Priska C. Juschka Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of GUINEA PIG, the first solo exhibition of Italian artist Stefano Cagol in New York City. Cagol focuses his investigation on toxic additives that pervade both toys and food by interpreting them as a symbol of our human fragility and exposing how they influence, compel and deceive us.
In numerous ways, Cagol recapitulates our current state of dissatisfaction with the natural essence of things and our increasing coercion to crave a heightened intensity through ubiquitous food and toy additives... He exploits two very basic activities - that of eating and playing - to prove that we are all unwitting GUINEA PIGs of a globally extended lab that is constantly experimenting with our lives.
Utilizing references that are immediate and familiar to the public as magnets to attract audience attention, Cagol intersperses propagandist slogans throughout his installations, videos and public actions. The use of a common vocabulary and familiar concepts transforms them into powerful signifiers of new and at times, contradictory meanings. In the work GOD, TOY and EAT, three three-letter words are presented separately in a series of three black light-boxes. The encased glittery text appears iconic, like inscriptions or commandments, recalling timeless warnings inherited from the ancient past about human folly that are, at the same time, a testimony to it.
Cagol literally demonstrates this through a staged and videotaped public demonstration in which he protests with banners and badges about this condition using freshly re-contextualized text and words. Driven by the relentless prevalence of mass media, everything around us has become routinely and overtly unnatural, "over the top", artificially manipulated and genetically mutated.
As a lesson to be learned, Cagol wants us to reflect upon the devastating effects of risky experimentation, pointing out that the Epicurean search for the mutated extreme, the perfect food and toy, will eventually and most-likely backfire.
Stefano Cagol was born in 1969 in Italy and raised in Switzerland. He currently lives and works in Italy. He holds a BA in Fine Art from the Brera Academy in Milan and was recipient of a post-doctoral video art fellowship from Ryerson University in Toronto. In 2007, Cagol was the subject of several solo exhibitions including a project at NADiff (the New Art Diffusion exhibition space in Tokyo) and Head Flu in Venice. He also participated in numerous group shows including Tendencies of Contemporary Research at the National Museum of Arts in Hanoi, From and To at the Kunst Merano Arte in Italy which occurred in collaboration with Stealth.ultd Rotterdam and The edge of vision at the National Gallery of New Delhi. Since October 2007 his commissioned public art installation, Flu Power Flu, has been displayed on the façade of BeursSchouwburg Art Center in Brussels. Cagol will be included in the 2008 group show, Eurasia Geographic Cross-overs in Art curated by Achille Bonito Oliva at MART (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rovereto Trento, Italy) during Manifesta7 (the European Biennial of Contemporary Art taking place in Trentino-South Tyrol).