Begun in 1750 and finished in 1791, Giandomenico Tiepolo’s fresco Il Mondo Nuovo (The New World) is a mystery. It shows a crowd of people—nobles and commoners alike—all caught up in an event beyond our view, perhaps the lighting of a magic lantern that will entertain them with images of exotic locales. Giulio Paolini’s exhibition at Massimo de Carlo takes its name from Tiepolo’s fresco, and likewise offers up mysterious scenes and objects, imagery that refers to the Tiepolo. Seven photographs of Paolini as a child sit on an antique table, suggestive of a time when anything was possible. At the center of the space, on white blocks, Paolini conjures classical deities and sculpture. And lastly there is the artist’s own Il Mondo Nuovo. Hanging on one wall, it consists of 23 shards cut from a copy of Tiepolo’s fresco, arranged around a gilded frame holding a blank white sheet. It’s another puzzle to ponder. —E.C.
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