The Mart Museum in Rovereto, hosts the third act of the project Words and Stars, 2013-2017, conceived as an artistic association between the visual artist Grazia Toderi and the artist Orhan Pamuk, where images and writing emerge as if transcending the present through the time of memory, and questioning existence by confronting it in dialogue with infinity. Following the works presented at Palazzo Madama and at the Observatory in Turin in November 2017, the lyricism of the video-projections thought for the exhibition at Mart, curated by Gianfranco Maraniello, is articulated from a single vision of Being, as in Monologue, to the multiple voices of Dialogue and Conversation, as described by Grazia Toderi when narrating how this collaboration has been developed through time. The horizon of Words and Stars rises beyond the visible, conducting the viewer to the city of Instanbul, in the wake of novels such as Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk and Constantinople by Edmondo De Amicis, as well as for Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, thus consolidating an artistic collaboration that, from a primary experience by Pamuk, having seen the double video projection, Orbite Rosse, 2009, during the Venice Biennale in 2009, has brought together the writer and the visual artist for the development of for the Museum of Innocence in Instanbul, conceived as an extension of the author’s novel, 2008. In Worlds and Stars, Toderi and Pamuk share an investigation that, beyond any obvious reference to the particular, tends to the infinity of metaphysics, suggested by the wonder of looking at the stars.
From the crossing of light and writing, which has always been a relevant motif in the art-historical discourse as well as in literature, both representation and meaning escape here any determination in order to let emerge luminous trajectories and thoughtful calligraphies on the images’ surfaces, as if in a continuous, material metamorphosis. As Grazia Toderi’s practice is aligned with the artistic imagery through memory by stylistically quoting the lithographs Venetie MD (Venice 1500) by Jacopo de’ Barbari, so Orhan Pamuk questions experience through the time of Being by letting writing encountering a materiality of vision, entering the sphere of the figural. In the frame of the exhibition, both memory and thinking address an affective experience of the cosmos, where the lights of Istanbul merge with the Milky Way and the firmament, as an entanglement of corpuscular light. The composition of the video-projections, thought by Grazia Toderi as a one, two or three-voices musical inventions, emphasizes the becoming of the light-writing’s material through the temporal flow of the works, in which the technological medium loses every specificity to recuperate the transformative of projection through an affective experience. Analogously, the succession of questions on Being by Pamuk, is marked by the repetition of handwriting graphs, which are seen as a gesture for the unconscious bond between the human and the universe, expressed within the fabric of the images, crossing stratigraphic, nomadic and cosmological traces.
While at Palazzo Madama and at the Planetarium in Turin, the works confronted the antiques, at the Mart Museum in Rovereto, the video projections seem to reflect an archaeology of light, investigating an ideal new vision for the city of Instanbul in between past, present and future, as well as suggesting a modern encounter between East and West. The exhibition develops as an assemblage of visions and an array of thoughts that, from the individual experience moves towards the collective sphere, inaugurate an immersive path from the black and white images of Monologue, 2013-2017. The unilateral vision of this video-projection induces the spectator to question existence by confronting it with the stars, where memory and imagination reveal a more profound belonging to Being. As an originary sound suggests, this visual experience addresses an analogy between the morphologies of ocular and the terrestrial orbits, from where the fold of Being manifests itself. In Dialogue, 2013-2017, the predominant colour of the video’s images is distinguished by the brightness of blue and turquoise, which, while quoting the Iznik ceramics, evokes a pictoriality similar to fresco’s images, already developed by Toderi in previous works, with reference to the Giotto’s blue for the Scrovegni Chapel.
Grazia Toderi e Orhan Pamuk, foto di Antonio Maniscalco
Grazia Toderi e Orhan Pamuk, Words and Stars (Conversazione), 2013-2017, cinque proiezioni video, loop, sonoro
Grazia Toderi e Orhan Pamuk, Words and Stars (Dialogo), 2013-2017, due proiezioni video, loop, sonoro
Grazia Toderi e Orhan Pamuk, Words and Stars (Monologo), 2013-2017, proiezione video, loop, sonoro
The brightness of the blue-colour is also a symptom of the displacement of the light’s spectrum in modernity, informed by cold artificial lights and metallic iodies, which influence the way in which humans know the stars and the cosmos. Composed in a dialectical form, the two video- projections reveal the encountering between the city and the sky, where the materiality of light and writing are enveloped within the flow of images. The composition moves towards a three-vision invention, in which the spectator (or the citizen) is directly invited to participate in such an immersive experience. In Conversation, 2013-2017, Toderi recuperates the intensity of an artificial, luminous red as coined for the work Red Babel, 2006, which, by alluding to the artificial magma that marks the representation of the Earth, records the refraction of the lights in the sky, as emanated from the red of the sodium vapor lamps. The collective dimension of this work is articulated through the intervals of five video-projections, circularly displayed in the museum’s gallery, metaphorically closing the temporal cycle of Words and Stars from the time of memory, evoked by the use of loop, to the present time of experience. As the Toderi’s images are configured around oval frameworks, emphasizing the distance between the city and the sky, simultaneously Pamuk’s writing induces thinking by tracing the metaphorical ellipses of existence through the circularity of writing. By advancing visual and semantic displacements beyond the horizon of the visible, Grazia Toderi and Orhan Pamuk prospect an archaeology of light and writing, which, from the time of Being and history, looks forward to the event of a new horizon of experience.