhibitions with other authors from the same context, to the production of the installation “Condomini” (“Condominiums”) in 1992, displayed in my gallery in Via Gramsci in Brescia, where the artist exhibited himself in symbiosis, in a “double flight”, with Franz Kafka, recalling his presence to comment the Primo Raduno Aviatorio Internazionale di Montichiari (First International Aviation Convention) in 1901. It might have been one of the most beautiful and complex exhibition I’ve ever realised. In that period, our collaboration had its climax with the publication of an important monograph about his work, summarising most of it, titled “Light Specific”.

Even though my career as a gallerist was then drawing to a closure, I didn’t stop taking care of his work and following him step by step also in the transformations, which, even though they were consequent to each other in nature, were growing in nature and drying out in shape.

His current work, which is partially going to be displayed, could look like it is dedicated to the making of “abstract” photography. I said “look” because the definition of this oxymoron has subtended within itself a “realistic” form too. In fact, in “Soglie a Specchio” (“Mirrored Threshold”), the subject is a curtain repeatedly moved by a public pedestrian who, vanished due to a long exposure, disappears from the image leaving instead a series of geometric forms emphasized by the mirrored support. Finally, in “Orizzonti” (“Horizons”), the subject is the enlargement of the first piece of photographic film exposed to the light during the loading process, which then becomes the threshold between darkness and light creating a completely abstract picture.