Studio Dabbeni presents its third solo exhibition of artist Luca Frei (born in Lugano in 1976, he lives in Malmö, Sweden).

In the first room of the gallery is an installation, The Sun Twenty Four Hourscomposed of sixty hourglasses all of the same size, placed on metal shelves. Here, Frei attempts a concrete representation of time, which turns out to be fragmented, but is also multiplied. The artist’s intent is to provoke a kind of magnetism that can be experienced by those who enter into contact with the work, that is then expressed through the act of turning over the measuring instruments when the sand has all deposited on the bottom. Of strong impact for the viewer are the four large canvasses representing a stylised figure shown from behind, which are found in the second room of the gallery. An actual human profile is not perceptible, yet the figure has part of a face, in profile, very sketchily defined, and the head assumes the likeness of a cap. In addition to his use of black, the artist expresses himself with a refined and skilful use of inlays of colour.

In the work 9 settembre-29ottobre, the opening and closing dates of the exhibition have been realised in neon tubes, and are placed, respectively, inside the two main rooms of the gallery. In order to fully perceive the work the viewer must move from one room to the other, movement that implies temporality as well as a capacity of synthesis that calls for the use of memory.  

Luca Frei represented Switzerland at the XXII Cairo International Biennial (2010). It was in Egypt, in the period immediately preceding the revolution of 25 January 2011, that the artist elaborated on these reflections around the concept of time; in the exhibition, Frei presents a photograph entitled Something for you to remember me, depicting a five pound Egyptian coin that was given to him in that context. 

Journal, a series composed of eight photographs that is reproduction of a three-dimensional work created by the artist in which sentences extracted from the diary of the Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik are printed on strips of paper. Only one phrase is totally legible, “Unbearable tension of color and form. Everything was on my side”. Elsewhere, the strips have been folded by the artist and connected with fine metal wire. The text has become illegible, and therefore is only hinted at, while the strips recall botanical illustrations. 

While in the past Luca Frei’s research has been firmly anchored upon reflections revolving around pedagogical themes, language, and institutionalised reality, in this exhibition it is expressed through his openness, which has distinguished him for some time, to new themes and subjects, without their ever having less force or intensity of thought.

Emblematic are his figures recalling Malevič, and their only apparently silent dialogue.  

(Valentina Bucco)