Dominik Mersch Gallery is pleased to present Landscape, the latest series of works by the Florentine artist Giacomo Costa. The new cycle of photos is another chapter of the investigation that from the start has characterized the poetry of Costa. At the heart of these pieces is once again the relationship between man, in his action, and nature. In the text of the "European Landscape Convention" (Florence, 2000) Landcsape is defined as a certain portion of territory, as it is perceived by people, and whose character derives from natural and / or humans factors and their interrelations, moreover, it is conceived as an essential component of people's living environment, expression of the diversity of their shared cultural and natural heritage and foundation of their identity. Landscape is therefore the result of practices, knowledges, production systems, juridical traditions, social and economic organizations. It denotes physical, anthropogenic, biological and ethnic features, always binding to the observerʼs perception and life. Itʼs a social product, a common cultural good. It embodies objective and subjective components and multiple, extensive and complex meanings. For this reason, different disciplines deal with landscape – from Geography to Aesthetics, from Architecture to Archeology, from Anthropology to Art.
Landscape is the appearance of a place, the formal element of the nature-culture system, synthesis and expression of a region. Itʼs a language, a transmission of information, independent, dialectical, articulated. Itʼs a stratification of meanings. As a key element of individual and social well-being it should be safeguarded, planned, organized and managed in accordance with rights and responsibilities for everyone. The reckless use of land and its resources for years perpetrated by man compromised, perhaps irreversibly, those biological and chemical processes that support life on earth. In previous series Costa has analyzed the city in its absolute dominant role respect to nature. The result of this investigation was translated by the artist with images of huge construction sites where buildings seem to grow up to conquer the world, completely suffocating environment. In the series Atti of 2006 the destruction of cities by metaphysical elements which look like giant ships highlighted the fragility of landcsape facing the consequences of unwise development patterns that our society has embraced and continues to pursue. In 2008 the unstoppable destruction of cities and of the human civilization is fully realized. Of the illusion of being able to still work on landscape remains no trace. There are only a few ruins that surround such a nature that has now taken over growing exponentially wild and vengeful. Performed in the homonymous exhibition, these Secret Gardens, are the starting point of the research that lead to the work presented at the Venice Biennale in 2009 entitled, Private Garden. The Landscape series represents the total defeat of nature which, having triumphed over man and having reclaimed its space, takes upon itself the indelible signs that the senseless behavoiur of man left. It remains therefore the territory and its morphology as the unique perspective of landscape. An impossible landscape, though, sour and unfriendly. Itʼs a lifeless place without a geographical connotation, an area where the substances we have abused of have become the main subject of the reality described. A world flattened by hydrocarbons, covered with plastic, saturated with toxic agents, composed of acid ice and other impossible substances. This ambiguity underlines the urgent need to reflect on the significance of the interaction between man and environment, not only in search of new sustainable technologies to solve development problems resulting from a resource-hunger, but rather to formulate a new concept of life style and development.
Oil is essential to support our current model of development, it is the substance needed to create plastic, to warm us up, to move make us move and to create the energy needed to power all of our devices... but it is also what generates pollution and the devastating rise in global temperature. Our world is both dependent and crushed. The struggle for control and ownership of this valuable element is the root cause of bloody conflicts and catastrophic economic strategies that in the near future could make the world similar to Costaʼs Landscapes. To complete the artistʼs work, the publication of a monograph visually organized into sections is scheduled for the beginning of 2013. Abandoning the chronological order used for the previous volume Chronicle of time, published by Damiani in 2008, the book will follow a narration trough images introduced by essays written by different authors - architects, economists, sociologists - who face the same issues related to environmental emergencies in their everyday job.
Giacomo Costa was born in 1970 in Florence. Between 1999 and 2000 he participated in the XIII Quadrenniale in Rome and his solo shows were held at Photology (London), the Arthur Roger Gallery (New Orleans) and the Laurence Miller Gallery (New York). In 2001 he exhibited at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. In 2003 he began his collaboration with Guidi&Schoen, Genoa. In 2005 he exhibited at the Quarter-Arts Production Centre of Florence. In 2006 he took part in the 10. Venice Biennale of Architecture. In the same year his work was exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, becoming part of the permanent collection. In 2007 his work was exhibited at Phillips De Pury, New York on the occasion of C-Photo Exhibition. In 2009 the editor Damiani published a monography on his work with an introduction by Sir Norman Foster. In 2009 he represented Italy in the 53. Venice Biennale of Art, and has exhibited in solo shows at FotoArtFestival Bielska in Poland, at the Lucca Digital Photo Fest, and the Seoul International Photo Festival. In 2010 he exhibited with a solo show at Dominik Mersch Gallery (Sydney) and has participated in Ostrale 2010 in Dresden. His work was included in the prestigious Taschen book Architecture Now! vol 7. In 2011 he exhibited at the Gallery Voss (Dusseldorf), at Hangaram Art Museum (Seoul), and Langhans Gallery (Prague). In 2012 he had a solo show at Art Foundation Avesta (Sweden).
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