Giulio Tambellini at João Ferreira
by Sue Williamson
In an About the Artist sheet which accompanies Giulio Tambellini's current exhibition at the Joao Ferreira Gallery, we read, "Giulio is characteristically impatient in his art process, His process is ruled by his boyish eagerness and anticipation to see how a work will turn out, and often his impatience is rewarded with either a fantastic, spontaneous art piece or with furious disappointment, leading to an instant tearing up of the work." - Sonja Strafella.
The naïve words seem designed to disarm the viewer, to persuade one in advance that there is some merit in this impatient "boyish" eager approach. Why bother with discipline, sensitive drawing, conceptual clarity and artistic rigour if there is an opportunity to produce "a fantastic spontaneous art piece"? Of course, it all depends what your standards are, but I couldn't see anything living up to this description on this show. An artist's book of erotic photographs is so badly made as to be already falling apart.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the most satisfactory (but not exceptional) piece on view probably took the longest time - a large scale woodcut/monoprint entitled Root which combines the phallic with the botanic. For the rest, Tambellini's ideas and techniques seem to veer all over the place. One of the largest pieces on the show is entitled Crack Figure Expulsion. Nine sheets of paper combine to form this image, with the rear end of a woman (cut off at mid thigh) spreading her buttocks at the centre, while outlined on either side are two enclosing hands. Is the extreme crudeness of the drawing of the woman supposed to replicate the kind of rough imagery found on graffitied walls? Or is it just a very bad drawing? Apparently the theme is about the rape of the land. My own feeling is that it is art that is being raped.
Opening Wednesday October 2, 6pm
Closing: October 26
João Ferreira Gallery, 80 Hout Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 423 5403 or 082 490 2977
Fax: 021 423 2136
Hours: Tue - Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am - 2pm