Photos by Taryn Ellis
Three standard switches. On/off. Hot/cold. Soft/hard. A rubber flex lubricates the objects with dreams; an electrical current sent in the midnight hour to awaken flesh; an amorous conduit to a slumbering form, which soon becomes pink and pinker still, blushing and pulsing into the dawning of desire. Here, a throbbing glow illuminates right where the deepest currents flow. A voltaic wave floats above an unearthed body wherein a tentative touch sparks and history of touches recalled now in crystallised form. Its memory is melted down, heavy in its lightness of being. And as the night sits upon a golden sun, the objects sing the vespers of their materiality, of their former selves. Past is pretext, a stain, and the language of the objects is a lover’s prose from about an hour or so ago. And now a carriage of pearls is shot across an ocean to complete the circuit of the desiring-machine. The release is pleasure, and force, fainting in and out of sleephood. Nocturnally mounting. Yours are eyes behind the veil that excite the blooming of iron filings and their magnetic hearts. The objects play, attract and repulse. Caress them with a lover’s touch, so that, languidly, they are roused by their dormant memories. Laconic forms become explosive. Salt flakes become tumescent. Soap glistens, simulating ambiguous vascular gestures. Though the desire to take shape takes patience, and the shape is in a trance. It is atemporal and aspatial. It is betwixt and between; fragile, impermanent, and mutable. It is masculine, and within the wink of a somnambulist’s vision, it is feminine. Hot liquid will harden into new bodies, cloaked in a psychic’s waxxxy skin, attuning the past with nubile action and dewy language. Pursed lips anticipate articulation, wet with a new lipstick. Their mouths are filled with luminous debris, and ripe thoughts allow material to speak in a thousand tongues of a thousand actions. Subliminal semaphores penetrate the sleeping curves, Morse coding signals through an engorged viscus. Here, a metallic arrow pierces vanishing flesh as a gauge of emotional intelligence. The dawning is becoming. A receiver is an uncertain detector, a copper telephone to divine ambition. A golden dial shall soon hang above an ocean of fluid communication, through which the dream lover will wade out into foaming procession. A parade amourese. The coming of the dream oils the absurdist machine. The potential is endless, and the machine is limitless.
Vittoria Di Stefano’s research centres on material investigation as a method for examining notions of liminality - or transformative in-betweenness - in sculptural practice. She employs temporal, marginal and contingent processes to investigate a range of mutable materials as a means to explore the alchemical and transformational properties of the sculptural object.
As well as traditional sculptural materials she employs gendered substances associated with the transformation of the body such as salon waxes, soap and lipstick, transgressing their use value to disrupt approaches to making and viewing. She will often reference male Modernist artworks through this engagement with materiality to make works that challenge traditional gender power structures and notions of value. In the studio this investigation takes place through an interlocutory and cyclical process of desire, discovery, conflict and consequence. The resulting objects exist only for a short time before they are subsumed back into the studio process to be transmuted into material for subsequent works.
Di Stefano has taken part in solo and group exhibitions nationally and is currently undertaking a PhD at RMIT University, where she also lectures in Art History & Theory and Sculpture.