Innocenzo Odescalchi at Antica Fornace del Canova, Rome

In the year of the 200th anniversary of the death of Antonio Canova in Rome at the Fornace del Canova until 30 June, the cultural association CANOVA22 presents the personal exhibition of Innocenzo Odescalchi “OLTRE”, edited by Fiorenza d’Alessandro and accompanied by a text of Claudio Damiani.

Innocenzo Odescalchi arrives at Fornace del Canova with a project dedicated to the recurring theme of Canova’s work: the “rite of passage”. “OLTRE”, the site-specific installation, takes place in the room’s two main rooms in Via Antonio Canova, the anti-oven, where you meet the archaic monster who petrifies with your gaze: “the portrait of Medusa”, the first to appear in a kind of anti hell while the “front door” near her is ajar, a clear reference to Canova, here the lord of the house (impossible not to pay homage to him), and to the famous tomb of the Basilica dei Frari in Venice, where he is buried his heart, the door from which the black “BEYOND” seeps, the passage to enter Hades to meet “Lucifer’s baptism,” CANOVA22 explained.

We talked about the exhibition project with Fiorenza d’Alessandrocurator, and with the artist in the interview below.

Innocenzo Odescalchi, Oltre, Fornace del Canova, 2022. Courtesy of Fornace del Canova

How was the exhibition project “OLTRE” born?

Fiorenza d’Alessandro: «The CANOVA22 association located in the old furnace, where Antonio Canova he merged his sketches, has a consolidated multidisciplinary activity with special attention to the involvement of artists who interpret the enclosing space of the place with specific works.
Moreover, if we reflect on the need to bring out the expressions of contemporary artists that help to decipher the changing reality of today, the deepest meaning of Canova’s lesson, the privileged choices of the association go in that direction. In that way he has seen works Felice Levini, Luigi Ontani, Franz Prati, Giuseppe Salvatorithe creativity of Innocenzo Odescalchi, who dedicates his work on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Antonio Canova’s death, is added to the theme “the passenger ritual”, which is strongly present in Canova’s work, while he with Lucifer’s baptism he lives in the enclosing space of the oven with a work with a strong emotional component ».

The installation is full of literary, mythological and religious references. What role do these elements play in Innocenzo Odescalchi’s research in general?

Innocenzo Odescalchi: “The relationship between my work and the literary, mythological and religious ties is as he says Claudio Damiani “A meeting between the two worlds of the West: paganism and Christianity”. The symbols are three from a Medusa that petrifies, The Door inspired by Canova to the entry of the underworld, Lucifer and his irrevocable state desired by fate. The Medusa, the Door, and the Devil are united by the same process of destruction-creation that is crucial to the success of work, they respect the tasks assigned to them, and have not an ethical role, but only an aesthetic one. Art stops time with just the gaze of the Medusa and practices an alchemical process that makes it material and therefore sculptural ».

Innocenzo Odescalchi, Oltre, Fornace del Canova, 2022. Courtesy of Fornace del Canova

Can you tell us in a nutshell the poet’s poetics?

Fiorenza d’Alessandro: “Lucifer’s rebellion against God is the cause of his enduring suffering, an endless suffering from which he wants to free himself. With his hand on his head in search of the light, while the body insists on finding a source of redemption, but finds only flammable liquid. In vain are the attempts to redeem himself, with his “boring scream” and his gloomy idiom (extinct alphabet) depicted on his chest, he remains confined to Hades.
Odescalchi’s poetics is to recreate an orientation with his works, the works often resemble briefly where the image arises between sensitive worlds, in this case the process is reversed: the oven has given the artist the opportunity to produce an immersive work “.

What will be the next CANOVA22 projects?

Fiorenza d’Alessandro: “After Odescalchi’s work, a site-specific installation of Fiorenzo Zaffinawhich was inspired by the group of Love and Psyche with the work Chrysalis. As we leave the kiln and expand our view of the Roman landscape, we find along the Appia road the traces of Canova’s work in the role of superintendent of archaeological heritage. On the other hand, given Canova’s special relationship with dance, the association is working on a project for a festival of national and international artists to perform choreographies referring to Canova’s works in the framework of the Nymfaeum in Villa dei Quintili. ».

What about the artist’s next exhibition projects?

Fiorenza d’Alessandro: “As far as Innocenzo Odescalchi is concerned, he replies that he never talks about the future”.

Oven del Canova. Photo: Marco Benvenuto (2015)

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