The dichotomies in Giovanni Ozzola’s art are deceptively simple - light and darkness, nature and man, the temporal and the infinite. It is the tension between these dichotomies and the fact that his work’s structure and scale deny the viewer a neutral perspective that generate a feeling of dizzying awe. Giovanni seeks to transform his audience from observers to participants. In his breakthrough video “Garage” we move from darkness to light as a steel garage door opens slowly to reveal a resplendent sea scape. But it soon becomes apparent that there is no defined boundary between the stark interior of the garage and the encroaching ocean leaving the viewer with a strange sense of relief as the door closes and they are returned to their blackened box
In his bunker photographs, several of which are on display in this exhibition, the artist contrasts the magnificent mountain top vistas from his chosen home on the Canary Islands with the decaying concrete shells through which they are viewed. These shells often stained with the detritus of intervening human visitation seem to be conceding to their inevitable evisceration by the relentless forces of the natural environment in which they are perched. Our own collection includes a photograph of Giovanni’s in which majestic sand dunes tumble through an abandoned warehouse beautifully illuminated by beams of light seeping through the rafters. It is at once a soothing work resting above our dining room table and consumed daily with joy and a persistent reminder that as the sands encroach the remaining human space will fill and darkness will descend upon us.
As with the characters in the novels of one of his favorite authors, Murakami, Ozzola casts his audience as lonely protagonists adrift in a sea of surreality. In I Did Not See You the artist posits the gallery floor as an ocean on which rests an engraved propeller from an ancient ship - the last vestige of a vessel that might help us navigate back to shore. On the walls are a series of star scapes, one sparkling blue but the others ominously dark and forebodingly entitled “Fear of You”. From these vertiginous glimpses into the void the artist provides a sole oasis resting near the center of the second room in the exhibition. It is the graffiti scarred wall of one of his island bunkers blown to scale and printed on glass. This work - imposing, colorful, elegant and delicate - is a last reminder of the messy, chaotic and resplendent touch of human kind.
Ozzola’s path to his current home and work place is the product of his search for the Pillars of Hercules - the symbolic markers of the end of the known ancient world on which were rumored to be inscribed the words “Non Plus Ultra” (Nothing Further Beyond). This seems a fitting choice of place from which to launch a body of work in which the artist asks viewers to join him in gazing at the unknown while clinging to the last boarders of civilization.
Andrew Ruff, Oct 25, 2021
欧祖拉现在居住和生活的加纳利群岛，据说他是在寻找希腊神话中的“赫拉克勒斯石柱“的路途中发现这里的。传说这位最后一个古代文明的创立者的石柱上刻有这样的铭文：“Non Plus Ultra”（此处之外,再无天地）。对于创作如此作品的艺术家，这个居所的选择实在是太适宜了。在这里，守卫着人类文明的最后一道边界，艺术家邀请我们一同凝视未知。
Andrew Ruff，2021 年 10 月 25 日