Wake-Up Call solo exhibition by Luca Staccioli at ArtNoble Gallery is now on view until March 9, 2023. Wake-Up Call recreates an intimate playground, a path made by the artist’s alter-ego child self, where all the objects are the result of the fervid imagination of this child. The place for play and re-imagination offers the visitor a sci-fi reality, with distorted objects presented in different scales: too small, too big, and always imperfect in their external finish. Here, our child-self is evoked and present, our inner child finds familiar objects and wants to play with them recreating infinite stories and scenarios. Until the bell rings and the shrill Wake-Up Call reawakens us all.
As a child, I remember not linking playing with dolls or Barbie. I would rather play with toy cars or the “Piccoli Fiammiferini” (Little Matchstick Dolls, invented between the ‘70s and the ‘80s) instead, and creating for them long itineraries using the vastity of my entire home. The itinerary included a lot of useful stations: a table to eat at, a market to go and shop food, a garden to play, an animal fence, a bed where to sleep and rest, and so on, with new stories all the time. Here at ArtNoble Gallery on the occasion of Wake-Up Call show of Luca Saccioli, my inner child is strongly awakened and called back from a past life I barely remember. My moments of childhood entertainment vividly came back to life. And consequent joy and excitement. When exposed to the act of play and the use of imagination, our mind enters a status of trance, it is kidnapped by the flowing images and a fictional world unexpectedly appears, where to take shelter in memories and dreams.
Wake-Up Call has the power of putting us in that same trance our mind used to go, when we were playing as children. Looking at the drawn road marking on the floor, we are immediatly dragged in a fantasy world populated by the artist’ recreated toys. Ceramic sculptures of different scale and dimensions are installed in the path, now as tools to play with, now as landmarks tracing destinations of a distorted journey. Among the sculptures, we find scattered shopping carts on the ground, remains of an alienating playground that, instead of being a spontaneous and carefree construction of identity, is actually eroded by consumption.
The series Checkout, in fact, aims to evoke a reflection on nowadays exaggerated consumption. The compulsory shopping, which aims at buying, possessing, having, and showing off, with a consequent obsession for what is new or not (yet) ours. In Luca Staccioli’s fictional world, the hyper-present and hyper-fast icon of online shopping becomes a fetish, as fetishized are the goods it contains.
Suddenly, the path becomes a bridge from our childhood to our present adulthood awakened by what is brutal and real: the imperfection of the present.
On the wall, can be found the photographic series Familiar Stories (returns), which immortalizes maquettes of domestic places, that are reconstructed in play-doh and inhabited by paper figures from archival photographs of prisoners, redrawn and shaped by the artist. The anonymous characters are decontextualized from their unknown origins, externalizing History and its oppressive presence. The artist imagines a child who, browsing through family albums, finds figures of war and violence and turns them into object-actors in his game. The instant of the game, stopped by the photographic shot, reveals the nightmares hidden in everyday life, the theatricalization of intimate places in social networks, and our being puppets of a play already written. In dialogue, also on the wall, drawings from the series Studio per una protesta: cieli in which prisoners and everyday memories free themselves, dive, and dance together, opening up the imagination of new possibilities.
At the end of this path full of enemies and distractions, a ceramic castle stands on the wall, memory of ancient artistic techniques (the bassorilievo for instance), and representing for us the final destination of this fictional journey: our salvation. In this story, we are the knight; the stops on the way are the obstacles we need to overcome and beat. Consumerism here is the great villain, who temps us (the knight) along the way, and we need to overcome each temptation in order to arrive at the final step and let the good win over the evil.
Driiiiiiin, suddenly, we hear a sharp noise. A bell rings and the time for playing is over: the final Wake-Up Call brings us back to the inevitable here and now.
Text by Eleonora Confalonieri, Sunday February 5, 2023