Curated by Matteo Chini, GUMstudio,  Carrara.
March 2010

The work of Robert Pettena (Pembury, GB, 1970) is based on the relationship between body and space. Since the 90s his videos, photos, objects and especially his installations and performances have developed a coherence and an esthetic courage that have gained his work an international prominence.

In Carrara, Pettena has decided to work in the intriguing spaces of GUMstudio, an independent gallery situated in the historic town center.Gum is an alternative exhibition space situated under the cross vaulted ceiling of what was once an old tire repair shop(from which Gumstudio gets its name).

The space itself, will be the object of the exibition. Within the gallery Pettena will create an unexpected alteration of the place. A “simple” intervention which will involve the floor and a luminous projection of metal iodide, will contribute to the work of the estrangement of space.

The result will be a distorsion of the normal perception of space and reveal an underground dimension, a secret, a sort of imaginary subway.

The installation will consist of showing what is hidden. The masqueraded spaces which usually elude our perception, for example the many artesian wells dug into historic palaces or in old farm houses, supply the artist with an imaginative model, to which his intervention refers.

The aim of the work is to catch the spectator in a trap. Incapable of saying if it is witnessing a discovery or a pretence, a reality or a metropolitan legend, the observer gives up his own concept of reality to the unpredictability of the possible, to the secret force of the probable. This upside-down effect is therefore nothing other than a predisposed prevision, the “least harm” one has to go through in order to sensitize one’s perception to the underground dimension of life...

Matteo Chini

© Robert Pettena 2022