On display now at Galerie Anne de Villepoix is the curious and intricate art by Angelo Filomeno, a show divided into three rooms. While walking through the first room, I realized that after looking at shapes like a melting skull with fangs embroidered by black thread onto a black background, I was both enthralled and disgusted. The art’s exploration of the body and its abjection, specifically the mutations of the body both imaginary and real, is both violent and revolting, but at the same time fascinating. Today’s society is virtually ignorant about the processes of the body, as we’ve anaesthetized and cocooned ourselves from realities of disease and death, but what is bizarre is that we are all going to die someday.
Filomeno’s art is a talented exploration of the darker side of the possibilities for the body and perhaps more importantly, the mind. Googly circles and embroidered flowers fuse together to outline a melting skull in the first untitled work, which is divided into two halves only perceptible by the stitching and the different materials. All three black panels are big, and the other two are all variations upon the theme of being lost at sea, with reflections on the horizon, and dreary shapes of skulls or craggy islands complete with dead, twisted trees. Black rhinestones create dark, starry skies, positively eerie and threatening.The unease of the artwork of the first room cannot be attributed to just the color; in the second room, a coppery material that recalls the glitter of sandstone achieves the same effect of discomfort.
Filomeno not only works with thread and cloth, but also with sculpture. He cast stainless steel into a pair of ghoulish skeletal feet, which he then placed upon a reflecting mirror, lit from above. The resulting shadow on the wall creates a kind of footprint of a monster. Is Filomeno commenting upon the capabilities of the human? The last room has an attractive, but spooky installation of over thirty witch-broom like sculptures hung in a bundle from the ceiling, complete with a table underneath, upon which two menacing silver insects are in some sort of dialogue with a broken broom. Filomeno’s imagination is at best here, with the creation of a frightening space that leaves the viewer wondering about menace and nightmares.
--Kate C. Lemay
(*Images, from top to bottom: Angelo Filomeno, Iceberg (copper), 2009, broderie sur soie, 43 x 28,5 cm. Angelo Filomeno, Haunted Land: Fallen Witch, 2008, broderie sur lin, 42,5 x 36 cm. Angelo Filomeno, Intoxication (door stops), 2007, deux pieds en acier inoxydable.)