Zoe Williams. Capital vice

curated by Luca Bochicchio and with critical contribution by Caterina Avataneo
ABC-ARTE, 2022
Zoe Williams. Capital vice: curated by Luca Bochicchio and with critical contribution by Caterina Avataneo
Publisher: ABC-ARTE
Pages: 103
ISBN: 9788895618296
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Williams arrived in Albisola at the beginning of April 2022 to spend an almost  three-month period as artist in residence at the Ernan Design Studio pottery,  where she has produced the body of sculptural work that forms the nucleus of  Capital Vice.   

The exhibition and the period as artist in residence are the result of a  combined synergy involving the ABC-ARTE gallery (engaged in a series of projects  to establish relations with young artists and international curators), Luca  Bochicchio, the director of the MuDA and of the Casa Museo Jorn at Albissola  Marina (the international cultural centre that has been promoting exhibitions of  contemporary art based on periods of residence and workshops in collaboration  with the Albisola pottery since 2016) and the Parisian Ciaccia-Levi gallery,  which represents Zoe Williams and is taking part in this initiative. Williams’  residence at Albisola, promoted by ABC-ARTE and Ciaccia-Levi, is moreover the  prelude to a long-term exhibition project which will involve the museums of  Savona and Fraeme Projects in Marseille in 2023.  

Zoe Williams’ artistic practice is based on the construction of works installations that engage the emotional and sensorial perception of  the viewer in a play of subversion, corrosion and transfer of the commonly  accepted notions of eroticism, magic, gender, hedonism, excess and artisanal  skill. The sculptures made for the exhibition Capital Vice play this game to the  full. They are a response on the one hand to the artist’s need to give her own  visions, anxieties and provocations physical, absolute form, and on the other  hand to the awareness of the relation of complicity, study, involvement and  diffidence that the images set up with the observer.  

Zoe Williams has imagined the four rooms of the ABC-ARTE gallery as the scenes for the unfolding of a dramatic narrative that may evoke both a medieval dramatic production and a Dario Argento horror film. The exhibition is in fact a psychosexual drama in four moments, in which symbolic and mysterious objects and persons appear, incorporated in enamels and brilliant, seductive colours: female busts, mythological figures, reflecting grotesques, slippers, accessories and fantastic Baroque vases. 

The conceptual framework of the exhibition is supported by multiple layers of meaning: Capital Vice as the seven deadly sins according to Christian theological doctrine (there are symbolic allusions to this in the cardinal red and the sublime Baroque decorations), and at the same time as the original sin of capitalism, the consumption and commodification of the individual (the shift from the intense red of the works towards the pulsating, bloody passion of sensual, opulent and ambiguous bodies). Genoese aesthetic and history – the background of the gallery – infuse inspiration and exuberance into the ceramic sculptures and all the multi-material installations of Zoe Williams. The clink of money, the dung, the figureheads of the ships, the roses, the sexual attributes of mythological figures like the Gorgon, revive the macabre purification ritual required by the epiphany of the divinity and, at the same time, bring us dangerously close to the abyss of commodification, gambling and greed. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new bilingual monograph published by ABC-ARTE with essays by the curator Luca Bochicchio, the cricital contribution by Caterina Avataneo and a richly illustrated ensemble of images and documents.