Magazzino and Casa Italiana (NYU) Present Renato Leotta

Roberta Cutillo (May 02, 2019)
Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò present an exhibition of Italian contemporary artist Renato Leotta. The first of this two-part show opened on April 30th at Casa Italiana, while the second, a site-specific installation, is on view on the grounds of Magazzino in Cold Spring throughout the Summer.

For their third collaboration aimed at promoting Italian artists in the US, Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò chose to showcase works by Renato Leotta, a young but established Italian artist currently in residence at Magazzino in Cold Spring, New York.

“Magazzino is the most lively institution that promotes contemporary Italian art in the United States,” commented Stefano Albertini, the Director of Casa Italiana “we are very privileged to be the venue to which they dedicate every year the exhibit of a young but already established Italian artist.”

Renato Leotta, who lives and works between Acireale (Sicily) and Turin and was the most recent Italian fellow at the American Academy in Rome, uses various media in his practice to explore the forces of nature and their interconnectedness.

“It’s important to give a venue for Italian artists to showcase their work in New York,” explains Nancy Olnick, co-founder of Magazzino along with her husband Giorgio Spanu, “and what better place than Casa Italiana, where the students and faculty can get acquainted with art that they would not usually see.”

The exhibition opens with seven photographs, all part of a series titled Lunagrammas, (“moongrams”) a new project launched by the artist during his Cold Spring residence, featuring images of the moon captured from a camera obscura submerged in the Hudson River.  

Leotta also expanded upon ongoing projects, creating works such as Two Hands, a sculptural installation on view in the third gallery. This work, part of his Gipsoteca project, is composed of two sets of four sand relief sculptures, half of which were cast on Portuguese beaches while the others were realized on the Long Island coast. Here, the artist seeks to capture the moment of contact, the encounter between sea and shore, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Another liminal moment is represented in the works from the Multiverso series, which Leotta realized by dipping strips of cotton fabric into the sea, thus creating or recreating a horizon line, the point where the sky meets the sea.

A work which appears to stand out from the rest is LUCE, a 16mm film shown on an old cubic TV set placed in the corner of Gallery 1 and featuring an out of focus lemon tree. This piece is actually part of a work titled Notte di San Lorenzo, a site-specific installation made out of perforated terracotta tiles, which connects the artist’s lemon grove in Sicily to the Hudson Valley landscape. Leotta had realized a previous iteration of this work in Palermo’s Palazzo Butera on the occasion of the 2018 Manifesta Biennial.

This installation will remain on view on the grounds of Magazzino throughout the Summer.