STARTUP 5 - Page 66

Autobiografia del rosso (Autobiography of Red) is the title of the new exhibition by Sabrina Mezzaqui that Galleria Continua is pleased to host in its San Gimignano exhibition spaces. A series of new works, specially conceived by the artist for the rooms of the gallery, conjure up a universe of light forms, in which beauty dialogues with the density of the poetic, philosophical and existential content, and slow gestures become the metaphor of an attentive and closely considered reading of the texts. The modus operandi is the one long favoured by the artist, who for many years has worked to render texts into images.

It is not hard to guess that the work notes drawn on by Mezzaqui in devising this exhibition project include Jung’s Red Book, The Red Studio by Matisse, a dictionary open at the entry for rosso, which reads “lo stesso colore del sangue vivo” (“the same colour as living blood”) and a range of literary texts, stories and poems by the authors she loves most, the ones she starts from and goes back to. Among these, to mention just one, is David Grossman, who in Be My Knife writes: “Words fade, they lack the red of life”.

Mezzaqui is one of the best-known and acclaimed Italian artists on the international scene. She uses simple materials such as paper, fabric, thread and beads to create objects that are an expression of the time enclosed within them. The return to artisanal practices and the use of slow, repeated manual gestures – such as sewing, cutting, embroidering, weaving and recopying – give rhythm, in the artist’s work, to the passing minutes, and become the expression of a constant inner search, projected towards reaching a state of grace.

“Many of my works consist essentially of time, lots of time, including that of other patient people who give me a hand,” the artist says. “It’s as if every second is transformed into a bead or into a small piece of paper that is inserted into a long thread… You rely on an underlying rhythm and also an idea of circularity. The question of time relates to the mystery of life.” This reflection gave rise to Bianco naturale (“Natural White”), one of the new works in the show. Emerging in a seemingly unbroken thread from a white clay container is a necklace consisting of small pieces of paper alternating with beads. A series of black and white photos run across the walls, documenting the beauty and confident dexterity of many busy hands around a table.

Diciassette haiku, 2017

origami, cellulose words and numbers, thread, glass display case, 45 x 30 x 5 cm

(excerpt form Jorge Luis Borges, La Cifra, in Tutte le opere, Meridiani Mondadori, vol. II)

Courtesy the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana

Photo Ela Bialkowska, OKNO studio