Art Basel: Marcello Jori’s Crystal Paintings at Ocean House

“I believe crystals are the origin of everything,” says acclaimed Italian artist Marcello Jori, who is launching a new exhibition, “Giacimento di Passioni (Cave of Passion),” this week during Art Basel Miami Beach. In association with Fabian Basabe, the condominium Ocean House and Vault magazine, the show features dozens of the artist’s colorful crystal fantasias. “They contain the code of the universe,” he says, “and for me, they contain the code of my art. They can take many forms and colors, from small holders of light to enchanted forests, caves of precious gems, and vaults of riches.”

A leading figure in the Italian art scene who has participated in multiple Venice biennales, Jori has famously collaborated with such institutions as Alessi and Moroso, and has produced shows at prestigious galleries and museums from the Museo D’Arte Moderna of Bologna to New York’s Holly Solomon. Last year, he was commissioned by Diego Della Valle to create works based on world monuments, which were then exhibited at the Italian embassy in Paris.

Perhaps the most striking pieces in the new show are Jori’s portraits of artists he admires—Sol LeWitt, Gerhard Richter, Mario Merz—inserted forever in crystal to reinforce the subjects’ majesty, importance and timelessness. “To me they are precious like diamonds,” he says. “This new series—presented for the first time in Miami—conjures a Crystal City of Artists, populated by the talents I consider the best in the world, the immortals of our time.”

Marcello Jori’s “Giacimento di Passioni” runs through December 9th at Ocean House, 125 Ocean Drive, South Beach.