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Although Sandro Trapani and Alex Trapani are the same person, Sandro’s work is bound in the aesthetic, whereas Alex’s work is bound in the conceptual. Making the distinction between the two became a necessity for Trapani as the two approaches are quite apposing, albeit from the same source. Trapani decided to distinguish these two approaches because the work is undeniably divergent.
Sandro Trapani (also known as Alex Trapani) lives and works in both Potchefstroom and Johannesburg, South Africa. Trapani completed his MVA through UNISA in 2017. His dissertation and exhibition focused on how thinking about behaviour influences behaviour, how the absurd is woven into the fabric of human existence, and the nature of art. In a more general sense, over the last two and a half decades, Trapani has explored the Sisyphean nature of the Search for Truth, and how his own truth becomes less and less obtainable, or further obscured, along this journey of discovery. Part of that journey is reflecting on his past and heritage.
Trapani (Sandro) reflects on a sense of beauty that is redolent of memory and experience in Tragodia Series. The places and moments of nostalgia, and at times melancholia, are recollections that are not always definitive or distinctive but are often fleeting and at times unidentifiable, as if rediscovered in another context. There is a sense of the historical but a loss of milieu. The portraits resonate with a personal experience not quite fully preserved. They become archives of collected or reclaimed memories that occasionally reveal themselves – as if accidentally found while searching for something else.
Entropy is interrupted by the discovery of the ancient. Something is uncovered but its identity and context is lost. Attempts at preserving fading beauty are prominent, unidentified memories from a disappearing past.
They are archaeological in nature and resonate with a sense of the newly discovered. The portraits have a bygone prominence, a once-regal power, but simultaneously a loneliness that one feels when realising that everything is fallible. We do not understand the context they came from but are nonetheless intrigued by the mystery presented.
The portraits Trapani creates are nonspecific, meaning that they are created from many sources and do not represent one single individual but rather the accumulation of many different recollections of various individuals from a non-specific past – a collection of beautiful memories, of details captured in the mind from someone in passing, or from past relationships. There is a sense of longing in these sculptures that are emphasised by the architectural ruins that merge and emerge from the once majestic figure.