Art and culture in the villa, Octavio Floreal in Mazzè

Giorgia Ligasacchi
Giorgia Ligasacchi
Read Time: 4'
The historic Villa Occhetti will host INVESTIGATION VI '22, an open-air exhibition signed by Octavio Floreal, in a respectful and harmonious dialogue with its precious spaces and parkland

On Saturday, June 25, at the park of the precious Villa Occhetti, a historic residence located in Mazzè nel Canavese (Via Pescatore), opens INDAGINE VI '22, an open-air sculptural exhibition signed by contemporary artist Octavio Floreal, curated by ANABASI Cultural Association and with the support of the art team of Pavesio and Associates with Negri-Clementi. The installation - sponsored by the Piedmont Region, the Metropolitan City of Turin, and the Municipality of Mazzè - can be visited every weekend or by appointment until Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022.

The artist. Octavio Floreal was born 56 years ago in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a port of cultural exchange between three continents and a fascinating place that has profoundly marked his worldview and artistic research. After graduating in Fine Arts from La Laguna University in Tenerife and graduating in Graphic Arts from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, the Spanish artist is the protagonist of several solo and group exhibitions. In 2002, he moved to Rome and came into contact with the tricolor art environment, where he organized his first exhibition in Italy (2005), Il Nuovo Mondo, at the L'Union Arte Contemporanea Gallery, co-produced by the VOLUME! Foundation

SURVEY 14II’22, 2022
Iron and wood
cm 259x177x85
Installation view exhibition INVESTIGATION VI ’22


Multifaceted and versatile, Octavio Floreal is an artist with a strong and decisive personality who has never wanted to confine or limit his artistic production to a single genre; on the contrary, he has always ranged and experimented with very different languages and mediums. He began making art with the somewhat bohemian and romantic idea that art helps to understand "the ocean of existential unknowns," and it is no coincidence that Floreal's work is contaminated by his own life experiences; it is the substance that nourishes his path and provokes universal and shared thoughts in the viewer. "These are fragments of meanings that I then recompose, transporting these aspects from reality to the visual experience, using the elements that - at first glance - pander to the collective understanding but at the same time enter into the game of the invisible of our feelings and therefore the incomprehensible," the artist explains

Octavio Floreal
Installation view exhibition investigation VI ’22

Space, time, void, limits, and two- and three-dimensional surfaces are the foundational and primal elements of his experience and creative universe. The concept of spatiality, in particular, is Floreal's true obsession, which he translates as a combination of structure (line) and sense (color). At first experimenting with painting, it is with sculpture that he manages to arrive at consciously innovative solutions, venturing into hermetic, almost mythological compositions, thanks to the use of iron, which he combines with painting.

Octavio Floreal
Installation view exhibition INVESTIGATION VI ’22

Photo Courtesy Max Tomasinelli

The Work. Octavio Floreal's Work is structured in 4 strands or pillars - Segundo Origen, The New World, Sentio Ergo Sum, and Investigation - which present works that change over time through which the artist primarily seeks to explore universal themes that have always characterized and plagued human history. From the search for the true essence of the human being to mythology, and in a second moment, to examine himself in-depth and find his individual artistic and expressive needs.

Octavio Floreal

Installation view exhibition INVESTIGATION VI ’22

Photo Courtesy Max Tomasinelli

INVESTIGATION, the focus of the exhibition at Villa Occhetti, is the last block that makes up his Work and sums it all up. The etymology of the word "investigation" from the Latin indago-ginis - a definition of theoretical and practical activity directed toward the knowledge or discovery of something and synonymous with analysis, examination, exploration, observation, research, and study - is explanatory of the goal the artist sets for himself. Floreal, with this new corpus, reflects the difficulty of understanding an artist through a single work and the necessity and usefulness of observing an artist's production in its entirety, starting with the general and arriving at the particular.

(detail) INVESTIGATION 27IV’22, 2022 Iron and wood,
cm 310x140x85
Installation view exhibition INVESTIGATION VI ’22

To recognize value and meaning, it is imperative to place oneself outside of time and beyond its life course in a contemplative dimension that allows one to grasp its nuances. All the elements he uses are part of creative moments that occurred at different periods of his journey, some belonging to Floreal's language all along, while others were added later. These pieces, which often cite masterpieces of art history, arranged close together to create the black-and-white sculpture, symbolize the black mark of a pen on a blank sheet of paper, emphasizing the works' sense of writing and narrative.

(detail) INVESTIGATION 16IV’22
Installation view exhibition INVESTIGATION VI ’22

The artist becomes, therefore, a writer and narrator of his art, using iron in a single line, just as when writing words, without physical or logical interruption. "Each figure is born from a single continuous line, reminiscent of writing. Just as a text must be read in its entirety to be understood, equally one can grasp the thought of an artist only through knowledge of his entire production," emphasizes curator Vittoria Massucco. The proportions between all the units disappear, and the sizes of the objects are the same regardless of what they represent.

A hand is the size of a person, just as a bed is the size of a flower. This reversal is due to the artist's desire not to represent reality but concepts and icons which have no correspondence with it. All these elements combine to define what he calls the "mythology of the artist."

The Exhibition. The solo exhibition INVESTIGATION VI '22-whose title refers to the month and year of the exhibition's opening-presents the fruit of this extended research, which began in 1993 and has evolved over the years from small pencil drawings on paper to large sculptures and installations in iron and wood. The exhibition that Floreal presents in Mazzè engages in a respectful and harmonious dialogue with the spaces of Villa Occhetti and its park, establishing a relationship of continuity with it, and a bridge between past and future.

The exhibition route begins on the large lawn in front of the Villa, where the spherical and mobile INDAGINE 15V '22 is contrasted with the two dialoguing sculptures INDAGINE 16IV '22 and INDAGINE III '22, in which iron symbols come to life from deformed wooden supports, which the artist has carved from tree trunks of the Villa itself, transforming them into a physical junction between the park and the exhibition. The exhibition continues in the orangery spaces with the site-specific installation INDAGINE and VILLA OCCHETTI, PRIMO MOVEMENT.

Octavio Floreal
cm 300x100x10
Installation view exhibition INVESTIGATION VI ’22

Photo Courtesy Max Tomasinelli 

Here the artist's symbols expand as if crossed by a will of their own along the ancient wall. In opposition to this, on the other side, is INDAGINE II '22 where the figures are enclosed within the canonical frame. Frontally we encounter the monumental work INDAGINE 6IX '22, in which the sizeable white support of the painting is enlivened by swarming swarms of Floreal icons in tiny format. At the same time, a curious opening in the wall invites the viewer to confront the work INDAGINE and VILLA OCCHETTI, TERSO MOVEMENT, illuminated at the end of a dark and cramped corridor.

Moving then to the building next door, the former janitor's house, a narrow staircase leads the visitor to two equally dark rooms. On the wall installations INDAGINE II '21, INDAGINE, VILLA OCCHETTI, QUARTO MOVIMENTO, and INDAGINE and VILLA OCCHETTI, QUINTO MOVIMENTO are projected and dilated by light sources in an enveloping and surprising play, in which the dimensions of reality and its projection are blurred.

Octavio Floreal
Ferro e luce
Installation view exhibition INDAGINE VI ’22

Photo Courtesy Max Tomasinelli 

The exhibition route returns to the outdoors, where the visitor is taken on a final walk along the Avenue of the Cherry Trees by INDAGINE and VILLA OCCHETTI, SEGUNDO MOVIMENTO with its grandiose verticality, situated to the historical past of the Villa's former tennis court, then culminating on the panoramic terrace from which it is possible to admire the entire village and surrounding area. Here the exhibition concludes with the last sculpture of the series, characterized by the same wooden support as the first works.

The Villa. Villa Occhetti is a 19th-century residence built by Mr. and Mrs. Tecchia, a well-known family from the Canavese area, and then purchased in 1836 by Cavaliere Giovanni Battista Basco, a wealthy bourgeois from Turin, who renovated it and expanded its spaces. Upon his death, it passed to his daughter Virginia who, with the design support of Cavalier Capello, completed the work on the park, where there are still conspicuous and rare species of plants.

Over time, the great halls of the Villa, frescoed by painters Luigi Morgari and Giorgio Ceragioli, have witnessed the passage of illustrious guests, including Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour and Francesco De Sanctis, a noted man of letters who had a close correspondence relationship with Virginia. This was followed by visits in 1914 by his pupil Benedetto Croce, who, in honor of his master, edited the collection Letters to Virginia, in which the Villa is often mentioned and described. Today the estate stretches from the lower level of the village to the tip of the hill known as the Bicocca, from which there is a splendid view of the Dora and the Masino and Serra di Ivrea hills.

The Occhetti and Quaglino families, owners since 1942, continue to preserve the historic residential complex in its integrity and to enhance it through cultural initiatives ranging from cinema and outdoor shows, book presentations, and reviews to contemporary art, in continuous dialogue with the territory that hosts it.

Octavio Floreal INVESTIGATION II’22, 2022 Ferro
cm 150x130x12

Photo Courtesy Max Tomasinelli 

Conclusions. The INDAGINE VI '22 exhibition is a concrete example of a site-specific art project designed and developed to continue to give life and dynamism to a particular place but far from traditional cultural and tourist itineraries. "The art event aspires to create a conversation that unites historical and human spaces, the exotic nature of the park, and the contemporary nature of Octavio Floreal's archetypal symbols. The attempt to bring contemporary art closer to unusual and neighboring territories is an act of change from a system that often alienates a decentralized public from the artistic and cultural sphere," the curator points out.

It is an excellent opportunity to visit a private residence, bearer of memories and historical evidence that - for the occasion - opens the doors of the Villa and its park to the public. More, to discover the creative universe of a contemporary artist who invites us to take a journey through time where matter vanishes and is converted into the idea through light, with all its magical and magnetic charge.

Author's personal opinion
This article constitutes and reflects the exclusive personal opinion and assessment of its Author; it does not replace and cannot be considered in any way equivalent to professional advice on the subject matter of the article.
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Giorgia Ligasacchi, born and raised in Milan, specializes in art markets and art advisory. After collaborations with museum institutions and insurance companies, she now provides the clients of Pavesio e Associati with Negri-Clementi Studio Legale with specialized advisory and assistance services in the fine art sector. She orients them in the ancient, modern, and contemporary art markets and offers ad hoc solutions for artistic heritage creation, management, enhancement, protection, and maintenance.


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