Ashes to Ashes
6 November - 12 December, 2009
Renowned for his playful and ironic blurring of cultural styles and stereotypes, Riello considers himself more of a conceptual moviemaker than an actor. Ashes to Ashes is different from his previous work however, presenting a sincere glimpse into his inner world: a deeply personal confession of the cultural and psychological base of his artistic practice. The work depicts a private love affair between Riello and the ten books that, like old friends, form his own emotional foundation; the result a simultaneous public declaration of his past and a celebration of a personal cultural change.
Likening this metamorphosis to the cycle of life, death and rebirth, Riello believes that both he and our culture need to change radically. The act of burning his treasured texts, thereby destroying the formative aspects of his psyche, is symbolic of the painful yet necessary necessity to reinvent our cultural benchmarks. Burning past influences does not destroy histories or memories, however, but memorialises their indelible traces in our minds. The beautifully crafted urns preserve the pages from Riello’s past in a useless yet eternal form: precious and important ashes that, like holy relics, deserve veneration and respect but cannot touched.
The urns were hand crafted by the famous Italian glass blower, Massimo Lunardon, an artisan that magically tamed the glass urns exactly as required, turning Riello’s ideas and sketches into uniquely personal memorials.
Antonio Riello describes himself as, ‘An ideas tamer. One of those who normally feed themselves in the contemporary art pasture.’ He lives and works in Marostica and Milano, Italy and Schlerigna, Switzerland.