Italian artist and designer Vincenzo De Cotiis is currently showing Archaeology of Consciousness, at Carpenters Workshop Gallery Milan – a must see exhibition. Exploring the enduring motif of the archway as a portal, the exhibition aims to challenge its historic connotations in order to pave the way for fresh perspectives.

“Arches symbolise transitions, a concept that extends beyond the mere human and earthly to encompass the ancestral” – De Cotiis

Through Archaeology of Consciousness, Vincenzo De Cotiis reimages traditional archway structures through deliberate, creative perversions of form and material. Utilising non-traditional materials, including rare stones, recycled fibreglass, and Murano glass, alongside distortions of shape and form, the exhibition questions long-held preconceptions regarding the symbolic significance of archways.

The narrative force of De Cotiis’ designs is genuinely unique. By working the materials and surfaces with the sensitivity of a sculptor, Vincenzo De Cotiis’ organic processes exalt the beauty of a patina developed over time, turning imperfections and signs of age into precious details. Raw materials meet the elegance of asymmetrical forms, creating pure and minimal objects holding a narrative force.

The richness and subtlety of Vincenzo De Cotiis’ imperfect designs strive against conformism and unfold the purity of De Cotiis’ expression. Crafted by hand, the effect of the contrasting weighted volumes is almost pictorial. A chiaruscuro dense and present. Imperceptible colors and deep resinous grays, painted glass, ceramic accents, reclaimed textures, resin and ebony stones express an art that merges gesture and life.

Throughout De Cotiis’ practice, arches have maintained a recurring presence, symbolising their enduring significance within architectural history. By deconstructing and reevaluating these iconic vaulted forms, De Cotiis challenges the arch’s ancient connotations, paving the way for fresh perspectives. While focusing on the archway as an architectural object, the sculptures undergo a deliberate distortion and transformation. Through this creative manipulation, De Cotiis challenges the long-held and unquestioned connotations associated with archways, presenting them as timeless entities.   

As a result, De Cotiis creates unique, contemporary and highly aesthetic pieces that simultaneously work as design pieces as well as sculptural art. As the designer himself explains ‘I re-propose anti-design in my work. I have a continuing desire to distance function and fight dictatorship of symmetry. With this work, I wanted to investigate tribal art as an initial expression, confronting the certainty of contemporaneity, the exasperated search for the unique, through naturalism and evocative symbolism.’

April – October 2024