Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields

About

‘I am interested in making things that prompt a sense
of the complexity of the present.’
Marco Cianfanelli

Marco Cianfanelli is an artist who works across the public and private realms, thinking of the world more in terms of systems than discrete objects or fenced off territories of engagement. Constantly looking to realise art where one doesn’t expect to find it and testing the possibilities for artistic intervention in the public realm, he has been involved in a wide range of projects involving art, architecture and public space.

Cianfanelli’s work embodies a vast variety of media and materials, from burnt mielie skins and sculpted sea sand, to laser cut materials, masked glass and digital imaging. He thrives on taking applications and using them for different functions. Although he uses computer-aided design and technology in the production of his work, he also engages with the more visceral organic aspects of the material he works with, experimenting with physical acts like the slinging of muddy pigment or the branding of animal hides. Marrying the application of data to more expressive gestural acts, he aims to set up a tension or dialogue between the controlled, accuracies of the digital realm and the uncontrollable realities of being human.

Key to his practice is an attempt to give shape to the convergence of multiple kinds of data, knowledge and experience, asserting the interrelatedness of all things. His work explores social hierarchies and channels of consumption as they relate to aspects of human desire, value, beauty and material relationships.

Collapsing the categories and conventions that sort our experience, he strives to invent forms that bring together thoughts in relation to economics (statistics, values and economies of scale), geography (resources, place and ownership) and emotion (self, psychology and chemistry). Human forms superimposed on a graphical index track personal narratives in relation to seemingly unrelated empirical data. The silhouettes of human figures appear repeatedly in relation to other shapes or forms that point to unexpected connections between social forces. In other instances, statistics are translated into physical forms, so graphs become landscapes, affirming the idea that nature, culture, landscape and politics are inextricably interfused.

For him, the idea of ‘place’ refers beyond fixed geographical co-ordinates. It is an emissary from the past as well as a construction-site of invention and re-invention. Place, or its absence, points to our intellectual and emotional desires for location, which are as much about the construction of Self as they are about a sense of community or even nationality.

In Cianfanelli’s forms one becomes aware of images and shapes that are, in a sense, made apparent through omission. Aspects of the object may not be entirely visible. Parts may be hidden or simply missing. Sometimes it is as if the works are remainders of images that used to be or images that have been replaced, obscured or erased. Cianfanelli is drawn to the expressive possibilities of blank space, and the aesthetic patterns that result from obscuration and omission. Yet his work has little to do with the pursuit of purely formal abstraction. The images or references within the artworks are quite specific, even though they have been visually obscured or omitted.

Scale is pivotal. By reinterpreting numbers and playing with measurements, Cianfanelli repeatedly interrogates the mysterious connectivity between microbes and planets.
From the smallest maquette to the immensity of a fully realised public sculpture, his figures and forms allude ambiguously to landscape, the human body and microorganisms. His spheroid sculptures, in particular, refer simultaneously to microscopic, visceral and celestial forms. Our desire to grasp our own humanity is precariously formed from an engagement between our sense of individuality and our location within a greater species, on a singular planetary body.

For this, his sixth solo exhibition, he embarks on an adventure in search of forms that prompt subtler responses to the complex natural and built environments in which we find ourselves.

Text by Alex Dodd

MARCO CIANFANELLI

Marco Cianfanelli was born in Johannesburg in 1970 and graduated, with a distinction in Fine Art, from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1992. He has had five solo exhibitions and has won numerous awards, including the ABSA L’Atelier, which culminated in a residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris, and an Ampersand Fellowship, which took him to New York. Fiercely committed to testing the possibilities for artistic intervention in the public realm and engaging with other professionals from diverse fields, he has been involved in a wide range of projects involving art, architecture and public space. Currently, he is a member the design team for The Freedom Park, South Africa’s national monument to freedom, situated in Pretoria. His work can be found in public and private collections in South Africa (Sasol, Absa, Didata, Bloemfontein Art Museum…) Europe and the United States.

  • Aggregate II

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Aggregate II, 2009

    Variable (206 - 243 x 28cm)

  • Aggregate III

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Aggregate III, 2009

    Bluegum, paint, laser cut mild steel

    Variable (206 - 243 x 28cm)

  • Come and Go

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Come and Go, 2009

    Burnt, laminated, laser cut and waxed ply wood

    180 x 64 x 41cm

  • Residue 180

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Residue 180, 2009

    Woodcut print on Hanemuhle Paper

    42.5 x 45cm

    Edition of 3

  • Residue 25

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Residue 25, 2009

    Woodcut on Hahnemuhle Paper

    42.5 x 45cm

    Edition of 12

  • Screen Relic

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Screen Relic, 2009

    Laser Cut, Laminated, Burnt Plywood

    Variable

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein I

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein I, 2009

    Laser cut, burnt, laminated supawood

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein III

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein III, 2009

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

    Laser Cut, burnt, laminated supawood

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein III

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein III, 2009

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

    Laser Cut, burnt, laminated supawood

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein IV

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein IV, 2009

    Laser cut, burnt, laminated supawood

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein V

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein V, 2009

    Laser cut, burnt, laminated supawood

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein V

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein V, 2009

    Laser cut, burnt, laminated supawood

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein V

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein V, 2009

    Laser cut, burnt, laminated supawood

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

  • Vredefort to Sterkfontein VII

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Vredefort to Sterkfontein VII, 2009

    Laser Cut, burnt, laminated supawood

    43 x 31 x 6.5cm

  • Homeland

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Homeland, 2009

    Laser Cut Steel

    140 x 91 x 11.5cm

  • Fatherland

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Fatherland, 2009

    Laser Cut Steel

    134 x 97 x 13cm

  • Motherland

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Motherland, 2009

    Laser Cut Steel

    134 x 98 x 16cm

  • Rig

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Rig, 2009

    Bluegum, paint, laser cut mild steel, used engine oil

    342 x 685 x 132cm

  • Implode

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Implode, 2009

    Burnt, Polished, laser cut and carved plywood

    88 x 65 x 54cm

  • Explode

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Explode, 2009

    Laser cut steel

    83 x 121 x 103cm

  • Chart (heart)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Chart (heart), 2009

    Woodcut Print

    30 x 216cm

    Edition of 3

  • Future, Past, Present I

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Future, Past, Present I, 2009

    Fiberglass, resin, sand, wax, laser cut mild steel

    40 x 43 x 26cm

  • Future, Past, Present, III

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Future, Past, Present, III, 2009

    Fiberglass, resin, sand, wax, laser cut mild steel

    69 x 45 x 35cm

  • Chart (Brain)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Chart (Brain), 2009

    Etching

    74 x 84cm

    Edition of 5

  • Mapping I (Brain)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Mapping I (Brain), 2009

    Etching

    67 x 76cm

    Edition of 6

  • Mapping II (Brain)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Mapping II (Brain), 2009

    Etching

    67 x 76cm

    Edition of 6

  • Mapping III (Brain)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Mapping III (Brain), 2009

    Etching

    67 x 76cm

    Edition of 6

  • Mapping IV (Brain)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Mapping IV (Brain), 2009

    Etching

    67 x 76cm

    Edition of 6

  • Mapping V (Brain)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Mapping V (Brain), 2009

    Etching

    67 x 76cm

    Edition of 6

  • Fracture I

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Fracture I, 2009

    Laser cut mild steel on steel base

    45 x 43.5 x 22cm

    Edition of 3

  • Fracture III

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Fracture III, 2009

    Laser cut mild steel on steel base

    45 x 67.5 x 22cm

    Edition of 3

  • Interaction II

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Interaction II, 2009

    Laser cut mild steel on steel base

    37 x 89.5 x 38cm

    Edition of 3

  • Load I

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Load I, 2009

    Rock, wax, laser cut mild steel

    32 x 18.5 x 18cm

  • Load III

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Load III, 2009

    Rock, wax, laser mild cut steel

    51 x 21 x 19cm

  • Mapping II (heart)

    Marco Cianfanelli

    Mapping II (heart), 2009

    Laser on Hahnemuhle paper

    43 x 54.5cm

    Edition of 3

  • Installation picture [Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields]
  • Installation picture [Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields]
  • Installation picture [Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields]
  • Installation picture [Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields]
  • Installation picture [Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields]
  • Installation picture [Marco Cianfanelli / Absent Fields]