Lara Favaretto at the Rennie Collection

Success by failure.

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Often, especially for those prone to neurosis, the fire fueling the motivation to succeed is the dripping bucket of failure threatening to put it out. In some respects, success doesn’t exist without failure, or at least doesn’t mean as much. And it’s a simple dichotomy that rings true in other elements as well: life/death, good/bad, happy/sad. It’s a juvenile, oversimplified realization, but significant nonetheless. Turin-based artist Lara Favaretto’s current exhibition at the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang presents some of these seemingly uncomplicated truths. The artist’s first Canadian solo show brings together works acquired by the Rennie Collection.

Early on a weekday morning, Vancouver real estate powerhouse and art collector Bob Rennie, a notoriously early riser, remarks on Favaretto’s sometimes encrypted complexity. “Lara’s one of those artists in the collection that, in isolation it might seem easy to dismiss a work, but when you see them in context they start to speak to each other and make sense, which is something we try to do with the collection,” he says.

An exemplary piece of the exhibition, Tutti giù per terra/We All Fall Down, is an enclosed room filled with one ton of party confetti and small fans strategically placed throughout. Over time, the pieces fly and fall, accumulating to assemble something resembling a rolling landscape. “The confetti room, it’s so innocent, that ever changing landscape,” Rennie says. “You don’t have to draw a huge, deep meaning with art history or social commentary. That really comes home with the confetti room—that celebration and yet there’s a stillness.”

Bold and direct, pieces could be misunderstood as monotone observations, but the artist’s careful handling allows complexities to shine through and muddy the water. The standout items of the show roar from the large exhibition space as you walk up the stairs of the Wing Sang building. Stunning to all senses are the collected seven pairs of Simple Couples, large, spinning, fantastically coloured carwash brushes. Each pair spins in unison, then breaking away from each other momentarily, stopping and starting. “I think the Couples are very similar to a dinner party, how a couple interacts as a couple,” Rennie explains. “Both talking, slowing down, one talking, and how they interact with the other couples at the table. It just seemed to have a really nice, simple premise, yet as sculpture I was quite taken [with it].” Backed by rusted iron plates, Simple Couples are also slowly decaying. Mimicking life, twirling towards spoil, there’s sweetness as well as darkness underlying the oversized puppet-like objects.

At the front of the building, visible from the street, are the last acquisitions of Favaretto’s work Village of the Damned, an obtuse reference to the 1960 horror film of the same name. Comprised of compressed confetti, this time in a gloomy grey, the three haystack-like cubes are doomed for destruction, crumbling before our eyes. “Will they collapse? Big deal if they do,” says Rennie. “We’ve got the box, we’ll just reinstall it. There’s something really beautiful about them but there’s that tension because they are fragile. And we almost want to see the problem of them collapsing.” Perhaps if we didn’t see them falling apart, we might not ever have believed they were once there in all of their monumental success.

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Lara Favaetto’s solo exhibition runs now through October 3, 2015.

Photos by Blaine Campbell.

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June 25, 2015