With a play on the Velvet Underground’s album White Light/White Heat, Mattia Biagi’s White Light/Pitch Black exhibition celebrates an art punk aesthetic of recontextualizing familiar objects and subverting longstanding symbols of culture and domestic life.

 The dynamics of transformation is a driving concept and process behind Biagi’s work, in particular the transformative power of coating everyday objects with layers of viscous tar. In this context the decorative baroque chandelier, the ultimate symbol of domestic luxury, has its symbolic and cultural value subverted and transformed into an object of unexpected dark beauty, made all the more mysterious by the addition of a single minimal, modern light source penetrating it. The chandelier remains a light source, but not at all with the same meaning or purpose it once had. Its purpose has been undermined and yet somehow made more sublime through a mysterious rather than ostentatious beauty.

 Alongside the chandeliers are a new series of round paintings. Here the transformative power of tar is explored on its own terms, as the singular materiality of painting. The black disks are reminiscent of vinyl records, an indirect reference to another type of domestic object. While on one level these minimal yet richly textured tar forms conjure dark themes like voids or black holes, they simultaneously invoke the opposite, their perfect geometric circularity referencing solid presence, totality and completion.

Mattia Biagi (b. 1974 Ravenna, Italy) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.  His work has been presented in solo exhibitions including Election Day at Le Dictateur in Milan (2013) and Fiori at Young Projects in Los Angeles (2014). Group exhibitions include Storm of Life at Castello di Rivara in Turin, Italy in 2013; Un homme juste est quand même un homme mort at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2013; and Erection at MAMA Gallery, Los Angeles in 2014.  Biagi has recently collaborated with Johnny Walker for their Black Label bottle and his work is included in the permanent collections of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Louvre Museum in Dubai.