Winged words

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Silvia Bandini
and Esther Biancotti
exhibition catalogue Reconstrucción en rojo Nuevas Obras Galería Nacional, San Josè, Costa Rica, 2005, p. 55-56
translation Nancy Podimane
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For Franca Marini a work of art is a living creature that undergoes change, perfects and transforms itself, turning the image into a non conscious message: it is born in a vague manner and gradually comes to the fore.
The emotion which takes shape and gives rise to its expression is crucial, relying on improvisation to get away from rationality. This calls to mind the artists of the Action Painting movement even if there is a point of divergence: the sign where the emotion is sealed is not the subject of her work but rather the image which for this artist must always be laden with contents. Therefore the line, the colour and the material become the instruments that she uses to represent that “other thing” present in her unconscious.
To understand her recent research it is necessary to review the last years of her artistic life where experimenting with new materials necessary for the discovery of new horizons has gone hand in hand with a deepening of the relationship between the work of art and space.
In the series Condensation (2002-2004) the nebulous image is entirely constructed by a collage of small pieces of paper which overlap and reach a stratification which seems to allude to a third dimension; a tridimensionality which comes to life in sculpture Birth with colour (2003-2004) where the single fragments of coloured paper are transformed in clear-cut intersecting planes.
The viewer’s involvement spans 360 degrees inviting him to a total exploration in which his glance is captured by the enveloping movement of the forms and by the progressive discovery of the insertions of coloured ceramics, points of light that scan the rhythm of the vision.
When instead the artist is dealing with bidimensionality, she extends the space: she encircles it and resolves it by finding new solutions each time, she doesn’t want obstacles, she remains on the canvas until it forces limits onto her, but if she is obliged, if it suffocates the ideas she then gets away from it to “overturn” it.
In Theatrical representation (2004-2005) the need to leave behind the rigidity of the rectangular format to dialogue with the surrounding space is more than evident. A grid of lively colours opens the stage curtains revealing once again the line which had been absent since the series Dream of a new world (2000-2001). Above the panel irregular geometric forms of multicoloured ceramics appear as if they are placed in a casual way and gradually slide along the surface where they remain entangled.
In spite of the allusion to a theatrical scene we see no definite figures in the image but only a play of indecipherable forms which are inexplicably touching and moving. A simple language, almost archaic and at the same time refined and filtered.

In the rooms of the Galería Nacional de Costa Rica we witness a further elaboration of the concept of space that, as the artist reveals to us, is a result of the need to amplify the communicative power of the work to establish a total empathy with the viewer, reminding us that it inhabits the very space in which the viewer moves.
They are works in which one can relate at the moment of implosion, attracting us without letting us go because, if we look carefully, they are likely to lose their contours, that is their connection with the surrounding reality, taking the viewer to a far-off cushioned reality. They represent the fusion of the artist’s impassioned and fragile lyric vein with her detached and crystalline style achieved through a slow and progressive deepening of her expressive skills and innate abilities.
Reconstruction in red, undisputed protagonist of the exhibition, is an installation realized in an extemporaneous manner in these very rooms. Parallel to the research into space is the research into the materials: the velvet paper stimulates in the viewer a tactile perception, arousing in one the spontaneous desire to come close and touch it, listen to it, experience it. It is a material with which the artist establishes a direct relationship, that challenges, yields and finally cuts to achieve a harmony that gives meaning to the space. Through the cuts we perceive the walls, the intense red of the velvet paper and the stark white of the space permeate each other and seek each other out.
This work of art is full of light, a light which is intrinsic to the material whose force generates emotions.
It acts and reacts within the space, activating it and communicating with it to undergo a transformation and modification allowing its viewers to participate in an intimate and solitary feeling which is enriching and vital: red is the blood that flows, it is the energy that runs into the branched veins of the material which compels the viewer to become hypnotized by the research into mental fluids which make up one’s interior life composed of light and shadows.
Franca Marini succeeds with agility and immediacy to introduce these two opposites into her work through this play of shadows created by the cuts in clear shapes projected onto the wall.
After the fragmentation of the material…as well as the fragmentation of the ego she achieves the creation of an entirety through the use of coloured woollen threads that allow her to unite and assemble the single parts by re-sewing them together.
This new process of reconstruction is experienced by the artist as an evolution of the previous experience of collage: an evolution which has taken place unwittingly, just like the artist declares to be unaware of the connection she has established with the ancient textile work of pre-Hispanic populations.
The “thread” takes her back in time and projects her into the stratified memory of generations and far-off lands whose presence is still felt today. It is the “buena onda” that flows along that thread…the work of past hands that caresses her memory.
She herself in hindsight interrogates herself as to why she used it consequential? it casual? Surely, she claims, it can’t be casual, because it reveals a real meaning which her unconscious has transported to the work. There cannot be an unequivocal interpretation, everyone finds and interprets his/her own “thread” within the collective memory that takes on an individual course in the viewer.
Franca Marini manages to surprise us also in the other big work Thinking / Doing where the style of the “bella pittura” seems to exceptionally blend in with the instantaneous performance of the graffiti artists by her uninhibited use of spray paints.
The coloured threads play an important role again and with various meanings.
The support is formed by the union of maps sewn together with a string, in the attempt to annul distance which the artist perceives to be not of a material but of a mental nature. She thus places herself in synthony with themes that make up contemporary social debate: borders and overcoming them, the mixing of languages and cultures.
In the image we can denote the shape of two large hands that enclose us within a global space; it is one hand that looks for the other, reaching out for the other in spite of the perception that they are different, it is man who is the protagonist that must face the complex diversity of populations, it is the cosmopolitan and multicoloured reality of her New York experience that she seems to want to recuperate. The threads connect the two shapes and weave them together to create a multitude of colourful forms, escape from the work, expand their contours and look for points in the surrounding space.
The thread of thought comes together and allows very distant and heterogeneous elements to merge; very fine threads of thought, winged words that reveal new worlds.