Per Speculum in Aenigmate. This is the title of the exhibition, as well as its key of interpretation; a direct citation of the biblical text of St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
Draga & Aurel delve into deep reflections in this solo show on the themes of knowledge (or the impossibility of knowing). Their thinking takes form inside the 19th-century setting of Palazzo Brancaccio in Rome – the location of Contemporary Cluster, an interdisciplinary space for art, architecture, design, music, fashion design and photography – in a hybrid itinerary to display the results of their artistic research, on view until 13 March: the new body of paintings by Aurel K. Basedow and some iconic design pieces by the duo Draga & Aurel.
“Through a glass darkly”: the usual translation of the Latin links back to Christian dogma regarding the impossibility of any human knowledge of the divine. A theme absorbed by Draga & Aurel in its poetic, evocative sense, and applied to their production, with its mutable, dual character of furniture and art, never completely singular thanks to the material, the resin, which adds infinite reflections to every surface.
The intentionally “cathedral-like” spaces are modulated, as in a musical score, by different elements and rhythms: tubular lights, monochrome pieces or seats, placed to underline spatial symmetries or to reveal multicolored compositions in which the large “canvases” establish a counterpoint with a series of punctiform tables.
All the way to the last room, which contains only the artwork by Aurel, the apex of reflection: a pause, an intimate moment in which the artist concentrates on certain inner themes, of fear or constraint, imprinted on a series of pieces of paper. The magma-like brushstrokes disguise particular aspects of photographic images, all selected from the artist’s personal archives.