Oliviero Rainaldi at Partners & Mucciaccia gallery (Gillman Barracks, Singapore)

I’ve always wanted to do some posts on Singapore art galleries and exhibitions on this blog, but somehow I’ve never gotten round to it. Until now.

I’m by no means an art critic, or even art-trained. I just happen to enjoy wandering around art galleries and museums, the same way I just enjoy wandering around new cities and places, and doing various arty and not-so-arty things for fun. So if you’re looking for in-depth art criticism that discusses parallels between the artistic vocabulary of different artists across time and space, this is where you can stop reading. My philosophy to art appreciation is really rather simple: if it speaks to me, I stay and look at it some more. If it doesn’t, I shrug and move on. I make an attempt to understand the pieces as how the artist intended, but I’m of the school of thought that goes along the lines of multiple meaning creation as a result of viewing through different cognitive lenses.

So. Today, I happened to be around Gillman Barracks. By virtue of having spent many a lunch hour and Friday evening in the 4 years of working nearby previously, I am not unfamiliar with the galleries and their art foci. Also for the same reason, I am not unfamiliar with the galleries that have more friendly staff. (Read: staff who actually acknowledge that a. You are a human being and that b. Although you might not look like you have the purchasing power to afford any artwork on their wall, they’ll still bother to either give a brief overview of the exhibition or even better, do a mini tour of the artpieces.)

One of these galleries is Partners and Mucciaccia, which focuses on Italian art. It’s my favourite gallery, largely because I’ve had good experiences with many of the staff, but also because I’ve enjoyed the exhibitions and the artworks they’ve had here. My favourite artist in this gallery to date is Francesca Leone, whose painting of a lady showering just took my breath away.

But if I had to choose a 2nd favourite, it would be Oliviero Rainaldi, just because his work is so focused on one thing: the human form. I marvel at artists who have so much focus, marvel at how they don’t seem to get bored, and how they can find new ways of exploring the same theme for years.

I’ve seen Rainaldi’s bronze sculptures previously — one is placed lying sideways on the reception table, making it impossible to miss — and while they are interesting  in that they are reminiscent of the Oscar statuettes and/or those Easter Island figures, they’ve never made me go ‘wow’. In this exhibition though, Rainaldi experiments with more media, which made me stop for a while and consider the artworks that bit longer.

I’ll try to explain it as I understand what he tried to do.

The human form in 3 states: gaseous (this artwork is meant to be displayed near a window)  
Liquid (Inspiration from this came from Shakespeare. Bingo if you guessed Orphelia!). Really wonder how he did this glass mould piece.

And solid — ice on a piece of bronze. Have no idea what body part this is though. A nose?

This last artwork using chalk on wood truly mesmerized me for a while. How could just simple chalk rubbings and lines achieve this beauty? Genius.

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