Exhibition text "Artificial Nature", by Mirella di Peco, Artsinergy Gallery, San Benedetto del Tronto / Rome - by Mirella Di Peco
The title of the exhibition Artificial Nature indicates the terms of Giulia Corradetti’s artistic research: on the one hand nature, which according to oriental philosophies “awakens in us the aesthetic feeling, attenuates our aggressive tendencies, stimulates poetic inspiration, and in this way nourishes our heart and our mind” (Tsunesaburo Makiguchi), on the other hand the hypothesis of its artificial recreation, today that the applications of genetic engineering make possible what were previously only futuristic scenarios.
The works in the exhibition reproduce a post-nature: the organic elements are contaminated with others of artificial derivation and vice versa to generate a single vision, consistent in the aesthetic correspondence between the subjects that compose it. Immersed in a flora between the exotic and the surreal, colorful organisms interact respecting the laws of an ecosystem located on the increasingly unstable border between nature and artifice.
With biotechnology man is able to plan genetic changes without waiting for them to happen spontaneously in nature: the ethical problem arises not with technology but with its use. The ecosystem represented by the artist expresses the positive value of a possible genetic mutation, putting in an original perspective the themes of acceptance of otherness and peaceful coexistence between living beings.
Artificial Plants present a brilliant colour range in a escalation of shades culminating in the monochrome of the vase. Corradetti’s attention to detail – from the nuances of the petals to the plastic evidence of the shoots, to the sculptural construction of the floral compositions – generates plants in which artificial grafts are a source of inexhaustible amazement for the observer. The snails present in the Artificial Nature are the only exponents of the fauna known to us and with amusing complicity they creep into a flora of brilliant colours on a completely white background. All that remains is to walk the narrative line of their path and follow them in a galaxy of playful moments: let’s go back as children for a moment and capture the secret essence of things with sentimental freshness.
The desire to translate reality into images of childhood ancestry is characteristic of Surrealist works, for example Joan Mirò’s paintings are populated by all sorts of hybrid creatures that play and dance and present biomorphic rather than geometric shapes. The Artificial Nature respond to the same organic aesthetics, but if in Surrealist art the staging of a parallel reality implies a psychoanalytic reading, in Corradetti’s works the reference is to the Buddhist religion that affirms the sacredness of every living being.
The artist works by photographing details of flowers and plants and reworks them digitally with an attention to detail characteristic of painting: in Artificial Bubble organic forms of various shapes seem to float suspended in a liquid bubble and slight iridescent ripples enhance their tactile consistency. Since the choice of technique is determined by the artistic project in other works the photographic elaboration is the starting point for a pictorial intervention; a flexibility that goes back to the studies at the Academy, during which the research on photography goes side by side with the fundamental practice of painting.
The use of digital technology is a choice that allows the artist to explore reality with the characteristic mediums of the 21st century, while on a compositional level the reference is to stage photography, which involves setting up detailed sets to take the shots. From the 1980s, image manipulation techniques began to be applied and, after the self-reflexive and conceptual season of the 1970s, a number of artists began to explore constructed and visionary universes, such as Sandy Skoglund and Karin Andersen, to whom Giulia Corradetti took inspiration. On a formal level, the sharpness of the images of Artificial Nature evokes the work of Oleg Dou, who digitally retouches people’s faces to the point of giving them porcelain skin and ghostly features: although with distant poetics, the two artists achieve a similar aesthetic result of great incisiveness and elegance.
The two-dimensional images are reported in environmental measure by the installation Artificial Nature, which represents a linguistic expansion capable of reactivating the neutral space of the gallery. The work is composed of four cubes superimposed in the form of a totem, an archetypal structure present in human cultures since prehistoric times, representing man’s bond with nature and the gods.
Two white cubes are the imaginary generators of an energy current that feeds two seed buds so that they can flourish: the reproductive power of nature represents the creative potential of art, which gives concrete form to the imagination without the limits imposed by biology. The two cubes placed alternating with the generator cubes present monitors with textures of natural elements, considering the risk that the experience of the world becomes only virtual.
In this historical phase of transition, which sees the escape from the biological datum and at the same time the advance of virtual realities, the theoretical debate is conducted in the visual arts by artists and collectives not referable to a single movement, who address the issue of species diversity and imagine life forms that do not correspond to any homologating model. The redefinition of canons in the artistic field can take place through the hybridization of the human body with elements of other species (Patricia Piccinini), with other natural forms (Kiki Smith), through the genetic manipulation of animals (Eduardo Kac) or through the visionary creation of new worlds (Matthew Barney).
Corradetti’s work constitutes an original contribution to research, not because it drags us into a vortex of post-human scenarios, but rather because it invites us to explore an attractive and self-sufficient universe, tinged with joy and irony, where social values are a hymn to respect for diversity, communion with nature and the sacredness of life in whatever form it manifests itself.