review

Sea Stories of Anti Pansera (2009)

SEA STORIES

marillina fortuna (5)Marillina Fortuna doesn’t collect shells and stones on the beaches she often goes to: but, in a manner of an archaeologist of today, she gets down on her knees to single out and take possession of “finds” of every day life- far, but at the same time, close in time- which the sea, relentlessly, keeps on bringing back to us: that is, what we don’t see, but also what we’ve forgotten and – unfortunately- what we are guilty of having hidden away.

It’s the daily headlines thrown onto first page which horrifies us: this autumn’s, of 2009, discovery of ships poisoning the sea of Calabria. Monstrous actions endangering the health of the public- and not to mention, violating the dignity of the sea. The very same sea which, Baudelaire claimed, “would be for ever loved and preferred, by man, to any other of nature’s phenomenon”. Those of Marillina, as we said, are “finds”, transformed, depending on the product, of what they once were, and transfigured by the unceasing machinery of waves, undertows, sand and winds.

“Finds” recognized under the banner off a respectful and creative re-use which turns them into protagonists once again and in this way enables them to be part of and thus tell a new story. To evidence and reflect “also” over problems and putting forward, almost with a, seemingly, playful lightness and a fine but doubtless irony, a denunciation. The sea, the Mediterranean in particular, but not only, is doing a great job “swallowing”: a slow and profound process, highly transformative, of demolition of radiant valence, of formal and chromatic modifying.

JunkA work of art, which Marillina fully respects, limiting her work to necessary polishing and dusting off, naturally, and moreover committing herself to a necessary and indispensable cataloguing- a double-up re-differentiation!- box after box, case after case, depending on their more or less obvious colour or form, to create something else: to us recognizable, reminding us of something. So, the figure of speech, which the artist makes use of- here I’ll take the opportunity to point out- with a spot-on method of projecting, thanks to well-studied joints and refined matches as well as the alternation of lucidity/opaqueness, to put together tales, telling us stories, to move us as well as making us reflect.

All “Finds” are, as far as I’m concerned, centred on the sea: there’s a reason why this second pièce is titled “Mediterreaneo” (the first one, last year, in March 2008, in Genova, in fact, City of the sea.). The fish, the first protagonist of her stories: darting in to the scene as grateful and happy accrochagès of wooden finds. These pieces of wood have also been added to the collection in form of small sculptures in full relief: which, of necessity, recalls Enrico Baj. As the first, almost by chance, finding was a multicoloured bunch of cotton buds, followed by bottlenecks (exceptional heterogeneity of typology, differentiation in form owed to the artistic hand of the waves, the sand and the sun..) and the lids: which become petals and flowers, telling us stories about what might be “on land”, by the shoreline..Verso i vasi.not to forget Vasi infranti: containers with or without flora.

It’s titles as well as “themes” which Marillina sets herself to develop like the one called “Oltre il giardino” which being a single piece could be, or better, has already become an “exception but from a series”. Skeletons of mattresses, bedsprings/springs of a rigid kind – there you are, the possible/potential supply of the series and a wide-spread waste not only found in the sea!- which are made unique by “decorations”: carefully chosen pieces of plastic, flowers and fish eyes watching you? Towards absolute abstract, these “new” compositions: telling us, though, always, with elegant and wide-spread ethics, about our environment. In this way, the Paessagi dall’alto , the new series, the latest (of today) tales, shown with a graft (for the first time) of colours (blue, the depth of the sea) in form of amazing islands which we virtually fly over.

marillina fortuna (6)It’s the islands we find in the entrance of the Humanistic Library (it’s hard to imagine a better place to sit down and take your time to read these meaningful tales?), the zero level of the sea: made up, dreamlike islands, these, like all of Marillina’s work, transformed, placed on seas, lakes, furrowed by irrigated canals.Water around the edges as well as inside.There you are, the themes and titles, consistent in her authorial wit: C’è acqua su Marte , for example. And, again, Contro-tendenza: a desert which is just about to be flooded. Marillina takes from and gives back to the water: finds which on the whole, summed up that is, like in a painting of the Arcimboldo, make up a unitary image. Worrying, maybe so, but happily refined and, overall, contemporary.

But her work also suggests a different approach to “time”: the speedy and broken up pace of new technological innovations clashes with the individual time of our conscience and, overall, of our perception of duration. As Omar Calabrese, rightfully, brought up in his text in occasion of the exhibition in Genova, Marillina’s work “gives expression to some sort of idea regarding “the eternal return”, since what gets thrown away has the possibility to re-join its origins and “return” – from being considered old and – completely “new”. Paraphrasing Lavoisier..in culture, as in nature, “nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, but all is transformed”.

Anti Pansera

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