The trifecta of Franca Marini

see gallery

Tara Mathison
exhibition catalogue Franca Marini Universal Language Queens College Art Center, New York 2009, p.60
As it navigates art’s intersection with language, architecture and invention, Universal Language strikes a sound line where tradition meets contemporary. Dissatisfied with illustrating the everyday banal, Franca Marini’s work utilizes a multitude of disciplines to expand the universal language of art. Like a Fluxus manifesto, the viewer can approach Marini’s installation as painting, sculpture or performance: take a glass circle, enclose it with copper wire, paper and rope, open your eyes, what do you see?

Throughout the installation, Marini’s work continues to reach newfound dimensions. As she dissects with wire, twine and paper, the space becomes layered with kinetic repetition. Marini’s frenetic attention to detail and repeated visits to key passages, place an equal dependence on planning and gut intuition. Each tenuous inch of Universal Language hums with vitality. The distinction between Marini and an architect, engineer or even an alchemist, may only be the motives at hand.

Drawing on Marini’s rich experience, Universal Language begins outside the gallery, reaching into the adjoining library as to bridge the gap between language and art. This initial form unifies the five continental shapes inside the gallery into one; professing through struggle, how organically perception and creation mix in Marini’s fluid hand. As Marini constructs her language, subtle references to the historical and mystical emerge quietly within the context of the exhibition.
In Universal Language, Marini approaches art as an instrument to confront the fundamental unknown. This approach to artmaking might seem characteristic in the larger scope of history, but in the recent sense, it is nothing short of innovation. By searching for meaning, Marini’s work breaks from the regrettable inclination in contemporary art to simply illustrate ideas. In dim times, Universal Language serves as a capsulated hope that humanity is still indeed searching.