Wall to wall, the works of Beatrice Squitti and Anna Capolupo stare at each other from across the room – united in their technique (paper collage), abstraction and simultaneous concealment and revelation. Animatedly exuding pulsating feelings of abstraction, the works stand in dialogue conversing with one another in the gallery space about paper, contradiction, ‘not-places’, chaos and distortion. However, it is the works’ aesthetic discourse that primarily ties them: both artists display the search for a geometric space. Capolupo’s geometric kaleidoscopic shapes that dance around the canvas, both concealing and revealing a multitude of structures, correspond with the mathematical means that Squitti unearths the perfect point or angle between one image and another, covering one element in order to reveal something else. The artists exist in the same mood and space yet produce fascinatingly unique results.
Capolupo’s work invites the audience to climb through geometric chaos in order to unearth recognisable mainstream objects and structures: cranes, foundations, buildings, train tracks. Her works are of ‘not-places’. In other words, the depicted places have no identity and are non-specific cities but instead conjure up a notion of cities: as chaotic claustrophobic clusters that are also lonely and melancholic. Her canvases are both empty and full. This is because they are devoid of people which makes them appear desolate and abandoned whilst simultaneously they are full as they are overwhelmingly crowded with multifaceted structures and lines that both cover and reveal elements in the work. In some of the works, garbage and mattresses are discarded in the road; hence constructing a place that has both no real identity yet evokes something profound. These three notions reveal the contradictory nature of Capolupo’s oeuvre, which image the foundations of fictive cities. The pulsating heart of metropolitan-ism dictates through the energetic and dynamic shapes, lines and colours that inhabit the canvas, filling in for the people. The rapidity and dynamism of the brush strokes captures the continuous metamorphosis and transformation that cities undergo. The content in Capolupo’s first work in the exhibition, a huge looming mechanical and industrial structure, both in its monumental size and material is stereotypically masculine. Therefore, Capolupo’s work disrupts this stereotypically masculine domain due to her being a female artist depicting industrial structures that are typically associated with men, as well as the labour that goes into the construction of these cities, which is typically done by men. Hence, Capolupo represents these big stereotypically male spaces in a dominant assertive means as a female, transgressing traditions of a male-female dichotomy.
Squitti’s meticulously constructed surrealist collage arrangements have an overriding delicacy to them. One can see the fragility as to which the individual layers have been applied on top of one another. Squitti’s discovery of abstraction allowed her to create surfaces and build objects with many materials through collage. The artist exposes the space where one element and its limit transforms into something else. The old newspaper and magazine paper Squitti uses in her collages derive from paper that she uses in her interior decoration work. Squitti’s passion for paper is a basis for her interest in the study of form and composition following a mathematical scheme. In one work, elusive delicate cut out newspaper strips cover a translucent white nude body whose face only survives outside of the canvas. The act of covering sections of the picture plane leaves the viewer wanting more. In another work, hands poke out underneath distorted obscure geometric shapes that overlap over a body. Similarly, a building structure peeps out in one work, underneath an array of speckled patterns, penciled in lines and geometric blue and black dancing shapes sporadically placed on the picture plane. Hence the artist displays a multitude of ways of obscurely covering something in order to reveal another element. Like Capolupo’s work, Squitti represents obscure exterior spaces: an exterior of tree branches with a slab of crimson paint smeared across the centre of the composition. Squitti exposes how the act of hiding a section of an image creates a magical obscurity and ambiguity as to what new form the image will take.