Galleria Campari, Milano
curator: Ilaria Bonacossa and Michela Murialdo
as the winner of the first
Campari Art Prize @Artissima 2017
“Must the precious porcelain be merely cared for and looked at, or should it be used, with the risk of breaking it?” Sári Ember – on the occasion of her first Italian solo show, held in the exhibition spaces of the Galleria Campari – presents a new cycle of works.
Drawing inspiration from a verse of Sin of Pride by the American poet John Koethe, the artist reflects on the importance of history and the need man has to tell it and represent it, to ensure it may be remembered and handed down. Thanks to a subtle and refined narrative capacity intrinsic to her work, starting out from her own personal history, the artist outlines the lives of the collectivity, bringing them into this intimate museum dimension.
Sári Ember’s artistic research focuses on the idea of identity, on the way in which this may be represented through objects and through the notion of home, meant here as belonging and heritage, the guardian of a past and the bearer of interior change.
The series of works produced on the occasion of the exhibition is rooted in her recent interest in the classic genre of portraiture, leading her to push the confines of the shape of the face to its most abstract limits. Using materials with a strong symbolic value such as ceramics, stone and marble, Ember reduces her faces to abstract shapes which, in terms of features and forms, evoke faces, busts and masks, creating a magical aura of memories, traditions, rituals, lost identities and multiple stories.
The display setting itself in which the artist places her works takes on a fundamental role for reflection and imagination, in a sort of secret dialogue, almost as if to suggest that they come to life when no longer in the presence of humans. A great dark blue curtain creates an intimate, almost domestic environment, which at the same time takes on the semblance of a theatre backdrop; a closed stage on which the spectator may enter into confidence with the works that constitute a secret garden to be explored.
With Since our stories all sound alike, the artist ponders Hungarian society’s difficulties in facing the end of life and the loss of loved ones, thus manifesting a nostalgic tendency to conserve and gather all the objects that make it possible to maintain a link with the past. The show and the new works by Sári Ember thus make it possible to raise a number of key questions on the role, the influence and our dependence on objects within society.