Nathlie Provosty on show at ICA Milan until April 22
The temporary exhibition What A Fool Ever To Be Tricked Into Seriousness, curated by Alberto Salvadori and hosted by ICA Milan until April 22, is the first solo institutional exhibition in Europe of U.S. artist Nathlie Provosty.
The exhibition takes the self-conscious and direct approach that characterizes Provosty’s work to investigate the constant misunderstandings that govern the way human beings perceive the world, through an unprecedented body of oil paintings and works on paper. The work of Nathlie Provosty (Cincinnati, USA, 1981) is grounded in an expressive lexicon that touches on multiple themes related to the perception of human experience. Dense with conscious irony, the artist’s works explore elements of our everyday life such as time, space, magnetism, eroticism, and gravity through a specific use of oil paint and paper. The resulting surfaces caress the viewer’s sense of awareness, inviting him to trace and interpret the many clues with which the artist enriches his compositions.
The self-deprecating attitude that permeates the artist’s work is revealed right from the title of the exhibition: what a fool ever to be tricked into seriousness is a passage from the text by American poet and physician William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963), where the main character realizes, in a true epiphany, that he has struggled for years relying on a truth that ultimately turns out to be as true as the one that was false. Irony is the unraveling of duality and limited perception. Poetry unmasks duality and the belief in its own correctness.
The exhibition project designed for Fondazione ICA Milan brings together a selection of works never before presented together with more historical works that invite the visitor to enter the space of pure perception. Nathlie Provosty’s paintings and works on paper are true landscapes of forms and surfaces, where the measured juxtaposition of planes and colors generates unexpected images designed to restore the contradictions that characterize every life journey.
Provosty’s immediate and seductive language emerges, ironically, through his sincere investigation of art history, the artist’s tools, the creation of an abstract lexicon, and the shaping of painting into a time-based medium that can reveal a personal and complex human inquiry. A trick is an act designed to deceive or outsmart, yet the artist uses manual manipulations of paint and surfaces to “trip” the viewer into a deeper awareness of their own feelings and what the painting is actually doing.