Views of time

14 settembre – 13 ottobre 2013

Volpi Gallery
Palazzolo sull’Oglio

Chiara Seghezzi Text

Marta weaves as signs of a very personal code.
Endowed with a special sensitivity typical of every artist, Marta works on precariousness; her artworks are delicate and they can break, be ruined, but that’s part of the game. The message that the artist wants to convey through her creations refers to the precariousness and fragility of our historical present and our society.
The artworks often have two faces: the intervention of Marta is on both sides and this is an interesting aspect of her production. A constant is in fact the duplicity; there are two sides of the gauze on which she works, and then two points of view, two combinations of the elements that generate two different solutions. Two stories, two tracks.
The last theme she is facing is time, the dimension in which the passage of events is conceived and measured. It is a concept of time which refers to the theories of St. Agostino; that is, time is understood as an extension of the soul, due to a perception of the person who, although living in the present, is aware of the past thanks to the memory and of the future in virtue of waiting.
It comes to mind the Bergsonian concept of “original time”, that our conscience knows by intuition, and which is composed of moments that are qualitatively different from all the others. Time as a flowing stream, such as being and becoming, as past and present.
The artworks are conceived as fragments, situations, moments pulled from the flow and translated into sign language, an alphabet that communicates on a different level than the sphere of consciousness. It’s about traces, signs that contain in their essence the interior story of the artist, almost an automatic writing, a code in which the flow of emotions and thoughts take form by themselves in an almost meditative state, with which Marta realizes her artworks and which she translates in the action of sewing.
A repetitive action, that requires attention and accuracy and at the same time gracefulness. The sewing is an operation that requires slowness, therefore, time passes and is recorded by the artist’s work. It refers to the woman’s activity par excellence.
The value of the boundary is another aspect of the reflection of the artist. Boundary is a concept that crosses all existence, from Philosophy to everyday life. The boundary contains a duality, a distinction between what is inside and something that oversteps it; it can have positive or negative valence in a double sense. Within the boundary there is the well-known, you have the security. Crossing it means to break the rules and to challenge the “unknown” which by definition arouses fear as not known and not measurable. But at the same time the boundary is a constraint within a limited sphere that undermines the freedom of action and thought.
Marta, in fact, reflects this semantic duality. The boundary for the artist becomes something that can be overcome, which stimulates action, therefore, interpreted in its positive value to go beyond. On a technical level this aspect can be perceived also in the frames that do not block the artworks, which, loaded with meaning, become a support of the artwork without forcing it into a limited space. That is why sometimes very light gauze hangs only on the upper side of the artwork and it is held by wires on the remaining sides.
The frame, often in iron, becomes the instrument through which the artwork supports itself, giving it the appearance of floating in space. The study of the supports is an integral part of Marta‘s work. They can be simple stems of very thin iron, held to the ground by a heavy base that keeps them in position, which in turn, like a chain, sustains the gauze. Once again we can analyze the duality of the art piece; the frame as boundless but also as a support, and at the same time, the reflection of the contrast between the iron, strong, durable, rigid and heavy and the lightness, fragility and precariousness of the gauze that makes up the artwork.
Observing the surface of the artworks at compositional level, we see a greater density of interventions in the lower part of the surface, the wires weave and intersect at some points with greater intensity, as to give the idea of heaviness, complexity and chaos. If we gradually proceed upward, the tracks melt and almost disappear, thus giving greater breath to the white gauze working as a support. This is not a Vacuum-Absence; complexity vanishes and everything resolves in a higher order of calm and peace. This is the translation in art of that kind of dimension that, if we were in a religious context, we would define spiritual.
Despite an apparent difference between the two parties, the work expresses a profound equilibrium and is compositionally balanced. Often the two spheres, the “lowest” more visceral and heavy and the “highest” more ethereal and light, are brought into contact by extensions which go up from the bottom, almost floating upward, defying gravity and passing the boundary. According to an image-based reading, these may be interpreted as some kind of intuitions, moments (we refer to the idea of time and its fragments) in which there is a link to the stream of life that puts everything in connection and from which we can draw on a subconscious level.
“Maps of Time” is an emblematic work concerning many of the concepts discussed so far. It is an iron structure, therefore solid and strong, circular, which acts as a support for the light and delicate gauze, on which the artist intervenes weaving signs through a texture of wires. “Sign calls sign”, so Marta tells her writing on the canvas, and this gives rise to her stories.
Duality is translated with even more firmness, while intervening on both sides of this disc of gauze; both sides, as two stories, as two points of view, as two combinations of events that arise from the same elements. Duality is the constant in the work of Marta. The artwork is completed by a gauze, which is connected to the disk through the wires by means of which these stories have been drawn, almost as if it was the starting point from which originate thin umbilical cords, able to assemble according to many possibilities on both sides of the disc.

An origin, a source from which creation begins.
Looking at the surface of the artwork you perceive fragments of torn gauze, almost lacerated; they want to represent those wounds never healed; the artist works on them with the thread but does not close them completely and the wire is so delicate that it seems to break every breath of wind. We may rely, also in this case, on a double reading; wounds but perhaps even evasions, possibility of leaving a gap, leaving a vanishing point, exceeding the limit of the surface.
While realizing Maps of time Marta weaves the threads of the meetings, as a reflection on those occasions able to create possible futures in the life of each of us, a reflection on the meetings and the links that are established between individuals and which constitute the private and, by extension, collective essence. It reflects on society at large and on the influences that the meetings – clashes of people, cultures and religions have in society within which we are inserted, and that we help to create and modify.
It seizes in this artwork a further overall vision: the gauze from which the threads originate is thin, ethereal, emblematic of the spiritual dimension; the part of the disc, made heavy by the supporting iron, sustains it but also condemns it to more gravity and could be therefore interpreted as a metaphor for earthly dimension.
In the sculptures, long iron structures, almost stems, idols, held to the ground by stone boulders, we find the same poetic. Note the Hope series, consisting of 6 sculptures characterized by solid bases that keep the work erected, which allow the vertical position, while ascending upward, which is opposed to the real sculpture, elegant, thin, almost frail, apart from the physical properties of the material chosen. The upward thrust, understood in the Gothic yearning for the divine, culminate in a game of shapes that seems to translate into the third dimension what is achieved on the canvas by means of wires.
In the upper part, almost as if it was the head of these archaic idols, the structure becomes more complicated, iron signs and forms multiply and branch off, still remaining connected and linked by thin wires which are alloyed in a net by the artist. So she puts them in contact by means of thin ties. Marta speaks to us of connections that, although invisible, allow distant people to become close. She tells us a physical, cultural, social and religious distance, but distance here doesn’t mean emptiness, the distance is rather nullified by the thin wires allowing for the connection between individuals and society.
The complexity of these works is not only given by the dialogue between the various composing parts, but also by the relationship between a sculpture and the other one, a multiplication of connections that gives life to an army of idols, transmitting the metaphysical atmosphere that recalls the disquieting “Le Muse” of De Chirico.
The reflection on time is the theme of the opera “Suspended Time “, of 2013. The artist imagines a ground and its cracks created by desiccation. Desiccation is the testimony of passing time, allowing for the perception itself of the time. The artist imagines these cracks as translating into signs, signs that slowly lift up and acquire an existence on their own.
Such signs are translated into the language of the artist as signs of iron, an alphabet almost entirely personal. Signs wave and suspend in the air, giving life to the installation. The work is composed by a suspended iron structure, upon which is pointed the light that projects the forms on the gauze to the ground. Marta intervenes, sewing the shadow created on the white gauze.
The result is a visual rendering of those two-dimensional cracks from which the idea originates: they are relocated to the ground, even though in another nature, transformed into tracks and signs similar to synapses. We have here an example of how the artworks of Marta can be observed and also how they interact with the surrounding environment, so that the environment itself becomes an important aspect in the art installations. This work also lends itself to another reading: not only a trace of cracks but almost a map of the sky where the constellations are marked, similar in fact to the star charts. So, in depth, a further duplicity, from earth to heaven.
The artistic work of Marta Vezzoli is characterized by the use of feminine action, such as sewing, that requires a long time of realization, becoming moments of meditation, reflection and catharsis.
All this translates into works of signs, made up of tracks and textures whose intensity varies, depending on the emotions and the stories. If the codes are known they communicate a multiplicity of levels to the observer. Dualism is a constant in her work: the concepts of life and death, perhaps arising from her art therapist activity in contexts such as prisons and nursing homes; the earthly and the metaphysical; the near and the far; the fragile and the strong.
Marta’s artworks, in their elegance, fragility and precariousness, also transmit strength and resistance; it is a reflection of our times where, with fallen ideals and collapsed economic certainties, we are at the mercy of fear and difficulty; but the message has a positive value: this crisis and this fragility involving all of us is not limiting and should not hinder; it’s this fragility that will give us the strength to react and restructure a powerful energy, leading to new progress and development, recreating a positive condition after the crisis which swept away a collapsed and imploded system.