Paolo Consorti— Midway


Paolo Consorti, First Looks Down, 2006, Lambda Print, 125 x 135cm

Paolo Consorti, First Looks Down, 2006, Lambda Print, 125 x 135cm

“In my film Man is lost, but there is no sense of tragedy. The atmosphere is obscure, but there is no violence and no perdition…People run infinitely in circles, others stay in cages…like animals in a zoo…locked in by their nature and obstinacy. It is a metaphor of reality and the human condition.”

Paolo Consorti, 2006 –

Paolo Consorti’s first exhibition at Über Gallery continues his fascination with Dante’s epic Divine Comedy, and the exploration of the devilish, the decadent and the absurd. Consorti’s intoxicatingly sensuous and cutting-edge contemporary art feeds itself on fairy-tales, fantasies, and anxieties and proceeds from there to look for the fragment of the Absolute in the contemporary world. He invents new archetypes, setting up points of contact between the remote, primordial past and the present. Tracing themes such as sex, nature and religion, the constant realities of history, Consorti heightens and renders absurd normality. His observations of literature, as well as objects, clothing, landscapes, colours and patterns, all work to prove that every realism has the potential to overcome the limits of possibility.

The exhibition features Consorti’s trademark digital film stills: computer rendered, vivid and alien landscapes, where lost and naked souls intermingle with technological detritus, overseen by leotard-clad superiors. His references to the intricate, otherworldly justice system of the Divine Comedy are focused not on the punishment of the condemned, but on the fate of those in the terraces of purgatory. Sent there after death as punishment for their intemperate love; that is, love that is either excessive or perverted leading one away from God, the souls are to do penance to absolve them of their sins.

The moral ambiguity of Consorti’s images, however, lies in the sense that these people might actually be enjoying their captivity. While good and evil pervade each scene, Consorti states that he has deprived them of their “natural tragic dimension” by filtering them through surrealism, humour and innuendo. To the tableaux of the fallen, scenes that Brueghel foresaw, Consorti has introduced an irony which offers reprieve and hope where before there was none.