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Giusy Pirrotta

Between the Glimpse and the Gaze

Installation view at James Hockey Gallery, UCA University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Ceramics Glazed, plexiglass and wood banisters, wallpaper, LED changing colour lights. LED mini digital projectors, mirror sheetings, monitor, wood structure, 2017.
Moving image: Botany HD video 6'10'', Botany 2'00'' 16mm film transferred on HD, Astrid 6' 27'', 16mm film transferred on HD.
Exhibition with a selection of Photos by Stephen White

The exhibition summarises the final stage part of my PhD practice-based research project "Moving image and the space around the frame: time-based installation and forms of experience".
The show investigates the relationship between moving image the use of light, the interaction with the sculptural object and the background. It analyses the multidisciplinary aspect of my work which aims to integrate different disciplines between moving image, sculpture, product and interior design to visual art in relation to the architectural space.

The sculptural objects exhibited are realized in ceramic glazed, in some of them there is a further application of enamel luster glaze finish. Their facets re-elaborated the idea of a lamp and a projector in the way they emit and reflect light.
The exhibition displays my first design of wallpaper "Palm Dream" designed through the making of a pattern repetition print where is re-elaborated an analogue print of a picture of palms taken during a trip in Palermo.

UCA, Farnham is pleased to present a solo exhibition of recent work by Giusy Pirrotta. Between the Glimpse and the Gaze is the culmination of multidisciplinary investigations carried as part of Pirrotta’s practice-based PhD at UCA.

Comprising an intriguing range of ceramic objects, striking set design, and digital and analogue filmmaking, this ambitious and immersive installation highlights the evolution of Pirrotta’s practice, whereby the exclusive use of film and video has given way to an expanded field of production in which sculptural objects interact with light, moving image and space. Interested in merging different visual languages and modes of reception, Pirrotta activates a sensorial space, where the aesthetics of the glimpse and the gaze co-exist. Pirrotta writes:

“The observation of the space of moving image between the cinema and the gallery, the use of light as a material and the re-interpretation of the ‘grammar’ related to the projection process contribute to encompass the focus related to the use of a specific medium or language, broadening the work to infinite solutions offered by the interaction between art, design and architecture.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a free limited edition risograph brochure with texts by Nicky Hamlyn & Emmanuelle Waeckerlé and Giusy Pirrotta.
Here the text

Giusy Pirrotta’s Light-Play Works

by Nicky Hamlyn & Emmanuelle Waeckerlé

Stan Brakhage’s film The Riddle of Lumen (1972) addresses the riddle of light: light is everywhere but almost nowhere directly visible as such (if we look into light we see dazzle, but do we really see light?). We only see it indirectly in Brakhage’s film via a diversity of images in which light is reflected, defracted, refracted and diffused through curtains, leaves and other semi transparent surfaces.
Giusy Pirrotta’s project is similarly concerned, but where Brakhage devoted his entire working life to celluloid film, Pirrotta has expanded her range of media. From an initial interest in 16mm film, acquired while a student at Central Saint Martin, she now works with an unusual combination of film (not video), slides, ceramic elements, wallpaper and other materials.
Despite being of its time (21st century post-digital), in its seamless assimilation and integration of the organic (clay, pigments, everyday objects and material, the mechanical; slide projectors and other apparatuses and the technological; video, film), one is taken back to the wonder and magic of pre-cinematic experiments of the late 19th century and early 20th century; phantasmagoria, magic mirrors and lanterns, and the zoetropes, thaumatropes and praxinoscopes. These Greek neologisms attempt to give these inventions at least a dimension of seriousness and respectability.
The careful choreography of Pirrotta’s sculptural objects, projective apparatus and moving image installations allows the audience to be active participants (as opposed to static viewers), free to roam between and around the works, from one sculptural object to an endless reflection leading to a double projection. The way Pirrotta manipulates light and images and juxtaposes materials and projections is magical enough, but she manages to make it even more so by revealing the various natural or mechanical processes that creates them (projection, reflection, refraction etc), processes that are usually kept out of sight or taken for granted.

The experience of light is extended and made palpable by Pirrotta’s ingenious juxtapositions of technology that are in effect quasi-inventions for conjuring and analysis of light-play.
The end result is both spectacular and entertaining in the way of early cinema. It is also thought provoking and refreshing because Pirrotta draws our attention to and reminds us of the increasing amount of (mostly invisible) technologies through which we experience the world and live our life

Nicky Hamlyn is Professor of Experimental Film at UCA Canterbury. He is a filmmaker and writer on artists’ film and video.
Emmanuelle Waeckerlé is Reader in Photography and Relational Practices at UCA Farnham. Her practice explores writing, reading and the materiality of language.