Universal Language


Franca Marini Universal Language
Queens College Art Center, New York  September 9 - October 30  2009
curated by Tara Mathison  download catalogue pdf  

Universal Language copper threads, rope, twine, hemp fibre, tempera, oil and spray paint on paper, 85inch(h) x 138ft, 2009

photos by Franca Marini


xPoetics 2

In conceiving this site-specific work I have taken into special consideration the particular location of the exhibit space as well as its shape whose circularity evokes the spherical form of the terrestrial globe . Its glass wall creates a continuity with the outside space transforming it into an open space connected to the external world, a feature which, added to its unique circular shape, allows the viewer to perceive the whole space at once and so to feel embraced by it. 
It is located in the library building of an important academic institution and so part of a context which preserves and develops the transmission of human knowledge through written language. While language, especially written language forms a distinctive part of the identity and sense of belonging to one’s country, collectivity and group, art may be viewed as the universal language par excellence. Through imagination and innermost images it is able to convey with immediacy emotions, feelings related to profound meaning and content which belong to the deepest primordial human experience and therefore universally communicable. Meaning and content, which can, however, become actual human knowledge only when put into words.
Given all of this, I have attempted to create an artwork which represents what may be an inalienable necessity of man, that is to fuse and integrate the universe of images and that of the written word.


Universal Language installation is made up of five large shapes, some made of multiple pieces, connected, joined together with copper threads and ropes. They form a single artwork, which surrounds the whole circular space so as to represent integration and continuity among the diverse civilizations of the world and underline the capacity of artistic creation to determine a deep link among human beings regardless of race or language and culture. The fifth shape which connects the two entrances of the gallery space completes and embraces the circular gallery.
The translucent paper support allows natural light to shine through and therefore changes in relation to the intensity of the light, a surface continuously in touch with the external space. The whole artwork, which can be viewed from both the inner and the outer circle, is double-faced so as to cancel any distinction between front and back. The translucency of the surface also allows the two sides to interact with one another so as to allude to the constant need for integration, communication between internal and external, private and public, personal and collective. The twine and ropes create on both sides a play of lines which determines connections points, intersections, tracing routes as on an ideal world map.
It represent as well the flow of the thread of one’s and of collectivity’s thought in its continuous, uninterrupted movement and transformation, which we may consider the common matrix of two of the fundamental creations in the history of human kind, writing and image making and therefore, a play of lines also as writing, as a universal language which marks and runs through a huge, imaginary parchment of the world.
Franca Marini 2009