“All in One” by Mariella Bettineschi at Triennale,...

“All in One” by Mariella Bettineschi at Triennale, Milan

There is a thin line that links the visible to the invisible, memory’s time, the gaze to the vision with a constant and continuous artistic research, soft and light, visionary and alienating. The exhibition “All in One” by artist Mariella Bettineschi, curated by Paola Ugolini with the supervision of Damiano Gullì – which can be visited until 24th March, 2024 – at Triennale Milano / Palazzo dell’Arte, which aims to promote and valorise Italian art, is imbued with these meanings. Considered an artist of many talents, Mariella Bettineschi, born in 1948, has taken part in group and solo exhibitions in public and private international institutions, including the XLIII Venice Biennale (1988), at the invitation of Achille Bonito Oliva; she has exhibited at the Museum of New Art in Detroit and at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York (2002); she has exhibited at the Volume Foundation in 2019; she was also the creator of an installation for the Dior prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2022-2023 collection at the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.

Mariella Bettineschi, “All in One”, exhibition view, Triennale di Milano, Milan, 2024. Ph. Gianluca di Ioia, courtesy Triennale di Milano

A woman who has always distinguished herself on the international art scene for her eclectic ability to transform and interpret the signs of the world, overturning even the observer’s way of looking but remaining rooted in a dynamic research into the material of the work: stuffed with cotton wool and feathers like the series on display, Morbidi e Piumari, with words of cast gold and quilts of chenille, metal, beads and nylon thread. Also part of the exhibition are her Tesori,  tracing papers that become material after layers of hot-gold pigment casting, processed and treated with tar and turpentine; finally, the series L’era successiva, a work from 2008, in which the artist began her research into the perception of the split visual dimension and how to make the iconic faces of art, portrayed by Raphael, Leonardo, Titian, Veronese and Bronzino, alienating and differently recognisable, by experimenting with photographic splitting. In this way, the artist managed to achieve an articulated, complex final effect, with a digital manipulation that traverses the past, moves time and suspends the image to a dimension of “naked appearance”, as Ottavio Paz puts it.

Mariella Bettineschi, “All in One”, exhibition view, Triennale di Milano, Milan, 2024. Ph. Gianluca di Ioia, courtesy Triennale di Milano

They are faces in black and white, printed directly on Plexiglas and divided in two with a part of the photograph left empty, blank, in technical language, as if it were an absence but also a space of vision for the future, for the Era Successiva (the next age). In this regard, she said: «I am inspired by female portraits of our culture, Fornarina, Maria dei Medici, Giuditta, Cecilia Gallerani for their penetration power and their absolute beauty and integrity […] Through the technique of digital painting I paint the chosen details, I bring them to black and white, I raise them on a white base and with a radical, feminist gesture, I cut out their eyes and double them. […] They are real eyes looking, questioning, they are the eyes of women who have gone from being objects to being subjects. They tell us that the environment, animals, plants, minerals, women and men are all connected in a very fragile balance. To understand and respect this balance is to enter the Next Age». Subsequent to unbridled liberalism, economic crises, pixellated images, repetitive wars, and the media world to give space to that timeline that incorporates art into the various processes of social, political and economic transformation.

Mariella Bettineschi, “All in One”, exhibition view, Triennale di Milano, Milan, 2024. Ph. Gianluca di Ioia, courtesy Triennale di Milano

Therefore, the intention of wanting to bear witness to artistic, almost “genetic” changes, not immune to historical events, is strongly felt. It is no coincidence that Bettineschi’s research cannot be associated or contextualised within a specific wording or current of art history, because this would take away breath and value from her open, visionary, boundless dimension where, if anything, the only constant would seem to be that symbolic line of time that lengthens, narrows, suspends, softens, colours, weaves, crosses her works and makes them ferry towards the Next era.

Mariella Bettineschi, “All in One”, exhibition view, Triennale di Milano, Milan, 2024. Ph. Gianluca di Ioia, courtesy Triennale di Milano

With them also the gaze of the observer: enchanted, almost hypnotised, by the sight of several “Medusa eyes” that attract and disturb «Like the razor-sharp of Un chien andalou by Savator Dalì and Louis Bunuel» according to artist Bettineschi. Words that amplify the identity of a multifaceted woman, capable of orchestrating visionary compositions, forms, words, and different materials that mark her “freedom of meaning” – in a completely desacralised society – and remind us all of the !sacred! value of time, showing her artistic cosmogony through a symbolic becoming that refers to Moebius’s ribbon – a mathematical figure of infinity – in a specular symmetry between matter and antimatter, visible and invisible.

Nilla Zaira D’Urso


Mariella Bettineschi, All in One
curated by Paola Ugolini
28/02/2024 – 24/03/2024
Triennale Milano
Palazzo dell’Arte
viale Alemagna 6, 20121 Milan


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