Salvatore Arancio presents a set of sculpture in glazed ceramic, created by the artist during his residence at Camden Arts Centre in 2015 where he wanted to reflect about the relationship with the grotesque in nature having in mind the images of the gardens in Bomarzo, Italy’s mid-16th-century Sacro Bosco (Sacred Wood). So Arancio set about making a garden in miniature, rendered in clay. In the midst of this assemblage of ceramics, there are several performances, happenings in this temporary garden. A performer lies face-up on the ground, with his head resting under one of several grottolike vessels. Lying supine, face covered, he seems to be asleep. And, as goes the title from Goya’s famous etching, the sleep of reason produces monsters. The ceramics are independent elements and depending on the environment in which are arranged they form Fashioned to a Device Behind a Tree that varies in size, complexity and selection of pieces that compose it. 

The only work which is linked to the performance is each of the three caves. The main interest at the centre of Salvatore Arancio’s artistic practice lies in the potential of images. Particularly in how the images and their meaning can be re-framed or re-viewed and he plays with symbols always aiming to retain a certain ambivalence in his work. This manifests itself through the use of a range of media such as ceramics, etching, collage, animation and video. Arancio gives the sensation of a compact and homogeneous concept regardless of the fact that his practice is paradoxically composed of contrasting elements. Each facet of his practice contains an intertwining juxtaposition of the roots and representation of images: natural and artificial, mineral and vegetable, two-dimensional and three-dimensional, scientific and mythological. Departing from their literal meaning, Arancio creates new juxtapositions that are both beautifully evocative and deeply disquieting. His work functions like an Atlas of confusion, like figures in positivistic scientific volumes devoid of any substantial image and left only with a vague ambiguous frame.

Salvatore Arancio, Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree, 2015