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The Heart Is (still) the Most Deceitful of All


Installation view from the recent solo exhibition Hjärtat är ändå det mest bedrägligaste av allt, Riche, Lilla Baren, Stockholm. Image courtesy of the artist.


In recent time Giulia Cairone has been working with what could be called sculptural abstract painting where the materiality of plexiglas brings painting closer to, and sometimes directly into the three-dimensional realm. It’s easy to arrive at arbitrary attributions of her work; often words revolve around the feminine or the sensual on the account of considerations and choices around color or material layering on the surface. On her end she claims rather to be interested in approaching distinctions between good taste and bad taste and that intersection where art divisively will be found to be marked by both. In the attempt of doing so, she’ll employ use of a feminine aesthetic as a device and which can be perceived as naive and juvenile and already from the outset is taxed with a narrow-minded gaze from some. Some branches of painting enjoy biases that speak to their credit. Figurative painting departing from bodies and which appear to be skilfully and effortfully produced can be presumed to be universally appreciated, enjoyed and “understood”. It’s not that Giulia’s abstractions are not favored at all. Brushstrokes in happy colors on plexiglas renders a certain decorative and inoffensive identity that makes art visually titillating and lowers the threshold into some private homes.


Installation view from the recent solo exhibition Hjärtat är ändå det mest bedrägligaste av allt, Riche, Lilla Baren, Stockholm. Image courtesy of the artist.


For me Giulia’s work is a reminder of how hard it is to address abstract painting without (inevitably?) falling back on well-used and applied artspeak. The abstract painter works intuitively and associatively and through claim prompts forward their own emotional register as well as yours. A reading of the abstract is often tied to emotive adjectives and nouns. Think; passion and rage. In the absence of more concrete drivers of the work, the viewer resort to something even more abstract than what is on view; feelings. Abstraction raised by the double. However, Giulia Cairone will twist that and her own work around by bringing into view the most universally recognizable emotive symbol: the heart < 3



Installation view from the recent solo exhibition Hjärtat är ändå det mest bedrägligaste av allt, Riche, Lilla Baren, Stockholm. Image courtesy of the artist. The heart in this shape, in essence quote erotic, for many people will date already back to maybe kindergarten? Is there anyone who did not ever draw a heart like this? A genuine and not just a rhetorical question. In its blatantness and oversimplicity, the heart will be found banal. I imagine that presents a conflict for many viewers, while considering good or bad taste, all the while it’s a symbol that is agreeable and benevolent. Giulia Cairone is a MFA grad of a renowned art school, so what’s the gist of her painting this way, some eyes will wonder. What is her self-insight into the possibe external scrutiny of her work? Is she really making a statement about taste or is that humbug and an excuse to do what she does, so intellectually and at heart’s desire? From speaking to her, I don’t think the artist particularly has any keen interest in producing excuses, and for my own part I think that art that challenges my gaze and biases without omitting aesthetical qualities out of the equation is art I most certainly can live, or engage with.


Ashik Zaman



Note: Giulia Cairone is exhibiting with Thomas Magnusson in an upoming two-person exhibition opening at Eldhunden/SKF Konstnärshuset on Dec 3 (through Dec 18)