Born in Turin but based in France since four years, Anna Madia produces works that enchant and amaze with their evanescent and suspended atmospheres. Graduated in painting at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti of Turin, after having participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and awards, in 2010 she moved to Troyes (France), where she currently lives and works, after winning a studio at the Contemporary Art Center Ginkgo. We’ve asked her a few questions to learn more about her recent work.
How do you create your works?
The vocation for the self-portrait, literature and theater have nourished for years my painting. Ophelia, Alice in wonderland, The girl without hands, are some of the characters that I have chosen to pay homage through my artistic work. Currently, sleep and coma are key elements of the new series titled Sleepwalking. Once a year in my family there was the ritual of washing the wool of the mattresses: every corner of the house was filled with soft cream-colored substance and I spent hours and hours playing and imagine snow-capped peaks and bizarre appearances. Today this tradition is for me a rite of love and liberation from the symbolic stigmata of sleepless nights, nightmares and infirmity: the bed once again becomes the crib in which a new cycle starts. Wool, doilies and hair are the gateway to this world suspended between reality and dream. Searching on sleepwalking and other disorders (narcolepsy, hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations…), I started to investigate another kind of portrait: hidden faces, eyes cleared, enigmatic situations in which flashes and personal hallucinations appear.
The female figure is the protagonist in your works…what is your relationship with your subjects?
Quoting writer Clarissa Pinkola Estes in the book Women Who Run with Wolves: “… We are pervaded by nostalgia for the ancient wilderness. There are few antidotes approved for this yearning. We’re taught to be ashamed of such desire. We let our hair grow and we used them to hide feelings. But the shadow of wild woman still flattens behind us, in our days, our nights. Everywhere and always, the shadow that trots behind us is undoubtedly on all fours …”
Your works have ethereal atmospheres that seem to dissolve, as if you are whispering a secret to the observer…what is the message?
In the introductory text of the exhibition Sleepwalking, Beatrice Meunier-Dery uses the expression “woolgathering” which represents the earlier state to the consciousness that is experiencing a process of transformation of reality into a dream state. The human being is made to imagine and that’s how the intermediaries plans of thought and imagination, of the psychic function of the real and of the unreal function, feed and intersect to produce psychological wonders of the human mind.
In your life you had the chance to discover different artistic realities… what is your experience? Furthermore, France is now is your country… how have you been accepted in the french art system?
I am living in France for four years and I have been welcomed. I had the chance to benefit from a three-year residency at the Ginkgo, a structure of artist’s studio created in the city where I live. Ginkgo is also connected to a major contemporary art center Passage. All this has allowed me to get in touch immediately with the artistic reality of the city and let me know by insiders. Each region then has a cultural office through which selected artists have the opportunity to receive “aid” for creation (materials, transport of the works), edition of catalogs and mobility. The artist residencies are also a real highlight of the art system: the talented young artists just graduated from art schools and academies begin immediately to gain experience in new areas of national and international art thus forming a solid basis. Then there is also the important associative structure of La Maison des artistes which is responsible for supporting the artists’ careers through social support, advice, information. The Maison des artistes is therefore a place of identification for all professional artists who live and work in France.
Your next projects?
A solo show at the French gallery Phantom Projets Conteporary: Silent lucidity: Lullaby in which I will present the second chapter of the project Sleepwalking currently on display at the Art Centre Camac and certainly some collective exhibitions in Italy. In 2015, I will concentrate mainly on drawings and large sizes.