The Hidden Dimension of Marignana Arte


At Marignana Arte gallery in Venice, is currently on view the second chapter of the exhibition The Hidden Dimension, with Paola Anziché, Maurizio Donzelli, Arthur Duff, Aldo Grazzi, Sophie Ko and Verónica Vázquez. The interview with the curator Ilaria Bignotti.

The Hidden Dimension by Edward T. Hall, tackles and analyzes the science that studies spaces and distances as a communicative act, deepening the possible interpretations of the separation between ourselves and the others. The concept of proximity, the interpretation of distances, and its influence on behavioral dynamics, is expressed in the inseparable bond between space and culture, between the exhibition dimension and the works exhibited. In The Hidden Dimension how does this spatial and communicative interpretation develop?
The exhibition project tries to investigate and tell the margins and limits, but also dialogues and trespassing, between the visual languages, the surrounding space and environment, the public, drawing inspiration from the proximity studies, discipline that analyzes the use of physical space, and in particular the tendency to place more or lesser space between oneself and others, such as a definition’s factor, and, as you rightly highlight in the second question, a distinction of culture. Starting from these premises, I Clarissa Tempestini, who took care of the first chapter of the exhibition project from February to April, and I, we asked to twelve artists to reflect on what the distances, relationships, dialogues and conflicts are, considering also their researches and the distances coming through it between themselves and the others, such as the space, the audience, other artists..The artwork is considered ad metaphor and mirror, question and problem to the world. It is made of materials that, in proximity, give different materials and respond depending on the relations.In this perceptively and physically approaching with the spectator, the artwork triggers reactions, affinities, contrasts, and even refusals. In an era dominated by virtual, hyper-communication, digital reality, this theme of distance between oneself and the others is crucial. We have, contradictoryly and provocatively, chosen artists who work with matter and who enter into it, weave, overlap, accumulate, conceal, show off with tears, lacerations, stratifications: artists who bring to the world artworks that need the others, a hug or a slap, works that involve, envelop, alienate, even wound, works imposed with their obstinate beauty.

Man, for how many artifices he can put into operation, can never eradicate his own original culture because it is so profoundly penetrated into the folds of his nervous system to determine his perception of the world. Much of the culture lies hidden in ‘Unconscious, out of control of will. In this group exhibition, how is each artist called to give his own proximity interpretation and to expose his hidden dimension?
First of all, it should be clarified that as a discipline, the proximity was born in the early 1960s in the United States of America: a turbulent decade, marked by social and cultural revolutions, as well as economical and political tensions, which prompted several academics to try to elaborate new ways of reading, analyzing and solving problems their time’s problems. Among them, the anthropologist Edward T. Hall was experimenting, publishing in 1963 “The hidden dimension”, translated into Italian five years later, in the lively 1968, with a preface significantly signed by Umberto Eco. From the subtitle, “Near and far: the meaning of distances between people”, the scholar’s attention focuses on trying to solve in a non violent way, but with a form of coexistence, the problem of the uncontrolled development of civilization, social conflicts, the consequences of overcrowding, the degradation, the urban chaos of the great metropolises in America. Umberto Eco in 1968, introducing the Italian version, interprets the results: “To recognize then some deep differences in ways of living in space, it means first of all knowing that these ways are different [] to show what’s in the running, the pieces on the table, the cards to combine, the laws of their possible combinations […]“. Now, if it is true that every artist is a person more or less involved in society, it is also true that each artist, based on his own personal history and his way of feeling and living in the world and society, develops his own language, realizing distances of security, social relationships, relations with the materials and the public, supported by peculiar, intimate reasons that respond to his being a woman and a man of this time.If the works by Paola Anziché, present in the second chapter that has just opened, ask the audience to become active, interpreting his sculptures made of natural fibers with actions and gestures of protection, concealment, involving tactility, the work by Aldo Grazzi conceptually explores the problem of limit and distance : his engraved and thin networks, which, by splitting, create a diaphanic perspective of space, its bead barriers closing and at the same time making the corners of the room, ask for a peculiar path to the spectator.Differently, Maurizio Donzelli’s works, using the prismatic lens, ask the public for various movements in front of them to discover or conceal the organic shapes that emerge and adhere to the depths of the work; the colored ropes that Arthur Duff sings on sky-blue disks are, on the other hand, metaphors of relational networks and of our being able to be microcosms in sidereal space-time… Aren’t all these visual ways to interpret the themes developed by Hall, and to try to give questions to the audience, perhaps even solutions?

Although Edward T. Hall’s book was written in the 1960s, the issues tackled are still extremely contemporary. The cultural distinctions and relationships, the melting pot of multiculturalism made by today’s phenomena, the impact of social dynamics. How is this aspect reflected in art? And, specifically, what is the personal answer of this exhibition?
The charm of Hall’s work and the inspiration offered by his reflections on the exhibition project is in the modernity of his analysis. How can’t we notice that in a period when we are all connected, we know each other, we spy each other, we love and lose in a small digital gesture, the problem of contact, body-to-body with the other in the deepest sense, painful too, Is not it central and pressing? Artists who know how to express what flows as sensation of time in which we live, by sensitivity and courage, are well aware of these themes. The artworks say exactly this, as I have just written; It should also be emphasized that, as curators, Clarissa and I, we have chosen artists coming from different cultures and languages: Tyra Tingleff is Norwegian, her pictorial work stratifies and reveals deep dunes, she digs soul landscapes, asks us to relate to it with small approaches of astonishment and mystery; Verónica Vázquez is Uruguayan: she uses and composes, assembles and seals metal remnants of textile machinery, carpets of ancient garments, redesigning the origins of her tradition and re-activating the great sculptural history of South America. Arthur Duff was born in Wiesbaden, he lives in the States, hybridizing his work of personal stories, astronomical images, technological tensions and mineral finding…

Contemporary art in the digital age and the isolation of the virtual society are two important aspects in the project. How do they work?
As I answered you in the first question, you have catched a crucial element of this reflection and project. I answer you with questions, which are also the beginning of the catalog we are preparing, and that will contain colored reproductions of all the works and the views of the exhibition: “What does it mean to talk today, through contemporary artworks, of hidden dimension? At this time when the private person is overexposed, investigated, spied, to the contours of a ambiguous and ambivalent audience; where distances, boundaries, limits are nullified by the power of network, digital, by a communication that goes beyond geographical and temporal distances – but often does not respect cultural ones – it is possible to recognize the differences that make us unique and recognizable, and for this, attracted and in relation to others, to the other different from us? Is it possible to protect what is intimate, precious, ours as individuals who can only fully express ourselves in the community? “


Aldo Grazzi, Pieno 1 Pieno 2, 1998, cut fiber nets, 230x80cm


Paola Anziché, Natural Fibers, 2017, natural fibers, eleven elements, Enviromental installation


Sophie Ko, Sull’infinito gorgo, polittico, pure pigment, 150x70cm 40x70cm


The Hidden Dimension Chapter II, installation view, Arthur Duff


The Hidden Dimension Chapter II, installation view, M. Donzelli, A. Duff, A. Grazzi  


The Hidden Dimension Chapter II, installation view, M. Donzelli, A. Duff, P. Anziché 


The Hidden Dimension Chapter II, installation view, P. Anziché, S. Ko, A. Duff, V. Velazquez


The Hidden Dimension Chapter II, installation view, P. Anziché, S. Ko, A. Duff, V. Velazquez

Space is analyzed as “synthesis of many sensory inputs: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and thermal”. Considering instead the physical space of the gallery: how does it enter into dialogue with the works? And the city of Venice itself because of its conformation, amplifies the concept of space and distances that are the fil rouge of the exhibition?
Marignana Arte is a gem set amongst great beauty mines: between Guggenheim and Punta della Dogana, in the Dorsoduro, Emanuela Fadalti and Matilde Cadenti who have founded it and cared for each project with professionals from time to time involved, they chose to develop a program dedicated to the new trends of contemporary art, with peculiar directions to aesthetic and ethical choice. The city of Venice, its conformation, its location not only geographic, but social and cultural, play a stimulating and exciting role in every exhibition project.

The relationship between the works, the environment in which they are contained and the audience. What does the exhibition propose to the visitor?
The works exhibited and selected for this exhibition come into deep dynamics and relationship with the spaces: some impose and transform the site, others are absorbed by the environments, others create new emergencies, emphasize usually forgotten areas of a room, frame and measure the space of vision with that of tactile experience, interrogating the role of a place as a container but also as producer of history and culture. In the text of the catalog introducing and closing the second chapter I edited, I left, and went back to leave behind, just from the sliding window of the gallery access: the first layer, the first passage that imposes and triggers a reaction of distance and approach. In fact, the visitors reacted, all of them, in a free, different, sometimes curious way: some just stayed in the room marked by the velvets by Grazzi; Others were immersed, questioning the mysterious, suspended angular transitions; Others have touched one by one the sculptural fibers of Paola Anziché, curious of their origins, of the geographical distances that put them in dialogue; Duff’s work has been “split”, or arranged in two rooms, two walls, with a mirror effect: the gaze was flowing between the two works, moving obliquely; In front of the thick or sunken pigments of Sophie Ko, a bush of soft colors that thrust from the bowels of an ancient earth, of mineral memory, and look like impalpable bodies to our eyes, I have seen close-look, ecstatic distance taken, looking for a map of seeing and hearing … as I wrote in the catalog: “There is no security exit: the glass door warns us that the border is fragile, changeable. We can stay here, or go outside. We must be in ourselves, and thus enter into dialogue with the immeasurable of others. Of which the works are image, prosthesis, tension”.

The distance can be perceptible but also invisible, the inevitable network of relationships that are triggered in our unconscious and in our inner side.
I firmly believe that an artwork is a way to reconnect with our deeper self. We are so fleeting to ourselves, so evasive to our desires, that the moment of encounter with the artwork can be really be a rescue opportunity to rejuvenate our being. I can not think differently. One day an artist, a dear friend of mine, told me: “As artists, we are lucky, we do not have to spend money for psychoanalysis sessions. We do the same going to our studio every day.” I think in a way is the same for this show. It certainly does not help to feel less alone in such an unstable and uncertain age, but at least we would like to, and I also speak also for the gallery as well, give us a way to feel less distant from ourselves.

Paola Anziché, Maurizio Donzelli, Arthur Duff, Aldo Grazzi, Sophie Ko, Verónica Vázquez
10.05 – 09.09.2017
Marignana Arte, Venezia

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Laura Rositani

A seguito di una laurea in Lingue e letterature straniere, si specializza in Economia e Gestione delle Arti e delle Attività culturali presso l'Università Cà Foscari di Venezia. Ha collaborato con diverse gallerie d'arte contemporanea, musei e fondazioni private a Parigi e Amsterdam, per poi tornare a Venezia. Attualmente lavora presso la Fondazione Bonotto.

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