Neeko Paluzzi: The Great Work / Le Grand Travail
THE GREAT WORK | LE GRAND TRAVAIL
April 15 – May 30, 2021
Alchemy attempted to convert lesser metals into more valuable ones and was the backbone of early science in not only Europe but around the world; many alchemists were attempting to create gold through various stages of conversations, while others were searching for the elixir of life. During the Post-Renaissance period in Europe, however, alchemy was in decline as philosophers and early chemists were abandoning the mysticism of alchemy for empirical-based research which became the foundation of modern chemistry. This transition occurred in parallel with Copernicus and Kepler who reimagined our place in the Universe by distancing religion from science.
Art shares many similarities with alchemy. It is the artist’s job to convert lesser materials into something greater, something of more value, and something that will outlive the artist itself. In The great work, Paluzzi addresses this act directly by creating seven abstract, metallic pieces that follow the seven classical stages of transmutation. Each steel plate in the series is created through chemical conversion by bathing the plates in metallic solutions which layer metal onto metal. Although the finished pieces are abstract, the creation is deliberate and follows recipes from alchemists.
Neeko Paluzzi (b. 1988) is a queer, Canadian artist and educator whose practice focuses on challenging the traditional photographic object by creating intertextual, photo-based installations. He is a graduate of the Photographic Arts and Production program at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (2017) and holds a degree in Second Language Teaching from the University of Ottawa (2011). He had a featured exhibition at the Scotiabank CONTACT Festival in 2019 and was the winner of the 2018 Project X, Photography Grant from the Ottawa Arts Council. Paluzzi is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Ottawa while maintaining a teaching position at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute.
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