Carlo Rocchi Bilancini

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Where once were solid forms, now are only eddies of colour, soft dimples on the surface of the water. Who are these people? Where did they come from, and where have they gone?

Carlo Rocchi Bilancini’s first major show, Pesci Fuor d’Acqua, left the viewer in no doubt. His images showed subjects standing unruffled, imperturbable in their element, neither washed away nor changed by it. Here was a fireman with his hose, there an opera singer with her score, a tango dancer, a surveyor, a cyclist, a hair stylist and his scissors, a sculptor and her copper wire, a grandmother with her knitting – all of them floating on waves of crystalline blue, stronger than the rhythms of the water.

However uneasily, the abandoned garments in Migrazioni have surrendered the forms of those who once inhabited them, and with the slow lapping of the water, they have transmogrified into the unknowable, yet vaguely familiar: the ghostly shape of a distant friend, an elusive lover, a departed person yearning to reassume a lost identity. Each person has left something behind. Is it a coat or a soul?

Swishing around like first forms and whirling in the vortex of the element that gave them life, these husks, whether washed-out or singing with colour, taunt and mesmerise. A purple jellyfish pulsates across the aquatic landscape, an anemone is glimpsed below the surface, a rock crab extends a claw in invitation, sirens luring the viewer to join them.

Water is the medium of change, bringing metamorphosis in its wake. Here there is a vanishing, a transmigration. Before long, these shapes will be nothing more than ripples in time.

Jill Foulston

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