Authenticity in the form
Exhibition text "Funny Shapes", by Cristina Petrelli, Studio Arte Fuori Centro, Rome - by Cristina Petrelli
Color inspires the imagination. Creating colour scales is fun, just as it can be fun to combine different, even contrasting shades. Combining a certain colour range, pleasant and attractive, with simple shapes, is the basis of many children’s games, especially the smallest ones. The coloured block stimulates creativity, suggests the combination of the various colours giving life to many different shapes. In this way you test your skills and, in particular, you develop manual skills, sense of space, logic and reasoning in trying to solve problems. The same principle guides Giulia Corradetti’s way of proceeding.
In sculpting blocks of foam rubber, the artist creates rather simple shapes: they are parallelepipeds, cylinders rounded at the ends or crushed and drilled as if they were elementary wheels, or even cubes hollowed out. Geometric solids obtained by working an artificial material, coloured with acrylics, which work as if they were construction bricks for children. His installations, where these elements are arranged in a very free and lively way, are an explicit invitation to play, intended as a form of learning. Through digital reworking, the artist also creates images that he prints on photographic paper, also using plexiglass as a support, or uses as frames to be edited to create video-animations. In the projection of his animated work the most playful and amusing aspect is accentuated, through the use of a soundtrack specially composed for his images, as in the case of the song “Gomma Spina” by the group Segnali di Ripresa.
Giulia Corradetti generates an enchanted world where her artificial forms, obtained by sculpting and colouring foam rubber, coexist with other natural ones. In her images, in fact, she also makes use of photographs she takes of succulent plants; these are mainly cacti. In the hybrids born from this union, the tactile qualities of the materials used are accentuated. It follows that the characteristics in open contrast between them are more evident, such as the soft foam rubber associated with the thorny cactus, also referring to the duality inherent in human nature. This attention to texture constitutes, however, in the artist’s work, only the initial approach, the quickest and most superficial. The analysis of the detail (artificial or natural), which also becomes the autonomous subject of some of his works, suggests an invitation not to stop at the appearance of things and to go deeper.
In associating the elements in a constrained form the most direct referent is that of physical reality as we all know it. In this way Corradetti arranges its hybrids to create a new reality where the artificial coexists with the natural, manifesting itself in different ways. The elements assembled together, as if they were forming a new alphabet, constitute settings, a sort of landscape, where everyone is assigned a specific role, from the plant to the animal to the house. An intelligent way, that of presumed verisimilitude, to allow everyone a key of reading or even better a point of contact with the artist, so that one can access the inside of his poetics.
The reference to the vegetable, animal and human world is explicit in the forms created by the artist. In “La casa di prato” an elementary concept of living is expressed: four walls and a sloping roof. The extreme simplicity of the form does not take away any of its characteristics from the subject and, in relation to the executive expertise where every detail is taken care of, the lawn that appears soft and fertile communicates a feeling of welcoming and relaxing tranquility. Observing this small house with its lawn-covered walls makes one aware of how one must appreciate what nature offers without ending up distorting it with absurd oddities and complications.
In applying the principle of learning through play, the artist makes available only a few elements that allow them to be assembled to create something more complex, but without exaggeration, and always allow a return to the original form. The stimulus offered by the shape and colour of the elements invites us to fit them together, approach them, superimpose them in order to form a new, different structure. This process tests everyone’s abilities and at the same time projects an idea of evolution-oriented development that is man’s own. Of all living forms, the human one is superior to the others by virtue of the faculties of intellect and reasoning, but these must be used with foresight.
In observing the forms developed by Giulia Corradetti, this principle is clarified: the signs of the work on the surface are an explicit reference to the manual skill necessary to create an articulated structure that cannot, however, develop beyond a certain point, due to the limit imposed by the very morphology of the elements used.
The artist’s work sounds like a warning to apply man’s potential to seek the harmony that is given by the awareness of being part of a whole in constant equilibrium, warning against excesses that lead to go against nature, producing aberrations that lead to extreme forms, as in certain developments in aesthetic surgery, genetics or technology. In light of this, our simple “lawn house” can also refer to the Dolmen, to that primitive form of construction where, by placing a stone horizontally on two vertical supports, what could have been the next development was already expressed in power. From a necessary shelter to a tomb, the Dolmen bears witness to the important practice of burial which involves the recognition of the place of the dead as a sacred space in which one is close to the divine. A complex process that passes through a simple form, as also happens in another “object” to which since ancient times is assigned a symbolic value tending to the transcendent: the “Totem”. A subject present in the artist’s latest production which, albeit in a more ironic and disengaged version, declares how in the simplicity of a form hotels authenticity.
In “The Wheel of Love” we see a mechanism consisting of two wheels joined by a central axis. One wheel is made to turn by a little mouse running in one direction, while the other is in fact stationary because the two little mice on it go in the opposite direction.
The artist, again, charges the image with a spiritual value, illustrating two fundamental principles of Buddhist philosophy belonging to the school of Nichiren Daishonin based on the “Lotus Sutra”. The little mouse that proceeds in one direction represents the spirit of itai-doshin (different bodies – same mind). Buddhism says that it is not by agreeing, in the sense of thinking the same way about a matter or wanting the same thing, that the unity of itai-doshin is realized. Only by developing the same vital condition with respect to a goal is it possible to establish ties that go beyond common friendship. Obtaining doshin means being able to have the “same heart/mind”, and by “same mind” we mean the Buddha’s mind, only this allows to create an extraordinary solidarity between people on a deep level of life.
The two mice moving in opposite directions represent, on the contrary, the spirit of itai-ishin (different bodies – different minds). This term indicates disunity, in the sense of having different not only appearance and character, but also hearts. The expression a “different mind” refers to those who break the harmony between believers by being guided solely by their own selfishness.
Being of Buddhist belief, like the artist, transforms the image into a message of universal value, but also for those who do not embrace this religion the concepts contained therein represent principles of behavior that can be easily understood and shared by all. Acting driven by selfishness, pursuing only one’s own personal gain, causes an egocentric and antagonistic attitude towards others that produces jealousy, hatred, dissatisfaction. In pursuing, instead, a common goal, with the same intent and the same values, although each has its own character, physiognomy, social position, the individual manages to harmonize among other people.
In “The Wheel of Love” the concept of how many people, with their own characteristics and peculiarities, when they act with the same heart release a force that they would not have alone.
In revealing itself, Giulia Corradetti’s art contains an invitation to reflect on the meaning of life and the role of each of us in it.