Curator Monica Lavi
Ivo Bisignano, a well-known Italian artist and designer, has been living in Israel for the past few years. His encounter with Nahum Gutman’s artwork aroused in him a feeling of nostalgia for the Italian culture in which he was raised and educated. As an outside observer, he was able to identify classical elements in Gutman’s oeuvre. In Bisignano’s attempt to correspond with Gutman, he created a lyrical video installation comprising images from his works, to which he added an illustrated video with skies, clouds, and birds. The bird – a creature linking heaven and earth, the live and the dead – is found in many of Gutman’s illustrations and paintings.
Visitors experience the exhibition while reclining: Bisignano invites visitors to rest, relax, and observe the ceiling, to become hypnotized watching a flock of birds strutting about and gathering together, until they darken the skies. The upward gaze is the act of looking at a sacred place – the ceiling of a cathedral, church, or synagogue. The source of the gaze lies in overhead paintings, heads bowed back to watch images of heavens and wonderful visions revealed to human eyes. Viewers of Bisignano’s installation lie down on a black lawn. Above the spectators are gilded sculptures, hovering images of clouds made of brass sheets, colored stones, ostrich eggs, and glass. Some of the statues are shaped like hands, reminiscent of the hands in the fresco painting The Creation of Adam, in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
Ivo Bisignano is a multidisciplinary artist who works in the mediums of sculpture, illustration, video art, design and fashion. His oeuvre is impacted by cinema and literature, tending towards Surrealism. His work in the field of fashion gave rise to collaborations with well-known brands, including the fashion houses of Prada, Missoni, and Fratelli Rossetti, with the Walt Disney Company, and lately with Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. In each one of these fields of engagement Bisignano integrates the imaginary with the realistic. Even though he was not raised on the mythos of Nahum Gutman, Bisignano identifies with Gutman having moved so easily through different mediums, absorbing influences from everything to which he was exposed. This is perhaps the secret of why Ivo Bisignano, the Italian artist who has worked with leading artists all over the world, has become enchanted with Nahum Gutman, one of the forefathers of classical Israeli art.