Matthias SchallerMatthias Schaller, an international artist and photographer, pays homage to the genius of Antonio Canova 200 years after his death with an installation presented for the first time in Italy and at the same time at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf.
The project, curated by Xavier F. Salomon, is composed of a series of 16 photographic enlargements that portray, at a very close range, portions of Canova’s Self-portrait conserved at the Museo e Gypsotheca Antonio Canova in Possagno. The real protagonist is the scratched surface of the plaster, with all its imperfections. The images break down and recompose the physiognomy of Canova in a continuous passage of chiaroscuro, from white to grey to the black of the ‘repère’, the bronze pins used by the sculptor to translate the artworks from plaster to marble.
Schaller’s work invites a deeper reflection on Antonio Canova as a man rather than the artist. The juxtaposition between the images and some quotes from Canova’s biographies, collected in a precious artist’s book that accompanies the installation, suggests a new understanding of the sculptor. Convinced for a while that we managed to solve the mystery around the figure of the artist, we find ourselves again wondering: who was Antonio Canova? What was he really like?
Cover: Matthias Schaller, Antonio 5, 2018. © Matthias Schaller, courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York.