Over the course of his four-decade career, Paolo Gioli has produced work that constantly pushes the limits of a given medium, be it photography, film, drawing or painting. This exhibition focuses on a particular moment in the 1970s when Gioli was experimenting intensely with film and photography alongside his painting practice. In 1967 he had spent a year in New York where he came across the experimental films of American New Cinema, including the work of Stan Brakhage and Jonas Mekas. This was a turning point in Gioli's career as he discovered the possibilities offered by film, and indeed photosensitive materials in general, both to produce and to analyse images. He saw that film could be processed in an artisanal manner, which was in many ways similar to the solitary work of the painter in his studio, and he went on to spend many hours in the darkroom developing a range of new processes.
The exhibition presents films, photographs and paintings that illustrate Gioli's investigative approach to material and content in a constant search for the origins of images, the genesis of form. He continued throughout his career to use both found images and images created by hand-made cameras (displayed here as a preamble to the exhibition). The footage from Immagini Disturbate da un Intenso (Images disturbed by and Intense Parasite) 1970, for instance, was shot entirely from a television set. Filmstenopeico (Pinhole film), 1973 was made with a device that was custom-made using a tiny button, a camera free from optics and mechanics, which he used it to film his friends and life around him. Gioli made films from photographs and paintings from film-footage.
As he traces the history of a medium in order to extend its possibilities Gioli effectively destabilises any sense of chronology or linearity; his interest in the history of cinema is not just about revisiting cinema's past. His works regularly expose the materiality of their making and their medium - the cut of the film, the frame and chemical surface of the photograph or the bare canvas of a painting - and the eye is often drawn to the edge of the object in question. His retrieval and re-examination of found imagery and received technological processes has less to do with the postmodernist recycler than with the new media archaeologist, in that he explores novel uses of already existing media. Rather than either fetishising innovations in technology or repeating proven techniques Gioli makes works in which aesthetic experimentation might lead to an evolved sense-perception through the historical analysis of material culture.
Paolo Gioli (b.1942, Sarzano, Italy) has had recent solo shows in Peep-Hole Gallery, Milan (2016), Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Saone France (2016), Esposizione intle d’arte Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2015), Musée Réattu, Arles (2015) Galleria del Cembalo, Rome (2015) Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti, Torino, Italy (2015) Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, New York (2015). Giolis work is currently housed in collections Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Minneapolis Museum of Art, MN; Rochester Museum of Photography, NY; Instituto Nazionale per la Grafica, Rome; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Châlon s/ Saône, France Musée Marey, Beaune, France.