Fabrizio Biviano’s sharply composed still lifes stage incongruous pairings that bring together past and present, self and other. Drawing from the traditions of Dutch still life painting, as well as graphic design aesthetics and autobiographical motifs, the works harness the symbolic currency of objects to explore notions of time, loss and consumption.
The paintings in ‘Love Song Dedications’ continue Biviano’s self-referential approach to the still life genre. Carefully configured arrangements of private objects are amplified against painterly, colourless spaces, welding the viewer’s focus to the foreground. This is a personal show for Biviano, who reflects on the misconceptions and expectations that have plagued his own relationships, previous and current. Incorporating, for the first time, vintage and replica decorative plates sourced from second-hand shops, the artist explores the fraught representations of relationships that pervade Western visual culture. The courting couples and love stories adorning these mass-produced Rococo-inspired Fragonard plates are symptoms of a cultural fallacy that perpetuates impossible idylls of romantic love.
Film and music culture has also played a formative role in Biviano’s new series, buttressing the Fragonard love stories as vehicles of romantic idylls. Golden oldies from the artist’s adolescent years in the ‘80s sugar-coat the bitter reality of broken relationships. These nostalgic pop hits subliminally shape the way we navigate life, their shiny clichéd lyrics bombarding us with utopian visions of perfect love that leave no room for loss. Resonating with the artist is a line from the film High Fidelity that sums up the symbiotic connection between popular culture and human psychology: ‘Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?’.