Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of London-based artist Massimo Agostinelli entitled Anagrams. A unique series of works referencing the hybrid and mysterious meanings of words associated with icons of popular culture will open with a special reception hosted by internationally-renowned recording artist Maxwell on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015.
Agostinelli’s works begin as digital renderings executed on customized panes of plastic with corrugated edges. The process known as lenticular printing is intended to create an illusion of depth as the viewer moves around the completed image. A stock image, such as one of Queen Victoria, is set as the backdrop with white block lettering hovering over it (in this case, the letters read “VICTORIA ENGLANDS QUEEN”). As the viewer moves back and forth across the image, the white words morph into an anagram of the original phrase: “GOVERNS A NICE QUIET LAND”. Multiple references to Pop culture and Pop Art (as an independent moment in the history of visual art) are obvious in Agostinelli’s imagery, but less obvious are the events that inform and color each work. An image of James Dean (his name emblazoned across the picture) suddenly reads “Made Jeans”. Dean’s working-class background, gritty screen presence, and his short, violent life all run in parallel to the men who wore denim jeans as durable workwear in the late 1800’s (Dean, himself, is also credited with popularizing jeans as fashionable in his 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause). Another image, depicting the Statue of Liberty, changes into “BUILT TO STAY FREE”. The consistently vibrant nature of those who live in and have built the United States of America automatically affiliates these words with sensations of nationalism, pride, and hope; and yet, the same phrase might point to latent, longstanding feelings of suspicion, unrest, and perhaps even institutionalized hypocrisy.
Agostinelli is no stranger to wordplay, as he has previously experimented with images coupled with palindromes (words that read the same both forwards and backwards). Iconic images created by Peter Paul Rubens or Sandro Botticelli have bore cryptic statements such as “Lonely Tylenol” and “Pull A Wall Up”. Whether the image portrays James Bond, Neil Armstrong, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, or even Planet Earth, itself, Agostinelli’s work probes how language and image may be interpreted collectively and the possibilities of words taking on a life of their own. What’s more, he follows in a well-trodden path of Pop and Conceptual artists such as Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, and Jenny Holzer in exploring how text may exist independently of a figurative drawing, painting, or sculpture as a work of art, and how the ideas belonging to those words (literally) change before our eyes.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Massimo Agostinelli was born in London, United Kingdom to in 1987. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Design from the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Art at Webster University (St. Louis) in 2012. His work has been exhibited at group venues in New York, London, Paris, and Gstaad (Switzerland). His first major solo exhibition, Palindromes, was hosted by Hus Gallery (London) in Mayfair. Agostinelli and his work have been featured in Spear’s Magazine online (UK) and widewalls.ch (Switzerland). His work is held in private collections around the world in cities including London, New York, Las Vegas, Zurich, Paris, Johannesburg, Florence, Riyadh, Tokyo, Sydney, and Los Angeles. Agostinelli lives and works in Zurich and London.
ABOUT THE GALLERY
The Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery is a modern and contemporary art gallery founded in 2014 by Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim. Located on West 23rd Street in Chelsea, the gallery specializes in bold, process-oriented work by emerging and established artists. Hoerle-Guggenheim is committed to developing its international program presenting ambitious and diverse exhibitions that emphasize both aesthetic and conceptual strength.
Anagrams will open at the Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery with a special reception on Thursday, October 22nd and will run through November 11.