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One can fly lightly from one object to the other, or just rest one's gaze on the wall, like butterflies. Evgeny Antufiev's is an airy and emblematic exhibition reworking the project shown at Manifesta with relevant spatial variations and new works. The protagonists are the same: the butterfly and its travel companion, the writer Nabokov. In its symbolic value, the butterfly has always been associated in many cultures with the compenetration between visible and invisible, the meeting point between the finite and eternity, human and divine, the mark of change, metamorphosis and rebirth. The butterfly (in Greek Psiche= soul and butterfly) evokes a psychic transformation, a change, a passage through the different stages of life, the access to new experiences with a changed awareness. It is a memento mori of the ephemeral but at the same time the sign of what is ever-lasting. Nabokov, the “man/ butterfly”, takes up on himself the meaning of collectionism, where he identifies with what he collects, in the attempt to capture their essence. The methodical gesture of collecting and ranging becomes an emotional and tender attempt to assemble an identity back, melding it with a part of nature which does not accept death, fighting it through transformation.


The exhibition, then, appropriates the paradox and the metaphor as a fil rouge, not only in the choice of themes, but also for the use and treatment of materials. In the works displayed in the exhibition shape becomes energy, challenging the matter, which is bent modified. What looks solid and long-lasting, like the bronze and brass casts, seems to melt into structural variations, while what is fragile - like the embroideries and the phantasmatic photographs - weaves and retains images on the wall to enforce the dream of a possible and vital eternity. –– Marina Dacci

Eternal Garden by Evgeny Antufiev
Z2O Sara Zanin Gallery, Rome
Through June 10

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