'There’s more than meets the eye' is a groupshow curated by Caterina Fondelli at spazio contemporanea in Brescia.

There’s more than meets the eye
Artists: Armelle des Ligneris , Ilaria Piccirillo, Maria Allegretti, Margherita Mezzetti
Curated by  Caterina Fondelli
24 February - 25 March,.2023
spazio contemporanea, Brescia

The suspended moments in our lives are frequent, they tend to recur and seem dilated and endless when we find ourselves within them. At a first superficial analysis, they could appear negligible, certainly not worthy of assuming protagonist roles, so much so as to dedicate an entire visual project of vast discovery and revelation to them. However, what happens in parentheses sometimes turns out to be more significant and crucial than the so-called great actions, transforming “frozen” time into an opportunity to generate tiny vibrations that will produce unprecedented movements, definable and understandable through the flow of lives themselves.

What happens when nothing happens? It is a question commonly asked by human beings in that phase of mental rumination on their own thought: it actually is, thinking about what we are thinking, that leads to a sort of meta-awareness and thus to destroying the very concept of “nothing”.

Stasis is not something concrete, even if it is a real sensation of immobility, what surrounds us and our body inexorably continue their evolution. Once again the “feeling” becomes pre- ponderant as compared to the rational unfolding of the facts, experience suggests the im- pression of living a situation in which novelty and gestures are deadlocked or totally absent, which brings the individual or groups of them to implement different reactions or solutions.

Existential voids take on various guises accompanied by a wide range of feelings and acts such as apathy, enthusiasm, creation or destruction, relaxation, contemplation, fan- tasy...“There’s more than meets the eye” is therefore a motto, a modus vivendi that also connects the poetics and works of the female artists involved in this exhibition. Beyond those fragments of existence made up of places, objects, people, whose aesthetic patina seems to be characterized by calm, reflection, minute and delicate movements, are broader worlds, references to social and universal themes of pivotal and collective significance.

The artists explore, study and research the dark areas, where inactivity, oscillation, broo- ding, passivity, obstinacy sometimes reign, those zones in which so many questions arise, one gets lost, one decides whether to resist life or whether to let it flow. Their visual repre- sentation is a continuation of this investigation, and it is also a way to shape them and get to a moment of clarity and manifestation.

Old photos that portray moments of conviviality in the open air, architectures, spaces dedi- cated to sports, can become subjects and inspirations for evanescent paintings with watery and light layers, which in a non-declamatory way speak of power and try to defuse it preci- sely by appropriating the concept and the representation of the “emptiness”.

Vacuity can also fill up, turn into ingenuity, playfulness and divertissement, like a gathering around the fire that reaches curious and distant lands and traditions thanks to the narration, the presence of a playroom that brings back the “poor” genius of childhood, up to the funny lies of a tale that entertains popular needs.

Empathy is another fundamental tool in these impasse phases, because recognizing a pro- of of our existence through the other, sharing their trepidations and sufferings, becomes a strong and incomparable identification to carry out a forward movement. The psychological charge that can connote these states is undeniable, it can convey the difficulties of adapting to a new environment with its different sky, atmospheres and moods; describe the night and its lengthening on the day, on the mind and on the most acute sensibilities; the permanence inside a love and the incessant will to achieve perfection in its demonstration.

The contributions and the issues addressed are varied, but what remains is the fascination for the unknown of these “hiatuses” in which everyone decides to dive into and so investigate themselves and life.

Caterina Fondelli

Maria Allegretti (1998, Italy. Lives and works in Milan, Italy), is a director and writer, who intertwines the study of Philosophy with her artistic research, which stems from an act of love: a reflection on emotions, on our way of perceiving ourselves and the world, in order to be capable of creating new ways of living the interior life and its narratives. Through the study of visual matter and language, Maria investigates identity as a narration that is built starting from a process of construction and destruction, correction; a continuous alternation between discipline and play, severity and lightness. She was involved in three artistic residencies, the last one at Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, which ended in February 2022, and she has participated in various exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Armelle des Ligneris (1995, Paris. Lives and works in Paris, France) attended the school Beaux-arts in Nantes, from which she graduated in 2020. During her Beaux-arts education, she did a study trip at the Tokyo University of Art between 2016/2017, and a second one at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2018/2019. Today she is a PhD student at L’E- cole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). The pictorial production of Armelle des Ligneris tries to guide our gaze, our thought, towards an unveiling of the forms of authority and domination. In these large empty spaces, where man, if not already absent, fades away, slowly but surely, violence only emerges in negative. Armelle des Ligneris designates the contours of the neat forms of authoritarian aesthetics. She appropriates photos of imperial families, sports fields and tennis games, personal archi- ves, scenes from films, television programs ... all carriers of grave subjects, which she does not however explain, by rejection of the declamatory. The paintings of Armelle des Ligneris are ambiguous productions, playing with the common fascination for these images of power, while trying to defuse their structures. The source documents and their place of authority are extinguished in the painting, the vacuum reduces them to silence.

Margherita Mezzetti (1990, Siena. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany) got her MA in Painting and Visual Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, Atelier F. She is Co-founder and active member of the artists-run space BARdaDino. She has recently been one of the resident artists at VIAFARINI (Milan, Italy) and UVA program. The artist composes sen- timental images. The act of painting as a face to face with desires and disappointments. A constellation of visions without time nor space, representing, in an unconventional way, our bodies and our driving urgency to recognise in the other a tangible sign of existence and experience. These iconic objects hold and contain dreams and regrets. They are not relevant per se, but for the capacity of being open to the gaze of others who transform them through their own agency. A narrative which depends on collective needs connected to the time we are living in. It can be perceived as nostalgic, but these figurations, so bold and yet so gentle, are built through a photographic language. The represented entities are friends you can play around with, using their and your own imagination. The bitterness of a gaze or a detail’s vivid color can trigger a memory, a fantasy and the passionate research of a dearth to fill where even the suffering is considered an identity value.

Ilaria Piccirillo (1997, Avellino. Lives and works in Bologna, Italy) graduated in Painting and Visual Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna in 2022 and in Graphic art from Academy of Fine Arts in Urbino in 2019. She is currently attending a stage technician course at Scuola dell’Opera, Bologna. Chiefly through drawing and artworks halfway sculpture and objet trouvé, the artist investi- gates the various narrative possibilities of the visual language. The aim is to reorganize and give shape to the disorder of suggestions coming from personal and collective experiences. Found stories, placed between legend and reality, often act as a springboard for her artistic practice. They are absorbed into a new vision that challenges the univocity of the subject, imposing on the viewer a multiple reading in which each path to follow leads to previously hidden elements. The conflict between the mental construction and the found images tran- slates into the expression of an inner world in which it is impossible to identify good or bad; which revisits archetypal and timeless figures; and which claims the ugly and the obscene.