GIUSEPPE ABATE

Bari, 1987



04 December - 05 February 2022
Opening: 4 December 2021, h. 15.00 - 19.00

In collaboration with Microclima

For his first solo exhibition at the Galleria Michela Rizzo, Giuseppe Abate presents a project on chickens. Working with materials derived from the waste of poultry processing in the food industry such as bones, blood, eggshells and others, the artist displays a corpus of new works that reflect on the society of consumption.
"When I started this research, about three years ago, I was in London, where I was attracted by the number of chicken shop signs I saw on the street and by how many times the word “chicken” appeared on billboards. Then, through the analysis of advertisements, expressions, books, movies, cartoons and chicken shops fights videos, I realized that chicken represents much more than an animal species in Western culture".

Here Comes the Rooster is an exhibition featuring works created by Abate between 2019 and 2021 by means of different techniques: tempera painting, watercolor, papier-mâché, mosaic, pyrography drawing and video animation.

Black Burned Bones, Eggshell Complexion, Livorno's White and Sienna Rooster Blood are the four pigments used in the paintings presented in the exhibition, powders developed by the artist from organic chicken waste. We find them in the series of egg tempera on canvas The Cockpit, where images of violence set in the chicken shops of London - fast food restaurants where you can buy tasty but low quality chicken for a few pounds - are juxtaposed with copies of portraits of roosters winning in the cockfight, a very popular sport in England until the mid-nineteenth century.

Eggshells, processed and transformed into tiles, are used by Abate to create two mosaics called Walking on the eggshells. Their membranes, on the other hand, were used to create two small-size papers; a pyrograph was used to transcribe the song Evidently Chicken Town (1980) by John Cooper Clarke on them, a song that, with a sharp rhythm, compares the inhabitants of London to many confused chickens who do not know the purpose of their hectic existence. The drawings that intertwine with the song's lyrics are instead reproductions of images found on the signs of London's chicken shops that the artist photographed between 2019 and 2020.

With the cardboard used to package eggs, Abate created the series of papier-mâché sculptures Cartoni (Cardboards), which portrays some of the characters from animated movies whose subject is the chicken. The fox Foxy Loxy, with a belly full of chickens, is the character from the Disney short film Chicken Little (1943), commissioned by the U.S. government to Walt Disney to make anti- Nazi propaganda during World War II. After reading a psychology book on how to manipulate the masses (Chicken Town), the fox convinces a group of chickens to leave their coop and take cover in a cave; then, having closed the only exit, it devours all the birds, in spite of the usual Disney happy ending.

Also part of the Cartoni series are the two protagonists of the KFC animated advertisement Hugo & Holly (1970): in addition to the sculptures of the two children, the exhibition also includes an animation of the same advertisement drawn entirely with egg tempera and the Sienna Rooster Blood pigment.

The forest painted on the gallery walls is an egg tempera made with the Black Burned Bones pigment and refers to the fashion for landscape art in wall painting and interior tapestry in the seventeenth and nineteenth century England. Chickens, chicks, hens and roosters scamper free there in an exotic landscape, confined in an artistic genre inextricably linked to the imperialistic practices and ideologies (W.J.T. Mitchell, Landscape and Power, 1994).

Giuseppe Abate (Bari, IT, 1987) MA Material Futures, Central St Martins College (London UK, 2020). BA Painting Fine Arts Academy (Venice IT, 2011).
His work has been exhibited in various institutions and art galleries such: Somerset House (London UK, 2021) Spazio Cabinet_Studiolo (Milan IT, 2020); Dutch Design Week First Online Show (2020); ADA Project Gallery (Rome IT, 2019); Palazzo Barolo, Artissima (Turin IT, 2019); Palazzo Mocenigo (Venice
IT, 2018); Assam State Museum (Guwahati IN, 2017); Museo Nazionale della Montagna (Turin IT, 2016); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice IT, 2011; 2013; 2014; 2015); Rob Pruitt Flea Market c/o A + A Galley (Venezia IT, 2015); Studio d’Arte Cannaviello (Milan IT, 2013); Museo di Arte Contemporanea Pino Pascali (Bari IT, 2012); Galleria Municipale d’Arte Contemporanea di Monfalcone (Monfalcone IT, 2011). In 2014 he won the one year residency program prize at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice IT. Between 2016 and 2018 he has been invited to the Guwahati Research Program curated by Microclima Venice, Guwahati, Assam IN. In 2018 he has been finalist at Premio Cairo, Milan IT.