° Venice, Italy 1963

lives and works in Venice and Milan — Italy


Giovanni Rizzoli participated at Coup de Ville 2010. This text was published in the catalogue.


In his introduction to Giovanni Rizzoli's work, the Italian art critic, Achille Bonita Oliva, compares modern art with the post-classic period of antiquity. One of the characterising aspects is the hybridisation phenomenon, which is also a feature of Rizzoli's work. Starting with the classic styles, and with a measure of irony, Rizzoli adds elements of his own imagination to them. These startling deviations lead to a sort of 'wavering' beauty. The sculptural installation in this exhibition, called Naughty girl, has been created in a similar fashion.


When Rizzoli discovers an ancient aviary in a garden, it leads to a treatment of the imprisonment and security theme. A drawing made by the artist back in 1991 forms the basis for a sculpture in white-lacquered aluminium. It represents a female body with a single breast and a head with horns that ends in a small parasol. Surrounded by a tall aviary, the figure kneels on a swing that moves gently in the breeze.


Although the surprising form sparks comparisons with surrealism, Rizzoli himself links it to the frivolous Roccoco style. The artist asserts that the figure is happy in its cage and that his work is therefore not so much about the physical and spiritual limits created by upbringing or prevailing social codes. As he indicates, the installation is about freedom within a self-chosen space that has a protective nature.


The curves of the body and the glowing skin turn the sculpture into an erotic being that remains out of reach because of the cage that surrounds it. The interplay between exhibitionism and voyeurism resonates with the inability to satisfy desire. Although the seperate pieces of the sculpture are easily identified, the work in its entirety does not allow itself to be unambiguously understood. Rizzoli's artwork will therefore remain an interestingly constructed enigma that will linger in the memory, and will continue to stimulate the imagination.