Maja Arte Contemporanea is delighted to present the gallery’s first collaboration with Italian artist Silvia Codignola.
We all carry the memory of the spaces of our youth into adulthood; often these are tied to summer memories: a house where you might find an object exactly where you’d been left it or the outline of a landscape that lies stubbornly unchanged, seemingly awaiting our return. These places end up living inside of us.
In “The Landscape as the Earth’s Eros,” poet Andrea Zanzotto remarks that “the charm of first landscapes […] is often held in a primordial childish light, one marked by frequent signs of [what Zanzotto names, ndt] petèl language” (“Luoghi e paesaggi”, Bompiani, Milan, 2013).
The works by Silvia Codignola selected for this exhibition (paintings, watercolors, sculptures) silently take us back to those early landscapes. “As wanderers moving among shadows, we enter the suspended space of a metaphorical summer. Turned into swimmers resting on sunny rocks in a summer which is both present and distant, while the hammock rocks keeping time faithfully as a metronome, we find ourselves caught in the incessant rhythm tying memory to oblivion.”, states Lorenzo Canova in the critical text published in the exhibition catalogue.
As Vittorio Lingiardi writes: “The landscape is not only what we see before us. It is not only the background of our experience, the host of our history. The landscape is a place that we imagine and we return to. The landscape that emerges with unassailable evidence from Silvia Codignola’s paintings is one thing with the concept of mindscape, a neologism that makes landscape a mental place. It is not the lookout, the Tuscan hills, the Gulf of Tigullio. Mindscapes are suspended between the internal and the external worlds. They are the lieus of our subjectivity. They live in our memory and in our gaze. They express our link with our family and collective history. They are the foundation of our aesthetic subjectivity. Whereas landscape is a natural scenery, mindscape is a mental scenery. We look at it because it looks back at us.” (“Paesaggio primo di Silvia Codignola”, in Snaporaz, digital magazine).
Memories from Home
By Lorenzo Canova
Silvia Codignola catches memories, preserving them between the walls of a painted summer residence; it is a liminal space, one which exists suspended in time, where life is visibly slowed down by its dialogue with nature and the sea.
Codignola’s collection is an invitation into whats she playfully calls her ‘metronome-home’. She allows the viewer to spy her eternal returning to this space, a home surrounded by an ever-changing landscape, ever-bending with the seasons. The space is the story-teller, unveiling its mysterious ebb and flow and the intimate, metamorphic nature of its being.
Consistently with her previous work, Codignola’s paintings carry the viewer on a journey imbued with metaphysical undertones. A visionary conceptualization of time also shaped her earlier work; there, she imagined empty cities dominated by oblique shadows or the abstract poetry of lonely rooms and the objects trapped within them.
Codignola’s ability to draw structures and shapes stems from her studies in architecture. And yet, she toys with an expansive, plastic space. This research culminates in her sculptures, where three-dimensional bodies are inserted in cubical boxes reminiscent of a stage. It is the “closed and limited stage” mentioned by Giorgio de Chirico in a critical text. De Chirico continues, “shut off by the lines of the buildings, the images emerge charged with greater depth and striking lyricism.”
Codignola’s work is marked by the extreme rigor of her process. She starts from smaller sketches and then develops them into the larger paintings. This evolution allows us to appreciate the graphic precision and sophistication of her watercolor drawings; she uses these to calibrate the proportions in the paintings and to create a harmonious, osmotic relationship between the exactness of the figures and the flux of their immanent lightness.
The combination of such elements creates the mysterious aura that her paintings exude. In her own words, in the canvas “my gaze returns recursively to the same places; they become my anchors, thresholds of my identity, places from which I can observe time.”
The enigmatic quality of Codignola’s images is amplified by the vibrations with which she imbues the bodies she draws. Time’s subtle dust seems to settle on them, subtracting precision from the lines and making their changeable existence palpable. Memory further shapes these images: the flux of being dissipates into a cloud of vapor telling of days gone by. Codignola gives her viewers the coordinates of this journey through time and out of time, anchored in the present but tending towards the titillating eternity of an imagined horizon-line. It opens as the sea does when viewed from “The Rocks” 2019-20.
The silence of rest and reading then unravel as a thread, reaching a secret garden where a hammock is suspended. The simple object morphs into a symbol of the crossing separating the profundity of sleep from the unconscious. Suspended in time, the vision stretches to the archetypal origin of all painting.
Thus construed, the chromatic partition has the power to carve shapes in the light. It restores nature’s potent and monumental breathing and evokes the sublime in a single afternoon, by crystallizing a single instant and opening it up to infinity.
As wanderers moving among shadows, we enter the suspended space of a metaphorical summer. Turned into swimmers resting on sunny rocks in a summer which is both present and distant, while the hammock rocks keeping time faithfully as a metronome, we find ourselves caught in the incessant rhythm tying memory to oblivion.
[ Translation by Livia Sacchetti ]