Weiss Falk is pleased to present Sentimental Pop , Lorenza Longhi’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Taking over the downstairs space of Weiss Falk’s Basel location, the exhibition presents two bodies of work, dialectically posed, and a spatial intervention concealing the vision from the street into the space.
The practice of Lorenza Longhi, employs inefficiency and imperfection as productive methodologies to explore the formal possibilities of capitalism and its semiotics. A hand-made sensitivity substitutes industrial reproducibility, to observe and deconstruct our relationship to consumer culture and desire. Flirting with the symbolic power of things while adopting formally and visually disparate registers taken from art history, advertising, fashion and design, the work seduces, impregnated by potential narratives.
Sentimental pop is a feeling, a cognitive intuition that the teachings of pop might induce criticality by bordering on the sentimental. Can we just be attracted to something because it enhances our feeling of belonging?
Declaring love can be empowering. Take the flower paintings for example. They are a love letter to pop icon Andy Warhol, who painted them affectively to investigate appropriation and mass production, and Sturtevant, who conceived them to question authorship and to explore the complex production structures behind a work of art. Longhi chooses to reproduce the motif of flowers, small and big, on a series of nylon textiles purchased from deadstock resellers in New York and Milan. Hacking the silk-screening technique to embrace a more painterly approach, the textiles are willingly not stretched on a frame but printed only using a mesh, the qualities of the material becoming significant along the gestural movements of the artist, taking distance from the seriality of the process. Strong patterns seduce the eye while recalling their fashion origins, color charts and product codes occur along small flaws, their unique qualities as a distinctive sign, a birthmark. On a closer look we notice that camera lenses occupy the center of the flowers: consumption takes place under “surveillance capitalism,” triggering a type of surveillance based on strict control and the need for self-representation. Are we recorded?
The second body of work, grouped in a single room of the gallery, is the new series Samples. Adopting a certain accidentally, the series establishes a vocabulary of surfaces: Longhi has stripped down these works of all design and material information leaving us, at times, with the naked wood-panel. A new sense of temporality emerges. Playing with nuances and minimal gestures, elements such as adhesive tape and mounting glue or the leftover marks of a previous textile cover, transmit a performative force reminding of a trial-and-error-process, the act of placing and removing, addition and erasion. Found vinyl graphic lettering and wallpaper samples decor the panels, lingering between potentiality and oblivion.
For Longhi speculation becomes a mode of production, actively embracing error (or the prospect of it) as an act of defiance. To enhance even more this process, she covers the gallery windows with hand-applied foil that blurs the view from the street into the space and vice-versa. Proposing opacity as a tool in an image-led exhibition can be a form of self- sabotage, disrupting the infinite representational flow.
Defiance is, after all, a way to resist. - Attilia Fattori Franchini