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    符号的智能 (The Intelligence of the Signs)

    Donato Piccolo
    September 17th - November, 2022
    符号的智能 (The Intelligence of the Signs)  /  Donato Piccolo
    Galerie Mazzoli / Eberswalder Str. 30, Berlin

    Donato Piccolo ( Roma, 1976) is one of the most remarkable artists of his generation, both in Italy and on the international scene. It is in a very special context where art, science and philosophy are considered so inseparable that the artist unveils to us all his works. Mist, clouds, vapor, whirlwinds constitute some on the visual signatures of the artist, whose personality is reminiscent of the ancient figure of Empedocles, at the same time poet, engineer, philosopher and thaumaturge; a hero, who according .... artist's page

    Galerie Mazzoli is pleased to present 符号的智能, the third solo exhibition in its Berlin space by Donato Piccolo. The exhibition presents works created during the last two years by the Italian artist.
    In Piccolo’s drawings and sculptures, everyday objects are reproduced and recontextualized in order to acquire a different meaning. Ideograms, for example, which appear frequently in his recent work, are intended more as parts of the visual compositions rather than written signifiers. The Chinese title 符号的智能 (The Intelligence of the Sign), indeed, reveals the main theme of the exhibition: the idea that the manual sign, in Piccolo’s world, once set in a particular context, can achieve a form of autonomy, if not of intelligence, independent from the will of the author of the sign: a form, that is, of artificial intelligence, giving rise to new meanings, new interpretive possibilities. In the drawings, which are of impressive graphic precision, provocative and ironic, the artist depicts real elements - both natural and artificial - and virtual elements taken from pop culture (e.g., social platforms or video games). Together with inscriptions in different languages, Piccolo’s drawings, which constitute the bulk of this exhibition, form enigmatic-oniric scenes that seem to provoke in the viewer the necessity of collecting the various elements that lead to the solution of a mysterious riddle. They are visual anagrams, capable of stimulating multiple points of reflection and triggering, cause-and-effect, alternative mechanisms for understanding the world.

    Drawing inspiration from various theories, particularly chaos theory and the so-called "butterfly effect," Donato Piccolo seems to want to recreate a sense of totality from seemingly extraneous circumstances, a "great phenomenon" arising from a series of events, traces, and ideas that, while appearing separated, could in fact be linked together. By altering the initial 'sign'- by playing with it, influencing its nature and connecting it to other signs, Piccolo creates a series of morphous-amorphous configurations that demand a life of their own. In Battle Pass, for example, a car engine is connected to a giant flower, which is in turn connected to dynamite sticks, which are connected to a human scalp. It is a kind of cybernetic plant, a biological mistake, which somewhat lives and breathes in its own universe, as testified by the butterflies flying above it. There are also broken writings and color strokes around it, which fill the space and become part of the bizarre plant, as if they were its thoughts, or perhaps the testimony of human intervention.
    Paralleling some of the cybernetic concoctions found in the drawings, a few sculpture-hexapods such as beware of these cookies bro! - a real cookie box equipped with four robotic legs - roam around the gallery rooms thanks to an A.I. system that influences their being. These robots scan and study the space around them through an electronic neural system. They assume not only their own identity but also their own autonomous reality, like real animals investigating all the elements outside of them and learning external notions and information. This is Piccolo’s own quest for immortality: he does not accept that an object can be disposed of, but instead wants to resurrect it and infuse it with the gift of life. Combining drawing, sculpture, and research on new technologies - including robotics, computer science, and artificial intelligence - and blending influences from Tinguely to Cronenberg, from Leonardo to Gino De Dominicis, from Heidegger to Marvin Minsky, Donato Piccolo reveals his own nature as an artist and alchemist. A restless contemporary creative who combines excellent technical execution with scientific and philosophical knowledge, Piccolo wraps the final realization in satire and sensuality, in order and chaos, in the elementary and the complicated. Make no mistake, there is always an element of playfulness in Piccolo’s work. His practice, however, inevitably forces us to reevaluate our surroundings and question our certainties.

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    Donato Piccolo

    Donato Piccolo
    + Donato Piccolo 符号的智能 (The Intelligence of the Signs), Mazzoli Gallery, Berlino 2022