3: Alfredo Aceto

1 December 2023 - 10 February 2024

Following Alfredo Aceto‘s first show with Jenkin Van Zyl in Beijing last September, Hua International is pleased to announce 3, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. 


Alfredo Aceto works across sculpture, film, photography and installation to integrate abstract art with abstracted bodies or elements of figuration, often himself, to explore themes of identity, power, masculinity, and social systems, reflecting on the complexities that have shaped our time. 3 brings together works from various stages of the artist's oeuvre, providing a survey into his rich and diverse body of work spanning his first ten years of practice. His works, including new pieces for this exhibition, reexamine social structures, using languages found in mass-media and communication as well as the grammar of post-modern abstraction to re-examine social structures, thereby altering our experience and perception of societal frameworks. 


In merging elements from various phases of his career, the exhibition creates a conceptual continuity in his practice rather than simply a formal one. Juxtaposing diverse narratives, the works delve into economics, sociology, power systems, and the exploration of gender and dominant models. 


With works presented across the three gallery spaces, 3, underscores the polymorphic nature of Aceto's work and further expands on his practice, a film occupies the middle room as the  heart or engine of the exhibition while the front room contains largely sculptural works and the back room is photographic. Painted walls in yellow act as the exhibition’s color narrative moving the viewer through space, as well as being a reflection of color as an ongoing motif for the artist. 


In the film, Italie CGN, Aceto revisits childhood, attempting to undergo a metamorphosis in which he embodies and performs as if he is a ship opperated by the company Compagnie Générale de Navigation on Lake Geneva (CGN) inside a choreography  filmed at the MCBA (Musee Cantonal des Beaux Arts de Lausanne). Taking the Mise-en-scène of the film from the promotional ads of the company, the shots adopt a coded version of the artist hand acting as the piston engines and iconic paddle wheels, while the sound of the film is created by the artist's gargling imitating the wake of the ship. 


Displayed in the corridor, the Quadri Politici Svizzeri, two paintings created for the exhibition, are inspired by the cover of a book conceived by Enzo Cucchi during a workshop at ECAL in 2011 and reflect Aceto's view of the art school as both an educational institution and a wellspring of inspiration, challenging the notion of painting as mere decoration and probing the unresolved stages of life.


In the front room, Aceto's new series of bronze sculptures, modeled on a one-to-one scale of handyman sanding discs, explore the ability of abrasive tools to reshape surfaces and blur the lines between domestic and public spaces, deconstructing the social attributes carried between them. The wall-mounted bronzes, symbolizing the intimate act of emptying pockets at home, surround three Inspettori orange panel sculptures that reflect a struggle for attention in a world inundated with images. Too small to effectively fulfill any advertising or medical function they are embedded with a felt sense of uncanny scale transposition. The images on them are mysterious motifs within the exhibition: one sees the artist's open mouth in the midst of a dental impression process - perhaps after an excess of sweets? - and a hand with fingers extending into other hands - echoing raised hands in thrill rides? A farewell? Protests?


In Today I Accomplished Zero, Aceto's sculpture of a felt tie adorned with diodes on the gallery floor encapsulates the allure of failure, alluding to artworks from Joseph Beuys to minimalism, while responding to the film's featured tie as a symbol of gender norms; it becomes a grounded chimera, embodying the deconstruction inherent in every downfall.


The last room of the exhibition is dedicated to Aceto's photographic practice through two bodies of works. Egg-Human is a collection of self-portraits referencing Dr. Daniel Garliner's work, focusing on linguistic exercises that illustrate the tongue's role in bodily equilibrium, while the presence of pencil marks introduces a disruptive, drawing-like element to the photographs. Meanwhile, Tongue-Twister transitions the focus to the body itself, with images captured on the hood of a car, conjuring an erotic, masculine realm where the tongue, central to taste and speech, bridges internal and external worlds, elevating these flattened compositions to the realm of sculpture, not through tangible volume but through perceptual interplay.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication featuring an essay by Cédric Fauq.



Installation Views