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Giulio Bensasson, Non so dove, non so quando, 2017
inkjet photographic print on opaline paper, aluminium lightbox
triptych, 31x41x3 cm (each element)
courtesy of the artist

Giulio Bensasson

If we wanted to draw an imaginary line that clearly divides the dominion of everything that is natural, alive and spontaneous from what can be defined as artificial, cultural and scientific, we would find many works by the artist Giulio Bensasson intersecting this line. In fact, he works with natural elements in combination with artificial materials and creates objects, collages or installations which explore the themes of the passing of time and its suspension. The artist intervenes on the border between life and non-life at symbolic and aesthetic levels, recalling artistic traditions such as the pictorial or photographic still-life, as well as museum techniques used in natural history collections.

Slow motion (2017) is an installation made of nine pears which are encased, one by one, in blocks of transparent epoxy resin, a chemical product that isolates the organic matter from the external atmosphere and slows down its natural decomposition. Because of this manipulation, the fruit cannot carry out its job, which is to decompose and give birth to a new plant. It is instead condemned to be frozen in an endless present, in an unnatural widening of that short time that usually divides death and decomposition from the birth of a new life. The temporal and processing characteristic of the installation is given as well by the unstable chemical composition of the resin which, despite the solid appearance, will continue to change in the course of the time with imperceptible adjustments.

Non so dove, non so quando (I do not know where, I do not know when, 2016) is also based on the process of decomposition; in this case, the decay of a photographic format such as slides. With a series of light-boxes, Bensasson exhibits photographic enlargements of slides he has found, which are unreadable because of mould. The title refers to the impossibility of making sense of the original image, often completely lost because of the decay of the format. In this installation, the photographic image, conceived as the vague suspension of a single moment in the passing of time, becomes alive again thanks to the action of microorganisms and bacteria which add a new temporal dimension to it. Bensasson actively maintains this process by moistening the mould on the slides in order to keep it alive, until the point at which he suspends it again by printing the image on glossy paper, preserving therefore only a moment in this second life of the picture.