08 July 2010

A painting exibition at the 36 Maxal Contemporary in Locarno

In Locarno (Switzerland), a beautiful collective exhibition of contemporary art, called “White” and healed by Barbara Pavan, with works by other 5 italian artists, has just come to an end. In the 36 Mazal Contemporary gallery, a lot of oriental carpets of extraordinary manufacture act as a backgorund for the exhibition; at first sight, they seemed to me an integral part of this artistic event, but they actually represent the double cultural and commercial face of the gallery.
The container is, as I was saying, an art gallery which matches the introduction of contemporary art exhibitions (as remarked in its name), with the exposure of carpets that have a wonderful manufacture and a high value of craftmanship.

They come from many producing countries of the oriental area, where the gallery’s owners have identified a great manufacture, which they now commercialize for their public.
An unusual match, this one, between these oriental carpets and contemporary art works, which, ultimately, doesn’t damage the quality of both of the projects, which actually look like they want to compete for the visitors’ interest. Whoever looks at them, as it happened to me, is alternately caught by the charm of a hand-embroidered cloth by the novarese artist Eliana Frontini, representing, as she says, “acts of love”, expressed through not better identifiable ideograms in some oriental language, and the charm coming when the look is captured by the fresh floral representations of a very rare Hereke’ made out of silk and 24 carats gold… The visitor will be contended again, between the seductive and really womanish shoes by Cristiana Pacchiarotti, a roman artist with multiform interests between paint and architecture, and the persians of Esfahan or the “ really original” russian Bukara.

We have wanted to point out this exhibition in particular, and this art gallery, in the context of a different and more random idea, of a tourism that is alternative to the traditional one, and can be an interesting diversion if opposed to the hoarding in crowds by the public of the official destinations recommended by the baedeker guides. An exhibition like the one we are talking about is surely worth a trip to Locarno, during a holiday period, or during a weekend, as a cue for getting to know new worlds and spaces, having a talk with new people and attractions about topics that are not our usual ones, and also acquiring new cues for a personal growth.

Harking back to White, if we had even casually run into it during a planned tour in Centovalli and Vigezzo, or a trip between the Verbano and the Sport Center of Tenero (Arch. Mario Botta), we would have discovered new art tendencies, all declined to the feminine, of which the five artists have given us precise signs within exquisite and intense purposes of patrolling the human mind.
Chiara Belloni did this through her objectivity, all dreamy and ethereal, Veronica Debellis with plastered and crystallized memory swill, though jealously conserved in soul’s reliquaries; Eliana Frontini with her embroideries so hard to decipher, because hardly distinguishable are the points of her white-on-white composition, since really dangerous and complex is, maybe even to herself, the reading of a reality that almost solves, in front of her own eyes, the alternating phases of life; Cristiana Pacchiarotti with her symbolic obstructions to the definitive and complete woman’s liberation, and Monica Scafati through writings that allude to letters and thoughts maybe never accomplished like she really wanted. In this fast round-up of poetry, after all, we have seen, in this exhibition, what clearly the existential background of the women’s world draws today.
Yes, Locarno, despite the torrid heat of this summer, through the clever and passionate effort of an art curator like Barbara Pavan, could become all of this too.
We suggest to follow, in the future, both its gallery’s activity and the one of the above mentioned artists.

Lesa, July 2nd 2010
Enrico Mercatali

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