Anna Esposito (Rome 1939)
“It is difficult to place Anna Esposito’s art in a specific artistic category, trend or group. She spreads herself out in the world of imagination and fantasy with total technical freedom and inventiveness, using every kind of old and new material. Right from the start her works appear as conglomerates of the most varied pieces of material, cloth, plastic, glass and form compositions of ambiguous significance, leaving the viewer with full freedom to make all kinds of interpretations. Over recent years, photography has been the main basis for Esposito’s works, on which she composes with her materials, integrating the various parts to achieve unity and complementarity of the various elements. Irony, humour and sarcasm which can sometimes be grotesque, and playfulness are behind all her works of art and animate her inventions so that the viewer can participate as much as possible. Her art is original and extends across a wide range of intelligent, imaginative and stimulating images that place her among the most interesting in contemporary art”.
(Palma Bucarelli, Galleria Banchi Nuovi, Rome, June 1987)
“In an age when more and more artists are using the computer to manipolate their imagery, Anna Esposito creates her works purely by means of manual dexterity and the most elementary of tools – scissors and glue. Her skill is the ability to invent new relationship between unrested imagery. And at a time when religious themes in art are increasingly controversial and potentially explosive, Esposito treats religion as a jokey, almost surreal, exprerience.
In the gospel accroding to Esposito, Saint Sebastian (1992) is a truckload of eletric saws pinned to the forked trunk of a tree, the whole composition resembling the familiar, iconographic male torso pierced by arrows. Noah’s Ark (1998) is a rusty ship, a scene based on a picture of a boat- load of Albanese refugees arriving at the italian coast. The heads of various wild beasts poke out from the human mass; a pair of pandas cling to the rails, there are a couple of giraffes on the top deck, an antelope peers over the stern, an orangutan swings from the anchor. In Esposito’s hands, Buddha (1997) is in fact antropomorphic car-seat sitting on a lotus pad, a serene form of spirituality and industrial design. The decor is Eastern, the upholstery is synthetic, the mood is calmly ridicolous. She ‘dresses’ a pair of columns in St Peter’s Square in bright red underpants lebelled with the fortuitos brandname, Eminence. Meanwhile, Benediction (1994) shows Pope John Paul II performing a religious rite, the spiritual smoke becoming a billowing cloud of vulcanic ash behind him. The Gods, it seems, are angry.
The biblical fable of feeding the multitudes is reinterpreted by the artist in Tortellini (1998). An outsized plate-load of pasta splills into an assembly of Japanese schoolgirls. The shapes of their straw hats are mixed up with the round forms of the tortellini.
Many of Esposito’s recent works are about creating disorder from images of repetition. The last guards in a pa- rade of English Beefeaters topple like dominos.
In another collage, the berets worn by a troop of marching soldiers are actually white Drawing – pins stuck into the paper. In Anna Esposito’s world, the viewer’s eye is lulled into a false sense of security by the idea of repetition. It is only upon closer inspection that we realise that something is truly amiss. Nature is upset and logic is over-ruled. So, of course, the Gods are angry.
[Jonathan Turner, Sydney, December 1998].