Renato Colangelo, a polymath, merges in his practice a wide spectrum of experiences that undoubtedly converge and speak out his connection with the earth. For Colangelo, to be alive is to have his hands immersed in soil. The notion of immersion is pivotal here, as the question of who is immersed into what is in a continual flux of emergence and re-immersion.
The parallel between the soil and a photograph, as a light-sensitised matter, is obvious in the Hyphae exhibition. The darkness in Colangelo’s images is not a void of desperation and loss, but one that is seeded with light. Behind the veil of darkness, the impregnated photons patiently await the viewers' intuition to dream them into their ever-forming potential.
Colangelo’s use of photography touches on the very nature of language as something that functions on the level of idea but has a concrete and physical connection to existence. The reductive power of the photogram-like image to simmer-down the overwhelming detail into its essence, reveals the sacredness and integrity of form as the primordial logos of our experience.
The artist’s unmediated connection with the environment is reflected by his intuitive approach to image making. Instead of documenting the unearthed material on film, Colangelo uses the found-object instead of a film. By placing a plant’s roots, Radici, 2021, or a fragment of disintegrated bubble-wrap as in Puriboli, 2021 on the enlarger’s neg-carrier, the artist produces an image that is sculpted by its subject, rather than being a representation of it.
The essence of play is evident in Colangelo’s work as he embraces the chance as part of the creative process. The works such Hyphae 3, 2021, were produced from the film altered by an organic process. While delving into his studio archive, the artist discovered a lost roll of water-damaged film. The content on the film was no longer recognisable, the once intelligible memories were transcoded by the biological process of mycelium propagation. The resulting organic abstraction resonates David Bohm’s notion of implicate order, as the original image still exists as an encoded visual information within the material itself.
The Hyphae exhibition is a dialogue between the two distinct bodies of work, where the visual abstraction provides an appropriate metaphysical framework that unifies these apparently disparate fragments. The artist effectively reminds us that articulation in language is its simultaneous breaking apart and reintegration of the fragmented utterances. This process ultimately yields not only the new forms, but a very renewal of language.
— Ivan Buljan
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Eden and the Willow Team
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