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mezzo staccato (romantic gestures)

Galerie Rolando Anselmi
Rome, IT
24.06 – 30.09.2023

Gallery text:

The autobiographical history and family events are imagery that the artist repeatedly draws from in his practice. The Pianist revolves around the story of his grandfather, a pianist, who, born into a Jewish family, was forced to flee Germany in 1939. Through the silkscreen technique, images extrapolated from the owner's manual of the Opel Olympia, the car that helped Federico Waelder cross the border, are depicted on the canvas. References to the Opel Olympia are now pivotal in Ian Waelder's production and in this cycle of works, specifically conceived for the gallery space, enlarged cutouts of the hands that in the original manual indicated how to repair or preserve the car seem to echo the movements of a pianist.

The abstraction of gestures and the introduction of stains complicate the understanding of the scene, just as sometimes memories arrive barely blurred and the result of a troubled memory.
The silver gelatin print 1993 - (Fly on hand) #02 depicts a plant received by Ian Waelder's parents on the day of his birth and whose growth the artist records each time he is back at their home in Spain. Like the imperceptible fly resting on the leaf, the visitor almost surreptitiously witnesses Ian Waelder's personal story and the symbolic telling of a story taking shape through artistic practice. Towards the end of the exhibition the visitor is forced to walk around Upright (The Pianist diminuendo) to discover a fictional clay nose, that could be the Ian’s, Federico’s or another family member’s, thus fixed at the height of the artist. While the canvases of The Pianist play with the gallery space, creating three hypothetical openings in addition to the one already present in the floor plan, the verticality of Upright (The Pianist diminuendo) seems to harken back to the shape of an upturned piano, and the artist's portrait gives the narrative an even more intimate accent.

Exhibition views :

List of works

Installation views by Sebastiano Luciano
Individual works by Ivan Murzin (except “1993 - (Fly on hand) #02, 2023).

Photo documentation on this website by:
John Forest, Natasha Lebedeva, Lúa Oliver, Ivan Murzin, Iain Emaline, Juan David Cortés, Paul Levack, Jiyoon Chung, Augustine Paredes, Juande Jarillo, Eva Carasol, Sebastiano Luciano, Nick Ash
© Ian Waelder, 2024