• 28 January 2023 21:00

THOMAS DE FALCO – THE CEMENT GARDEN

Italiano (Italian)

Palazzo Monti | Piazza Tebaldo Brusato 22 Brescia |ciao@palazzomonti.org | +39 349 546 0798
Curated by Edoardo Monti
Text: Paola Ugolini

OPENING: Saturday 29 January, from 17:00 to 20:00, in Piazza Tebaldo Brusato 22, Brescia, and by appointment until 31 March

The tangled garden, 2021 Textile sculpture with wrapping, mixed media 137 4/5 × 59 1/10 in 350 × 150 cm

Palazzo Monti opens the new exhibition season with “The Cement Garden”, Italian-French artist Thomas De Falco solo show, accompanied by Paola Ugolini’s text and curated by Edoardo Monti.

Inspired by Ian McEwan’s 1978 novel The Cement Garden, Thomas De Falco explores the dimension of childhood and adolescence using a unique and captivating colour palette. 

THOMAS DE FALCO - The Cement Garden Copyright Thomas De Falco

The dominant colours are the primary ones: yellow, Prussian blue and red, but we also find the brighter tones of magenta, orange, purple and turquoise. Blue, declined in all its shades, takes on a place of honour, functioning as a reference colour. By applying time-consuming and complex weaving techniques, the artist intertwines the colours, giving life to tapestries with a pop aesthetic utterly different from his previous works.

For many years now, Thomas De Falco’s weavings have been the offspring of a close dialogue between the artist and natural elements such as trees, roots, branches and leaves. 

THOMAS DE FALCO - The Cement Garden Copyright Thomas De Falco

In his performances, which complete his objects, the models are used as elements of conjunction between the art pieces’ inanimate world and the plants’ living and vital one. 

Even the materials used are always natural and marked by neutral colours: for example, hemp and raw cotton, in which he embeds gnarled tree branches or leaves, seeds and roots. These are often stitched onto the pages of his artist’s books and endow the works with materiality and sculptural dimension.

The performative aspect in De Falco’s work is crucial; it visually and physically emphasizes the unique interconnection of the artwork with the plant world, a cornerstone of his aesthetics. 

Body, 2020-2021 Tapestry in mixed media, tree branch, bones and insects 24 4/5 × 19 3/10 in 63 × 49 cmBody, 2020-2021 Tapestry in mixed media, tree branch, bones and insects 24 4/5 × 19 3/10 in 63 × 49 cm

One of its distinctive features is the wrapping, long strips of knotted fabric used to bind and connect the naked bodies of the performers to the works, thus creating a total symbiosis between humanity, nature, and weaving understood as a creative act of transformation.

However, the artist enters an entirely new phase with this new production. The colour suddenly becomes the main protagonist of psychedelic works and is conceptually linked to the hippie counterculture of the seventies.

TDFW, 2019 Textile sculpture in mixed media, frame, tree branch 31 1/2 × 14 1/5 in 80 × 36 cm

It is undoubtedly a “quantum” leap that is the result of a thoroughly contemporary trauma: the covid, which the artist contracted in Paris during the first lockdown in March 2020, which resulted in forced isolation for forty long days, the fear of illness and death, the reading of coming-of-age novels and the research on colour, an element never loved before, used as a tool for self-care and a means with which to escape from a tragic and sad reality.

 

In his Paris studio apartment, De Falco has taken up his laborious experiments with weaving techniques to create these new abstract surfaces, these representations of dazzling mental landscapes designed to overcome a hostile present. Transformation and mutation are thus at the basis of a work that, while starting from a thousand-year-old technique such as weaving, becomes thoroughly contemporary.  

The Gold Tree, 2020 Glass sculpture, with iron and cotton 7 1/2 × 3 9/10 in 19 × 10 cm

Finally, Thomas De Falco’s artistic practice falls within the sphere of “feminine” activities. A revolutionary action by a white male artist to make art using this technique and thus deconstruct a dominant narrative that has always considered the art of embroidery and weaving nothing more than applied art.