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Florence / Jerusalem. Beyond the wailing walls Catalogue online now


 More importantly, beyond.

A presentation of Paolo Carandini's collection, Beyond the wailing walls.

Renata Summo-O'Connell

 Florence / Jerusalem . Beyond the wailing walls is a collection of unique works developed by Paolo Carandini over a period of twentyfour months between 2012 and 2013 ( the actual collection pieces are single edition although there will be art prints, in limited edition , available to the public).

In the 14 works that make up this collection of unique pieces, emerges a consistent tracing of streets and places in Florence and Jerusalem.

The impact of the wall in urban spaces, as well as the historic power and legacy of the wailing wall par excellence, the Jerusalem Wailing Wall, are considered and returned to us in a rendition that somehow surpasses the very struggle that walls with their barrier function oppose.

Far from being a geopolitical exercise, Carandini's gaze seems instead to look for and attempt at extracting,  another presence from corners, facades and venues of generally specific historic significance, (seen however from atypically insignificant viewpoints) : the "beyond", what is au-de la' of life as we know it.

The unstoppable natural , non-urban life of vines, leaves, fishes, insects, reptiles that finds its way in more or less plausible ways through the walls, above them, but more importantly beyond them, is a visible sign of this "beyond".

The wailing walls are therefore "perspiring" life, the very life they wanted to contain, restrain and perhaps fight. The wailing walls , despite their definition have a "beyond ", Carandini seems to say, and the exercise here is a quest for it .

However the scenes in the fourteen works are not suggesting a conflictual statement of domains. Carandini's ways to present his glimpses of the " beyond " are deliberately apolitical and rich instead in references where appear icons of his family past ( notably amongst others, the golden fishes painted by an artist grandfather surfacing beyond the Jerusalem Wailing Wall),  of recognizable artistic treasures ( Giotto's starry sky in the Scrovegni chapel) of modernity interpreted with almost a playful, rich humour. 

All sorts of possible and impossible explosions of seasonal signs of life seep through, sit on, cover the walls of Florence and Jerusalem' ancient quarters in fact. In one occasion Spring gloriously erupts, uncontainable, sparkly and golden in sunny splendour over an otherwise forgotten wall, actually taking the form of a surfer, riding nothing less than a fish (  Gerusalemme, quartiere ebraico /città vecchia /2 luglio 2013) ,

In FirenzeVia Isole delle Stinche, Giugno 2013, against a graffiti sprayed wall, above another wall, this time made of bycicles leaning against the graffiti, serenely spread, dominating above wall, graffiti and bykes, lies a gigantic black salamander.

Whimsically an owl stares at the viewer in an even more serene night , on a low wall, below a night sky, which openly refers to Giotto's starry dome in the Scrovegni chapel ( Firenze/Via della Lastra, settembre 2013). The "beyond" seems serenely fighting for its place.

The large work, Gerusalemme, oltre il muro del pianto- settembre 2013, defies any expectation of possible representations of a place loaded with such significance like the Jerusalem Wailing Wall is.

Here a scarcely populated square, in its desert-like, sandy, dusty colours, seems distant not only in space but in time.

The only work amongts the ones in the collection that represents human beings amongst its subjects, seems to acquire vitality only around its perimetres.

The frames are always significant in Carandini's works, and here the large frame mutates in its lower half into a lifeless, almost golden frame of varnished ivy, nearly succeeding in withering even that sign of life. However, beyond the upper section of the Wailing Wall, in a joyous , colourful , unstoppable surge of water folly, contrasting with the desert below, a group of plump pink-golden fishes play in circle, completely oblivious to the wall below, its dryiness, its desertic appearance and, it would appear, to its devout significance.

The Wailing Wall par excellence, as loaded as it is with its historic and religious signifiers, is  surpassed by a triumphing array of living beings, almost protected, if not accompanied, by an even more lively spray of magenta vines.

The work 's frame, here lavishly covered in a precious deep blue fabric, with its tan four corners, translates its elegance into a statement of boundaries as well as a field for our common game, where, like in all Carandini's works, the artist invites us to play with him.

Every tableau is infact also a three dimensional board game , where, teased by Carandini, we are invited to enter and play with him, to pretend that we understand so that he can show us other ways to interpret and move within his reproduced spaces, where play hide and seek and catch glimpses of the "beyond". Every work is a game, is a search that freely opens new rules and invites new moves, however always framed within its space. Notwithstanding the sumptuous fabrics, the frames are there to state that the artist means business albeit a playful one.

Paradoxically Carandini plays with the pain he says senses throug the walls, the graffiti words are like tears for him, seeping through the stones, a mourning for an original temple that is no longer here. Somehow he succeeds in reinstating it.



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