review

Around the Color: conversation between Patrizia Scarzella, Giulia Ceriani, Fortuna Marillina

AROUND THE COLOR: conversation between Patrizia Scarzella, Giulia Ceriani, Fortuna Marillina

PATRIZIA

Here we are gathered around a small table in a Milanese coffee shop, on this day which so perfectly sums up the end of the summer, to exchange ideas and opinions on colour in reference to Marillina’s work: each of us with our own experience and so individual approach to the subjectIn my opinion, Marillina is strongly connected to the colour as a “theme” as well as to the process of transformation which modifies the colours of the fragments she collects along the shore. It’s the density of the colour in its innumerable chromatic varieties which is the decisive element in her works: colours which she assembles to obtain a certain, final effect, but which already exist in each and every piece as a result of a transformative process of the material.
Generally speaking, I’m personally more fascinated by the aspect of colour as “light”, given by a sense of “immateriality“ which is physically connected to a place or to the abstraction of an artificial project. Two examples: the blue in Filicudi’s windows or the ones by Stromboli, in relation to the white houses. That’s just it, the perception of that place is unique as the colour is present in the light of the place itself. The same situation, transferred to Milano wouldn’t have the same powerful effect; on the contrary, the abstract study of the colour as “pure light” in Dan Flavin’s rooms, sets the perception of the place to zero and offers an extraordinary experience of full immersion in the colour alone.Which is your point of view on colours, Giulia? Within your field of scientific study connected to the “sign”, could you give us your input on this…

GIULIA
First of all from a semiotic point of view the colour isn’t even a “sign”, but one of many elements which intervene to determine the effects on a subject. Semiotics helps us in our analysis by giving us the initial impression that there are no separate parts but that everything works together, as a synergy effect, depending on their dosage or various proportions to determine the sense of effect. In other words I don’t believe that the colour exists on its own in Marillina’s work.
I do believe, though, that the colour is present in the intersection with what is made out to be the “shapes”, crossed with what are the “assemblages”. Regarding the discussion on light I clearly and fully agree with the fact that the colour springs from, on a physiological plan, the intersection with light. The light is the context, the ‘bath’ in which the colour reinvests, the very rehabilitation of the object. In Marillina’s work, even if the colour is fundamental, it’s not to be seen as something separate from the rest. The colour is an ingredient amongst others. The same goes for her chromatic choices which wouldn’t make any sense without its context.

MARILLINA
My connection to colour is almost physical, has always been so. I’ve always felt the need to grasp it. And the colour is by nature moving, with it’s continuous change in features through light. Perhaps that’s the reason to why I choose the colour as subject: it makes it more bearable, easier to make it mine. However, besides this transgression, the colour, in my works, it’s the act of matching them with other colours or even the same one which brings out different shades depending on the density of the material and the texture of the object. Moreover the thickness varies, even on the same piece of fragment. Several layers of colour are often added up on one single piece of wood. The objects lifecycle is, in this way, mounted up on its surface. What fascinates me is a reject’s multiple-“lives”: how it’s produced for a practical reason, to later be considered as useless and thus rejected, consequently thrown away and so put through the sieve of the sea’s infinite machinery, to end up in my hands to be, first, catalogued according to its colour and features and later picked out and put as a part of my assemblage…

PATRIZIA
I find it interesting to consider the chromatic aspect of your works, because of how you describe their origin, in the colour study of other artists. I’m thinking about the monochromatic by Yves Klein, about his profound blue and about the installations by Anish Kapoor, colour of a pure state, with an incredible density, impossible to find in natural form. Yes, it’s the presence of an excessive chromatic concentration which offers you a totally new perception of colour, allowing a moving experience which has little or nothing to do with the visual or sensorial experiences which are “real”, in its natural form. On the contrary, there are works of artists who work in terms of “light”, like Olafur Eliasson besides the already mentioned Dan Flavin along with others.
In my opinion your works find their place somewhere in the middle of these two different ways of studying colour, since it involves a twofold study: the subject, the material, which has done a part of the job on its own(its “lifecycle” which you just mentioned) and where you don’t intervene and absolutely have no desire of doing so. And then there’s another aspect which is your work of assembling these fragments which offers a reading besides the colour, which gives that colour a new effect…Do you agree?

MARILLINA
I don’t feel I can possibly place myself in the middle of two ‘legendary exhibitions’ which have made their mark in the history of modern art! Can I tell you that in my work there’s neither the abstraction or purity you find on Klein’s canvases nor the wonderful and spiritual chromatics you find in Eliasson’s study of light: why my works is not coming from nothing. At times I feel like an “intermediary”. I take what has already been created and assemble it like a collage…naturally following a thought, often triggered by inspiration, but like in a collage: which, in the end, gives a new meaning to what is old.

GIULIA
You never re-colour any of your works, do you?

MARILLINA
Absolutely not: I neither colour nor modify the shape of my finds. The only added colour is the one in the background.

GIULIA
It’s your objects’ original colour. Your project lies in the re-composition. Yours is the one in the background: the other colours belong to the assemblage. Therefore you’ve got two levels of colour as well. Your combined colours and the grammatical combination. The fragments are placed next to each other, one after the other. They don’t fuse, it’s a creation of matching.

MARILLINA
This is the aspect which involves the aesthetic in a sort of idea of a pleasant, This is the aspect which belongs to the aesthetic field as something pleasant where the colour is decorative, meaning that my work of art is to be found in the composition: I choose to try to join up with the aesthetic value I wish to give and feel like expressing.

But my material (raw material) is not created by me: I assemble what has already been created in order to create something else.

GIULIA
It hit me that we can consider three stages of presence of colour. One has got something to do with what you mentioned earlier, Patrizia. There are pure shades, pigments which don’t settle “in nature”.
Then we’ve got the pigment, full stop, which is given by the intersection between light and material: which is the one which Kapoor stresses 100% but which is not necessarily said to be natural: it could also be one of a synthetic, chemical, kind. The one we call shade or tone. To a part the virtual form of colour. What’s interesting about Kapoor’s works is that he manages to bring it out to the extent that it becomes the shape of his work.
Then there are other stages, in particular the one which ‘moves’ this pure shade and makes it into a form within discourse: in this way it goes from being absolute virtual to being a realisation, an investment in the subject.There are pure colours (but not in a theoretical sense of colour) which are to be found at the source of your finds, the ones of origin. And then there’s their life cycle which consumes them, wears them out and thus giving them certain characteristics: or better, almost a rhetorical forms, wrapped up in the fragments that are there to be found…The third stage is the one of your assemblage: so, from pure, to have been brought up-to-date, to end up as a part of your work of art which turns a simple green into a slightly more yellow green, with a hint of pink, like the skin of a baby-doll…The colour of the background, semantically it’s about synergy: choose black, choose white. It makes the whole difference. It’s a paradigmatic choice: or one or the other…You’ve got the combinatorial colour and the colour, which is a result of its lifecycle, its history: which is the one of the objects.
These are two constructing levels of a discourse: one where you can choose “one” or “the other”: and one is where you’re choices are being made as a result of the process: “and” this “and” that, and on it goes.

MARILLINA
What you’re saying is connected to the effect that the combination gives and what’s brought out in the
assemblages to which the “paradigmatic” colour contributes and stimulates by giving it contrast or association to what it supports. The colour also plays an important part when it comes to provoking a certain kind of perception of the work: irony, drama, peace…
Speaking off colour-history I’d like to say a few words about the works which have titled the exhibition “Mediterraneo”: it’s an installation made up by 10 panels of various dimensions displaying imaginary islands. The grafting blue but, overall, the lighter shadings with clearly sums up the sea’s variety in depth, become a mean, a filter which brings up to the surface, and helps the to focus on, the bi-dimensional character of the work. Each and every one represents islands of our dreams, our view from a fantastic planisphere or, why not a visit, as viewers, like in the novels by Robinson Crusoe.

PATRIZIA
Is that your interpretation…

MARILLINA
Yes, that’s my interpretation which leaves space to all interpretations and to every, individual sentiment…

This post is also available in: Italian