Formafantasma at Gallery Libby Sellers

Monday, 26 September 2011

In the new Gallery Libby Sellers space in Berners Street, London, is the work of Italian designers Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi, who together are Formafantasma. The exhibition for LDF 2011 features the ceramic series, Moulding Tradition, and a new textile series, Colony, which focuses on the geo-political issues of immigration, and the historical cross-flow of culture between North Africa and Italy.

Moulding Tradition was inspired by the ongoing Sicilian ceramic tradition of teste di moro, copies of 17th century vases from Sicily that portray a grotesque Moorish face. The tradition is from an era in Sicily when the Moorish invasion of the area introduced majolica to Europe. Through Moulding Tradition, Formafantasma questions attitudes towards immigration, national identity and the custom of craft that came as a result of the Moorish invasion. Each object reflects in some way the immigrant experience – wine bottles recall the fruit in Sicily harvested by migrants and bowls represent the boats conveying refugees across the Mediterranean.

The other series presented by Formafantasma by Gallery Libby Sellers is Colony, a series of mohair and mixed media blankets. Each of the blankets refers to a major colony (Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia) that Italy held until the mid-1940s. The series is an account of the impact of Italian imperialism on the urban infrastructure of these former colonies and the complex relationship these countries now have with Italy.