Reviews – English
MARIA CRISTINA VIMERCATI
by Nives Maria Ciardi – 2010
For Mariacristina Vimercati the world is a wood, a wood one walks through raising the eyes to the sky, stopping from time to time to consider the details and to be aware of what happens.
The drawing and the painting, that contains it, form the plot. The detail is one with the whole like it happens in real life. The Monaci in cammino (Monks on the way) move forward crosswise, with a quick hint of movement that recalls “the sayings of the father of the desert” in its oblique shifting.
It takes centuries for a wood to grow. Mankind’s work is needed to restrain it, as long as men can contain their own desire to grow. The variety of trees and shrubs disappears in the spreading of plants. The undergrowth favors fires.
Among the branches of a tree painted from a clearing below, an orchestra director holds the threads of a concert without players, for a public attentive in the branches. In the title La luce accecante viene dal mare (the blinding light comes from the sea), a figure in the water, seen from below like the keel of a ship, extends to Protected, just above a line of animals drawn at the base of the canvas. In Alarming, a cetacean in the storm is touches a ship. Both are vehicles for Jonah, a fleeing prophet returned from the water by a big fish.
I remember one of Mariacristina Vimercati’s works of a few years ago. A child cries for help with its mouth open like a megaphone. AIDS comes from an airplane in a red and blue sky. The intensity cores of her paintings still persist in her work, without drying up in the easiness of catastrophe.
THUMBS PUT TOGETHER: THE FRAME OF HANDS
by Cristina Muccioli – 2010
The paintings of Maria Cristina Vimercati are images of her soul.
An anachronistic story in which past memories and the how they are represented now, their placement in interior landscapes, come out in a textured surface, never seen before on canvas.
They are a selection of works formed by intense artistic techniques and warm emotions.
We can see in them serenity, sadness, pain, nostalgia, expectation, ecstatic wonder and fear, relief and uneasiness, happiness, metamorphoses and strong points that weave into a harmony that suggests the less explored areas of emotions: their contiguity with rationality.
To give form, body and color to emotions is on one hand to take a knowing distance from them, and on the other hand to understand them, feel them, think about them.
Through an empathetic contemplation – that German notion of Einfuehlung that comes from the word fuehlen (to feel) and reveals the etymological root of pathos and of suffering, – we notice how something we see represented can have deeper meaning to ourselves.
Emotions, in fact, in their fullness as much as they can escape you in different levels of intensity, all have something to do with each one of us, right to our core.
This type of attentive glance comes in two moments – from far away and closer.
From far away, from a distance that allows you to perceive the completeness of the work, in all its complex composition, in its thickness and frayness of color, and above all in all the light that goes towards the central figure, scans and talks spatially with the blocks of color: liquid areas exploding, lumpy inserts that the artists calls “areas of disturbance”, amniotic sky, clouds heavy with rain, fields and water where identity swirls and fluctuates.
Close up, the surprises and interpretative clues – there is nothing to explain in these works, but a lot to say and talk about – go on into infinity.
The artist, who is also a photographer with a history in scenography, teaches us about spontaneous perception with her particular and usual gesture: she spreads out her fingers, puts her thumbs together and then creates her framed shot for a piece of work.
A piece which is complete onto itself, so precise that it can be taken out and given its own complete meaning. But that would create another sense, and we would have to look for a focus then from the inside.
Vimercati’s gestural painting and her photography are different ways, different instruments, for stopping all that which flows ineluctably, sometimes in a tempestuous whirlwind, and saving or freezing it, thus producing active memory.
This is fast, rapid grasping moments of memories and impressions, but also steady and measured, typical of one who knows this type of material so well that they can break even the most academic rules of expression.
At every conjunction of thumbs appears another detail which throws the whole vision of the work into question, stopping us from becoming submerged in its completeness and forcing us to classify it.
When she frames with her hands a small pencil drawing, for example, she breaks from the idea that she is a painter of only color. The areas of white – which are not only one area but a real layering of color – dazzling, yet opaque, soft yet impenetrable, reflecting yet absorbing; the flowers damp with bright color, the leaves of the trees rustling that in “Countryside Sunset” call up green everywhere, even on the sun, taking away from the artist the suspicion of figurative representation.
The quiddity of these works stays with the light, a dramatic light (in the sense that its dynamic) and fluctuating along with us, moving towards natural light. Even the atmosphere and its dustiness are manifest, first from far away then from close up. Silvery, sunny and bright, milky and opaque, rarified and clear, but also uncertain, as in reality.
At the bottom of the painting, on the margin, in a small corner dug out from the center of the scene, a patient eye will stop and examine the details added in pencil. They are often decisive due to the title of the work, yet they are of a delicacy and a fragility that becomes a warning. Everything that is drawn with a pencil can be cancelled, ready to be taken into the whirlwind of the cosmic universe and undergo a new metamorphic change. Growing up, new relationships, new me’s and new you’s. At the same time they have a precise composition that goes beyond…that is better defined in its morphology, coinciding with that which is weak in us. It’s the mortgage taken out on human fragility, with every beautiful thing subject to ever apparent perfection. But you have to get close to see them; mixing our breath with that of the painting sometimes means bending down.
In the work “Protected”a long line of children and animals that like acting up as a baby elephant and a sea horse walk towards safety in a tunnel, or an arc, obviously some type of refuge. Over them are furious gusts of wind blowing, threats of storms, dangers that everyone can see, and dripping red on the side as if the canvas itself was bleeding. Without lots of noise, but also not hidden.
In the Nozze di Cana two busy waiters literally enter the scene from the side carrying trays filled with bread.
In another section a series of large ionic columns and an arc that has an earsplitting scream coming from it. In the lower part, painted happily with party colors, a wedding cake that looks like strawberry shortbread. Thick rich beaded curtains with precious borders and braids open from above the scene, where the overwhelming force of destiny erupts: the happiness of the party, the importance of the party, the most frightening pain that could occur inside the family home, the possibility of tearing down a piece of curtain and using it as a flying carpet to seek, between thumbs pressed together, other heartfelt places, where you dress in white, married with the courage of life saying: Hurry up! There’s a party!
Under the fanning of two skirts that are drunken with glee in orange tones, a black Titian-like bustier maliciously cinches the waist, with the light and silky skin of a decolletè, creates a bustline that protrudes from the painting that that is awaiting to be dressed for the party. A party that starts before it begins, during the preparation, when you choose the dress you are going to wear: the joyful and healthy pleasure of getting dressed up and looking your best.
This crispy happiness of warm and bright colors is significant also in Such a mess where a Venetian lace mask stands out, soaked with black, with red lead lapilli, two slices of eyes made to absorb images more than to launch glances.
In a form that is more allusive than precise, Death Madame has entered the scene.
And Vimercati lets her, makes her do a prospective jump ahead leaving her the place on center stage. She makes her visible, gives her a face that is visionary and imaginary, yet which is very different from a ghost’s; she has a very common destiny. That binds us to her decisively and paradoxically, revealing to us the other side of the coin: death becomes hers, made up of anguish and unknown feelings, of faith or nothingness. It’s there but it can’t talk, invading the vital space from which it derives its life. The most impulsive and blustering madwoman attacks, shows herself, is given a space that is not infinite.
Eternity is a shivering of white lights, crinolines of peonies that on the canvas never fade away.
Just like photography is made of two thin inseparable parts (the film and its support) death symbolized is part of life, but not only. It has won.