Vittorio Santoro - The truth about your own tolerance for cruelty

If there was one message you needed to convey above all others could you rely on your hand to craft it in the way you intended it to be meant, not for the permutations of motor execution to reveal more about you than the actual words themselves? Vittorio Santoro' s spare time-based works appear to have been prompted by a similar sense of urgency and enquiry. This solo show brings together the separate strands of Santoro?' practice, linked by his unwavering performative enquiry into the construction of meaning. Process-based drawings, a two-part piece based on a Russian novel; a new neon work ? sealed within the front window of the gallery ? and viewer-reactive video sculpture make difficult philosophical propositions a physical reality.
Part poetic expression, part semantic experiment, Santoro's text drawings are imbued with a sense of time passing: the mental and physical effort required in retracing the same sentence everyday for six months and a curious feeling that some remnants of the neural processes driving the corporeal ritual might remain trapped within the largely indistinguishable layers of lead or ink. The textual blueprint beneath appears to have been
curated rather than simply printed within the boundaries of the paper, as if, perhaps, to convey the complexity of linguistic interpretation. While certain works immediately resonate with a sense of the profound, others take form slowly in the mind as if they have been previously marinated in that of Santoro's.
While Santoro pays open homage to the systematised performative practices of On Kawara or Vito Acconci, there is something very literary, at times borderline Dada about his brief musings. What is The Elephant in the Room A metaphor for a personal ghost, perhaps, or an unspoken situation between parties so big as to occupy almost the entire conceptual
space available? The spectral allusions and compositional specificity of the neon phrase To Repel Ghosts, for example, keeps the sentence oscillating between the present and the here after. The vertiginous drop between characters length-ways, from the top to the bottom of the window might signify a sense of emotional or spiritual fracture or an associative ladder between states.
In the middle of a large sheet of paper the capitalised words To Believe That More of The Same Will Make Us Right Again appears like a small, angular cloud of candyfloss on a verbal stem, hewn from the words: o"f The Same". The smudged evidence of physical toil on the page is suggestive of the potential difficulty releasing such a thought into the world, while the stick-like insert into the expression subtly shifts the emotional focus between hope and drudgery. The poetic caesura, which in other drawings might refer to the invisible placement of a mirror, in this case is a visual manifestation of a verbal hiatus where the words in question have literally fallen from the mouth that formed them.
Similarly, Il fait jour ? (Il ne fait pas nuit) assisted version (2007) comprising a video and sculptural element questions accepted means of extracting sense from verbal or physical interactions. Drawn to inspect the headless male figure on the screen (in attempt to contextualise the disembodied voice proclaiming four sentences and repeating them
through out the duration of the video) the viewer unwittingly trips a sensor resulting in the violent slamming of a metal gate attached to the wall.
Lastly, F. Dostoyevsky: C. and P., page 67 (Penguin Popular Classics), divided vertically (2007), a two-part piece based on the novel of the Russian author, is a transcription of a particular page, cut vertically in two. Both parts hang back to back on a single wall, in a mutually exclusive manner, with one part burnt and the other left untouched. These works inspire the feeling of being able to halt time and physically negotiate words recently released into the ether.

Rebecca Geldard