With Baracca’s Time, Alessandro Pessoli has created a panegyric by adopting the figure of the Italian war hero, Francesco Baracca, and embracing his story as something simultaneously intimate and alien. Through a group of maiolica sculptures and a series of drawings, he obliquely reflects Baracca’s tragedy and romanticism, his glory and flaws and the facts and fictions that constitute the story of his life.
Pessoli’s figures and machinery, the sexually charged images and war scenes, are all, like popular history, composed of fragments of reality and dream, of the common and the fantastic. They seem to be made of pieces that shouldn’t quite fit together, but once put next to each other make perfect sense. Their fragility and melancholic character is that of Baracca, a romantic figure who represents an important part of Italian history, but one that is now accessed through an assemblage of other people’s memories.
Because of this, Pessoli’s involvement as a storyteller is not neutral. He is emotionally involved in the telling and the making, as is also suggested by the texture of the works, their almost tactile quality and their imperfect nature. Pessoli knows that the characters in Baracca’s Time are taken from history, but, maybe more importantly, they are also his own characters, and Baracca’s his own story. They echo the worlds of 17th century French historian Jacques Auguste de Thou, when he said that, “there are no true histories but those written by men who have been sufficiently sincere to speak truly about themselves”.
Alessandro Pessoli was born in 1963 in Cervia, on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy. He lives and works in Milan. Solo exhibitions include The Void Winners at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (2004), Il Gaucho Biondo, at Studio Guenzani, Milan (2003), Sandrinus, at Anton Kern Gallery, New York (2002) and Caligola and 15-18, at greengrassi, London (2002). His work was also part of Vernice: pathways thorugh young Italian painting at Villa Manin (2004), and International Paper, at the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2003).