16 April 2013

Young italian art-stars. Nuove stelle dell'Arte Italiana. "LIFT", by painter Elena Borsato, is the title of her last exhibition in Milano, whose review of Taccuini Internazionali is now also available in English, by Enrico Mercatali

"Taccuini Internazionali has already dedicated an article to the italian painter Elena Borsato, about “LIFT”, her recent exhibition in Milano:

This choice was aimed at introducing to the international  public the quality of her picture, which particularly aroused our interest in the series named “Lift”.

We would now like to provide an english version of the article, as we always do with subjects of international significance. Our aim is to highlight meritorious italian productions in general but also those new names emerging in the international scenario, like Elena Borsato, who deserves to be renowned in the artistic field for the significant and up-to-date peculiarities of her message and language. These elements value a new form of historical continuity, between the classical standards of modern aesthetic tradition and the use of instruments of subjective analysis drawn from literature, cinema, photography, drama, poetry. Since Elena Borsato proposes a learned, complete and captivating art, we considered it useful to spread her name even beyond our national borders”. 

New italian young Art-Stars
(Nuove stelle dell'Arte Italiana)

"L      I      F      T"
Sensual Microcosmos in Logical Sequences (*)
 A vision by Elena Borsato 

(*) Originally title in english

Elena Borsato’s pictorial creations, "olismi frammentati", stand out like tiny bright jewels in the scenario of great upcoming exhibitions in Milano ("Da Pollock alla Pop Art", "Modigliani e gli artisti di Montparnasse", "Piero Manzoni, retrospettiva"), a city which seems to be awakening from its lethargy and focusing on art in a joyful, party atmosphere.       
The event, which we think deserves attention, was inaugurated on 19th May, 2013 in the exhibition room of the Association APRITI-CIELO, in via Spallanzani 16 (MM1-Venice) and will last until February 2. 

Taccuini Internazionali, having appreciated Elena Borsato’s latest creations (currently exhibited in Milano), proposes to its readers some “frames” of her “sequences” by showing some pictures of her paintings. We also report some fragments of texts recently realized by critics, kindly granted by our magazine and published with the author’s approval, which are part of her “secret” correspondence with both the evaluators of her painting and the art critics who have followed her journey so far.
 Here is an alternation of images and texts that we have selected for you and arranged in random order:

“Thinking about you, Elena, about your paintings and your description of them, about the sensation we drew from your quivering presence while we watched them and from your comments about them, we suddenly remembered the highlights of our artistic and intellectual experience. Now we want to relate to them in order to show your work.
I believe that “Lift” (Elevator), one of the latest series of your painting, is the achievement of a full maturity; the main message conveyed, besides the intense symbolic contents immediately clear in the figures, is the insistent rhythm of its fragmented multiplication, which becomes a content itself, especially for those who have the chance to see the complete series in the current Milanese exhibition.
I would say that the results of the series Lift are to be considered and observed as a whole, because only an overall view can convey their intrinsic message and their full experience of communication. Who knows whether one day the paintings of Lift will constitute the only outlet of a mega-installation comprising all of them, within an only “open work”! I would love to see them like that...”

The painter Maria Elena Borsato during the inauguraton of  her exihibition. She is explaining her paintings to the public  arrived for the event, finished on Feb 4th.

“The critical path that can improve our understanding of “Lift” as a sequence of images belonging to a culminating moment of your experience as a woman and paintress is a bit winding; a cross-message that highlights communication more than content and helps us recognize “other” values in the complete work, joining all the high qualities of each single element”.

“It may seem odd, but I think that most of what boils inside “Lift”, if we perceive the motion more than the single pauses, has its origins in the far past; anyone who can remember Malina and Beck of “Mysteries and Smaller Pieces” (1965, Milano, Durini Theatre), and the emotional peak they were able to reach through multiple and consecutive scans, by using the actors’ and their bodies, will recognize some of these elements. 

That lesson, once promoted through theatre, brought a big change in every other form of art! This theatrical current leads to Bob Wilson, passing through Tadeuz Kantor; the insistent rhythm of his “actions” broke the play into different parts, disconnected and sequenced until an indescribable enchantment was reached, just as you are doing with your paintings, by walking backwards in the logic of art! 

Elena Borsato, serie"Lift", 2011,  4  different paintings  in a casual sequence, 
from above to belowe,  impasto per base - acrilico, 60 x 120 cm

 In the far 60’s, theatre gave all the arts a strong shake. Scanned rhythms for repeated images characterized also the striking pictorial sequences of Francis Bacon; he would juxtapose them on every painting, marking the different versions of his characters, all constantly searching for themselves into a window of the soul they perhaps would have preferred not to look at. But this lesson was aesthetical rather than analytical. Although being analytical, the purpose of Elena Borsato’s “photographic” sequences is worth for its method more than for the exhibition of subjects with psychotic deforming effects, as occurred in Bacon.

Elena Borsato, serie "Lift", acrilic on paper,  30 x 50 cm

The term “modern” (anything but disused) seems to me appropriate for Elena Borsato’s method, and also for her precise and extremely personal technique. This term evokes something really far from weak thought, from any anarchical subjectivity or any possible postmodernism which favours only subjective views and interpretations, and therefore far from any possible “trans vanguard”.
We believe that “modernity” is still much needed today: that’s why we admire the works of Elena Borsato! They remind us that the culture of modern requires a structure and a logic, although it’s lost in the pursuit of feelings: Living Theatre as Kantor, but also Stravinsky as Ghirri, from serial to arranged Pop, from theatre to music, and again to photography, whenever the rigorous collecting of fragments, broken down and recomposed, produces ubiquity and diversity, transversality and multiplicity, even though the structure’s purpose is a methodical reconstruction of a simple “atmospheric human feeling”, like in these “Lift”. Only a certain kind of art could and can still translate such events, following a Dewey-like logic, in a structure for research that manages to suspend judgment until everything is acknowledged. 

These are just some hints to explain the effect Lift had on us. Just some examples that make a device (more than a manuscript) out of Elena Borsato’s pictorial qualities. This perfect imaginative mechanism leads to precision and completeness, which are both extremely necessary to the current artistic thought and practice: after the hangover from hyper subjectivity, a return to reason and sense of reality is strongly needed (cfr. Umberto Eco "Rational aesthetics"- Congress of Bonn, March 2012). A methodical version of knowledge, as long as analytical and introspective, obtained through the filter of art, is becoming useful and actually compulsory again. A modernity that doesn’t give up techniques of other arts or disciplines, especially the scientific ones, thus becoming, through its links with them, a vehicle of total knowledge and representation.”
“The painting proposed by Elena, although expressing to the limit an obsessively experimented delirium, manages to become a personal training, on the basis of a logic past. It is structured following analytical modalities, striking but precise, rational, controlled; it adopts a refined and careful technique, without any approximation, scruffiness or impulsiveness, and it’s definitely modern (in as much as modernity has a precise meaning today) and full of promised objectivity, as if it represented a new and more straightforward conceptuality.”...

That day when you agreed to be interviewed while we were taking a look at your paintings, I realized I could not avoid writing a profile of them: while you were trying to find the right words to describe them, I caught a glimpse of your emotions in your suddenly watery eyes. In that very moment I understood the reason why your paintings aroused great interest in me, giving me at the same time the pleasant perception of how strong the link between author and artwork could be.
“These consequences strengthened my previous idea of your passionate painting, and I can say that the time spent with you and your art was crucial for my further criticism of it; it opened my mind on its internal dynamics, on the intense relationship between you and your works, but also on the thought horizon it aroused in me, since I had not seen this kind of connection between artist and artwork for a long time”.

“Great interest was aroused in me during the whole day: the bare intensity of your workspace, its tidiness, the rigour of your method. Everything was already a prelude to what I was about to see in Lift: it recalled the obsessive sequentiality of your works and it was scanned by the repetition of equal situations and rhythmical mysterious appearances; it seemed like it was aimed at focusing, through elements extracted from a careful and slightly inquisitive film, on the intangible and vaguely erotic climate deriving both from the environment and the anatomical details appearing in the framings, all intentionally partial.” 

In other paintings, not belonging to the same series but certainly to the same mind and hand, considering their analogy with the overall structure of your work, the touching and wise aesthetic and chromatic synthesis of natural fragments is almost a comforting pause; it belongs to a more aesthetic than introspective perception, characterized by a descriptive parsimony which almost becomes a rarefaction of the sign and a pure stream of tickled senses and physical pleasure of the observer.
Everything I saw and felt the day we saw your paintings, everything that surrounded us and everything you said, with careful and precise arguments for each detail described, experienced by you as it still belonged to the creative moment of its conception, everything told me about love, a desire for love, an adventure of love and almost an obsession with love, so much this factor dominated every other.”
"Everything in your paintings, every aspect we saw told us about the most elevated human feeling. Everything that was portrayed consisted in love events, love details, mental translations of a love story or many gathered love stories; every movement was drawn from love, in a vortex that involved both the figures portrayed and the invisible figure who remembered them, had fixed them on the canvas, observed them in that very moment. The atmosphere was so filled with love, and the paintings showed such a reiteration of those subjects that everything became an obsessive climax, an obstinate research of what, although being absent, was still alive in that story; an obsession that the author and her method had been able to translate in tiles of moments slipping away.  Everything was depicted in sudden sequence-levels, in scattered and partly lost frames of an adventure lived and now “mentally” filmed, in framings drawn from a storyboard that the event and its circumstances still recalled, arousing pleasure and suffering at the same time.” 

Maria Elena Borsato, 2011, "serie Lift", acrilico on paper, 21 x 30 cm

“All the aspects of our mental involvement so far described were centred on the essence of your paintings, and they concerned all those artistic aspects able to distill every sensitive reality which produced them and turn it into a new and placid descriptive dimension. They seemed to us in last analysis like the rational, clean, precise result of a self-organization, occurred during the process of investigation and “cataloguing”, which has no longer any trace of emotional tumult, since all the residual expressions of sensuality have been compressed during interiorisation. This pictorial documentation is in fact strongly introspective, able to follow a dream in the distance, no matter how desperate it is, without ever falling into delirium but maintaining a lucid ability of analysis instead. The techniques used manage to overcome pure pictorial matter and trespass into the most diverse modes of expression.”
“All those scans, breaks and combinations created a set that could be defined as theatrical, even though the term might be misleading. But I truly believe that this is a possible interpretation of Elena Borsato’s works. Besides, they include all the three elements that make up the success formula of any performance, be it theatrical or literary, photographic or cinematographic: sex, mystery and adventure.  They belong to a literary story more than to pure painting, since they’re devices used in theatre more than in graphics: breaks, jumps, fragments and cuts are more frequently parts of cinematographic art. Perceiving them together with the author’s lymph convinced me that the essence of Elena’s deliberately biographical works lies in performing arts, and that it should be displayed to the public not divided in single parts but rather in wide thematic sections; better still if the author is present, she talks about them or sinks into them, and she can decide on the meticulous arrangement of each single part, maybe applying significant movements and changes during the public’s “fruition”.”

“Today, since art has already experienced any possible transversality and intersubjectivity, since painting has turned into theatre and performance into movie, installation has crossed photography and “Ready Made”, theatre has become a visual art by supporting the idea of steadiness, performance has evolved into installation and the latter has entered the computer world, a careful “savoir-faire” has eventually become necessary and topical, also according to the most ancient forms of historical expression. But only on condition that these manage to find a sense of reality, able to examine every side of a phenomenon and to explain it, beyond any subjectivity, with a new concreteness, which is useful to shape even what didn’t look shapeable at all.  An attitude that, through concreteness, wants to give interpretability and universal readability to a collective behaviour, but also to a “lump in the throat” which has become the cause of a discomfort, and contains a past which, though being unique, has left an eternal trace”.

“What happens in Elena Borsato’s lift we will never know, for sure she will never tell us. Mystery becomes suspense. The more all the moments of her lucid description become dense and precise, the less information we obtain. But we still feel an atmosphere, a heartbeat, an anxiety, we perceive sounds and smells, we discover fragments of a circumstance able to moan endlessly, scream endlessly, in a thousand similar situations, within a wider psychological, sociological, anthropological cataloguing. Seems like we can already see a Lift on the cover of a Jan McEwan’s best seller.
And the vehicle of this painting is the stone on which everything said so far is indelibly sculpted.”

This panting of Maria Elena Borsato, titoled "Soffione", 2010, is an acrilic on paper , 38 x 56 cm., and the other, showed belowe, titoled "Il bacio" (the kiss), 2009, acrilic on paper, 50 x 70 cm, are produced before the "Lift" series presented in this review, were exposed in an exihibition in Milano during the second half of the last january. It's so clear the big difference between Lift and what preceded it

Enrico Mercatali
Milano, 16th January 2013
(updated 27th January 2013)
Translation from italian 2013 April 15th
by  Penelope Mirotti 

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