Nelida Nassar 07.07.2014
Claudia Scarsella I am the two moons exhibition is a sensual and spiritual invitation to travel with this Viterbo born multi-media artist across a creative love journey. It stems from a personal experience. Scarsella’s inventive expression is a visual as much as a tactile exploration. It is also a confrontation of her dual origin the Etruscan and the Middle Eastern that she recently discovered. The work is a ballet of feminine and masculine binary of revealing and concealing effects that straddles art and design.
Upon entering the gallery on its street level, wall paper patterns and collages appear as if the artist has demarcated the space. The collages are a mixture of images and Arabic typography (A Room in the House of the Moon; Flower Know That Spring Is Coming; Is This Beauty Mine or Yours). Their symmetrical composition is reminiscent of Rorschach tests. While, the wall paper patterns are defining markers to be noticed. Paper patterns help the sight and its near-absence to orient viewer and artist equally, compelling one to touch them. These first gestures could be characterized as design.
Reaching The Caravan a collage triptych – of embroidery on printed fabric sewn on pigment piezography on canvas – the silk route begins unraveling its voyage while revealing its iconography of people – harlequins, gypsies, musical bands and stilt walkers – and objects – caravans, mosques, churches, monuments – all in silhouette forms. The Caravan is about transhumance. This poetic expedition has nurtured over centuries numerous artists’ imagination. It carries the worlds and goods of the Orient and Occident, marrying two moons within one long sky. At regular intervals, the silhouettes are veiled and draped by printed gauze sewn on pigment, just enough to almost reveal their shadowed contours. It is echoed by Cycling Caravan a smaller size composition. A dialogue between art and design intersperse both these journeys.
The lower level gallery presents Produce Life – The City a series of 4 iconic sculptures that are the re-creation in model form of four evocative districts of the city of Beirut. Hanged vertically, the three-dimensional city architecture protrudes entirely covered by a salvaged textile destroyed by an earthquake in Italy. Scarsella re-appropriates the delicate fabric and transforms it by hardening it through a chemical treatment to convey Beirut’s resilience. The artist then envelops the models hence gracefully veiling and protecting
In the vicinity, three textile pieces are suspended. A small element of their surface is beautifully embroidered contrasting with the rest of the flat woven section. Veins of Jasmine run through my fabrics revive ancient Bedouin cloth patterns. Scarsella in collaboration with Pino Grasso’s Milanese craftsmanship infuses a contemporary freshness on this mosaic of multicolored nomadic traditions. Once again, the artist leads our sight by emphasizing what to see and what not furthermore dissimulating and de-emphasizing.
Scarsella’s representational and pictorial acts are omnipresent feminine gestures made from sewing delicate embroideries, gauze and fabric. She subverts their usage to serve her own codified art language. She also invokes the sense of seeing. But, her numerous boundaries, concealment and revelation summons incisively another sense, albeit the one of touch. Seeing is no longer sufficient, it is displaced and overcompensated by touching. Wouldn’t the loss of a sense accentuate another?
Rosalyn Krause in her essay on A View of Modernism challenges art versus design in these terms: “The experience of the work of art is about the thoughts and feelings they elicit – more than what they entail – the making of the work. And if the work is not a vehicle of those emotions, in no matter how surprising a form, then what one is in the presence of is not art but design.” Scarsella’s defies Krause’s characterization. She manages to merge art with design and educe tenaciously both thoughts and feelings.
What is she attempting to convey, share and impart? Scarsella’s elegant, eloquent, poetic, feminine imagery and survival quest warrant a meaningful visit to confront the dual experience of art and design and how she combines and fuses them. It is through suppression and revelation that she connects her narrative. A must see!
Art Factum Gallery
June 25 – July 26, 2014
1.00 to 5.00 p.m. closed on Saturday