Galleria Continua is pleased to present, for the first time at the gallery, an exhibition by Marta Spagnoli. ‘Whiteout’: this is the title of the solo show that the young artist has conceived for her debut in the gallery, and which presents us with a world poised between reality, myth and dream. The exhibition consists of a series of unpublished works resulting from the artist’s exploration as it has developed over the past two years: canvases of various sizes, drawings on paper and mixed techniques on different supports which, through a mythopoeic language, rework fragments of shapes and figures, handing them back to us as sedimented traces of an imaginary that considers the places and symbols of our history.
‘Whiteout’ describes a meteorological condition that is typical of the Arctic circle; it is the ultimate expression of the disorientation and change of perspective that nature imposes. It occurs when dense clouds cover the sun creating diffused light; snow and fog are so thick that they blur out any edges, making all morphology or spatiotemporal points of reference disappear. In the work of Marta Spagnoli, this “disorientation” translates into timelessness and suspension. “Each image is a map reconstructed according to mental signposts, where the white flow is anything but immutable, as if below it something was continuously taking place,” explains the artist.
For Marta Spagnoli drawing is a daily practice: “I like to start horizontally, almost always and often moving the surface, placing and washing away colour without having total control of the limits in setting out the image… my work is based on the act of marking as first natural action and it is essential for the re-elaboration of reality according to a personal rewriting”.
Photographic documentation, scientific illustrations and representations of ancient, classic and contemporary poetic traditions are the visual information that the artist uses to explore the potential of structures, relationships and meanings. Her main fields of interest are organic forms (animals and plants) and man in his mythical dimension.
In the works that make up the exhibition, the images, articulating themselves via recurring subjects, redefine their centrality by accompanying the rhythm of gaps and interruptions; these spaces in Marta Spagnoli’s work are formalised without perspective unity or temporal sequentiality. “Lagoons evoke the upheaval and stratifications produced by the intermittent flow of the waters that fill their cavities, bringing to light and gradually consuming the finds of past lives, incorporating the traces of plants and rocks, animals and objects. As well as designating the interruption in meaning of an image caused by the lack of a part of it, the word ‘lacuna’ literally refers to the space which would receive a stagnant expanse of water coming from the sea”, says the artist.
The hydra, the floating lovers, the satyrs, the horses, the felines, the wayfarers and the snakes that populate Marta Spagnoli’s paintings are suspended or intertwined as discoveries that have gradually emerged from our memory. Their interaction is subjected to the weaving of rhythmic modules that represent the rosettes of spotted liveries, fronds of jimsonweed, wings, cages, fissures of dry earth, clouds or constellations. Elements which in turn, in the narrative process, give shape to the dimension of the ditches, the stagnation, the lagoons, the forests and the celestial vault. For the first time, the artist’s poetics also find expression in the three-dimensionality of sculpture. “Seeds for Praying” (2019) comes from a gesture: that of enclosing the clay in your hands, as in a sign of prayer.
Marta Spagnoli (Verona, 1994) lives and works in Venice, where she recently completed her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Malutta Foundation artists’ collective. In 2019, she won 3rd prize in the 102nd Young Artists Collective of the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice. Among her solo and group exhibitions: Libere Tutte, curated by Daniele Capra and Giuseppe Frangi, Casa Testori, Novate Milanese, Milan (2019); BocsArt, a residence curated by Giacinto di Pietrantonio, Cosenza (2019); Art Zagreb, Zagreb (2019); Immersione Libera, Palazzina dei Bagni Misteriosi, Milan, 2019; Veritatem Inquirenti, curated by Walter Ferri, Castello Borromeo di Corneliano Bertario, Milan (2019); 102nd Young Artists Collective, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, San Marco Gallery, Venice (2019); Braintooling, Forte di Monte Ricco, Pieve di Cadore (2018); Progettoborca, a residence for Dolomiti Contemporanee at the former Eni Village, Borca Di Cadore, Belluno (2018); Opera Prima, ASP-ITIS space, Trieste (2018); Malutta Collection + Black Market, Galleria Monitor, Rome (2017); PersonaliNI, Finestra Illuminata, Venice (2016).