Santo Tolone: Three Times Once @ Limoncello – REVIEW
In Three Times Once, Limoncello presents not only the first solo UK show of Italian artist Santo Tolone, but also the gallery’s last exhibition at its current Hoxton location, before the scheduled Haggeston scale-up.
Newly partitioned, the space has been divided into three, with each unit apparently presenting the same mini exhibition three times. In each cubicle we are confronted with five elements (six, if you include the seated, reading, invigilators) in minutely varied configurations: there is the Donald Judd-esque wall sculpture, a column of jutting blue planes; the bulky floor-level TV monitors, depicting what looks perhaps to be an a Martian landscape (but which could equally be a twitching crotch, apparently); the formally framed quasi-floral print, with Matissean orange blossoms sitting flatly on a blue background; the sizeable polished brass plates, bearing geometric etchings that resemble machine parts or pipe joints; and lastly the standing granite (?) plinths, proudly bestrode by hubristic peppercorns upon miniature needles.
Frustratingly ambiguous, and without any obvious conceptual or aesthetic inter-linkage, the works in the exhibition could be mistaken for stand-alone pieces – as part of a group show perhaps –, were the exact-same configuration not repeated three times. So the viewer (me) becomes the detective, investigating all possible leads for interrelation; ‘I spot brass/blue!’, for example, or even seeing a dictionary of after-modern art practices, with Tolone presenting – in pastiche – the sculpture, the wall piece, the print etc.
This awkwardness is, of course, the point, with Tolone courting a free-play, a free-fall of signifiers. One scenario recreated three times so that, according to discursive logic, deliberate (fixed) meaning should/must be present. But Tolone only goes through the motions of message conveyance, and forsakes the fruits of intended significance. It’s a wonderful bluff. ‘What do you make of that?’, he asks. And we scramble like suckers for clues. Words: Thomas Keane © 2012 ArtLyst