‘Ashes to Ashes’ offered a sincere glimpse into Antionio Riello’s inner world; the exhibition stood as a deeply personal confession of the cultural and psychological base of his artistic practise. The work depicted a private love affair between Riello and the ten books that form his emotional foundation to create a public declaration of his past but also a celebration of a personal cultural change.
Riello believes that both he and our culture need to change radically. The act of burning his treasured texts, thereby destroying the formative aspects of his psyche, is symbolic of the painful yet vital need to reinvent our cultural benchmarks. Burning past influences does not destroy histories or memories, however, but memorialises their indelible traces in our minds. The beautifully crafted urns preserved the pages of Riello’s past in a useless yet eternal form: precious and important ashes that deserve veneration but cannot be touched.
The urns were hand crafted by the famous Italian glass blower, Massimo Lunardon, an artisan that magically tamed the glass urns exactly as required, turning Riello’s ideas and sketches into uniquely personal memorials.
Born in Marostica, Italy, Riello now lives in and works Milan, London and Asiago. In his art, he examines contemporary reality and deconstructs political and social problems with a distinguishing tone of irony. He describes himself as, ‘an ideas tamer. One of those who normally feed themselves in the contemporary art pasture.’