Translate Alexander Dijulio's Alfabeto at Ro2 Art Downtown

Alexander Dijulio's Alfabeto is as grounded in reality as it floats in the surreal. The show addresses context, authenticity and art itself.

Although the show is made up of a number of pieces, you could consider it, Dijulio's first solo exhibition, a single installation. "The work is about finding harmony with itself and forming a conversation," the 23-year-old artist explained. "It's about pulling back and simplifying. And it's about semiotics, the breakdown of icon index and symbol. It is what it is. It doesn't stand for something else."

The show, that Dijulio installed as well as lit, is made up of found as well as crafted and painted objects, wood salvaged from a fire, theater seats, unraveling jute rope, red delicious apples covered in chrome paint, a saw horse and other items just this side of typical. The art is in the curating. Dijulio said he had much of the material for quite a while and when he saw the Ro2 Art space, he knew he had found the place for showing it.

So many objects have become so familiar that we no longer see them anymore. There are other things that we know through only secondhand experience but confidently claim knowledge of them. For instance, watching a documentary doesn't equal being there.

"Art used to be the representation and now it's switched," Dijulio said. "Art is now becoming the evidence of life and history. One of the greatest benefits of art is that we're talking about it."

And Alfabeto certainly inspires discussion -- especially the live sheep. It was so strange to see a sheep in a gallery, sitting or standing in his straw, watching gallery-goers as much as we were watching him. Art is that which engages us, and you can't really ignore a big ol' sheep in the room.

"I like to play with things in space," Dijulio said. "I'm really excited about moving through space." And that is what is the most contagious about this work. It inspires viewers to move differently through the space and spaces in general, to see what was previously unseen and question what was merely accepted.

Gallery co-owner Jordan Roth explains that Dijulio titled the show Alfabeto, "because the objects, or fragments, that make up the installation represent basic building blocks that he incorporates into his work -- like the alphabet that forms the foundation of a language. With found objects, he attempts to create a dialogue in placement of fragments and sculptures in proximity to each other, in the fashion a poet might use words to create his art."

See if you can read the language of Dijulio's Alfabeto as it runs through November 15 at Ro2 Art Downtown.

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