A kayak that goes only in circles, a disappearing art gallery, a film that begins and ends at the credit sequence, and a set of pure gold nails driven into a gallery wall are just some of Northern Italy-based artist Carlo Speranza’s deceptively clever projects. Speranza, as the previous list implies, works across an exceptionally broad range of mediums; his work is made using wood, concrete, gold, neon, prints, photographs, cardboard, film, video, and a host of site-specific materials.
One ongoing unlimited series, Karlo’s Unrealized Works (2014), is a set of cardboard boxes of varying sizes that have the words “Karlo’s Unrealized Works” applied to all six surfaces in pure 24-karat gold leaf. The boxes—which pay homage, visually and conceptually, to Andy Warhol’s Kellogg’s Corn Flake Boxes (1971)—all contain nothing except the promise of an unrealized future artwork that Speranza vows to make one day. The boxes are aesthetically restrained yet still seductive. By making containers for pure concept (and preconceived concept at that), Speranza offers his viewer a striking, art-historically resonant narrative that reads as a slight-of-hand gesture that is not gimmicky, but goading.