WORK(IN)SPACE: Classroom, a project by SACI MFA in Studio Art candidate David Neal, on view March 10-31 in SACI's Palazzo Maidoff.
SACI's Palazzo Maidoff
On View: March 10-31, 2021
Gallery Hours: from 9:30am-4:30pm Mon-Fri
WORK(IN)SPACE 2021: Classroom
David Neal presents Classroom, an exhibition of recent works that addresses conformity, inequality, and vulnerability in education. Working in mixed media, performance and installation, Neal combines elements such as khaki cloth, fairy tales, dentures, buttons, blackboards/whiteboards, and a teaching persona ‘Mr. Gobbledigook’ to address the tension between teachers and students as they battle for control in the classroom; the victim, the victimizer and the observer, all playing a part in the teacher-student relationship.
The use of khaki in Neal’s work, an element that appears throughout the exhibition and sews together the work, refers to a color which schools adopt for their uniforms in their dress code policy, representing conformity and the neutralization of a child’s creativity and personal identity.
Upon entering the exhibition, the sound of cycling laughter welcomes the viewer. This ties together with the work, Relic of an Authority’s Vulnerability, which conveys the story of a teacher who loses control of the classroom after their partial dentures fall out of their mouth in front of a group of students. In the installation, handmade dentures are carved in buttons resembling teeth that are contained inside a bell jar placed in front of a yellow wall background. Nearby, three paired sheets of fabric display an aerial view of classrooms with buttons that represent the teacher and student power relationships. In another room, a fairy tale reinterpretation of the story called My tooth, my tooth! is on the wall, while Neal’s defiant teacher persona, Mr. Gobbledigook, sits still at a khaki desk; the teacher gazes at whatever is front of them and is unresponsive. In the work Students, burnt pieces of cotton fabric are displayed on the wall, representing facial expressions. In the installation yoUr classroom tables, chairs, and lights are wrapped and covered with khaki fabric: the furniture forms a U-shaped classroom which allows the teacher to interact with their students easily, but also allows them to monitor them from disruptions or distractions.
David Neal is an adopted Peruvian American interdisciplinary artist currently residing in Florence, Italy. Neal’s work, rooted in his own experience, addresses inequality, surveillance, and control to critique institutional power. He received his BFA in Studio Arts at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, and is an MFA candidate at Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy.
WORK(IN)SPACE is a series of exhibition projects by SACI 2nd-Year MFA in Studio Art candidates, as part of the Professional Practicum Seminar. Students work directly in SACI's Maidoff Gallery to critically engage with the challenges offered by preparing an exhibition. Each week, a new opening presents a coherent body of work of the artists. Working one-on-one with SACI Instructors Daria Filardo and Pietro Gaglianò, students step outside of their studio environment to rethink their work in an exhibition setting, learning to consider all the aspects, limitations, and needs of the given space to achieve the best final result.
WORK(IN)SPACE is held in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery and includes all phases of the exhibition, from the planning to the installation and opening of the show.
Gallery Hours: from 9:30-4:30 daily (Florence time)