Drawing on sedimented layers of history, archives, libraries, archaeology and esoteric scientific inquiry in Rome, Cotognini has created an artist’s book in the form of a livre de chevet, a well-loved tome kept on a bedside table. Leafed through by nocturnal readers, as if in a waking dream, pages of drawings combine detailed renderings of architectural monuments, celebrated contemporary figures such as Alberto Sordi, and references to the writings of Jesuit polymath Anathasius Kircher, who founded one of the first museums of natural history in Rome. Amounting to a momento mori of architecture, arcane symbols and portraits, the volume recalls a carnet de voyage, a travel sketchbook, in which the archaic and the contemporary overlap and interpenetrate. The format, a disjunctive narrative comprised of images, underlines the way in which the artist translates texts and conclusions drawn from them into an idiosyncratic visual language, documenting the meandering course of his intellectual inquiry in the process.
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Director, American Academy in Rome
Fabio Cotognini (Macerata, 1983) lives and works in Civitanova Marche. His work digs into and contaminates the various layers of art history, scholarly inquiry and architecture, creating unexpected connections between images and word-signs. His work has been featured in numerous solo shows, including those at Promoteo Gallery, Milan, in 2014; the Museo Archeologico, Salerno, in 2014, and at the Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona, in 2013.