Fire, crab claws and little shoes at MADRE Naples
Always in search of an art experience that won’t blow the budget we headed to Madre: Museo d’arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, which is free on Mondays, bonus!
As I walked into the space I immediately thought of a Jim Lambie installation combined with ‘tumble tots’ and ‘Fun House’. If you weren’t a child in the 1980s onwards in the UK you definitely won’t have experienced the social minefield of tumble tots (I am still traumatised by a girl biting me there). Fun House hails from a similar era and was a quality transatlantic game show where you saw contestants soaked in gunge, whilst you wished you were doing that to your brother or sister. If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing these cultural references there are some useful visuals below…..
So now hopefully you have a sense of the experience you have when you walk into the museum. It is most definitely not a white box, which was amplified by the father and son that had their gouache paints out in the first room, capturing the slightly unnerving yet familiar sculptures (or are they ovens) of Roberto Cuoghi.
I say familiar because they reminded me of masks and sculptures we’d seen in West and East Africa, mostly due to their use of mud or clay, hessian and rope. They also seemed to be functional as they looked like ovens, but became almost human as they had little shoed feet poking out from underneath their bulbous bodies. It’s pretty refreshing to see pieces you like and not understand them straight away, and actually now writing this I’m not sure I want to completely understand them or his motivation for making them. I left the gallery having found some of the pieces beautiful, fun, eerie, grotesque, scary and dramatic.
The video in the next room which documented the piece ‘Putiferio’ gave me a little insight, although to be honest I’m still not sure if the art is an installation, video, the sculptures that came out of the ovens, or the ovens themselves, and I’m pretty happy not knowing. I guess the reason I’m sharing this is because I think you should visit MADRE and check out Robert Cuoghi’s work if you have the chance.