Alessandro Pessoli, “Against Me”

Art, Contemporary art
3 out of 5 stars
Alessandro Pessoli, 1963, 2017
Photograph: Anton Kern Gallery

Apparently, 2016 was a rough year for Alessandro Pessoli, an Italian artist who lives in Los Angeles. He developed artist’s block and couldn’t make new work, finding himself, as a gallery statement puts it, “confronting a void and lack of purpose.” An existential crisis to be sure.

This being the 21st century, when market-ready professionalism practically rules out killing yourself like an artist from the ’50s might have, Pessoli sought solace in archery. As this outpouring of recent paintings, ceramics and sculpture attests, it seemed to work.

Pessoli’s style could be described as a confection whipped out of Neo-Expressionism, Pop Art and bad-boy posturing with a bit of Continental despair tossed in for good measure. Several self-portraits are emblazoned with FUCK YOU ALESSANDRO, no doubt meant as a self-admonition for lost time. Ordinarily, I might say he was being harsh on himself, except that the sentiment, like most of the autobiographical references here, seems more performative than sincere.

But even if Pessoli isn’t suffering so much as constructing the persona of a suffering artist, his work delivers light and color con brio. There’s even a café upstairs serving espresso. Like any good Italian, Pessoli would never let self-hatred get in the way of savoring life’s pleasures.


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