A solo show by Viola Poli


In her work, Viola Poli often invades and appropriates spaces. Each of her total installations, realized in situ, is accompanied by a short poem describing sensations and memories. Some of her gestures or choices are meticulous, others intuitive. Her interventions, subtle and organic, leave no detail untouched and yet give to chance a great part of expression in the process of realization. The work of the material is always primordial, because it has its own life, a free will that the artist cannot and does not want to control in its entirety.

The artist from Ticino has been developing a coherent and continuous practice for several years, made of handmade pieces with traditional techniques of sculpture, in metal welding, in modelling, in clay and in wood. These pieces rub shoulders with others, more experimental, mixing all kinds of natural materials found and recycled in strange and unique forms, like a dish made of food unknown even to the person who cooked it.

In this intervention located just a stone’s throw from the emerald river, the influence of the host site is considerable. It determines the tone, the hue, the shapes and the deceptive textures. The river, like the architecture of the building at the end of its life, is seen as a place of incessant rejuvenation and as a source of inexhaustible inspiration. Viola Poli, following her own determination to lose control, leaves nothing unfinished here, controlling even the atmosphere of the room, immersing the viewers in an ecosystem comprised of heterogeneous elements and hybrid entities.

A food composed of dark and matt ceramics crushed until exhaustion, of rivers of dried algae with turquoise reflections spotted with mosses and purple lichens, reminiscent of the dress of trout or catfish, of pieces of ivory white shells gleaned on pebble beaches, of grey and reddish iron rods, of intimate poems engraved on metal plates whose rust becomes ornament, of vaporous lights and windows blurred by grease. All these manufactured pieces serve to shape this interconnected and living whole, a stunning trompe-l’oeil, suspended from floor to ceiling, on a bed of black soot powder.

Muta is a stage that signals a turning point, it is the shedding of an animal changing its skin, an intermediate state before a potential renewal, a metamorphosis of the space, as it is of the artist holds its stewardship. Muta also means the incapacity to express words. Perhaps it should therefore be considered as an attempt to decentralize being an artist or being a human. Muta, as an autonomous organism. Weeds resisting in the urban space defined and dominated by humanity and by its time.

From 20 October to 3 November 2022
Photos: Danny Leal
Acknowledgements: Marlène Charpentié, Angeles Rodriguez, Benjamìn Valdivieso
With the support of the Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, DCS, Genève.

Viola Poli (*1992) is an artist from Ticino who lives and works in Geneva. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in 2019 and a Masters degree in 2021 from HEAD–Geneva. Muta is her second solo show after Tutto quello che (in collaboration with Elias Njima and Léna Sophia Bagutti), Espace Libre, Bienne in 2022.
She has participated in several exhibitions such as
Bonne Brise, TOPIC, Geneva and GO GO GO, Le Grütli, Geneva in 2022, La Regionale, Villa Ciani, Lugano, Art au Centre, Halle Nord, Geneva and terrains vagues, Limbo, Geneva in 2021, Space Invasion, Galerie Fabienne Levy, Lausanne in 2020, Domestic Plants, oqbo Gallery, Berlin (DE), Feminist Strike Festival, Arsenic, Lausanne, and Insonne, with Sonnenstube, Spazio Morel, Lugano in 2019, Antipodes, On Arte Gallery, Minusio and Soucoupes volantes, Kunsthaus Langenthal in 2018.
She participated in the
PICTO residency, Geneva in 2021-2022 and Bally Artist, Locarno Film Festival in 2021.