Franca Marini - dream of a new world

see gallery

Massimiliano Tonelli

Exibart July 26, 2001

It is by now an established fact that the “Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala” was, during the Middle Ages, one of the largest financial and political institutions in Italy. The large structure was equipped with a 'network' of fortified farms called "grancie” for its provisions. In one of these situated in Serre Rapolano, in the province of Siena, a pleasant exhibition space has been created comprising the Museo dell’Olio, rooms for educational activities, a video room and a small but functional center for contemporary art.
In the latter space the first personal exhibition in Sienese territory of the 39-year-old  Sienese artist Franca Marini is being held, after a lifetime spent studying and teaching in the U.S., “Dream of a new world”, the title of the exhibition, reveals a profound American influence  and at the same time Marini's own approach to her work. The paintings show a desire for reconstruction, a redeeming and benevolent instinct (and is this not, according to some, the role of the artist?). The subject of the main canvas (photo), which is used for the catalogue cover, is a vigorous (purifying?) fire, fiercely burning an unstable, abstract urban scene. The trauma is probably the result of a mental short circuit - of thought and of memory - symbolized by metaphysical alphabetic symbols floating in the air.
The visual impact of the works and their intense gestural quality suggest an 'architectural' approach.  In some works (photos) a diamond-shaped pattern systematically emerges which, under the name of “opus reticolatus” was widely used in the architecture of the late Roman period, in the time of the emperor Hadrian. In other works we see the suggestion of the 'ideal city', recalling  sculptures by Pietro Consagra.
It is therefore in these settings, within these ancient walls, in these cities  burned by a purifying flame that we find Franca Marini's “new world”.
In the two adjacent rooms  watercolors and studies complete the exhibition.