When does art become design, scenography casts architecture, illustration turns into painting, craft transforms into serial production, the old grows new? And then reversed again, with no particular order and critical hierarchies? What comes first between a sculpture, a sketch and a canvas? Pietro di Corrado likes to stay at the very edge between definitions and categories, floating on quirky grounds where a barbell weight – a “disco” in Italian – becomes a spaceship – “disco-volante” able to move electrically between childhood memories, domestic rituals and the history of art and design; shifting scale, time and space in a vortex of stimuli. It’s a metaphysical short circuit, a mental shock of forms and colours, high and low, functionality and worthlessness. A blast off towards a place made of dear objects, architectonic details and converging timelines. A Postmodern Milan on the moon, or just a place of tales, Favolacce – good, bad, true, false, happy, scary – a space for training to chaos and all its potential.
A group of luminescent school paper planes stands proudly in a circle surrounding a strange object. They are much enlarged, and tall; as tall as Pietro Di Corrado was when growing up during lazy summers at his seaside family house, and marking on the wall his gradual body transformation. They are in fact memory-objects from childhood glowing, rather than fading, in all their clumsy fragility; children themselves, with their umbilical cord still attached to their paper mother also standing proudly and disclosing a small portal from which a series of acute vibrations and other noises populate the space. The entire group, with their strange functions and exaggerated impracticability, exist between
the worlds of sculpture and design. The mother, a gigantic electric panel; the children, a series of suffused light-sources of sleek industrial design and domestic craft. Similarly the strange object at the centre of the circle, with its acid green and orange tones, is reminiscent of a small architectural model for a residential complex of the 60s, or a throne landed from space. It has tiny tentacles as its feet, and many unusual details that often populate Di Corrado’s paintings too. Its form is scaled from a bench, one that the artist uses everyday for his physical exercises with his heavy barbell. A dwindle bench made of wrinkled skin, like an old queen or an ancient Ziggurat.

Di Corrado pays a tribute to his origins and surroundings, creating an eclectic explosion of strangeness. He joins bodily intuitions and inexpert scrabbles on graph paper with postmodern aesthetics, bowing to the political relevance of the movement and its attack and suspicion towards individuality, big scale utopias, reason and distinction between high and low culture. But where the postmodern failed – in deconstructing its link and affinity with capitalism – becomes the artist’s playground for experiments. The domestic takes on a particular relevance, but also the body and the diverse complexity that can be hidden all over, from a peripheral housing complex of Milan, to a contorted gate with no lock, a fable or a dark orifix. Pushing the limits between sophistication and awkwardness, and categories whatsoever, becomes
an excuse to train the eye and the mind to ideas of multiplicity and imprecision, leaving space for a chaos of possibilities and collective fury.
Looking at Di Corrado’s works, a quote from Michel Serres’ Genesis comes to mind: “We live and think within the mix. Zebra-streaked, tiger-striped, variegated, motley, fleck-speckled, bedizened, star-spangled. We invent, we produce like the Demiurge, in and through the mix.”

Caterina Avataneo

Date: September 7 — October 112021
Photography: Matteo De Nando