Davide’s Mould Floats through Time

by Andrea Aquilanti

Critical text for the solo show of Davide D’elia, Ieri mi volsi a considerar altrui memorie (dalle quali mi trovai rinvigorito) F.P., Ex Elettrofonica, Rome, March – April 2010.

Davide’s mould floats through time. Past, present and future time, as if conjugating a verb: “conjugation means the flexibility of a verb or its variety of forms”, like the different forms of mould that bend through the space of the Ex Elettrofonica and tell its story.

Behind the new interior of the gallery, designed by pupils of Zaha Hadid and executed in futuristic forms, there are ancient, damp walls.

Located at the feet of the Gianicolo and directly above the Tevere river, the gallery seems to have been formed by centuries of water flowing downhill.

With Davide we took on the search for water with the ancient method of using a pronged olive-tree branch, as used by the water diviner, and as we suspected, it started spinning and whirling ferociously.

Fifteen days before the opening, Davide and the indispensable chemist, Angelo, start the process of cultivating mould on the walls of the gallery.

It becomes a laboratory. Large pots which are filled with worrying gelatinous solutions lay on gas stoves, while little greenhouses emerge from the walls, steam and water is everywhere. Then they wait. What will happen? Will the mould emerge? Will it return to live in this place where it once lived and will probably continue to live in the future? And if so – will it be docile or will it rage for being reawakened from its slumber by this pretentious time-machine, thus attacking the entire gallery space of brave Beatrice?

As you can see, it all went well. The mould appeared within the pre-defined forms. It was a daring operation – Davide took risks, and although he tried to calculate as much as possible, he knew quite well that it was still a bit of a gamble.

This method of work is one that I fully identify with.

The experiment, the finding of real-time solutions, sometimes changing the evolving work, adapting your vision to reality – all this has made him discover and reflect over how his next exhibition could become.

It is a way of interpreting an exhibition as a non-definite result, but as a process, a moment of personal introspection.

Site specific work enables a space to become a research laboratory which actually creates the work of art, just as Davide has done by creating forms which are compliment the space and reflect its history.

Another aspect of this installation is its painterly merit. There is layering, brush strokes, different drying processes, colours, balance and fresco – a strong background that gives depth to the installation while not forsaking its contemporary attributes, which emerge thanks to the scientific involvement and up-to-date use of live material.

Just as his gelatinous swills are used to create mould, all these mixed elements will make the results of his next work unpredictable and therefore very interesting.

Andrea Aquilanti (Rome, 1960) is a visual artist working with a variety of media such as drawing, painting and video interactive installations. His work was exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of private galleries, institutions and museums such as MLAC – Museo Laboratorio d’Arte Contemporanea Università La Sapienza, Rome; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna; Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome; MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome; National Theater Art Gallery, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. And he took part at the XIV Quadriennale. Anteprima in Palazzo Reale, Naples in 2003, the 15° Quadriennale d’arte di Roma at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome in 2008, the 5th BeijingInternational Art Biennale, various venues, Beijing, China, in 2012, Codice Italia, Padiglione Italia, 56. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, La Biennale di Venezia, in 2015.