The Politics of the Void: Lanfranco Quadrio and Ruozhe Xue at Rosenfeld Porcini

Two opposite worlds united by darkness and suppositions. Italian Lanfranco Quadrio and Chinese Ruozhe Xue share the space at the Rosenfeld Porcini gallery, with each having their own room. The styles of each of the artists are immediately identifiable upon arrival. Quadrio’s extravagant mural is made of side-by-side, uneven and used pieces of paper taped to one another. The forms of the lines are voluptuous, masking the cruelty of the subject matter. Xue’s paintings oscillate between figuration and realism, perfectly depicting human bodies and their clothing. Both representations of the human kind are done in a raw and stripped scenario, giving the exhibition a humble and modest tone.

Politics of The Void (©OneartCitizen)
Politics of The Void (©OneartCitizen)

Perhaps if both painters had been presented next to each other, the similarities in the essence of their painting would had been more obvious. It takes a certain time to get accustomed to the style and expression of both artists. Quadrio invites the viewer to take part in the journey of the characters he draws. We almost wish we could levitate and travel through to the ‘Dante’s Hell’ that he meticulously represents. The opposite occurs when observing Xue’s paintings. We feel anchored into the ground, so deeply we can barely move. Both authors have created works which strip us from emotion, leaving the viewer empty before they understand the meaning of the brush strokes and lines, and like a hollow recipient immersed in water, it rapidly gulps and fills up with all the water it can absorb, refilling with intense feelings.

Politics of The Void (©OneartCitizen)
Politics of The Void (©OneartCitizen)

The Italian artist has used a thousand hand drawn lines that are taking the form of skeletons, carcasses, and suffering human beings to interpret Dante’s Hell. Mixed with brown, black, cream, white, and copper paint, the piece looks like a battlefield. Corpses are falling and collapse on top of one another, creating heaps of limbs lying inert on the ground that the painter has created for them. Quadrio’s drawings hide darkness and in-between the pencil traces, express the hollowness and fragility of life. Xue chooses to fill his outlines with color and flesh. Subtly, the inaction and clothing of his subject project into the viewer’s mind curiosity blended with unease. Both artists share torments in their paintings. It needs patience, reflection, and time to wander in the gallery to comprehend that both are able, in their own way, to create space within one’s body. This “gap” materializes in anxiety, but is also known to be a void which human beings relentlessly search to fill.

This duo of contemporary artists seems to illustrate the reality of today’s events in relation to society. Facing fear and doubts, the population seem to have entered in an era where observation is an instinct rather than an action. In shock and unable to react, the average citizen no longer confronts and fights, he or she rather sits back and observes the tumult stream with little or no feelings, experiencing the void.

Lanfranco Quadrio and Ruozhe Xue at Rosenfeld Porcini (22 February – 13 April 2017)

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