Regain oxygen. Hyperbaric Room by Arianna Marcolin...

Regain oxygen. Hyperbaric Room by Arianna Marcolin at Ex Elettrofonica in Rome

In the face of a direct confrontation with the contemporary, between bulimic and consumerist artistic scenarios typical of a frenetic and accelerated urban worldliness, the multifaceted artist Arianna Marcolin claims the value of the slowness of the artistic act in the exhibition Stanza iperbarica (Hyperbaric Room), a review of sixteen pictorial works, at Ex Elettrofonica in Trastevere, Rome.

Arianna Marcolin, Stanza Iperbarica, 2023, installation view at Ex Elettrofonica, Roma, photo credits Andrea Vaneri, courtesy Ex Elettrofonica and the artist

And it is precisely because of this excessive fruition and consumption that attention to the qualitative and substantive value of the work is diverted in favor of the quantitative data, which are sometimes shoddy. It is good to put the cards on the table immediately and clarify that what makes a pictorial work mediocre is often the excessive explanation that decorates it and justifies it as the result of a sign synthesis, when this turns out to be raw and devoid of craftsmanship but extremely catchy. Again, it is idolized as an epiphany, as the conclusive outcome of a procedure by subtraction which, justified in the name of a further meaning, can conceal technical shortcomings. It would suffice, therefore, to observe surgically if, on the other hand, a painting really deserves the recognition that is granted in the name of an exhausting respectability. Few talk about pictorial technique and its ingredients: many of the writers that move in the world of art communication, on the other hand, tell the reviews exploiting and aping the rhetorical languages of the fictional genres, hiding behind a presumed freedom of expression, repressed however by the “political” impossibility of expressing a true dissent; It would therefore take a strong intellectual honesty. To support this reflection there is also the unexpressed need on the part of some artists resigned and incorporated by this worldliness, to claim silence towards the work, reflection in observing it, the rendering time that the oil pictorial paste uses compared to the immediate one of acrylic. Therefore, if the commissions increase, the waiting times and construction of a crucial thought for the development of each artist’s research are reduced.

Arianna Marcolin, Tortellini, detail, oil on canvas, 50 x 100 cm, 2019, courtesy Ex Elettrofonica and the artist

Hyperbaric room, on the other hand, can be defined as the oxygen that allows the blood to get used to a new pressure, the desire to concentrate and isolate itself intimately in front of the canvas. «Painting – states the artist – is a moment of sedimentation. My practice is the result of a series of works that reflect on the individual intimate reality, considering the role of the home, silence and everyday life as primary elements. Contemporaneity is very fast and shareable, and it is necessary to draw attention to the slowness of work. Painting requires technique and taking its time to observe, also asking ourselves what process the image needs to have strength and take us where we want». Although an opinion is not enough to make a case, the need to still be able to remain interested and concentrated on the object of observation remains indisputable, and it remains extremely necessary to talk again about the painting itself, and not just the content it conveys.

Arianna Marcolin, Agosto non ti conosco, diptych, oil on canvas, 126 x 93 cm, 2022, courtesy Ex Elettrofonica and the artist

The resolute choice, by Arianna Marcolin to focus attention on the object as a representation in her pictorial language is clearly an intentional expedient to trigger an always variable intimate relationship, which changes the meaning of the work depending on the peculiarity of the viewer’s gaze. The praise of slowness, for a more conscious and critical contemplation, is underlined in Marcolin’s sixteen works, not only by the attention to the rhythm, the format and composition of the canvas chosen, but also by the typicality of each individual subject chosen. The alternation between cold and warm colors reveals how the artist considers the surface of the canvas as an opening to autonomous scenarios. Hyperbaric room, writes Andrea Malagamba, «is a place of threshold that invites the viewer to lean out to feel on his/her skin the thin membrane beyond which space becomes a language of encounter with oneself». This thin membrane is visible in the will, expressed by the artist, to try to rework and reinterpret light through the color that is refracted in the object: the graininess of the light beams in relation to the shadow areas is perceptible to the eye, but not concretely in the material paste of painting (In bilico sul confine, 2022). Marcolin masters the oil by spreading and blending it on the surface, making it as smooth as possible. The perception of the existence of a materiality in light responds to the ironic matrix of which the artist invests his objects, trying to bring out what is invisible.

Arianna Marcolin, Stanza Iperbarica, 2023, installation view at Ex Elettrofonica, Roma, photo credits Andrea Vaneri, courtesy Ex Elettrofonica and the artist

The complexity of Marcolin’s works is evident in the search for an essentiality that does not manifest itself through a synthetic sign, but in that of an original archetype that has been too much tried to define, but rather interpret and translate its signifiers into meanings. The much announced imaginative process, which is only sometimes intent on activating itself in the mind of the observer, is made explicit through a wise and meticulous use of the pictorial technique by the artist, albeit of a young age, giving to a bowl (Just before, 2020), a poetic and symbolic investiture accompanied by a collection of verses enclosed in a small pamphlet and leaving the observer in stasis.


Arianna Marcolin. Stanza Iperbarica
text by Andrea Malagamba
15/09/2023 – 12/10/2023
Ex Elettrofonica –  Vicolo Sant’Onofrio 10, Roma


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