Isabella Ducrot
Eden

Curator: Daina Maja Titonel
Critical essay by Nora Iosia

November 24, 2016 - January 14, 2017


The exhibition is part of the program of
FUORI QUADRIENNALE
16th Art Quadrennial Altri tempi, altri miti


selected works

Isabella Ducrot's second solo exhibit at MAC Maja Arte Contemporanea opens Thursday November 24, 2016. Her new collection of works, "Eden", uses paper both as an artistic medium and as a narrative thread.

As Nora Iosia writes in the text that accompanies the show: "Each page imposes its space on the viewer and is thus the stage of a brief tale. On it, few elements compose the narrative, so as to make room for silence to breathe on the page. Ducrot does not violate the paper's color with her chromatic scheme; instead, she allows the paper take part in the narrative. Several colors recur in all the pieces: black, from both pencil marks and pigment; acid green; and gold, in the frames. Sporadically, a few other colors intrude upon the page: they are fleeting, there but to play a brief game with the spacetime afforded them.

The narrative centers around a visual epiphany: this is where the eye uncovers Beauty; Eros; Nature; Time; and the Other... This vision then morphs into awareness: it is the moment before Paradise is lost, the moment that precedes our awareness of existence as loss and death; it is a moment of transition from a golden age to the human condition. Yet the epiphany is not painful; here, the astonishment, the wonder, the fever of the Fall are emphasized and blend with the rapture that all visions evoke. What follows is the thirst for knowledge that moves the world itself and, through it, all of history, from its origin and across all time."

Eleven works are on display; one of them is very large (240 by 200 cm): "In the largest piece within this 'Eden', with its two-meter base and its impressive height, the female and male bodies and shapes are welcomed on square paper, as if they were taken in by a large fabric sheet. Here a repertoire of infinite epiphanies takes shape; the images are almost overlapped, saturating the space and morphing into a choreography of events. [...] Paper, scissors and glue are the building blocks of this 'Eden'. Here everything is possible; there is no break between sign and significance; opposites coexist. The grid in the background allows the shapes to dance in the foreground, as Eros and Thanatos, exalting the beauty of body and its ephemeral harmony."



ISABELLA DUCROT
Born in Naples in 1931, Isabella Ducrot has been living and working in Rome for many years.
In her extensive travels she developed a particular interest in fabrics from countries east of Europe and began studying the many differences in the textile traditions of China, India, Turkey and Central Asia. Over the years she has amassed a collection of rare fabrics of historical interest, and has long used textiles in her own work.
In 1989, she created 12 paintings made up of panels that incorporated fragments of an Andean fabric dating back one thousand years. She subsequently spent two years creating a rich series of tapestries around a recurring motif in Ottoman culture, the cintamani pattern.
She presented a large tapestry at the 1993 Venice Biennale that is today part of the collection of the Contemporary Art Museum of Gibellina, Sicily. In the 1990s she also began using paper, to create a series of large drawings and monotypes in black and white.
In 2002 she created a series of paper tapestries entitled "Memorie di una terra", from memories of a trip to Afghanistan, which were exhibited at the Milan State Archives. A large collage (4x4m) of fabric, paper and paint was exhibited and acquired by the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Rome, while a large pastel on silk is part of the collection of Rome's National Gallery of Modern Art (GNAM).
In 2005 she created two mosaics for the Piazza Vanvitelli metro station in Naples.
In 2008, she had an individual exhibit at GNAM entitled "Variazioni" and published Text on Textile (first in English, then later in a slightly different form in Italian as La matassa primordiale).
In 2011, she was invited to exhibit her work at Venice Biennale, Italian Pavilion.
In 2014, GNAM featured another individual exhibition of hers: "Bende sacre". In the same year solo show at Galleryske (New Delhi) and participation to Art Basel fair.
In 2015, she is invited by Achille Bonito Oliva to exhibit her installation "Effimero" at Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Isabella Ducrot has shown her work in Rome, Milan, Paris, Berlin, New York and New Delhi.
She has created backdrops for the theatre, concerts and the ballet (Rome Philharmonic, Lecce 'Balletto del Sud', Rome 'Olimpico' Theatre and 'Palladium' Theatre).
Critical essays on her work have been published by Ritanna Armeni, Ginevra Bompiani, Giovanna Bonasegale, Achille Bonito Oliva, Patrizia Cavalli, Marcella Cossu, Federica Di Castro, Laura Cherubini, Erri De Luca, John Eskenazi, Ruggero Guarini, Diane Kelder, Raffaele La Capria, Bruno Mantura, Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli, Sandra Pinto, Massimiliano Alessandro Polichetti, Silvia Ronchey, Lucetta Scaraffia, Nadia Tazi, Luciano Trina, Tommaso Trini and Stefano Velotti.

- An interview with Isabella Ducrot on RaiSat (in italian).


Isabella Ducrot "Eden" 2016
by Nora Iosia

"Eden" is Isabella Ducrot's most recent collection. Consisting of eleven pieces, it focuses around paper, which serves both as the medium used by the artist and as a the collection's narrative thread. Each page imposes its space on the viewer and is thus the stage of a brief tale. On it, few elements compose the narrative, so as to make room for silence to breathe on the page. Ducrot does not violate the paper's color with her chromatic scheme; instead, she allows the paper take part in the narrative. Several colors recur in all the pieces: black, from both pencil marks and pigment; acid green; and gold, in the frames. Sporadically, a few other colors intrude upon the page: they are fleeting, there but to play a brief game with the spacetime afforded them.

The narrative centers around a visual epiphany: this is where the eye uncovers Beauty; Eros; Nature; Time; and the Other... This vision then morphs into awareness: it is the moment before Paradise is lost, the moment that precedes our awareness of existence as loss and death; it is a moment of transition from a golden age to the human condition. Yet the epiphany is not painful; here, the astonishment, the wonder, the fever of the Fall are emphasized and blend with the rapture that all visions evoke. What follows is the thirst for knowledge that moves the world itself and, through it, all of history, from its origin and across all time.

A male profile, drawn in pencil, dominates the collection; he is a careful, if unaware, spectator; might he be young? Female figures, natural elements and strange creatures appear before his glance. In the exchange between collage and the pencil drawings, everything that appears comes from somewhere else. The shapes are cut outs, often inserted on paper black and white square paper. The squares seem to indicate the fabric that moves events forward: they are a mathematical structure that supports the coming of the Other and unveils the rhythmic logic entwining things. Similarly, they indicate the inexorable randomness of events: nothing is predictable other than the movement of time.

Even in the largest piece within this "Eden", with its two-meter base and its impressive height, the female and male bodies and shapes are welcomed on square paper, as if they were taken in by a large fabric sheet. Here a repertoire of infinite epiphanies takes shape; the images are almost overlapped, saturating the space and morphing into a choreography of events. The echo of the fabric's woven pattern imposes its presence with rough, nude signs, black on white. They are essential and logical, calling towards them the shapes that emerge from the happy exchange with the collage. Nature's herbs and leaves are not absent.

Paper, scissors and glue are the building blocks of this "Eden". Here everything is possible; there is no break between sign and significance; opposites coexist. The grid in the background allows the shapes to dance in the foreground, as Eros and Thanatos, exalting the beauty of body and its ephemeral harmony.

Translation by Livia Sacchetti