Futuristic megalopolises, post-atomic sludge, urban ruins. These have been the subjects of Giacomo Costa’s work since the early Agglomerati with which he made his debut in the world of art in 1996. Since then all Costa’s works have contributed to an imagery that uses the fascination of landscapes and their undeniably repellent beauty to reflect on the effects of human actions on the planet we live on.
Whether they are minimal constructions such as the monochrome Orizzonti of 1999 and the lysergic Landscape of 2012, crazy inexplicable metropolises such as the 2006 Atti, or forests where vengeful nature re-appropriates its own space as in Gardens, exhibited at the 2009 Biennale, Costa’s works have so far been snapshots that stop events at the very time at which they occur. It was up to us, fascinated, astonished spectators, to imagine the before and the after.
Following lengthy technical and formal research, in 2018 Costa presents TIME(e)SCAPES.
The project is a videobox – as the Florentine artist calls it, using a neologism that combines the lightboxes so common in contemporary art with video monitors – in which the image loses its static qualities and is developed over time, in a form of representation made up of frames which may look like ordinary photographs to a distracted eye, but change imperceptibly every instant, so that the subject becomes something else with the gradual passage of time.
Does this mean Costa is finally revealing to us how his worlds, so different and yet so familiar, are born, and what they will become?
Not this time.
Cities collapse, mountains rise out of nothing, but nothing really changes. Just when everything seems to have changed, the image goes back the way it was before, just as slowly as it changed in the first place. Icebergs melt and seas are calmed, going back to their starting point and then starting all over again. We realise that rather than being the spectators in a story that starts with a beginning and leads to an end, we are actually prisoners in a loop. A sort of dream, or rather, a nightmare, from which we cannot escape. Going back to this sensation, composed of a combination of impotence and unreasonable attraction, which we feel before events we cannot control because they are too big for us little human beings.
Once again Costa does not offer us solutions or answers, but uses his ability to build fascinating and terrifying images to generate a restless state that encourages us to ask questions. Neither he nor any one of us has the answers; we must find them together. Hoping they take us in the right direction.