The Birth of the Minotaur

Part two of the 5-part Workspace ’19­ exhibition series, featuring new work by residents of AAI’s LES Studio Program

The Birth of the Minotaur is a new performance conceived by Italian artist Luigi Presicce for his first solo show in New York.

Drawn from Presicce’s ongoing research around the bull as a symbol for aggressive economic power, and punctuated by Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull, the artist’s newest performative work explores the figure and myth of the Minotaur.

Often working between the sacred and the theatrical, Presicce’s approach blends performance and ritual with elements of art historical and pop cultural iconography. His practice explores a metaphysical or unreal dimension, transcending theatrical tradition while moving towards a “living” painting or sculpture. His tableaux vivants draw from the formidable legacies of art histories masters and the more obscure symbols of mysticism.

Focusing on Daedalus—the artist par excellence within Greek mythology and creator of the wooden bull which would lead to the eventual birth of the Minotaur—Presicce, with two performers, will restage the creator’s manifestation of Pasiphaë’s intangible desire as a metaphor for the creation of a work of art in the sacred space of the artist’s studio.

Performed as a sort of epiphany, a sudden and fleeting vision, Presicce will visualize this story using references from three American modern artists whose iconography often reflected on the concept of the artist’s studio and the dissected body: Philip Guston’s 1969  painting The Studio; Louise Bourgeois’ Fillette, depicted in Robert Mapplethorpe’s portrait of the artist taken in his Bond Street studio in 1982; Paul Thek’s visual poetry which questioned the concept of the dissected self.

Reconstituted in three dimensions and staged in the gallery space, each tribute represents one of the figures in the birth of the Minotaur. Materializing on an obscured stage and viewed through a peep-hole at the gallery’s entrance, the three performers will activate a machine built by Presicce, which will project a dream-like vision of the birth of the mythical beast.

Luigi Presicce, born in Porto Cesareo (Lecce) in 1976, lives and works in Florence, Italy. He made his debut in Milan at the end of the ’90s, creating hyper-realistic paintings. Since 2007 he has started working with performance, bending the most theatrical and bodily aspect of this language to a reflection on painting and pictorial composition. In 2012 he began Le Storiedella Vera Croce, a cycle of nineteen performances created as a single monumental work.

He is the founder of Brownmagazine and Brown Project Space in Milan (2008), ArchiviAzioni in Lecce (2011), Fondazione Lac o Le Mon in San Cesario di Lecce (2016) Scuola di Santa Rosa in Florence (2017). He won the Epson Art Prize, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como (2007), The Emerging Talents Award, CCC Strozzina, Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze (2011), Long Play, MAGA, Gallarate (2012), Icona, ArtVerona, Verona (2014), Level 0, ArtVerona, Verona (2015). He was one of the finalists of Moroso Prize of Contemporary Art, during both the 2nd and the 7th edition with a special mention, Milano, Londra, New York (2011, 2017), Maretti Prize, 2nd edition with a special mention, Avana (2014), VAF Foundation Prize, 7th edition, Germany (2016) and Anna Morettini Prize, Fondazione Etrillard, Parigi (2017).

Artists Alliance Inc. is 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos Gallery and the LES Studio Program are supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Cuchifritos Gallery programming is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible.