CHRIS SOAL
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
︎ Vestige, 2024
︎ Surface tension, 2024
︎ Finds taken for wonders, 2023
︎ Remains to be seen, 2022
︎ Elegy, 2021
︎ As below so above, 2021
︎ Margins of Error, 2021


SELECTED WORKS
︎ 2024
︎ 2023
︎ 2022
︎ 2021
︎ 2020

︎ 2019
︎ 2018
︎ 2017

VESTIGE


EDUARDO SECCI GALLERY
SOLO EXHIBITION 
7 JUN - 14 JUL 2024
Installation view of  Detours on the road to myself (left), Vestige (right) and Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees (right), 2024

VESTIGE 

“A moonlight inhumanly withered again becomes artificial
(...)
Are you still playing with figurines
Only if you live underground can you reach yourself ”

Yang Lian, The Cement Man


The vectors of creation trigger landscapes where sensitivity and aesthetics reveal themselves in unprecedented bird’s-eye views, despite the vertical pose. In Vestige, we find soft dunes, semi-engraved bas-reliefs, shapes that defeat spikes and sequenced coils of standard aluminum dentils. The Peripatetic axiom (Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in the senses), where the familiar crown caps from glass beer bottles, recovered from a recycling landfill, along with the inherent and possible organicities predisposed by other materials, tear the composition from our first glance.
This certainly does not mean disdaining form, but con- sciously surrendering to its genesis. Every work by Chris Soal, encompasses his profound and unusual exploration of materials and their phenomenology, consolidating into a matrix of bold experimentation. Through excavated research, he arrives at philosophical destinations, defining an original thought, each work becomes a manifesto that the titles themselves declare (Detours on the road to myself). A manifesto where the human and the sense of humanism; urban social life, cultural conditioning, waste, differentiation, the vexed state of nature, climate change, and the dialectic of a dystopian world that Chris Soal analyzes, are always placed at the center of his artistic reflection.

The focus of the work corresponds to his primary research, which is bio morphism, a sophisticated mutation that develops portions of baroque elasticity, generated in plastic self-sufficiency, among rounded perimeters and expansive areas defined by protruding curves. The vision is sometimes a minimalist matrix; a thick quilt of toothpicks, bamboo toothpicks, birch toothpicks, toothpicks in a state experiencing their combustion, a vegetative state where the inorganic alludes to a mutable and enticing life (To sharpen our senses and soften our touch).










In the works of Chris Soal, cement, along with polyurethanes and fiberglass, are not only used to configure and aggregate structure but also to express their dynamic as elements of the avant-garde.
In fact, cement is one of the elements that distinguished the 20th century, first in the great architectural experience (Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier as undisputed Masters), and then establishing itself as a material that expresses a strong radicality in art. The Béton brut finds a rare election in the Grande Cretto of Gibellina by Alberto Burri, and in the creations of Giuseppe Uncini who has used it since 1958, narrating not only volumes but brutally opening new compositional concepts to bring out other great existing structures. Just two examples: in 1968, A cast of the Space Under My Chair by Bruce Nauman or in the abstract dimension of House (1993) by Rachael Whiteread.
Cement in its essence is associated in the practical sense of construction, yet it has also come to be used as a material to fill voids, memories, destructions, losses and absences. In Vestige, an exhibition conceptualized by Chris Soal for SECCI Gallery in Pietrasanta, he aims to fill human traces, specifically those of marble extraction that belong to the territory crowned by the Apuan Alps, a unique large basin of the precious white gold.

Indeed, uncontrolled extractions have modified, over time, the skyline of the marble crown, where the lunar and desolate sense that the mountain returns is what Chris Soal brings to light in his new eponymous sculptures, enhanc- ing the sense of a lost trace and expanding the strength of a memory to be preserved, which, to coalesce with Jean Baudrillard, we can define ‘vestiges of the real’ not by the map that precedes the territory.


- Chiara Guidi

Detours on the road to myself, 2024
Burnt and Unburnt Bamboo Birch Wood Toothpicks held in Polyurethane Sealant, Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete with Used Motor Car Oil and Rebar.
220 x 180 x 22 cm
Detours on the road to myself (Detail), 2024


Installation view of Vestige and Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees2024




Vestige (below), 2024
Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete Relief Cast.
72 x 172 x 13 cm



Vestige (detail), 2024



Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees, 2024
Burnt and Unburnt Bamboo Birch Wood Toothpicks held in Polyurethane Sealant, Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete with Used Motor Car Oil and Rebar.
130 x 115 x 13 cm




Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees (Details), 2024





The peripatetic axiom (Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in the senses), 2024
Discarded Beer Bottle Caps threaded onto Electric Fencing Cable, held in Polyurethane Sealant on Board.
84 x 77 x 15 cm


  
The peripatetic axiom (Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in the senses) (Details), 2024



Installation view of The peripatetic axiom (Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in the senses) (left) and Terra nullius (The somewhere else is nowhere else) (right), 2024



Terra nullius (The somewhere else is nowhere else), 2024
Burnt and Unburnt Bamboo Birch Wood Toothpicks held in Polyurethane Sealant, Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete with Used Motor Car Oil and Rebar.
177 x 135 x 29 cm



Terra nullius (The somewhere else is nowhere else) (Details), 2024



Installation view of To sharpen our senses and soften our touch (left) and Terra nullius (The somewhere else is nowhere else) (right), 2024


Terra nullius (The somewhere else is nowhere else), 2024
Bamboo and Birch Wood Toothpicks, held in Polyurethane Sealant on Industrial Fabric on Board.
187 x 143 x 24 cm


To sharpen our senses and soften our touch (Details), 2024




Installation view of To sharpen our senses and soften our touch (left) and Running to stand still (right), 2024




Running to stand still, 2024
Discarded Beer Bottle Caps threaded onto Electric Fencing Cable, held in Polyurethane Sealant on Board, Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete with Used Motor Car Oil and Rebar.
131 x 72 x 14 cm




Running to stand still (Details), 2024


︎ EXHIBITION on Secci Gallery website
︎ ARTICLE on Mutual Art