Each object in this appealing, understated rebus of a show, “I Am No Longer Obsessed with Winning,” was part of Italian-born artist Carlo Ferraris’s exploration of a New York state of mind. Seen from a European slant, including an exhibition title that un-Americanly renounces winning, the pieces demonstrated Ferraris’s particular brand of reverberant sly humor and critique.
There was an upright slowly spinning tire going nowhere, with the word “chump” painted on it—not exactly, it would seem, celebrating the road trip, that national rite of passage. A clear glass dome enshrining scattered cutouts of the word “hallelujah” in optimistic sky blue made an ironic relic out of joy, while another transparent dome housed a pencil with a tip honed to a lethal mightier-than-a-sword point. Suspended in the middle of the gallery was a screen with videos of New York and an accompanying audio piece. One centered on midtown, with its lights, cars, cabs, bikes, trucks, and natives colliding with tourists, cuts back and forth with a hip-hop rhythm.
On the wall hung A Flat, B Flat, B Sharp (2015), a keyboard above an amplifier that exhales one dissonant chord. And there were several images of the artist in various guises, underscoring the fluidity and proliferation of identities in a tale of sound and curious transformations.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 91.