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REVIEW Andrea Galvani: The Sun, a Gold Nugget and Seven Stairs

Andrea Galvani’s solo exhibition at The RYDER appends a set of exhibitions presented at galleries in Perú, Mexico and Art in General, New York. Often works of fiction, trilogies are historically rooted in performance - in this case the noted addition to a reconfiguration of ‘The End Trilogy’, the artist’s previous body of work.

Open to the street, the gallery space allows for distance and perspective while viewing these particularly associative works. A central, dominant image faces the entrance as a vertex to the exhibition - ‘Llevando una pepita de oro a la velocidad del sonido #7’ (2015). A large-scale c-print photograph captures the precise moment when a F-18 jet breaks the sound barrier, rendering sound waves visible through the speed and pressure of its mechanical force. Movement within the shot and the movement of its capture is crucial. Galvani took the photograph flying in parallel and the effect is stunning, though rendered in a muted, seductive palette of cool blues and greys. The absence of sound in relation to image is notable and prompts imaginative play within the fairly complex set of relations between works.

A gold-tone MacBook sits atop a concrete plinth to extend the mineral base of the gallery floor and screens ‘The End (Action #5)’ (2015). The looped video is a transfer of the sun filmed near its setting point, shot from within the cabin of a jet as it circles the planet. The visual is similar to that of Galvani’s other orchestrated series of actions documenting the sunrise in unison from seven different locations on the eastern coast of Central America. Filmed on the anniversary of Galileo’s death and claimed to be ‘a homage to the heliocentric model of our solar system’, it is the antithesis of its own generation given the symbolic end of a scientist’s life. Both films are a denial of narrative cinematic form, as well as a testament the medium’s capacity to extend time and movement beyond the space of a singular frame. Modern tendencies to control or revert to centric modes of behaviour and restricted notions of space are evoked, as fragmented or itinerant perspectives extend the frame of both projects.

In dialogue with the video on an identical facing plinth, ‘Llevando una pepita de oro a la velocidad del sonido #0’ (2015), is a Californian 14 karat gold nugget modelled on a long, thin piece of steel. A light bulb drops from the ceiling to spot the material. And the significance of the element, we are told, is derived from its source - an exploding supernova. The descriptive title of the work clues its relation not only to the film, but also the photograph, and its transfer through movements of sound and time.

The walls of the exhibition hold three ink on paper drawings, ‘The End #10 #11’, and ‘#15’, that contain studies on various scientific diagrams from Galileo Galilei, to the Mach Wave Diagram and Ptolemaic Model. Commissioned performances by experts in their respective fields draw out mathematical visualisations of scientific phenomena amongst the drawings. Although performative work is key to Galvani’s practice and extends the complexity of the other works within the exhibition, it borders on becoming overtly formulaic and perhaps too illustrative of the dynamism between art, philosophy and science. A set of stairs used within the performance, and in the exhibition title, offer a nice metaphor to elevation - or perhaps false notions of progress, as they lean to the wall.

The strength of the exhibition remains in the play of sound, space and time in their nascent or abated states. Galvani’s continual ability to materialise these ideas is particularly impressive. Within the permanent exhibition space of a seemingly static gallery and its given duration, a consideration of objective truths within restricted frameworks such as time and space gains importance. The invitation might be to consider them at an axis and along more flexible measurements.

Andrea Galvani's exhibition at The RYDER 9 October - 5 December 2015

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Credit : Courtesy of the artist and The RYDER Projects, London. Photo Tim Bowditch copyright 2015

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