Pick of the Week: Ludovica Gioscia

Cole Sweetwood, Artillery Magazine, February 17, 2021

The artistic process is often private. Artists seldom actively show the steps taken to craft an end product, but to some, like Ludovica Gioscia, revealing all is vital to their work. In a large, multi-faceted installation at Baert Gallery entitled Arturo and The Vertical Sea, Gioscia displays every detail of her process.


The installation is principally composed of three large, wooden structures, upon which hang various works: dream robes, portals, double-sided wall papers, and papier-mâché. The first time walking through the space is disorienting, seemingly intentionally so. The wooden structures stick out at odd angles and carve the gallery into diagonal sections. The large, eye-catching works are so diverse in material and inspiration that it overwhelms even your sense of direction.


But slowly, the intricacies of the show appear. Detailed plans for the dream robes and the wallpaper and trial attempts for the brilliantly colored papier-mâché works are also on display, tacked to the wooden structures. They act as narrative markers for the show, a road map through which an understanding of the story can be explored.


This initial stage of the process is vital for grasping Gioscia’s vision. Using, for example, the list of ingredients for her papier-mâché, we gain an understanding of her inspirations. Gioscia details not only the kind of paper and color of dye, but also makes use of less traditional ingredients, like cat hair and joy.


And from those early drafts, we can snag the central thread of the installation: Gioscia’s cat, Arturo. The key inspiration for the works, according to Gioscia herself, stems from a dream in which there were “many Arturos floating in the sea, floating in an incredible mass of vertical water.” This description ties many of the seemingly disparate elements of the show together: the aquamarine robe which Gioscia used to harness her dreams, the wallpapers which flow like waterfalls, and the many Arturo effigies in ceramic, papier-mâché and watercolor.


Arturo and The Vertical Sea is a beautifully orchestrated installation exploring the dreamy and delightfully surprising mind of Ludovica Gioscia and her beloved Arturo.


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