Dissolvenza - A solo exhibition by Alina Vergnano at MLAG Bergen.

DISSOLVENZA - A solo exhibition by Alina Vergnano
19 August  - 21 August, 2022
Curated by Michael Laundry
MLAG, Bergen, Bergen


Do we draw before we begin to paint? As children, is our line unbridled by the forms we will eventually learn? The artist’s line, their movement, and the relationship between drawing and painting is at the heart of Alina Vergnano’s solo exhibition at MLAG. Vergnano’s paintings turn towards a thinking around drawing. ‘Pure drawing is the material visibility of the invisible’’ affirms the French philosopher Alain Badiou while arguing that the essence of drawing lies in the “movable reciprocity between existence and nonexistence”. If Badiou’s theorizing on what is there or not there seems overly theoretical it is not as we consider Vergnano as a painter tied to an action. Her mark on canvas harkens back to feminist action painters, for example Lynda Benglis who’s painterly approach disrupted male-dominated minimalism movement with their suggestiveness and openness. This suggestiveness of that which is just beyond our cognition is Vergnano’s invitation at wonderment as she takes over both the cellar gallery and the en plein air white cube at MLAG.

We at MLAG are very proud to host the Italian painter for her first solo show with us. Vergnano’s large-scale canvases are delightful and resonate with the wisdom of earlier painters like Eva Hesse, and CY Twombly. In a wonderful letter between Hesse and Sol LeWitt, LeWitt offers Hesse some advice as she is experiencing a block, he insists, “Stop thinking!’, ‘and just do!”. In this command, we must recognize that something beyond Vergnano is at work in pushing her lines across her canvases. There is something that just ‘does’! There is a dynamic energy she harnesses that is at play with the elements around her in a way that is somehow beyond description. When I asked Alina to help me understand what she does she said that her work might be understood as an “Intra-action”. Intra-action understands agency not as an inherent property of an individual or human to be exercised, but as a dynamism of forces” - Karen Barad, “Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning”, 2007.

In finding a way to relate to the enigmatic nature of Vergnano’s work, as a Curator, I was pleased by her invocation of Barad’s concept of intra-action. The paintings are alive, they are performative and they are as much abstract as they are figurative, in a state of becoming. As an artist relating to the unique in-door/out-door experience of MLAG, Vergnano proposes, a balancing act between the artwork and its relation with a given space. In DISSOLVENZA the deliberate absence of narrative and the possibility for new meanings to generate arise from and endless cycle of affecting and being affected by the space around the paintings. Like the gestural in Benglis, Vergnano’s post-minimalist approach evokes an awareness of the fluidity between both space, and what is visible the eye. The titular significance of the show draws from cinemagraphic nomenclature - a Dissolve (or Dissolvenza) – a transition between shots that involves the gradual transition from the first image to the next. Between paintings and rooms at MLAG, Vergnano gets at the implied, the relationality of becoming.

Text by Michael Laundry