OPEN 13 - 2010

ITALY - JESSICA SOFFIATI

 

A young artist with interests that range from photography to installation, in particular with a scenic effect, with attention focussed on a common leitmotif, namely the value of light. As she herself likes to define her works, they are a kind of sculpture of light vaguely recalling certain solutions expertly anticipated by Lucio Fontana. Fundamentally, however, in this case we are faced with kirigami, that is origami with cuts, dark on the outside and white on the inside. Neon strips light up the inside so as to create candid geometrical shapes, allowing the light to come out of the slits marked by the various folds as though they were escaping from cracks in the ground. According to the artist’s intentions, the sculptures aim to simulate clods of earth, almost wishing to signify the antithetic relations implicit in the symbolically opposed values of white and black, involving the observer in the direct creation of forms that are suggestively invisible in the dark but which, as though by magic, may suddenly light up and reveal their presence by means of sensors that record the movements of anyone passing by, sensors that are placed in precise points of an ideal stage.
Jessica Soffiati has made these sculptures using sheet metal in which watertight lights have been placed, so that they light up when it is completely dark.
Cut and shaped in various points following a geometric pattern marked by red and blue lines, they are thus moulded into hypothetical mountain ridges, well amalgamated in the natural context of the island, and symbolising an earth that opens, that splits, a dark and mysterious earth with a luminous soul, a symbol of infinity on the imaginative threshold between the visible and the invisible.
 

 

Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis 

 

ITALY - MARCO MARIA GIUSEPPE SCIFO

 

Along the breakwaters that reach out into the sea marking the harbour entries to Lido to the north and south of the island, we are accustomed to see tetrapod reinforcing structures, monstrous solid geometrical figures that accompany us in our trips along the shore, all the way to the mooring areas at either end with their tall lighthouses. When the works on the Mose project are completed at San Nicolò and Alberoni we shall certainly see an increase in the number of these structures, used prevalently to resist stormy seas, so as to ensure the continuance and duration of all the work contemplated in the projects of the sites. These works will considerably alter the environmental layout of these areas, designed to provide small harbours with mooring areas and parks on the beach where reclamation work is already in progress, anticipating future developments. For his installation at San Servolo, Marco Maria Giuseppe Scifo probably chose to use the tetrapod as a symbol of the change that is taking place, trying to favour its aesthetic prerogatives, which often pass unnoticed, but which the artist reconsiders at the level of the design and of the materials used, in his case not cold and invasive concrete, but organic wood, emblem of the natural corruption of material, but also of its regeneration and of the consequent necessary care that should be taken regarding any human work. An interesting investigation at a modular, technical-scientific and organic level, with the intent of restoring art’s intrinsic relationship with science, but always fully respecting nature. To conclude in Scifo’s own words, “the volume in cubic metres of the two tetrapods now located on the Island of San Servolo is not a space occupied by shapes, but the capacity of a molecular whole inscribed in a place”. 

 

Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis 

 

ITALY - DANIELA NOVELLO

   

The work presented by Daniela Novello is an installation of jerrycans sculpted in stone which, especially for their near life size, could easily be mistaken for real ones.
Disconcertingly set on a landing stage near the boat docks, the 4 cans lying on the quay create the first impression of a kind of heap. The aim is to create an ambiguous intention: through the symbolic energy of the jerrycan, on one hand it expresses the sensation of transmitting an idea of a store or reserve, on the other the desire to indicate yet another untidy dump with its typical bulky urban waste.
The jerrycan has a strong symbolic value as it may contain water or petrol, two fundamental resources for human survival today: in that sense, this simple object brings us back to the problems linked with the strongly felt theme of natural energy sources.
With a similar jerrycan made of marble, Daniela Novello won the San Fedele Prize, where she fully succeeded in giving the work the symbolic meaning and value that she intended to achieve.

 

Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis 

 

ITALY - EMANUELA RIZZO

Emanuela Rizzo proposes an interesting recovery of the spaceimage relationship to which she has given the name Souvenir d’espace. Souvenir as a memory of a place, a topos used in the old art of memory, as a means for recalling images which in turn refer back to the fantasmata that enabled first the classical and then the medieval rhetorician to express his concepts, or, more creatively, to nourish the kaleidoscopic effect of the indispensable poetic imagination. As Frances A. Yates admirably stated in her works, mnemnotechnics was an ancient method of learning that suddenly disappeared with the death of Giordano Bruno a which, as in an ideal theatre of memory, allowed the interconnection in terms of wisdom of the most varied fields of knowledge. In her openair project, Emanuela Rizzo has sought inspiration, rather like an alchemist, in these unprecedented contents. More precisely, for the occasion she has conceived a kind of air cushion containing water, within which a sheet of paper has been inserted. Each air bubble is juxtaposed on an iron structure placed within the space reproduced by the same drawing. The work experiences the same process of transformation as its natural surroundings. Inside each air bubble there is a specific microclimate. The sheet of paper wet with water modifies the shape, the water evaporates, while the polyethylene deteriorates. The drawing reproduces the real image of the space in which it is located, as though it were a postcard, a photographic reproduction usually used to keep alive the memory of a place or a town. So there is a close relationship between the real image and the one in the drawing, as between the real space and the envelope that partly contains it. The image is enclosed in the space of an envelope, where the outside becomes the inside and vice versa. Hence the possibility of infinite relations that could be revealed in a similar process that is neither worn nor deteriorated.  

 

Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis 

 

ITALY - MICHELE GUIDO

In his research, we find that he pays particular attention to the idea of the garden. The interest is focussed on that subject in order to acquire a more suitable knowledge of nature. From the idea of the garden which proves to be so fundamental, especially in English Romanticism, enabling us to consider categories such as the sublime and the picturesque, so essential for defining the poetic art of that period, but also useful for reconsidering the variegated world of botany and its taxonomy, admirably revealed in the eighteenth century by Carl von Linnée. Although used in a different way, this interest also developed in Wolfgang Goethe who, in his famous Italian Journey, often mentioned his visits to the historic Italian botanical gardens in various places during his long stay in the peninsula, where he skilfully alternated between sites of great naturalistic beauty and art towns in which he had the possibility to get to know interesting archaeological sites and the most famous art collections. Michele Guido shares this penchant and attitude, and for this reason he looks back in time to concentrate on some examples of the Arabian gardens typical of some places in the South of the Italy, but also found, for example, in Venice, albeit hidden behind high boundary walls, as in the old horti conclusi. Hence his attention to the relationship between plants and their therapeutic and officinal properties, consulting precious medieval herbariums, typical, for example, of the School of Salerno, which was famous for its tacuina sanitatis, or handbooks. In this sense he seems almost to aim to reconstruct that ideal microcosm in which art and nature finally live side by side in harmony, bringing together colours, perfumes and sounds in a pacifying and therefore therapeutic perceptive synaesthesia, symbolically summed up in the emblematic lotus blossom. 

 

Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis