Artist: Jorge Satorre
Curators: Francesco Pedraglio and Marcello Smarrelli
Company: Elica spa – ElicaMex
Number of participants: 70
Location: ElicaMex -Quéretaro, Mexico
Project presentation: Museum of the City of Quéretaro 7 December 2021; Labor Gallery – Mexico City 19 January 2022
The winner of the Ermanno Casoli Prize, which has now reached its 19th edition – the first to be held at the ElicaMex headquarters in Querétaro (Mexico) – is artist Jorge Satorre (Mexico City, 1979).
Satorre is joining the world of Elica with the project Pelusa (Fluff), which has been curated by Francesco Pedraglio and Marcello Smarrelli. The work is the result of an articulated process that has involved over seventy ElicaMex employees through drawing, engraving and sculpture.
In view of his interest in the dialectic between industrial and artistic production, Satorre reflects on the nature of the traces workers leave on the products they help to create. Unlike works of art, objects made on production lines are standardised and follow strict criteria linked to functionality and design. The artist has focused on the contrast between personal expression and rules, between instinct and quality assurance, between subjective proposals and functional standards. The title of the project, namely Pelusa (Fluff), underlines Satorre’s interest in what is considered as ‘waste’ or ‘scrap material’, which he uses as a starting point to interpret the production process and develop his artistic project.
During his long stays at the company, Satorre utilised the practice of live drawing to document a series of moulds used to make kitchen hoods, namely matrixes that had become unusable due to wear and tear and changing market needs. The artist, now enthralled by this archive of precious, albeit useless objects, turned the drawings into a series of 19 engravings using scrap metal plates resulting from the working of the hoods as matrixes.
The central theme of the project – objectivity and subjectivity in industrial production processes – was the subject of a workshop that the artist held with ElicaMex workers, focusing his attention on the portion of the WCM (World Class Manufacturing) system that enables workers to propose improvements to the working environment and to the use and operation of machinery. The ‘suggestions’, which can also be made by means of drawings, inspired Satorre to run a live drawing course, thus showing employees the narrative potential of this technique, which he used to produce the engravings.
In order to display the 19 engravings, the artist produced four large metal sculptures, on which he also placed a selection of ‘suggestions’ from the WCM. The sculptures were mimetically integrated into the interior of the factory and designed as a continuation of the pre-existing structures, namely stairs, protective fences and pillars. These structures, now prolonged and enlarged, become formal residues of technical devices that have permanently lost their functionality.
At the end of the process, which lasted over a year due to delays caused by the pandemic, Satorre collected the results of the entire process in a hybrid book – halfway between a catalogue and an artist’s book – that presents the 19 engravings alongside a photographic tour of the factory, thereby documenting the presence of the sculptures. The format and layout of this sui-generis archive imitate those of a traditional book of engravings, thus suggesting a further key to interpreting the project, which can be identified in the personal and emotional relationship created by the artist with the works, the factory space and the people who work there.