Fragile, handle with care | Giampiero Romanò
20 MAY – 17 SEPTEMBER 2023
In Fragile, Handle with Care, Italian artist Giampiero Romanò combines his artistic creativity with his skills in restoration and preservation. Romanò is devoted to working with antique frames and mirrors, the source of his inspiration and from which he builds his universe but also breaks it. Romanò’s “Mirrors” could look rich and beautiful, yet they are extremely fragile, exactly like people. The artworks are also a representation of a journey to parallel temporal universes and are signs of revolution on the conventional in a bid for change.
Romanò started working on vintage pieces perfecting his techniques for years in his workshop. His background in restoration and research of antiques contributes to the uniqueness of his artworks. He transforms the old used pieces of framed mirrors into whole new entities by looking at antiques with the eyes of an artist intervening in the past while projecting the future.
Nevertheless, the past, present, and future find a way to co-exist in his artworks at the same time. His works combine history/memories (old frames) and the present time (represented by people’s faces reflected in the mirrors), and he leaves room for the future. He suggests that mirrors embrace the reflection of their previous owners as forms of intangible records; therefore, they represent “us” or the “people.” Hence, the frames represent the ever-changing history while the mirror represents “us” with our multiple images and variable lives. “We the human beings are the mirror, the element that should give cohesion to the frame which is our history,” he says. Romanò looks at the audience as part of the artwork, as they reflect their faces whilst exploring intently.
After restoring and preserving old frames, Romanò adds his master touch to the works by fragmenting the mirrors and frames and making a fundamental change to their nature before putting them back together again. He also makes cracks in the mirrors themselves to alter the present time. By doing so, Romanò revolts against the past and the present at the same time. Yet, in this exhibition, one can find an artwork sitting on the floor “Metamorphosis”, as if going through a melting process at present; the artist says it’s a representation of the soaring temperatures and a “shout” against global warming. Another couple of works are a combination of two halves of unalike antique frames. In “Fragile Handle with Care,” the artist leaves a part of the mirror unframed with sharp edges while he stencils the sentence that creates a clash between the concept of fragility and the hazardous sharp edges of the mirror.
The works seem as if each has a life and character of its own, but they are all united under the artist’s attempt to break the monotony and uniformity of “the classic”/history and travel through time. One can sense a motion of rebellion in the artworks that contradicts the very material of antiques.