As I arrived at the estate, I lifted my gaze to the sky. Clear, blue, ethereal. Amidst the sun, blooming buds, the song of cicadas, a faint hint of wood. If that moment could express itself in music, Bonotto Delle Tezze would be a Debussy, La fille aux cheveux de lin. Colors blend with the scents of grapes, and art intertwines with the eternal grandeur of nature. Like the juice in wooden barrels, art matures and becomes a masterpiece.
The second edition of Officina Malanotte, an exhibition curated by Daniele Capra, encompasses the result of a three weeks artistic residency at the Bonotto delle Tezze winery. In this edition, four personalities are involved: Jingge Dong, Laura Pugno, Aleksander Velišček, and Lucia Veronesi. The artists have chosen their own workspace, among former stables and barns. Then, as evening arrives, they gather in the 16th-century courtyard, the epicenter of the estate. The project is based on a harmonious synergy between the roots of the family, the land, the vines, and art, like a breath from an ancestral dimension.
Lucia Veronesi perceives the enveloping influence of the estate and transmutes it into an artwork. With skill and mastery, patience and dedication, she creates fabric sculptures, weaving together curtains, bed sheets and workwear, using textiles from the company as well, embellished with zippers and vibrant threads. Lucia transfigures the essence of the estate into a renewed banner, amidst ancient walls and daily toils, lush gardens, and succulent grape clusters. These sculptures float in the warm air, in an evocative ballet, crossed by rays of sunshine. They seem to converse with the place, with the visitors, with memory. A wordless interwoven story, an ancient song. Like sheets basking in the sun, carrying the scent of carefree runs in the meadow, of a simple life, of a piece of bread and fireflies. The fabrics, with their pasts, hold hands like a mother and daughter. Our gaze rests upon their masterful content, contemplating within the folds of time the primordial melody.
Jingge Dong, like a little bird, ethereally soars through the atmosphere, collecting stars in its beak and then descending onto canvases, in a dreamlike kaleidoscope, amidst ochre and straw-colored clouds, where glimpses of nebulas appear. Dong is like a sharp and observant swallow, observing from above, deciphering the cosmos and noting the dissonance between the tangible and the mirage. And when it wearily perches on a branch in China, it observes humanity. The women sewing with patience, the dissipating fumes, the buzzing machines, the dancing needles, the swollen eyes, the fabrics, the neon lights, the meager earnings risked and paid dearly. And then the movie stars, donning extravagant garments, trampling upon exhaustion with their high heels, adorned with oversized sunglasses and voluminous hair that conceals the tears of those who cannot find an escape. An adherent beauty, like a glove, adorning but tightening the neck of those who cannot find breath. Amidst clouds, cups, mountains, sky, and fabric. Yet, Dong whispers it to us with a gentle caress, with a timid hint immediately dissolved by other kind, delicate clouds, of a sweet dream.
Aleksander Velišček reverently touches the elusive surrender of the human heart, reserved for the few who know how to scrutinize beyond appearances, for those who yearn. Velišček takes the contemplates by the hand, guiding them into the unfathomable depths, where remnants of artistic encoding can still be glimpsed, and mischievously stumbles with a nearly dismissible azure veil, yet it persists there, omnipresent, courteous but relentless, leaping between brushstrokes. And the Rembrandt-like face gazes, sometimes austere, other times seeking solace, with lively and dewy eyes, we long to caress its features, but once again, that azure filter inexorably distances us from the profound strings of the heart. This is the grand power of Velišček, making visible that sense of inadequacy, plasticity, artifice, and distance, which perhaps tragically constitute the intricate weavings of our bonds, as if we were incapable of wholeheartedly scrutinizing the smile of an infant, the sublime beauty of art, a dancing tulip, the sun setting upon majestic dwellings, a tree laden with juicy cherries, without the bitter estrangement.
With rare perspicacity, Laura Pugno leads us towards the evanescent dimensions of transparency. With the gem of ice as her guide, she accompanies the brush and pigment, vigilantly watching over the delicate melting. Amidst emerald tones and cerulean shades, in the ethereal and suspended realm, the jewel of ice finds its place, revealing its sincerity. The paper, like a spy, welcomes the indelible traces, becoming an archive of its memory and a fertile medium from its vital grain. Pugno’s attention materializes in the awareness of memory, as if ice could turn alabaster, impervious. This meticulously measured process relies on precise temperature and timing measurements, like an experiment of sublime refinement, leaving a fleeting imprint, an echo.
And in the warmth of the evening, amidst the song of cicadas and a glass in hand, the aura of the artistic residency becomes timeless beauty in the Bonotto Delle Tezze estate, guardian of tradition and forge of inspiration, where art finds refuge and becomes history.
Jingge Dong, Laura Pugno, Aleksander Velišček e Lucia Veronesi, Officina Malanotte
Bonotto delle Tezze
Born in 1999. She falls in love with art by looking at her mother’s paint. She’s studying History of Art at the Ca’ Foscari University (Venice) and in the meantime divulges online videos of art pills. She deals with contemporary art as a critic, curator and artist.