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FROM 27 JUNE 2020

FROM 27 JUNE 2020


La natura dello spazio logico

Curated by Angela Madesani


As always, in front of Giulia Marchi’s works, the spectator cannot limit himself to a hasty glance. Her works are real cultural paths, more than merely artistic ones, in which each passage finds footholds and opens up other paths. I always find myself in difficulty and it seems to me useless to place classificatory labels on artists and their works. However, I would like to underline that the roots of his research can be placed in the conceptual field.

The title of the exhibition is the title of a series of proposed works, which seemed to us, however, to work for the entire review that proposes three groups of works. The reference is to the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, to his research on space. In fact, the philosopher was also an architect and dedicated important passages of his philosophical speculation to architecture. His most significant building in this sense was the Kundmanngasse, the house designed for his sister Margaret, in Vienna.

In his texts of the mid 1910s, this close dialogue is evident, to which the artist refers: “Spatial place and logical place agree in being both the possibility of an existence”. A statement in which the philosopher’s interest in the comparison between logical, mental space and physical, architectural space in evident. For Wittgenstein, philosophical work, as often as design work in the architectural sense, is a work on oneself, on one's entry into things, problems, phenomena, but also on one's point of view. A concept that deeply interests Giulia Marchi and that, mutatis mutandis, finds a clear reference in the works we are going to present here.

Marchi’s is not a work of a social or political nature, as one might easily think: this is a dimension that has never emerged from his work until now. It is, rather, an existential reflection on the management of each of us within a place, a dimension that does not belong to us totally.

La natura dello spazio logico consiste of sia photographic works that investigate this theme. The first and the second photograph are dedicated to the first time a man measures himself against a non-human dimension, thus Ulysses and Polyphemus, as told in the Odyssey by Homer.

In the first image is a rolled up block of paper, which takes on the ovoid shape of the brain, placed on a marble slab that recalls autopsy supports. In the second, the paper that was previously rolled up is stretched out, with a pointer on it. The reference is to the point with which Ulysses-None blinds the Cyclops. That same Ulysses, who in another instance goes beyond the limit of human possibility of knowledge.

In the third and fourth picture the allusion is to Dionysus and the Titans. Dionysus, whose name is also Lysios, the one who melts, is a human born from the goddess Semele, who is not accepted, according to one of the many versions of the stories about him. The Titans tear him to pieces and divide him into seven parts corresponding to the continents.

To Dionysus, a man who overcomes his natural condition even through states oh psychotic nature, refers another philosopher on which Marchi has worked,  Friedrich Nietzsche.

The German philosopher, taking from the classics contrasts the Dionysian dimension with the Apollonian one and the fourth and fifth photos of the work refer to the latter. Apollo harmoniously recomposes the parts in a circular form, so in the fifth and sixth photograph. All the photographed pieces are placed horizontally because this is the condition in which man believes he is. Horizontally placed on a shelf, a sort of altar. As in a dimension of spiritual matrix.

Destruction and recomposition. Wittgenstein again: "Problems are solved not by producing new experiences, but by settling what has been known to us for some time”. Here is a simulation of the pointers, which constitute another moment of the exhibition. They are two-metre high stone objects, placed on a crumpled paper on which are drawn geographies of places particularly significant for the artist. It seems to me that I can detect a final reference to a cerebral dimension.

The exhibition also includes four marble slabs on which the Virgilian hexameter Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram is engraved.

The artist has chosen to propose it in the erroneous version by Jorge Luis Borges: Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbras. It is a deliberate error by the Argentine poet, who loved errors so much that he considered them proof of truth, certainly of humanity.

Error is proper to human nature, even when it attempts to approach the divine. A fifth, larger slab bears the inscription Null, zero in German, the language of his philosophers. Like when the GPS goes to an uncensored road. It is disorientation, it is not finding oneself. While the other four are hung, this fifth is placed on the ground.

Another moment of the exhibition, connected to what has just been written, is the one dedicated to Labyrinths. Here, too, the reference is to Borges, to his labyrinth, created on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, designed by the English architect Randoll Coate, twenty-five years after his death. The labyrinth on the island inspired by the short story The Garden of Forking Paths is a fundamental structure of the Argentine intellectual's poetics.  In it is an incomplete but not false image of the universe. Thus we return to the concept of error.

The work is completed by a diptych of large-format Polaroid matrices with the physical geography of the island, processed by the artist in a dark room, as if it were a painting. This procedure is strongly linked to the need for the tactility of knowledge through materials.

Other images propose the floor plans of the same in which it is possible to read the name Borges as well as trace some objects dear to the poet. Here the exit coincides with the entrance. It is a labyrinth where it is impossible to get lost, just as an error does not lead to a lie, but can be a harbinger of truth. The second work of the series is dedicated to the legendary labyrinth of Knossos, built, according to the legend, by King Minos, to lock up the Minotaur, born from the union of the king's wife, Pasiphae, with a bull. Title is Linear A, one of the two writing systems used in the island of Crete. Here too are the plans of the labyrinth of Knossos, the two ways out, a passage from the Euthydemus, a dialogue of Plato, in which is staged the heresy, the art of clashing through discussion, a method that, according to the philosopher does not lead to truth. The Polaroid matrices show the outline of the Island of Crete. The third work is dedicated to the Scottish labyrinth of Dunure, close to the sea, which recalls that of Knossos.

I think I can trace a sort of fil rouge that links the various works together, a reflection on the concept of limit, through error, human weakness, disorientation, doubt, the inability to disentangle oneself. Limit, error, doubt that are perhaps the most hidden sense, the most fearful but also the most fascinating of existence.


Labs Gallery Bologna

Via Santo Stefano 38

T.  +39 051 3512448

Cel. +39 348 9325473

Ph: © Carlo Favero

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