Andrea Romano likes difficult titles, with a special fondness for hendiadys – wherein a single idea is expressed via two words connected with ‘and’.
Doorkijkje, his recent show at Fluxia gallery, in Milan, was named after the Flemish term for the see-through doorway that allows the public to view something outside the pictured room in Dutch Old Master painting. His Milanese debut solo, in 2011, at Gasconade, was titled Claque & Shill, like the series he presented: laboriously detailed drawings (of a white tiger with a rare deformity) encased in heavy marble frames ‘carved to the limit of their substance’, as Romano describes them.
These are beautifully refined objects striving for benevolence and applause, tough and well aware that perfection and consensus can easily reach breaking point. And they’re not to be trusted. In 2010, Romano undertook for weeks a shared performance with fellow artist and friend Alessandro Agudio that consisted of their vilifying each other in front of common acquaintances, to test the field’s limits. Tension between two polarities is a recursive feature.
Last year in Paris, at Gaudel de Stampa, he created a short-circuit between the ‘newest’ possible (and thus most quickly obsolete) polyurethane sculptures, made with a 3D printer and painted with a shiny prototype car varnish (Highlights, 2013–), and a series of felt-pen drawings inspired by the ‘modern/primitive’ Flintstones cartoon (H&B, 2012–), focusing on small details of the gestures involved when humans and animals touch.
At Fluxia, this evolved into the drawing series Potsherds & Gaze (2013), in which the artist tried to reconstruct, from memory, some of the figures from the previous show), while the tactile seduction of the polished image was represented by black-and-white photos, shot in collaboration with fashion photographer Delfino Sisto Legnani, where naked models embrace a sculpted cushion, which thereby conjoins hardness and softness. One quality by means of two, over and over again.
Originally published in the March 2014 FutureGreats issue, in association with EFG International