Reach out touch faith

Alessandro Fogo

Reach out touch faith is Alessandro Fogo's (Thiene, 1992) new solo exhibition at Fondazione Coppola, and is the first of one of the most representative Italian painters of his generation in Vicenza, his city of origin.

The exhibition includes a series of works created in the last three years, selected by the artist in an unprecedented combination that runs through the four floors of the Tower, headquarters of the Foundation, constructing a score capable of highlighting some emblematic aspects of his practice.

Fogo's images constitute a subtly heterogeneous universe: elements with strong symbolic references coexist in them (black Madonnas, demonic figures, votive statues and animals) that are difficult to describe univocally, which seem to bring the observer into the territory of the sacred, and into an intimate and daily dimension, from which these objects and forms seem to emerge, as if the space of apparition, of epiphany, was delineated within ordinary and domestic places.

Alessandro Fogo, Eclissi e girasoli, 2022, oil on linen, cm 60 x 50. Private Collection © Alessandro Fogo. Courtesy: the artist.

Reach out touch faith, is a title that derives from a song by Depeche Mode, alludes precisely to this movement of approaching and contacting with the sacred, that the artist seems to get to through a process of construction and definition of the image, not programmed or designed a priori, but that all takes place within the experience of creating each single painting. “(...) A sacred and mythical sphere within which my work moves, something that concerns an elsewhere, an elsewhere that is not another place, but that resides, is in things. I mean: how do we perceive the sacred in everyday life? How does the sacred manifest itself in the things around us? Why do certain things manifest an aura that others do not have? I believe these questions support many of my works", said the artist in a recent interview.

Fogo's images constitute a subtly heterogeneous universe: elements with strong symbolic references coexist in them (black Madonnas, demonic figures, votive statues and animals) that are difficult to describe univocally, which seem to bring the observer into the territory of the sacred, and into an intimate and daily dimension, from which these objects and forms seem to emerge, as if the space of apparition, of epiphany, was delineated within ordinary and domestic places. Reach out touch faith, is a title that derives from a song by Depeche Mode, alludes precisely to this movement of approaching and contacting with the sacred, that the artist seems to get to through a process of construction and definition of the image, not programmed or designed a priori, but that all takes place within the experience of creating each single painting. “(...) A sacred and mythical sphere within which my work moves, something that concerns an elsewhere, an elsewhere that is not another place, but that resides, is in things. I mean: how do we perceive the sacred in everyday life? How does the sacred manifest itself in the things around us? Why do certain things manifest an aura that others do not have? I believe these questions support many of my works", said the artist in a recent interview.

Alessandro Fogo, Madonna nera e corvi bianchi, 2021, oil on linen, cm 70 x 90. Collection Annarumma © Alessandro Fogo

What is described in Fogo's paintings is also a narrow space from which the figures seem to arise through emanation, of superimpositions and hybridisations between heterogeneous forms that, instead of arranging themselves in depth, coexist in a very close foreground: thus the figures, touching and overlapping, they can also appear partially, in portions and fragments. This is what happens, for example, in a work like Madonna Nera con corvi bianchi (2021), where, in the swirl produced by a flight of crows, a fragment of the head, or statue, of a black Madonna appears and recurs in several images of Fogo; or in Il potere dell'allodola (2020), where a secret dialogue between a weasel and a mask with diabolical and demonic shapes seems to take place in a living room, in a placid bourgeois interior at night.

Furthermore, it is the paintings' way of framing the images that arouses a sense of enigmatic incompleteness, with figures that frequently emerge from the edges, as in The Wrong Offer (2023), a secret votive offering ritual that seems to take place in a domestic space and where the protagonist is a woman whose face is cut from the field of vision by the upper edge of the painting. Finally, the sense of apparition is as if relaunched by the chromatic range of each of the paintings on display. Fogo's palette is very rich, but each work seems to accord with a dominant tone, undergoing a kind of toning with a cinematic flavour: if certain ranges of greens and blues, for example, seem to outline the figures within a nocturnal vision, the ranges of reds of paintings such as Eclissi e girasoli (2022) and Idol Burning Itself (2023) amplify the alienating and vaguely hallucinated effect of the images.

The exhibition is accompanied by a critical text by Davide Ferri

Alessandro Fogo (Thiene, 1992)

Lives and works in S. Benedetto del Tronto (AP). In 2017 he obtained a Master's degree in painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, after graduating in Visual Arts at IUAV in Venice in 2016. Among the notable solo exhibitions: Mythos, Palazzo Buonaccorsi Museum (Macerata, IT, 2023); Black Morning, 2 person show with Paola Angelini, Lyles&King Gallery (New York, USA, 2022); Skins and leathers, PM/AM Gallery, (London, UK, 2022); In the sunlight, a moment before going out, Galleria Annarumma (Naples, IT, 2021). Selected group exhibitions: Pittura Italiana Oggi, curated by Damiano Gullì, Triennale Milano (Milan, IT, 2023); Dreamcatcher, Beacon by Paulina Caspari (Munich, GE, 2022); What Now?, PM/ AM Gallery (London, UK, 2022); 07, PM/AM Gallery (London, 2021); Tomorrow Here Today, Rome Quadrennial, Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome, 2020); If on a winter's night a traveller, MAMOTH gallery (London, 2020). Awards: 2023, Pannaggi/New Generation Award, Palazzo Buonaccorsi, Macerata, IT; 2020, Accademibac, Rome Quadrennial, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, IT; 2019, 1st Painting Prize, Combat Prize, Museo Civico G. Fattori, Livorno, IT; 2018, 1st Painting Prize, Arte Laguna Prize, Arsenale di Venezia.