An open faucet, the level rising, steam filling the room, the body, the mind. Pure water, water that changes. Warm and enveloping it is water that protects. A woman soaks in, from her toe to the tip of her hair, slowly disappears. Restless essence of oils and soaps permeates the circumstances, thoughts liquefy on the wet tiles. Water is a safe place to be, a woman cradles in it and tells, through the artist’s hand, her story. “I am water”: this is the beginning.
Tatiana Defraine – French artist born in 1986 – is the hand that transcribes these stories into art. The woman that she represents does not have clearly recognizable somatic features, she is not her alter ego neither is she a biographical mirror: she is the woman, period, in her complete wholeness, in her complete vulnerability and transparency. I AM WATER is not only the title of the exhibition, it is above all an invitation to flow freely in the flow of life. Free from prejudice, free from the exacerbating considerations of the patriarchal societies, free to be what one wants to be. All these considerations, these thoughts, flow into the French artist’s works. Every single woman, every single bathtub that “contains” her, every single room that encloses the whole, are projections of real and utopian situations, at times voyeuristic, a “see not see” that shows only what one wants. Tatiana paints on canvas while looking through the keyhole of this bathroom, perhaps inspired by a celebrated artist, a fellow citizen of her.
The French artist comes back for her second solo show at Galleria Acappella, Naples, with a sequence of small oils on canvas in which the subject “woman-water-tub-bath” is repeated constantly, although its descriptive coloring changes. Bright colors as bright are the feelings expressed. Lines drawn on the surface as a metaphor for the signs that life leaves during its flow. Symbol of metamorphosis and change, water offers the woman the much-desired idleness in the most intimate of places, to escape the viewer. Precisely, the work that better describes this situation is Alone, I cannot be, in which a woman, perhaps a water lily or a depiction of Ophelia, eyes closed, lips curved to simulate a mocking smile, a delicate nudity, merging with water. Thoughts are projected onto the pastel background in sneers and evil glances, doomed to the oblivion of forgetfulness and weightlessness. An equal tale can be read in the painting Bodies of Water: water touches the skin, the body, cleanses the soul and thoughts, slowly drains away and drags the excess with it. The driving force of each feminine tale also lies in what the painter does not show: on the back of each canvas is the conclusion of each tale, the closing of the circle, the moral.
Tatiana Defraine wants to bring the gaze toward a basic concept of femininity, not media or cultural, but of pure essence. Water is the mirror that defines its contours. Every single woman can be read – if not better “looked at” – with detached judgment: her simplicity and uniqueness is absolutely external to that process of mental and social evolution that constrains and suppresses.
Tatiana Defraine, I AM WATER
24/11/2022 – 15/01/2023
Vicolo Santa Maria Cappella Vecchia 8/A, 80121 Napoli
Art Curator, graduated in Visual Arts and Cultural Mediation, born in 1995, lives and works in Naples. With constant research on emerging art, he also reviews exhibitions from his Instagram profile and collaborates with several young artists to write critical texts.