10 marzo 2012


Via Reggio Emilia, 22-24, Rome
The exhibition will be on show until 28th April 2012

SYNTAX PARALLAX is the first solo show by the American Italianbased artist Arthur Duff, recent winner of the MACRo 2% prize.
Duff’s artistic research is based on the experimentation and the semantic potential of language in its various and multiple forms. His work tends to deal with layers of meaning. If his research were to be read through the history of Art you would feel the subtle pull of the Conceptual and Post-Conceptual, but Arthur Duff enriches and develops its contributions. He doesn’t simply deal with the bare idea as “artistic material”, Duff conveys and diverts this posture while recovering the visual and aesthetic aspects.

Duff’s research often gravitates towards semantic layering and stratification concerning the codified system of writing and, therefore of syntax. Parallax, from Greek “overlap”, stems from the “point of view” and from possible shifts of meaning created by changing our observation point both physically and psychologically. Therefore, the artist’s work could be encompassed in a sort of “parallax attitude” as well as a dialectic use of languages. All of these ideas are presented in this show with the exhibited works: laser projections, neon texts and embroideries.

A laser mounted on the floor projects white light onto a 4m x 2,5m ceiling made of one hundred white neon tubes. When the lights of the ceiling are turned off we are able to read the text projected on this sort of “screen”. This work enables us to experience yet another layer of meaning beyond the purely semantic. Indeed, the white projected text disappears when the neon tubes are turned on. What before was a light source - the projected writing – now is undone by light emitted by the neon tubes which themselves are turned into a light source. Light undoes light,“burning” the message. This is a reference, a connection that Duff summarizes using also the word “supervenience”: a state of dependence where one event is not truly separate from another.

The show features, among other works, also Black Stars_M55. This is a kind of physical translation of one of the astronomical objects observed and catalogued by the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817). He edited a catalogue of 110 deep-sky objects - such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies – in order to help astronomers to recognize comets. This “deep-sky object” is number 55 of Messier’s catalogue. Duff is interested in the implications that come from the translation of graphic language into the sculptural one. The artist is fascinated by the transliteration of these images from data into the four dimensions. Moreover, he is attracted to the possibility of presenting something that is awe-inspiring, far, and packed with information and translating it into something that is humanly familiar.

Arthur Duff was born in Wiesbaden (1973). He lives in Venice and works in Marghera (Venice, Italy).

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